Rebels, Season 3, Episode 14: Trials of the Darksaber
Well! The Star Wars TV people sure had a present for me with today’s Rebels installment. What an episode! Let us review the checklist this one covered:
Hell yes to all of this. (OK, FINE, that last one isn’t guaranteed but WHATEVER. I’m going there for now.)
Previously, on Star Wars: Rebels, our girl Sabine Wren — erstwhile Imperial, hair dye aficionado, Space Family Explosives Expert — ended up on Dathomir in an effort to rescue Ezra from having to spend an afternoon with Undead Darth Maul. While in town, she briefly became possessed by the ghost of a Darksider Witch (as one does.) (Interestingly, as an astute reader pointed out to me, said ghost was voiced by Anna Graves, whom we all may remember as the voice of my — and Obi-Wan’s — first and truest Mandalorian lady love, Satine Kryze. Neat!)
This ghost had been summoned when Ezra and Maul drank a magic potion (nope I’m still not making this up and friendly reminder this show is canon) to help Maul find out where Obi-Wan is hiding, and help Ezra learn the key to destroying the Sith (which, Ezra learns, is Obi-Wan.) (Side note: you know what? I know that obviously there’s more to destroying the Sith than just “Obi-Wan”, but I love that he got a shout-out from the Force here. Obi-Wan is an essential ingredient to destroying the Sith, just like Luke is. Anakin can’t get where he needs to go without both of them and I’m feeling a LOT OF WAYS ABOUT THIS right now and now I’m thinking about how PROUD Qui-Gon’s Force Ghost has gotta be because LOOK AT HIS KIDS. LOOK AT THEM, out there, saving the universe. Oh help, I’m having a Star Wars Feelings Attack.)
OK OK! After her Nightsisterly possession ended, Sabine happened to pick up something that she found laying on the ground of Maul’s Obitine-Themed Revenge Shrine: the Darksaber, the most ridiculously amazing weapon Star Wars may have given us yet, and I say that while fully aware that this series has given us not one, not two, but THREE planet-killing superweapons. Maul, for his part, failed to notice that she swiped this Significant Item from his hovel, because as it turns out he was already too busy heading over to Tatooine for this season’s finale, which definitely will not involve Obi-Wan finally having the writers do him a solid (SO HELP ME) and I am definitely not still screaming internally about the trailer for it or anything. (Oh, what a recap that will be.)
So…what did our Mando Girl DO with this thing once she got it home? Good question — and one that today’s episode will address.
The Mandalore Plot
We begin on the Ghost, where Kanan has requested the presence of Fenn Rau in his sad, dumpy little Jedi room. I really hope that Kanan is usually bunking with Hera, because the idea of him being a grown-ass man without a Jedi Order left to shame him for having nice things, and him STILL choosing to sleep in these depressing, austere quarters bums me out. Treat yourself, Jarrus! Sleep with your space wife!
Rau shows up and is like “What’s up Jedi?” and Kanan is like hey look what I have. You know what this thing is?
Recurring Theme: Old Man Tells a Crazy Story
Rau is initially unsure: uh, it’s a lightsaber? OK, cool. Kanan is like NOPE — it’s not just ANY lightsaber my friend:
Rau is entranced: he takes a look at the blade and is like OH YEAH, I know THIS crazy-ass sword.
And then he launches into a GLORIOUS Extended History of the Darksaber and you know, I am really starting to wonder if a sizable percentage of my readers are just people that write for this show at this point because they are really giving me everything I want this season and it’s becoming hard not to take it personally. (Hey, I’d read my blog if I were them. I mean, snark notwithstanding I think this blog is pretty upfront about my undying love for all this nonsense.)
Rau begins by acknowledging that it’s affiliated with the leader of Clan Vizsla, who later joined that shitty band called the Death Watch:
Kanan is curious: huh. I didn’t even know Mandalorians made lightsabers because usually they seem too busy screaming about things and settling blood feuds and being totally not sexually attracted to the Jedi to have taken the time to build one.
Rau is like “yeah, Mandalore didn’t make it…”
The Blade, The Myth, The Craziness
So I am going to give you a whole bunch of screenshots here, because the animation MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED OK, but here is the skinny on the Darksaber:
- Once upon a time, a Mandalorian named Tarre Vizsla became a Jedi. This really must have been a long-ass time ago because I don’t see the Jedi doing a lot of heavy recruiting there later on. Also holy shit, an ancient Mandalorian Jedi? THIS GUY MUST HAVE BEEN THE BIGGEST DRAMA LLAMA OF ALL TIME. I suspect he could have held his own in a cape-off against Vader.
