Rebels, Season 3, Episode 3: The Antilles Extraction
My friends: remember the thrilling takedown of Death Star I (the first, and still my favorite, in Star Wars’ Grand Pantheon of Planet-Exploding Superweapons) in Star Wars: Episode 4? With Luke Skywalker and his heroic Rebel pilot pals facing off against the Evil Empire? Remember how, the first time you saw it, you inevitably thought to yourself: “Gosh, I bet that one Rebel pilot was probably recruited to the Rebellion by a teenage Mandalorian Rebel graffiti artist, who then called on her Jedi friends, one of whom recently survived getting Mauled in the face on that abandoned Sith planet, to come collect them as they made a daring escape?” I know I sure did. Just like how I assumed that Mortis was a thing or that Darth Vader and Obi-Wan had that elevator chat about Obi-Wan getting some action on Mandalore. Or that Yoda once talked to a Force Vision of Darth Bane. Or that Darth Vader’s grandson was ALSO going to go Darksider and ally himself with a bunch of Space Nazis who have a superweapon and then go on to murder his father, Han Solo. The smuggler from the cantina. GOD, THIS SERIES, YOU GUYS.
Sorry: sometimes the Actual 100% For-Real Canon Story of Star Wars is so overwhelmingly insane to me, I cannot handle my love for it. There is just SO MUCH GOING ON NOW, and everything is interconnected. It goes without saying that I spend far more time than I should thinking about Star Wars, and yet, half the time these days I still feel like I need a flowchart to help me keep track of who knows who and who is so-and-so’s Secret Lover/Spouse/Sibling/Enemy/whatever.
Now here we are, this time on Rebels, where we’ll be introduced to our first For-Real Canon appearance (timeline-wise, of course) of someone who is so important to the Rebel Cause that he even gets invited to the Ewok Wrap Party at the end of Episode 6. But before he can fulfill his rebellious destiny, we’ve gotta get him away from the Empire first. It’s Sabine Wren to the rescue, performing this episode’s titular Antilles Extraction — which really sounds like a very unpleasant dental procedure, but is, in fact, just about us going to pick up Wedge. Here we go!
Recurring Theme: The Empire Sucks
We open with a Rebel transport en route to delivering some kind of supplies to a grateful recipient. It’s flanked by A-wings, and the guy flying the cargo notes that they’re lucky to have gotten the pilots they did to help out.
Inevitably, some stupid dumb TIE fighters representing the stupid dumb Empire that’s run by Stupid Wicked Palpatine and his Stupid Cabana Boy, Anakin “Bad Life Choices, All-Around Trainwreck, Retired Shirtless Nightmare-Haver” Skywalker show up and blast them into oblivion. Well. That was pleasant. Thanks, Ultimate Evil! Again: Anakin, I’m sure Padme would be thrilled that you’ve devoted yourself to this noble cause. YOUR CHOICES ARE BAD AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD.
Recurring Theme: Gone But Not Forgotten
Hera is somberly relaying the news of this failed mission to the rest of the gang:
Ezra is unhappy about this, lamenting that soon they’re not even going to have any pilots left at this rate.
But there’s good-ish news — they have a lead on some Imperial cadets who want to defect to the Rebellion because they’ve heard that the Rebels have a better hair game. The Rebels got this intelligence from their Secret Source of Secrecy, Fulcrum. Ezra is momentarily heartened:
Recurring Theme: There Is Another
…nope. Turns out “Fulcrum” is just a title, used by whomever’s feeding them intel at any given time. Ezra is crestfallen and marks another item down on a list he keeps called “Reasons Why I’m Probably Going To Go Nuclear On Everyone Eventually”.
All right, so there’s these pilots, and they want out and it’s Sabine who’s going to have to jump in and extract them. Go get ’em, Mando Girl™!
Ezra is like NOOOOO I don’t like this blahblahblah I’m more powerful than all of you the Chancellor said I should go kill General Grievous waaaaaaaaah, and everyone tells him to shut up because A) Sabine is less well-known to the Empire than the rest of them so it makes more sense to send her, and B) she used to be AN ACTUAL IMPERIAL CADET, YOU DOOFUS. It’s gonna be Sabine and you can just deal with it and go Skywalker to yourself in a corner, Bridger.
