Rebels, Season 3, Episode 6: Imperial Supercommandos
*lets out a deep sigh*
Mandalore. I ask you all: what the hell are we gonna do with this place? You know how there are like, a few places in the allegedly enormous Star Wars universe where 99% of the drama seems to emanate from? See, here’s the thing: SOME of those places have a good excuse for being like that — say, Coruscant, for example (location of the old Galactic Senate, the Jedi Temple and that Sith Temple the Jedi keep in the basement, etc), or the Death Star (because it’s a fucking superweapon and Darth Vader sometimes lives on it.) But some of them — Tatooine, Naboo, possibly Jakku, and ABSOLUTELY FUCKING MANDALORE — just seem to…be that way. Either they’re churning out weirdly gifted desert children or they’re giving rise to people like goddamn Palpatine or they’re just…being Mandalore.
Mandalore has, of course, been pulled into Officially Official Canon by virtue of its appearances in this show and The Clone Wars, but it’s maybe important to note that it had kind of a history in Ye Olde EU, which is clearly informing the writers of the animated canon. Much of that history boiled down to: Mandalore is fucking crazy and full of crazy people and all they ever do is try to set shit on fire and get into fights with (or
possibly have sex with) the Jedi. I submit to you this excerpt from Wookiepedia’s entry on Mandalore the Ultimate, which is an ACTUAL CHARACTER’S TITLE:
Mandalore the Ultimate, or Te Ani’la Mand’alor in Mando’a, led the Mandalorians during the Mandalorian Wars. One of the last Taung to claim the Mandalore title, and known to some as the Great Shadow Father, he regrouped the Mandalorian forces into the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders and slowly began to conquer fringe worlds that had been left defenseless in the wake of the Great Sith War.
*pounds my hand on my desk* TELL ME THIS IS NOT DELIGHTFUL NONSENSE. Oh, Star Wars. What even is this, guys? (I would like to point out, by the way, that Mandalore the Ultimate — go on, really think about it and then say it without smiling, I dare you — got his ass kicked eventually by a couple of Jedi. Also, I got absolutely sucked into that article and now I’m totally into it, and AGAIN: I really need the powers that be to give me some of this Old Republic content in a format I can recap because OH MY GOD. For one thing, one of the Jedi involved with defeating Mandalore the Not At All Dramatically Named was named Alek Squinquargesimus, and this Jedi later became a Sith Lord because of course he fucking did because THE JEDI ARE ALWAYS TURNING TO THE FUCKING DARK SIDE. As an organization, they needed to focus a LOT MORE on employee retention than they did, given that “leaving the Jedi” often did not appear to mean something benign like “I’m leaving to go back to law school”.)
…I’m sorry, readers: my job here today was not to regale you with Stories from Ye Olde EU. But before I move on, I need you all to know that “Mandalore” has a disambiguation page on Wookiepedia and it IS NOT BRIEF:
…so I will suppress every urge I have right now to be like “…but I want to know the story of “Unidentified Mandalore”! And what of “Mandalore the Vindicated”? WHAT!??” even though it is KILLING ME to do so, because no: my actual job today was to discuss the most recent episode of Star Wars: Rebels, which this week focuses on the people of one Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian. I’m sure I’ll be able to keep it brief. Delightfully, this episode contained several choice quotes about this utterly insane place that made me deeply suspicious that the writers of this show are now actively reading this blog and/or my mind. All right — strap on your jetpacks, pour yourself a martini and then forcefully devote yourself to peace or violence, and let’s get this party started!
We start things off with Sabine and Some Guy Named Fenn Rau, playing a hologame of some sort. This dude, who we learn has been taken prisoner by the Ghost Gang, starts in on Sabine and how her skills in the game are rusty, probably because she’s a traitor to all Mandaloriankind.
Ah, yes, this dude is a Mando. May I ask: do Mandalorians know how to make ANY kind of small talk that does not involve calling someone a traitor of one sort or another? Their holiday gatherings must be…about as fun as everyone in the United States’ is going to be this year. Yikes.
They get into a back-and-forth about how she wishes he and his guys would join the Rebellion, and he counters that he wishes SHE would come back and fight For Mandalore! instead:
Zeb swings by to tell them that Hera needs them both in the war room.
Here, they find out that Fenn Rau’s guys have stopped communicating with them. He is adamant that there must be a problem HIS MEN ARE TRAINED FROM BIRTH, etc:
Sabine agrees to go over there and find out WTF is going on, and she’s gonna take this guy (and Ezra and Chopper) with her.