- This Mandalorian Jedi’s lightsaber was the Darksaber and LOL FOREVER AND A DAY that the first Mandalorian Jedi ever MADE THIS INCREDIBLY AMAZEBALLS DRAMATIC LIGHTSABER. LOOK AT THIS THING. Of course a Mandalorian Jedi made it. OF COURSE. Help me, I am in love with this story already.
- So then this Mando Jedi died, and because we all know the Jedi Order appreciates crazy ostentaciousness, the Order didn’t burn the Darksaber along with him and all his stuff. Nope, instead they were like “Oh, let’s keep it, guys. It’ll look really nice in the basement rec room and we can bring it out at parties and show our friends.”
- The Mandalorians, however, were like “WTF! We’re more dramatic than the stupid Jedi! Look at how much yelling and fighting we do! That lightsaber should be ours it goes better with our decor anyways and they already HAVE so many lightsabers anyways it’s NOT FAIR!” So Clan Vizsla swung by the Jedi Temple and swiped it from them. (The Jedi, presumably, were too busy flirting with each other to notice this break-in.)
- Using the Darksaber and FLYING AROUND ON JETPACKS, these Mandalorians were able to Rule Over All Of Mandalore.
Fenn then concludes this by being like “everyone on Mandalore has respect for this crazy thing. Sabine must have been thrilled to get it!” Kanan replies that no, actually, she wasn’t: she made Kanan take it from her “for safekeeping” and WOW I bet some Mando Warriors are rolling in their graves at the idea of her handing this thing off to a Jedi.
Rau nods: ah. I know why: she doesn’t want the responsibility. The, shall we say, UNLIMITED POWAH that stems from having the Darksaber. But she should! Why, if Sabine had it….she could unite our people behind her to fight!
Kanan is uneasy: you’re talking about creating an army!
Rau is solemn: yes, I am. An army…
So now Chopper rolls over to Sabine’s room, and tells her that everyone is in the family room and they want to see her. She heads over, warily, and she PETS CHOPPER AS SHE LEAVES AND HE PURRS. Would everyone in Star Wars stop being delightful, PLEASE.
Sabine enters the room and right off the bat is like NOPE NOT GONNA DO IT and Rau is like so you DO know about the Darksaber!
Sabine shuts him down, noting that that thing is nothing but trouble and also DON’T FORGET ABOUT MAUL:
Rau argues that Maul just used it to sow discord, but she could use it to sow harmony! She’s like KANAN: you’re a Jedi, so please step in here and tell this Mandalorian that he is insane.
Kanan is like “well yes, I’m a Jedi, so that means me talking you OUT of a crazy plan to do something dramatic is not exactly my wheelhouse so HEAR HIM OUT! Maybe it was the Will of the Force or something” and OH BOY that’s JUST what this series needs more of: the Jedi blaming their own insane plans on the Force.
There’s some more encouragement going on, and Sabine is like “I don’t know how to wield it, you nutcases!” and then Ezra is like YEAH GUYS just because she has it doesn’t mean she can fight with it and Sabine is like SCUSE ME BRIDGER?! and PLEASE enjoy Hera’s face as Ezra talks.
Ezra backs off: I just mean, y’know, I’m a JEDI? I use the Force?
Kanan explains that she might not be able to fight like a Jedi, but she can still be good at using the blade.
Sabine Wren, Certified Badass
Rau interjects: it doesn’t even MATTER if you’re that good with it! People on Mandalore just wanna SEE it because they’re not STUPID look how HILARIOUS this thing is!! Nothing is as important…
Sabine frets: you want me to rule my clan. Well, I hate to break it to you buddy, but my family hates me right now. And I don’t even NEED them anyways! I have a family here! (Awww.)
Hera calmly explains: we need them. We need more warriors! And then Hera says this:
…and please let me clarify: this show involves Sabine’s space mom encouraging her very young daughter to wield an ancient lightsaber so that she can lead a planet of insane warrior people and rally them to the cause of the galactic rebellion, a rebellion which exists to counteract the harsh rule of a Sith Lord and his right-hand man, the Chosen One, whom he helped turn to the Dark Side. I LOVE STAR WARS SO MUCH; ALL OF THIS IS BANANAS.
