In this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels the Rebel fleet needs a new hyperspace route, which just so happens to be in Mandalorian controlled space. It’s up to our Rebel heroes to try and establish this new route whether it be by force or through diplomacy. Let’s take a look at this week’s episode, The Protector of Concord Dawn.
The Rebel fleet is in need of a new hyperspace route in and out of the Lothal sector and Sabine has a shortcut. The system of Concord Dawn, a Mandalorian colony. Concord Dawn is known for their elite warriors as Rex explains that they were brought in to help train the clone troopers during the Clone War.
Exploring the Concord Dawn as a viable hyperspace option is worth the risk because even though Mandalore is under Imperial occupation, the Concord Dawn is still a Mandalorian colony. The reputation of their warriors has made even the Empire think twice about stirring up trouble. That’s not to say that they don’t keep an eye on that sector.
The biggest question is whether to enter the system in strength or through diplomacy. I liked seeing the group (along with Commander Sato) discuss the pros and cons of both options. The Mandalorians are known as warriors and respond to strength but Kanan and Hera don’t want to create an unnecessary enemy. Through diplomacy they could not only gain a new hyperspace route but a new ally as well. The problem is they don’t know who the warriors of the Concord Dawn have pledged their loyalty to and if they enter with too little force, the hope of diplomacy could backfire on them. After weighing the options the decision is to try diplomacy first.
Hera and Sabin take a few ships to Concord Dawn in order meet with the Mandalorians and establish diplomatic relations. They are met by the Protector of Concord Dawn, Fenn Rau. They learn very quickly that the warriors of Concord Dawn have aligned themselves with the Empire (at least for the time being). Fenn Rau and the other Mandalorian fighters open fire on the Rebels and ultimately take out a couple Rebel fighters in the battle. I thought the space battle was beautifully choreographed. It was slower and more methodical and not nearly as chaotic as we’re used too. There wasn’t a ton of action in it; it was only a few ships and not loud or bombastic but it was about Hera and Sabine evading the Mandalorian fighters and creating a pathway for escape. It also highlighted Hera’s skills once again and her abilities as a leader.
Hera’s actions allow Sabine and the remaining rebel pilots to escape back to the fleet. Hera also makes it back but she is not as lucky as the others. She is badly wounded from the battle. Sabine puts part of the blame on herself as she believes she left Hera on her own (even though Hera ordered her to leave), but she puts most of the blame on Fenn Rau. Sabine is out to avenge Hera as she is chomping at the bit to take on Fenn Rau.
Sabine may be ready to use brute force but Kanan is still hoping for a diplomatic solution. His new strategy is to sneak into their base and confront Fenn Rau himself (and maybe disable a few ships while he’s at it). He has history with Rau from the Clone Wars and he wants to try and leverage that before resorting to violence. His intent is to go it alone, but Sabine is having none of that. I figured as much that she was hiding out on the Phantom in order to tag along with Kanan. You can’t have a Mandalorian centric episode and not have Sabine involved.
It was nice to have Sabine at the forefront again. It’s been awhile since she’s had much to do. She’s such a fascinating and fun character. Sabine is ready to kick some Mandalorian butt, but Kanan asks her to follow his lead as he still wants to try and recruit them. And as he said, everyone deserves a chance to change. Sabine’s annoyed and remarks that this Jedi philosophy doesn’t work for everyone in which Kanan responds, “that’s why we’re at war”. There is so much wrapped up in that one little line I couldn’t not mention it. The “Jedi way” or the lack of foresight by the Jedi because they were so set in their ways was a major factor in the current state of the galaxy, in my opinion.
Kanan is off to negotiate with Fenn Rau and Sabine is left up to planting explosive devices on all the Mandalorian ships just in case Kanan’s plan doesn’t work. The next few scenes felt like something out of an old western. The shots, the dialogue, the music and then of course the duel. Kanan and Rau have a little chat about old times and future relations. During the Clone Wars, Fenn saved the lives of the regimen that Kanan was in. They fought together and Kanan is hoping to do so again. Rau is hesitant to commit as he has already fought in one war and he doesn’t want to fight in another. He also believes that the Empire has the resources and the power to fight off the Rebels. For him, destroying the Rebels is easier than fighting against the Empire. And, as he said, the Mandalorians are loners. Before Kanan is able to press back further and plead his case further, Sabine’s challenge has reached his ears and so the duel is on!
But before we get to the duel, can we talk about Sabine’s lineage?! Now, I may have totally forgotten this (and remind me if it had been mentioned before) but I was excited to learn that Sabine was from House Vizsla. Her mother was in Death Watch! Again, did we know this already? Because I was freaking out at this reveal. I’m wondering if her mother was the sister of Satine’s (Queen of Mandalore from The Clone Wars)? The Mandalorian episodes of Clone Wars were some of the best and most fun of that series so any further connection to them is more than welcome. Now that Sabine has revealed herself to the other Mandalorians that she is from House Vizsla, she evokes the Mandalorian code by seeking justice for Hera through single combat. She wants Fenn Rau!
This is where we get a good ole’ fashion western style duel. We hit all the key moments of a duel; the stare down, the shots of the fingers hovering above the holsters and then the draw. Sabine disarms Rau with some fancy shooting. Rau tries to escape aboard his fighter, but Kanan is ultimately able to disable his ship and apprehend him before he gets away. That was quite the risk Kanan took, jumping onto Rau’s ship like that.
I wasn’t sure exactly how Rau’s apprehension was going to open up the hyperspace route through the Concord Dawn. Surely it wasn’t going to be that he just changed his mind after seeing Kanan and Sabine’s determination. That would have not made any sense and been too easy. The solution was much more strategic than that. The Empire doesn’t get into the habit of rescuing prisoners and if his capture by the Rebels was reported there would be Imperial ships all over his sector. Rau doesn’t want that. Fenn Rau may help the Empire occasionally as a means of survival and so that he may be left up to his own devices, but he definitely doesn’t want them setting up shop in Concord Dawn.
This episode was decent. There wasn’t anything that I particularly disliked about the episode or could have done without. It was just another episode of the Rebel Alliance having to deal with an issue that impacts their ability to keep up the fight. These are nice every now and again as they remind us of everything the Rebels must deal with in order to try and stay one step ahead of the Empire. That being said, I feel like we’ve had a few of these in a row and I’m definitely ready to get back to the main conflict between the Rebels and the Empire. I want to see Vader return as well as the Inquisitors and Callus. I’m ready for Ahsoka to show up again. Let’s get this party started!
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