Zeb takes a moment to be like wait: why are we letting the prisoner dictate what we do again?
Kanan, making the most of his only line in the episode, summons the wit of his Jedi forefathers:
Everything We Touch Turns to Dust and/or Is Ruined by Darth Maul
So Hera sends them on their way, and warns them not to ruin the Phantom II since they haven’t even had it for a full episode yet. They head off to Concord Dawn, and Ezra is not exactly doing a great job bonding with this guy:
They approach their destination, and Ezra is like WHOA what the hell happened to this place? — since it’s like, 50% falling apart into the inky void of space:
Fenn Rau explains that oh, no big: it’s just that Mandalorians are unstoppable forces of total destruction and they can never have nice things, but don’t worry about us!
Sabine, in the driver’s seat, laments:
OK, Wren, look here: WE TRIED THAT. Remember? The whole Brief Period of Pacifism thing? And then y’all went and fucked it up again almost immediately. Spectacularly. Just, you know, reminding you.
Ezra Bridger, Getting Some Really Choice Lines This Season
As soon as Ezra said the next line, I A) laughed out loud, B) praised the writing staff for understanding me and giving me so many shout-outs already this year, and C) immediately knew I had my recap title.
…you know what, Bridger? ME EITHER.
While Ezra’s distracted by talking about how Mandalorians are a bunch of martini-drinking hotheads, Fenn Rau gets up and knocks both Sabine and Ezra out cold. Good job, guys!
Chopper, Not a Trained EMT
Chopper wakes Ezra up from his concussion in a truly hilarious way:
As he and Sabine come to, they realize they’ve landed. They head outside to look for Rau.
Recurring Theme: Mandalorians Were Here and Now Stuff Is On Fire and Everyone’s Dead
They’re all ready to start battling Rau — grabbing their weapons and having Ezra force-grab Rau’s blaster away — but he’s not in the mood to bother with fighting teenagers right now. As it turns out, they’ve found his men’s base camp…and things are not looking so sunny.
Sabine is solemn:
Ezra Bridger, Has Not Read Mandalorian History Books (Which Likely Don’t Exist Anyways Because If They Did Someone Probably Set Them On Fire By Now)
Ezra is all: oh no! Was it the Empire? and Rau explains that no: it was, in fact:
Ezra, because he is totally ignorant about Mandalore, is like Golly, guys! That doesn’t make sense! And usually everything in Star Wars always does, so this is totally surprising!
Sabine, understandably not even wanting to get into the Wookiepedia article I mentioned before, just leaves it at this:
Recurring Theme: This Is All Your Fault!
Fenn Rau is pissed:
Sabine starts in with the DON’T YOU BLAME THIS ON US:
And Rau goes off on a Patented Mandalorian Rant about how You Are Not Loyal To Your People and OH MY GOD THESE PEOPLE ARE SO EXHAUSTING. God, no wonder Satine was always drinking something and yelling at people to shut up. I would be, too.
The Empire, Just Checking Up On You
Just then an imperial probe droid makes itself known, and Sabine and Ezra shoot it down. They’re not sure if it had time to transmit their whereabouts before it became a smoking heap of machinery, though. Sabine tells Rau that they need to put their differences aside and get the hell out of there in case Wicked Uncle Palpatine is gonna be swinging by for a visit.
Rau, however, is like “well it’d be a pretty sweet payback to you losers if I stuck around and told the Empire where your Hidden Rebel Base is, wouldn’t it?”
Sabine is not about to let him do that, and pulls a blaster on him. Before anything else can happen, though, Chopper coms over to Ezra to let him know someone’s coming. They’re shocked: holy crap! The Empire’s already here?! Bur normally everyone in this universe is so incompetent! How did they get here so fast?!
…turns out, they didn’t! These aren’t imperials flying over here…
…they’re the episode’s titular Supercommandos!
Jetpacks Seem Like an Obvious Choice Here
OK, for real: look at these guys. So, can I ask something? Why doesn’t everyone in the entire fucking universe wear a jetpack? Doesn’t this seem like a no-brainer? Let me get this straight: the technology exists, so my choices are “don’t wear a jetpack, and walk everywhere like a chump”, or “wear a jetpack and FLY MYSELF EVERYWHERE.” Maybe I’ve been giving Mandalorians too little credit. They might be insane, but they aren’t completely clueless, I guess.
Anyways, these Supercommandos (LOL) set down and start scouring the ruins of the base camp for interlopers.