Sabine is checking in to work at the Empire and OK, this sort of seems like it was way too easy. She’s already got a uniform, ID card, the whole nine yards? I mean I know Hera said they had her all set up, but wow. Fast turnaround time here. I guess it’s just the scene jump because they made it feel like this is like 5 minutes later.
The pilots are all badging in and LOL, of COURSE the Empire is into this business-y stuff. I’m surprised there aren’t banners around touting their latest corporate branding or advertising campaigns (“The Empire: We Bring Bad Things To Life”, “Palpatine: Make The Galaxy Great Again”, etc.)
She has a brief hitch with her ID being scanned, but eventually makes it through, and this is really just a chance for them to unveil her Top Secret Dye Job:
Me and My Shadow
Meanwhile, Ezra is…you know what? I could save myself a lot of carpal-tunnel-related injury in this episode by just telling you to remember Anakin and Obi-Wan en route to the Count Dooku Showdown where Anakin loses his arm in Attack of the Clones. In pretty much every scene they’re in until the end of the episode, Ezra is all “OH NO! SABINE! I HAVE TO HELP” and Kanan is like “NO I NEED YOU CALM THE HELL DOWN”
All right, all right — enjoy your Inner Turmoil, Ezra. Maybe you can find a window to stare out of later or something.
Recurring Theme: Retroactive Introduction of a Significant Character
Our next scene queues up the introduction of this week’s Important Character Reveal of a character we’re already familiar with. Sabine is making herself at home among the ranks of the cadets, and getting the “you’re all less than nothing!” pep talk in advance of a simulator run:
Their training gets underway, and she’s paired up with her wingman. What’s your name there, buddy?
Sabine gives him a fake name in reply:
So in this simulation, they are instructed to destroy a disabled Rebel ship even though Sabine points out that blowing up a ship that has no defenses and is surrendering is against Imperial protocol (and, as the scenario concludes with them getting “shot down”, they also encounter a ship not unlike the Ghost.) I have questions here:
- Really?! Palpatine’s (admittedly unenforced) Code of Conduct actually includes telling his armed forces NOT to kill surrendering enemies? I…wow. OK. Perhaps at one point there was a Softer Side of Satan (note: there was not.)
- I love that the Empire’s training is 100% Rebellion-focused. So the Empire has no other enemies, just this ragtag team of kids with pretty old, crappy ships? You know, Palps and Vader are just lucky that there was no other nearby Galaxy that actually had its shit together to show up and just waste the Empire during this time period, while they were too busy chasing rowdy teenagers all over the fucking place.
Coming out of the training, Sabine gets a dressing-down:
We clear on this, Wren?
You’re Not Like The Others
After this pleasant exchange, Wedge comments to Sabine that she’d better be careful — she listens to her gut and knows right from wrong and doesn’t agree with shooting down unarmed ships…
Gasp! Could Wedge be the Rebel wannabe we learned about earlier?! WHO CAN SAY?
Recurring Theme: Dramatic Bad Guy Arrival
There’s some dry ice in the air and a ship just landed, so this means it’s time for the Bad Guys to make a dramatic entry. Agent Kallus and his Enormous Hilarious Mutton Chops, and Governor Pryce and her notebook that has “Mrs. Governor Pryce-Thrawn” written all over it arrive on site. Why are they here? Well, as it turns out, it appears that the years covered by the Rebels timeline coincide with like, the only time anyone in the universe other than Palpatine had any actual idea what they were doing, because Pryce and Kallus already know:
Recurring Theme: Maybe We Should Just Get Some Clones Instead of Your Troops, Evil Space Nazi Guy
The idea that any cadets are trying to defect is an unwelcome one because My Men Are Trained From Birth:
Pryce is all HMMMM WE’LL SEE WON’T WE?! and also gets in a jab at Kallus for being bad at his job as the scene wraps:
Spot The Conflicted Person
Sabine, meanwhile, is hard at work figuring out where our potential defectees are at. Helpfully, they are having a very loud Stage Whisper Discussion in the hallway at this very moment!