Recurring Theme: And Now It Calls To You
Sabine is like OK FINE JFC I’LL TAKE THE CRAZYSABER:
Kanan warns her: once people know she’s got this thing, all sorts of randoms are gonna be showing up and trying to throw down. Sabine hastily replies that she’ll try her best.
And OK, at this, Hera makes this AMAZING face that is like “oh my fucking God, not this Jedi bullshit again FFS I can’t believe the Rebellion’s Hope lies with these guys FML.” This is even better when you consider that she and Kanan are pretty much married and she’s STILL this unimpressed with it.
Sabine, finally, lunges forward and demands that Kanan give her the blade so she can kick his ass.
Family Road Trip
Oh God, what a delight this episode is. In the next scene, Kanan, Ezra, and Sabine have piled into the family van and are headed out to a nice open space to train. Ezra snarks that this way Sabine won’t do as much damage as she would if they’d stayed at the base:
Later, we see the kids and Kanan lifting heavy stuff and getting situated. Sabine complains that she thought there’d be more actual LIGHTSABER CONTENT to this training.
Kanan Jarrus, Making His People Proud
Ezra is like “yeah this is what Kanan does when he trains people”:
…and Kanan adds
OK. So, Kanan killed me in this episode because he is like, directly channeling the spirits of every single Jedi Master ever before, in that he spends almost the entire rest of this installment dragging his students and being a smug, sarcastic bastard. Like, Kenobi was probably feeling the sass vibes through the Force on this day and he maybe even half-smiled.
And then Ezra says this and I die:
Recurring Theme: Fight Your Teacher
So Kanan hands her a training saber — a stick — and Sabine is insulted:
They start to fight and Kanan bests her instantly. He replies, in like THE MOST JEDI WAY EVER, that her technique might work on a Stormtrooper…
Oh my God. Look I know I say this ALL THE DAMN TIME, but I love the Jedi so much and I’ll just throw out there right now that if Luke and Rey don’t bring them back and HAVE IT STICK THIS TIME FOR LONGER THAN A HANDFUL OF YEARS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I will be furious. Like Star Wars might actually make me mad at it for the first time ever.
OK! Sorry about that. I have very strong feelings about this, apparently.
He’s Not Kidding About The Limb Part
Sabine is like OH THAT’S IT. She charges at him again, and he again easily defeats her, this time adding:
He sighs: OK, you’re gonna train with Ezra now. He’s going to teach you the Jedi Dance Steps and then we’ll reconvene. Sabine is annoyed, again, but Ezra jumps in eagerly.
Hera Syndulla, Concerned Parent
Hera comms over to Kanan a couple days later to find out how things are going. Kanan, sounding frustrated, says things are going slowly: she’s still learning the basic forms with Ezra and their training sabers.
LOL. She pries: Ezra never had to fight with a stick! What kind of bullshit is this? OH. I get it. It’s because she’s not a JEDI, isn’t it?
Kanan is like it’s not because she isn’t a Force-user, it’s because she’s such a closed-off hotheaded opinionated drama-generating person! She’s just…so…
Oh my God. Really. Hi writers! Thanks for writing this for me. I love you guys too.
Hera smiles and tell him she’ll send some supplies over. Does he need anything?
That Classic Master-Apprentice Dynamic
Fenn arrives with the supplies for them, and he walks in on Sabine getting her butt kicked again:
Sabine is frustrated and tired:
Kanan sends Ezra to haul some supplies and he’s like NO FAIR because he is like some kind of long-lost Skywalker family member or maybe ALL the Jedi are like this:
Kanan, in response to this whining, gives him a long-suffering, annoyed look because THIS IS HOW EVERY JEDI FEELS ABOUT THEIR APPRENTICE OMG:
Fenn Rau, Bearing Gifts
Rau takes Sabine aside as Ezra goes to complain elsewhere. Rau knows that the Jedi are formidable foes, and it’s sort of his fault she’s even stuck doing this crap in the first place, so he’s brought her something:
Sabine is delighted, and Rau very entertainingly adds:
Kanan Jarrus, Galactic Historian
So now, armed with her cool new toys, Sabine gets into it with Ezra again — and this time, she’s making some headway:
Ezra predictably is like WHAT NOT FAIR YOU CHEATED and Kanan gets SUPER PEEVED that Sabine seems to be under the impression that her little gadgets are going to put her over the top:
Sabine is smug: nope, no game — I’m just using the tools I have to kick your Jedi asses, that’s all tee hee! She busts out a lasso and ensnares Kanan, who, furious, ignites his blade and frees himself, and then swiftly gains the high ground:
While there, he decides he’s not having ANY of this, and it’s time to make one thing very, very clear:
Recurring Theme: Do Not Fuck With The Jedi
Kanan expands on this: there is a REASON the Jedi were victorious — at points — throughout history, and it’s not just because they always brought their fanciest robes and best hair to the battle. You can’t just use little gimmicks like that and take them down!
