“Heroes of Mandalore” parts 1 & 2: episode review

Welcome to The Elven Padawan’s review of the season 4 opener of Star Wars Rebels, “Heroes of Mandalore”. This episode marks the beginning of the end for Rebels, as season 4 will be the final season. This was an amazing episode, featuring Mandalorian Rebel Sabine Wren’s return to her homeworld to rescue her father from Imperial captivity.

To review this episode for you, I got together with my good friend and fellow Rebels fan, Audrey, and we talked through our thoughts on the highlights of this episode.

I hope you enjoy our review, and be looking forward to The Elven Padawan’s coverage of the next episode, “In the Name of the Rebellion”, after it airs next week.


Shay: So the episode starts out with Sabine, Ezra, Kanan, Fenn Rau, and a group of fighters from clan Wren in a trench, heading to an Imperial facility on Mandalore where they think Sabine’s dad is being kept. But since this is Rebels, nothing goes exactly the way it’s supposed to.

We haven’t seen Mandalore since the The Clone Wars arc there with Maul and Obi-Wan, and it’s the first time it’s ever appeared in Rebels. What were your thoughts on how it looked in this style?

Audrey: It was very dry looking. The only pictures I had seen before were of cities, so this was different than the image that would have popped into my head if someone told me to imagine Mandalore.

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One of Mandalore’s highly civilized cities from The Clone Wars (top), vs. the barren wasteland of outside from Star Wars Rebels (bottom). Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: It also didn’t start out as I imagined. I thought they’d be at Yavin IV, and Sabine would be convincing them to come help. But we started right in the middle of the action!!

Shay: Exactly! In fact, when we first started the episode, my sister was trying to figure out how exactly they had gotten to that point where it picks up. Really the only thing we know is that Hera was able to convince Mon Mothma to let the Ghost crew go to help out the effort to free Sabine’s father, but beyond that it’s just a pretty big blank.

Once the Rebels make their way to the facility, they fight their way inside, only to discover that Alric Wren is not there. Bo-Katan and other members of clan Kryze greet them at this point, and let them know that everything was a trap.

One thing that really made me laugh at this point was Dave Filoni as a Stormtrooper. There’s this one point where he’s actually threatening Sabine’s life, he’s got a blaster pointed at her, and I was just thinking how in-character that seemed for him…

Audrey: Wait that was Mr. Dave? Now I’m going to have to watch it a third time just to hear that!

Even though that’s supposed to be a serious scene, they put several goofy things in it. Ezra trying to figure out his jet pack cracks me up.

Shay: It sounded just like him to me…

Also, you could tell one of the other troopers was Freddy Prinze Jr., who plays Kanan. His voice was pitched a little different, but it just cracked me up to think that Kanan and Mr. Dave somehow got recruited by the Empire.

And Ezra’s jetpack! I loved all that! Poor guy just really doesn’t have a chance when it comes to the Mandos.

Audrey: Ezra seems much less angry in this premier. He actually deactivated his lightsaber at that part without trying to put up more of a fight.

Shay: That’s true. And it made me so happy to see everyone finally getting back to their true personalities!

We know this season is supposed to get pretty dark, and very “adult”, and you can tell just from the trailer that the Rebels are gonna go through some really hard times. But I love those little bits when everyone’s just being themselves, and it doesn’t seem so heavy anymore. I think they did a really good job balancing those two things out in this episode.

I feel like a lot of people are probably gonna hate on all that goofiness in these episodes, but that’s what Ezra’s always been. He’s one of those kids who always manages to be silly, even when he’s not trying to be, and even with as dark as he got in some of the places last season, it’s in his personality to see the good and light moments in everything. I think that’s why we’ve loved him so much, because he’s not a dark, foreboding hero like Anakin, and he’s different from Luke in a lot of ways as well.