Recurring Theme: Jedi Diversion Tactics
Ezra, being The Jedi, offers himself up as a diversion so that Sabine and Rau can make a break for it:
Sabine hesitates, wanting to go help him, but Rau talks her out of it. She counters that he doesn’t even have his lightsaber, and Rau is like “uh, did you forget that the word “Jedi” makes our people fucking insane? Maybe him not having it with him is not a bad thing…”
Let Down Your Gar
The baddies take Ezra into one of the little tents here to interrogate him. The head bad guy un-helmets himself:
Mandalore, I mean this in the nicest way possible: what the fuck is going on with your hairstyles right now? They are the actual worst. Also, I know that you live in the Star Wars universe, where everyone has terrible names, but I am glad to see that the people responsible for “Pre Vizsla”, which sounds like someone sneezing, or “Bo-Katan”, which sounds like an unreleased spin-off of Tekken AND, of course, “Korkie Kryze” which I am not even going to go into right now for so many reasons…anyways, as I was saying, I’m glad to see that you guys haven’t lost your flair for giving people weird, kind of terrible names. Nice to meet you, Gar. Get a better haircut.
Ezra sets about telling a cover story about how he’s no rebel: he’s just a scavenger! A pirate! He was just here trying to sell magazines door-to-door! He’s just here to read the meter! He’s dropping off religious pamphlets! He swears he’s not with the Rebellion!!!!
Saxon is not buying it. You’re in Mando Town now, kid, and we’re maybe kind of good at being badasses! Ve haff vays of making you talk.
Ezra continues to insist that he doesn’t know nothing about nothing, so Saxon informs him that they’ll just have to keep working on him:
Recurring Theme: That Guy Betrayed Us All
Sabine is encouraging Rau to help her go back and save Ezra:
Sabine is annoyed:
And in any case, this isn’t even about saving Ezra! This is about the Empire getting intel on where the Rebels’ base is located, something that could have much bigger ramifications than just the loss of a whiny gifted teenager who’s suppressing his Dark Side.
Rau still doesn’t give any shits:
Sabine notes that Gar Saxon seems familiar:
Yes, our Sabine is Clan Vizsla (bless you), and I’m sure this is going to come back later on in some way, shape or form, because how could it not.
Rau goes on to explain that Saxon is a traitor with no honor. Help me out here, Mandalore: so the goal is to be a unstoppable killing machine who devotes themselves to power and violence and Ruling Over All. If you refuse to do this, you are a traitor. If you do it TOO much, then you’re also somehow a traitor? Where is the line here? Saxon’s top dog, isn’t he? Doesn’t that mean he won? Also we’re talking about people who once pledged allegiance to DARTH MAUL, OK? I think the bar for “he’s an all right guy though and his tactics are honorable” is set PRETTY FUCKING LOW.
Whatever. Fine, Saxon’s a traitor because he is in league with the Empire. We’ll go with it. Sabine tries once again to plead with him: just help me out here and we’ll get to the ship and get out of here and deal with all of our Mandalorian Problems later, OK? Rau tacitly agrees but is still dismissive: all he cares about is making Saxon pay. She sighs:
Ezra Bridger, Storyteller
Ezra, meanwhile, is still grasping at straws for a good cover story about why he’s there and who he is:
Shockingly, they do not buy his story about being a smuggler who is hunting for lost treasure (LOL WHO CAN SAY WHY). After some more back and forth, he finally spits out:
Now Saxon’s interested: you know where that guy is? That’s so funny that you mentioned him: I totally want to kill that guy!
Recurring Theme: Back On The Same Side
Rau and Sabine, listening in on this conversation, have a moment. Rau realizes that it wouldn’t have mattered if he’d been here — he couldn’t have saved his men.
So it’s a truce, then:
Recurring Theme: No Really The Mandalorians Totally Hate The Jedi Like For Real
Sabine spots some gear she’s been looking for as she heads over to save Ezra:
Saxon is all set to start shooting at Chopper until Ezra gives him information about Rau’s whereabouts. Unwilling to let his pet robot get hurt (because he is, after all, a Jedi,) he uses the Force to keep Saxon from hitting his mark.
Of course, as we all know, the Mandalorians are…well, they claim to hate the Jedi because of their Wacky Insane Past of getting their asses kicked by them, but as Star Wars has shown us time and again, it’s also at least partly because they are maybe more susceptible than others to their charms. Or maybe I’m just thinking about Obi-Wan again.