She follows Wedge out to a catwalk (which has actual railings, holy shit! This must be one of the fanciest places in the Galaxy to be able to afford such luxury!) where he’s staring wistfully, of course:
Recurring Theme: I Shall Plan My Next Big Move In Front of a Dramatic Sunset
I sort of feel like this is like, the Granddaddy of All Recurring Themes. It’s…among the Most Recurring-est of Recurring Themes. Like, if someone was like “Hey, Snark Wars Lady, what is Star Wars actually about? Summarize all of it. You have one sentence…go!” I’d probably be like “Someone making a Fateful Decision in front of a sunset or sunrise while feeling ways about things.” So, here we are again.
Sabine approaches Wedge and feels him out a little bit first:
Sabine is like BLAMMO! REBEL PAYDIRT, and after Wedge reveals that he only signed on with the Empire so that he wouldn’t have to keep being the GFFA equivalent of the guy who does Amazon Prime deliveries…
…Sabine ultimately reveals her true identity and her reason for being there:
Recurring Theme: Plan, Schman
Wedge is like YES! Rebel Santa did get my letters after all!
Sabine asks if there are others who want out, and there are. She’ll tell him what to do once she, uh, figures that out herself. He’s taken aback by the haphazard way they’re going about this and she’s like yeeeeeeeah, the good guys in this show never SUPER know what the plan is going to look like until, like, The Chosen One is leaping over a crevasse or someone’s turning themselves into the Force or whatever. WE PLAY IT BY EAR, Wedge my man! Get on board or get left behind. It’s gonna be a helluva ride.
One Day at a Time
Back with Obi-Wan and Anakin: The Rebellion Years, Ezra is STILL having a shit fit about how Sabine is on a mission and he’s not there to help her and LIKE GET A HOBBY OR SOMETHING, BRIDGER. This is SABINE WREN we’re talking about. She is a fucking badass Mandalorian, not a frail elderly woman with two bad knees and a heart condition. You are not the sum total of badassery in this Galaxy, you know. Kanan, no doubt reciting from his well-worn copy of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s You and Your Annoying, Headstrong Teenage Apprentice Who Thinks He’s Hot Shit, tells him he needs to calm down.
He goes on to basically encourage Ezra to recite a Jedified version of the Serenity Prayer:
Kanan tells him that if he trusts Sabine, which he says he does, then she’ll be fine. Ezra sort of half-nods and then just pretty much stifles a mini-Dark Side attack or whatever that wandering random bitchface thing that him and Anakin both have periodically is.
We’ve Got Ourselves an Action Plan
Kallus updates Pryce on the success, or lack thereof, of their ability to find these traitors:
Then this guy, who I should note has an AMAZINGLY FUNNY “wicked guy voice”, like, to the extent that all he really needs is a super long handlebar mustache to twirl, is like GUYS COME ON if it’s not too much trouble can I please go back to ACTUALLY TRAINING PILOTS?!:
Pryce, being the smart, tough, bitter cookie she is, is like “…why not both?” Maybe they can come up with an approach that…
They Trust You With Their Lives
Sabine is prepping her Brand New Rebels for their big move:
The boys are nervous: does she really trust these alleged Rebels?
One Step Ahead
They get into a simulated dogfight, and Sabine is ready to roll:
She puts in a call for Ezra to connect up with them…and then there they are! Their Rebel Rendezvous underway, Sabine and her Imperial ship-jumpers break off from the pack and Pryce is quite pleased with herself:
She issues a warning for them to come back, and Sabine is like SEE YA!
Sabine and co learn, to their dismay, that Pryce was one step ahead of the game, and their TIEs were rigged. The next thing they know, they each lose power and they’re floating in just the little middle pod part of their ships. Pryce announces:
…and with that, we’re now down to Hobbie, Sabine, and Wedge. (Rake, we hardly knew ye.)
She Would Do Her Duty
Ezra is now having a full-fledged Teenage Jedi Meltdown, because Sabine just told him to get the hell out of there:
Kanan helpfully points out to Ezra that THEY’RE ABOUT TO DIE if they stay because they’re getting shot at:
Once again: TL;DR — Attack of the Clones/Skywalker Redux, “I can’t let So-and-So die” “You have to learn to let go of all you fear to lose”, and so on and so forth; whatever. Sorry, Team Bridger/Jarrus: I’m rapidly losing my zeal for recapping a Young Jedi’s Fear of Loss, which surely doesn’t bode well for me because everyone knows this franchise’s #1 core principle is If You Liked It Once, You’ll Love it the 87th Time!