 

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Ezra’s taking a while to figure out these jetpacks. Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: I loved seeing Sabine take charge throughout this episode. In Trials of the Darksaber, she was questioning why anyone would follow her, and now she’s coming up with all sorts of plans and leading her clan on this mission.

Shay: Yes, I totally agree! Over the course of this entire series we’ve seen her change a lot, from being really closed off to everyone, then beginning to really find her place in the Ghost crew “family” in season 2, then in season 3 she had a whole host of new issues to deal with, like her guilt over what happened with the weapon, and having to believe in herself enough to take up the Darksaber and go back home.

I don’t want this to be taken wrong, but I’m starting to think that her arc in this series is beginning to draw to a close, or at least this part of it is. I’m sure she’ll go through a lot more, and I don’t want to see her story stop with Rebels, I think they could do so much with this character heading into the New Republic era. But the whole thing with her having to find her place, and coming out of her shell and us discovering her past… that’s all drawing to a close.

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Sabine leads the charge across Mandalore’s wasteland with the Darksaber as her battle standard. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: We’re also seeing that in Kanan. It made me so happy to see him have a little of his attitude back in this episode, like when he’s jumping all over the place and taking down those troopers. He’s so much more confident in everything by now, it was kinda easy to forget he’s actually blind!

Audrey: He even smiles a few times in this episode! Even with all the other tough things happening in this episode, it makes me really happy to see him back to his old self a bit.

Shay: Yess!! And his interaction with Hera in the beginning! It made me so happy to finally see them back at ease with each other, and starting to fall back into their old back-and-forth. What did you think about their conversation there, and the fact that she wasn’t even part of this mission?

Audrey: At first I was like, “Um Kanan, What are you doing?” Because last season, if Hera had told him to come back, I don’t think he would have replied with “Oh, are you having trouble toppling the Empire without me?” I wonder what changed in between S3 and S4? Hera seems a little confused. They joke around like that all the time, (or used to) so I think it might take a few tries before she decides he’s being serious.

It was a little sad that she wasn’t in the episode at all. I guess she has other Rebellion Captain jobs to do.

And then Bo-Karan comes in! Since I’ve never seen The Clone Wars, this was my first time seeing her in an episode. I liked her a lot, but she is so different from her sister. I know in TCW they were on opposite sides of how Mandalore should be ruled, but she still seems very proud of her sister in this episode.

 

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Lady Bo-Katan Kryze, sister to the fallen Duchess Satine Kryze, as she appears in both the Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: Yeah, I kinda felt bad for Hera, because it made me think about how apart they were in season 3, compared to how close they were in season 2. (Well, it made me think about it again. It’s not like I’ve never thought about it before.)

But I always loved their interaction and bantering together, and they really seemed to be pulling apart in season 3, so it made me really happy to see him going for it again.

And also, I think this might be answer to what we’ve talked about before, concerning that clip from Fan Expo Canada (where she says “We’ve talked about this before”, and we were wondering if that would actually be on-screen or not).

I was a little miffed that she didn’t have much of a part in this episode, but I did understand that she’s still a big part in the Rebellion, so it made sense that she wouldn’t be there. Plus we know that Vanessa Marshall has been saying that she has a big part in this season, so I’m sure we’ll get a lot of her soon.

I thought the change in Bo’s attitude was really interesting. She seemed much milder and and more worried about her followers than she was in The Clone Wars. There she was very sardonic and harsh, and like you said, on the complete opposite side of her sister. Of course, you could see that she was heartbroken when Satine actually got killed, as she had never signed up for that.

I wonder what happened in-between where TCW got cut off and where this picked up what changed her so much?

Audrey: Especially when she said she had her chance to lead and failed. When was that?

Shay: I’m assuming that was when the Jedi made her the Regent over Mandalore, but then then the Empire took over.

Here’s even more reasons why need need a whole anthology movie on the Siege of Mandalore! With a live-action Ahsoka!!

Audrey: YES!