ANYWAYS, Saxon is like OH HEY LOOK it’s a JEDI:
Recurring Theme: Thanks For Rescuing Me, Loser
Oh cool! It’s time for the portion of our program where a Mandalorian girl saves a Jedi’s life and he is an ungrateful little bastard about it! Sabine busts into the tent with a smoke bomb just as things are about to get Really Bad for Ezra, and she pulls him out to safety. He thanks her in that Patented Gracious Jedi Way:
Yes, really Sabine, what took you so long? JESUS, BRIDGER, I SWEAR I WILL THROW YOU BACK INTO THE SMOKE OK? This ungrateful rescuee shit wasn’t cute when Anakin did it, it wasn’t cute when Obi-Wan did it…well, OK, fine. It actually was kind of cute when they did it BUT THEY ARE BAD EXAMPLES because they were charming while doing pretty much anything. Am I talking about them again? I am, aren’t I? I’m sorry.
OK OK. So Sabine tells him that it took her “so long” because she was using strategy instead of just badassing her way in the door like an impulsive doofus with a buzzcut might, and they start to run off for the ship. Sabine is like “Rau should already be there waiting for us” and that’s when they get fucked over:
WHAT. EVER. Ezra. Whatever. Shouldn’t you be like, selling your soul to darkness or something somewhere?
The kids are up a creek now as the Supercommandos (LOL) head for them:
Recurring Theme: You Cannot Deny The Truth That Is Your Fucked-Up Family
Saxon confronts Sabine, who he greets by name. She’s all “I don’t know you” and he goes on:
Dun dun DUUUUUUUN! Sabine’s mom? Say what now? She immediately warns Ezra:
Saxon is all “oh, young Jedi, did someone not tell you about their secret family backstory?!”
Recurring Theme: Your Family Member Is Evil Now And It’s All Your Fault
Saxon is like NUH UH, you drove her to it I swear!
Sabine is not interested in what he’s selling:
Then Saxon busts out this old chestnut from the Mandalore Will Ally Itself With Evil In Order to Control The Universe Playbook, and really: they KEEP going back to this well, and then it always ends with Mandalore on fire and everyone dead. MAYBE TRY SOMETHING NEW FOR A CHANGE, GUYS.
This goes on a bit longer, with Saxon ultimately demanding that she turn over Fenn Rau and swear allegiance to the Empire or be killed. Reasonable.
Sabine acts like she is going to capitulate, but as always, she’s got Secret Droid Hijinks up her sleeves. She quickly turns to Chopper:
…and just when, to Ezra’s horror, it looks like she’s going to do the Imperial Pledge of Allegiance…
And that’s when Chopper blasts loud, agonizing feedback into all of their earpieces:
Recurring Theme: Hilarious Villain Proclamation
With the baddies distracted once again, Sabine grabs Ezra and jetpacks away, with Chopper flying alongside them. Saxon is incensed:
While on board the fleeing Phantom II, Fenn Rau has a conscience attack…
…and in the meantime, Sabine and Ezra lead the Mandos on a truly amazing chase sequence.
Fenn Rau, New Uncle
Just when things are looking bad for our heroes, a shuttle appears. It’s Uncle Fenn!
Ezra makes it onto the shuttle, but Sabine gets held back by Saxon. Fortunately, this is Star Wars: the Land of Ass-Kicking Teenage Girls, and man, does she ever.
Finally, she starts flying away, headed for the shuttle. Saxon shoots her jetpack and in the nick of time (of course), Ezra grabs her hand:
Saxon, all but shaking his fist angrily like a true cartoon villain, is left to a flaming mess, as is the rule for Mandalorians:
Welcome To This Dysfunction
In the wrap-up, Sabine tells Rau that she’d almost counted him lost:
Rau tells her that she’s earned his respect by being noble and dedicated to her cause:
Ezra Bridger, Pointing Out The Obvious In Like Every Episode This Season I Guess
Ezra, continuing his hot streak that began with the last episode’s “Hey guys didn’t you all ever notice that the Clone Wars were a total sham concocted by the Emperor because it was REALLY FUCKING OBVIOUS?”, now interjects into this conversation:
Yes. Yes they are. Another gold star for you, Bridger! (PS: Thank you, writers. I love you xoxoxoxoxoxox)
Ezra and Sabine are game for this!
And with that, Uncle Fenn’s offer letter is signed and he’ll be in Employee Onboarding posthaste! Will the Space Family be able to cope with having two Mandalorians? Will a Jedi ever be nice to the person rescuing them? Will I lose my mind before this season is over because guys MAUL IS STILL OUT THERE OK? Only time will tell! ‘Til next time, my dear readers!