Recurring Theme: Let’s Go Out Of Our Way To Point Out That Someone Is Mandalorian
Aaaaaanyways, Sabine and her two remaining aspiring rebels are in custody now, and things aren’t looking so good for them.
Pryce is about to get Wedge talking, when Sabine interjects:
Wedge then stupidly calls Sabine by name, which gives Pryce another puzzle piece, as she pulls up Sabine’s dossier:
Pryce had already suspected that Sabine had had prior Imperial Training: she knew too much about their Evil Ways. OK. I know that Mandalore is the kind of place that has been involved in WAY more than its fair share of Galactic Drama (and that’s even if you DON’T count Ye Old EU and all the other insane random non-canonical backstory it had at one point.) Still: everyone is like, ALWAYS going out of their way to be like OH LOOK A MANDALORIAN to Sabine. I don’t know WHY it’s noteworthy or anything. It’s not like all of the Major Mandalorians we’ve been introduced to thus far have been especially extra, or into yelling or wielding any sort of incredibly dramatic weapons or anything…[avoids eye contact]
Or We Could Just Wait for Her To Save Us Instead
Hobbie and Wedge get taken to a separate cell while Pryce dives into an in-depth interview with Sabine, involving a Classically-Evil-Villain-Style torture device. Wedge is desperately trying to formulate a plan to get her out:
Recurring Theme: I Can Handle Myself
Not to worry, Wedge: Sabine isn’t about to let Pryce win this round. Just as she’s about to begin torturing her (kids’ show!), Sabine goes Mando and starts punching her. Pryce puts up a good fight:
…but at the end of the day it’s no match for Sabine and her Warrior Blood:
She ends up knocking Pryce into the Torture-O-Matic herself, and it’s just as well: it’s never really a full Star Wars Cartoon Installment if no one gets electrocuted.
Sabine heads off to go save the boys, because Star Wars girls can Handle Themselves, thanks.
Let’s Hit The Road
She shows up and is like OK guys, I hope you’re not as crappy at flying as you are at rescues since all you did was stand around and fret:
I would now like to point out at this entire episode involved random dudes planning to save Sabine and worrying about it, and she ended up doing pretty much all of the saving and mission-completing alone. LOL
Recurring Theme: Too Little Too Late
So now the trio tears off to get on a ship and get outta here. On the way out, they encounter Agent Kallus, who is apparently trying to go Partial Redemption Arc on us. He tells them which floors to avoid to make their escape. Sabine is understandably skeptical about this:
OK, so…one rescue of a few people, and he thinks he and ZEB are EVEN? Uh, no, Kallus. I’m pretty sure that is not how any of this works, but OK. God, the bad guys in Star Wars always think they can erase like years of being assholes with “but that one time I did a good thing, so…ehhhh?!”
Recurring Theme: I’m Starting To Wonder If There’s Ever Been New Dialogue
All right, so it’s time for the Rebels to make their daring escape. Hold on, allow me to pull out the script from anything we have ever seen before ever:
Part I: Your Ship Is A Piece of Crap
Sabine and the guys arrive at a hangar. Sabine tells them to board a ship, and Wedge is like THIS ONE’S LAME:
Ah, but what if we have no choice in the matter? What if, say, the hunk of junk, or…the garbage ship, is all we have? Can you fly it, Hero? CAN YOU?!
Part II: I’ve Got This
Thanks, Wedge. I knew I could count on you to have reviewed the source material.
Shameless callbackery behind us, the group heads out and is met by Ezra and Kanan. Sabine is elated:
They get to the docking bay of Ezra and Kanan’s ship, and hyperspace themselves away to safety while the Baddies, left in their dust, metaphorically shake their fists:
There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow
They land back at Rebel HQ, and Sabine proudly, and amusingly awkwardly, introduces their new pilots. Can we take a moment to appreciate that Sabine just went through ALL OF THIS FOR TWO GUYS?! I mean, the Rebellion really MUST have been desperate for pilots, holy crap.
We end on a Hopeful Note of New Hope as the new pilots take in their surroundings and we prepare ourselves to keep marching our way towards Rogue One and the Original Trilogy. Are we ready? I know I am! And with that, the Jarring Ending Title Screen arrives to forcefully boot us out of the episode. Until next time, dear readers!