Shay: I’m curious about your thoughts on that scene with Ezra and Sabine, where they’re standing on the balcony of the Imperial outpost. I know you like their relationship, but don’t actually ship them, and I feel like a lot of fans are gonna try to take that scene to support the MandoBerry argument.

Audrey: That part was really nice and I think whether you ship them or not, you can see they have a strong friendship. They both encourage each other and carry each other’s burdens.

Shay: They did have a lot of really good interaction in this episode, the writing for all the characters, but especially between them, I think, was very good.

I think you can take a lot of the stuff between them either way. I see a lot of connections in their relationship to my sis and me, but I also kinda get why people like to ship them…

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Ezra and Sabine teasing before heading back into battle. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: I also loved how Sabine tagged the transport that Alrich was in, and he immediately knew it was her.

What did you think of his character, and the little we saw of his relationship with Sabine? And Ursa, too; it’s really interesting that they chose to have the mother be the hardened warrior, and the father the one who’s more artistic and maybe emotionally supportive.

Audrey: I really liked Alrich, he’s not your typical Mando at all, very different from Sabine and Ursa, but in lots of ways the same. I was glad to have someone else comment on Sabine’s art who wasn’t Thrawn! He didn’t have any problem walking right up to Sabine even with everything she did, while with Ursa and Tristan it took time for them to really stop being cold to her. Both parents have shaped Sabine into who she is, Ursa helping her to become a warrior, and Alrich encouraging her art.

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Sabine is finally reunited with her father, Alrich. Source: StarWars.com

Shay: Besides Thrawn showing up for a few moments when they’re showing him footage of The Duchess in action, we really didn’t see much of him in this episode. Instead we had a new villain, a Mandalorian named Tiber Saxon. And man, that guy was brutal! Thrawn asks him what his brother (Gar Saxon, who met his end when Sabine first returned to Krownest) would have thought about using The Duchess against fellow Mandos, and he bluntly answers, “He doesn’t feel anything now.” Yeesh!

When I first saw Tiber, though, it really scared me, because I was afraid he was actually Korkie Kryze, Satine’s nephew that we saw in TCW.

Do you have any thoughts on Tiber?

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Lord Tyber Saxon tortures Rebel Mandalorians Sabine and Bo-Katan, as well as Captain Hark, one of his own men. Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: That guy cares about people about as much as Tarkin. He didn’t flinch slightly at injuring his own people and was very confident that the Empire wouldn’t use the weapon on them. He seemed to think he had a lot more power than he actually did; definitely another person corrupted into a lust for position by the Empire. I was happy to see Captain Hark question his methods a bit, he ran out at the end. Maybe there’s still hope for him.

Shay: That’s a good thought, I had almost forgotten about Hark!

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Captain Hark, played by Andrew Kishino (who also voiced young Saw Gerrera from The Clone Wars.) Source: StarWars.com

Shay: So in closing, did you have a favorite moment or quote from the premier?

Mine were when Bo was talking to Sabine about destroying the weapon instead of using it, and at the end, when she excepted the Darksaber. “I take this sword for my sister, for my clan, and for all of Mandalore!”

 

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Bo-Katan Kryze accepts the Darksaber and her position as leader of the Mandalorians. Source: StarWars.com

Audrey: It’s so hard to pick one part! But I think my favorite would have to be after everyone is trying to protect her from some of the clan Kryze members and she says “No. I am prepared to take responsibility for my actions.” Most people’s first reaction would be to blame the Empire and say they were deceived or come up with some other excuse, but she takes responsibility and holds herself accountable for her choices.

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Sabine explains to an infuriated Bo-Katan why she created the Duchess, a horrible weapon that turns a Mandalorian’s greatest pride into a horrible downfall. Source: StarWars.com


What did you think of “Heroes of Mandalore”? Did you have a favorite line, or scene, or an interesting observation about this episode that you would like to share? Are you excited for the rest of this last season of Star Wars Rebels? Let me know in the comments below!

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