Sabine, looking fairly shocked that Kanan has literally pulled an active lightsaber on her, stands up and lashes out: the ONLY thing she feels she’s learning…
Ah well, getting yelled at by their student and getting yelled at by a Mandalorian are two things any Jedi is well-accustomed to, so nothing new here. Sabine storms off.
Ezra Bridger, At-Leaster
Sabine wanders off and kicks at a rock — to which my husband immediately was like “Hey! She kicked the Bendu!” at (and of course, he was right.)
Ezra comes over to check on her and, continuing the grand tradition of Jedi Nonsense already on display here, is like “look I know my master is an exacting pain in the ass but he’s MY master and I love him”:
Good grief. OK, so Sabine is like YOU DON’T KNOW MY PAIN, I can’t go back to my family:
Ezra, somewhat shittily, pulls an “at least” on her as he leaves:
Sabine then kicks the Bendu AGAIN (geez!) as she also leaves, and he gets up after she’s gone:
Kanan and Hera, Co-Parenting
Kanan is holo-Skyping with Hera and they’re discussing what to do about their daughter. Kanan is adamant that she can’t train with the Darksaber yet because she can’t confront her past or whatever:
Hera is like “maybe if you showed a little FAITH in her…you don’t know how much she’s struggling”:
She insists that he let her have the sword. He’s like I’m…not OK with this, and she nods: I know you are…
Recurring Theme: Important Lightsaber Hand-Off
Sabine returns to their little camp, and approaches Kanan:
Kanan tells her it’s time. She needs to take this:
Even Sabine seems pretty damn impressed by this thing as she lights it up:
With the Darksaber now in her hands, Sabine and Kanan prepare to face off.
They step through some of the forms again and she’s gradually improving:
But, eventually, she gets a little overzealous and ends up, once again, defeated:
Recurring Theme: I’ll Taunt It Out of You
Kanan leans into this, in an attempt to push Sabine to the emotional place she needs to go:
He continues: you’re not even INTO this! You should just give up already! You suck! You ran from Mandalore and you’ll run from this too! Sabine is incensed:
He keeps going about how she abandoned her family, didn’t she? DIDN’T SHE!!! In response, she swears this isn’t so. Oh really?! demands Kanan. THEN WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
Recurring Theme: Tragic Backstory
She explains: she once built weapons. Weapons that the Empire then turned around used on Mandalore! On her own people! Who are now terrorized by these weapons, and in service to the Empire as a result. She’s distraught: she helped to enslave her own people! And when she tried to fix things, her own family turned on her and rejected her.
She rounds this off with this little nugget of sadness to make sure I feel as bad for literally everyone in Star Wars as I possibly can right now:
OH WHY STAR WARS. Once again, you’ve made me feel bad about Anakin Skywalker and he’s not even remotely in this episode. ANAKIN, YOU STUPID MAN. LOOK WHAT YOU HELPED DO. YOU MADE SABINE CRY. Ugh.
It Is Your Destiny
Kanan goes back into Kindly Dad Mode now and tells her that she can help save her people, and her family, yet. She’s skeptical:
Fenn Rau now approaches them, and he says this to her while slowly getting down on his knee:
Ezra, not wanting to be left out, adds that he would, too, and kneels. Kanan tells her that this family (AWWW) will stand behind her, no matter what she chooses.
Sabine looks Full of Feelings as she takes in the sight of these three bowing to her. OH MY GOD SHE’S SO GONNA RULE MANDALORE YOU GUYS SUH-BINE IS GONNA DO IT SHE IS AND SATINE’S GHOST IS GOING TO DRINK A MARTINI GLASS OF HAPPINESS WHEN SHE DOES OK.
And with that, the episode concludes, and we’re done for now! Damn. This one delivered, I tell you. I’m so excited to find out where our little Mando Girl ends up! Join me next time, and thanks for reading!