Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched “Trials of the Darksaber.”
Aaron: The pieces of Sabine’s story are coming together. We have gotten little hints here and there, but this episode revealed so much more. We now know why she left her people and her connection to the Imperial Academy. We also know that she stood up to the Empire to protect her family, but her family chose the Empire over her. Her motivations to join the rebels, and continue to fight the Empire, are much clearer now.
The episode was very simple, with only two locations shown and most of the focus being on Kanan training Sabine. But that was enough. The scenes were very powerful and no explosions or space battles were needed to keep my attention.
Teresa: I LOVED THIS EPISODE. It gave me exactly what I love about Star Wars. It gave me depth. Sabine is a character that remained a mystery, until now. We knew very little. We knew she was in the Imperial Academy, that she was a bounty hunter, and that she left her family. This episode, however, gave us what we have been waiting for, a raw and unabridged Sabine. We saw her struggle the same way we have seen Ezra struggle. We saw that the Darksaber called to her, and now she is the one to wield it. We saw Kanan have to learn to teach a non Force user. It was by far the best episode of Rebels they have ever made.
I agree with Aaron, it was very simple and did not have multiple story threads, but there did not need to be. It was a great, simplified story that needed to be told. By focusing on only that, I think, it was more impactful.
Aaron: Even though most of the episode focused on Kanan and Sabine, there were great character moments all around. I am a big fan of Kanan, so him showing his mastery with a saber was a delight to watch. I enjoyed Ezra as well. You could tell he wanted to be helpful and he cared about Sabine’s success, but he couldn’t help himself to get in a few barbs here and there.
Hera is such an important member of this crew, and her and Kanan make such a good team. I loved the conversations between the two characters in this episode. It really showed how much Kanan relies on Hera to show him when he is on the wrong path. Hera isn’t afraid to tell him when he’s wrong, and he is smart enough to listen to her advice.
Like I have said in previous reviews, I am really beginning to like Sabine. It may be just because she is so cool. She looks cool, she kicks butt, and now she is learning to fight with a lightsaber. Not to mention, she is likely the future leader of Mandalore. Cool factor aside, she had a big breakthrough in this episode. Kanan, through his training, was able to get to the core of what was holding her back. We got some great dialogue between the two characters, and there is so much potential in things to come.
Fenn Rau has been a nice addition to the team, and he may have the coolest Mando armor we have seen on the show.
Teresa: This episode was perfectly timed with the re-opening of Her Universe and my birthday. I have loved Sabine since I first saw her, but over the past 2 seasons, I have slowly begun to disconnect from her. This fixed all of that. When Her Universe first released their Sabine costume hooded tee I wanted it, but couldn’t bring myself to buy it. With this episode however my love of Sabine was reawakened. With Her Universe back in full swing, and the shirt has been restocked, I am getting it for my birthday.
There was so much here from the characters. There was a very interesting dynamic between Kanan and Sabine that I really love. Kanan just knows how to be tough and to push his pupils, but he does not do a great job at listening. He just knows what he wants them to do. However, that did not seem to work at times. As soon as he allowed Sabine to feel confident in herself, he pushed her just the right amount to get the whole story out of her. It was amazing to hear her admit to all of the things that she was forced to do. How when she tried to save her people, her family abandoned her. It is no wonder she has such a hard outer shell and why she has a passion for explosives and weapons.
Hera and Kanan, once again, prove they are the perfect Star Wars couple. They have an extremely healthy relationship where they rely a lot on each other. They value the other’s opinion, and they help keep each other in check. I love how Hera speaks to him. She is very assertive. She is direct but very understanding, and she knows just what to say to get past Kanan’s walls.
By the way, who else saw the Bendu?
Aaron: I know it has been overdone, appearing in everything from Harry Potter to Kung Fu Panda, but I love hand-drawn animation telling a backstory. And this was a story I was not expecting to hear. The Darksaber belonged to a Mandalorian Jedi named Tarre Vizsla? Seems like something straight out of Legends, and I am completely ok with that.
The entire training session was amazing. Kanan and Sabine sparring, Ezra showing forms, Sabine using her new wrist gauntlets.. I loved it all. As a fan of all things Jedi and lightsaber combat, I could have watched two more episodes just with more of that.
Teresa: I was in awe of Ezra showing Sabine the forms of lightsaber combat. It was definitely one of my absolute standout moments.
Hera telling Kanan that she knows that he does not know if Sabine is ready, but that this is not about him. She told him to give her the Darksaber and to stop treating her like a child. She also points out that he might be gender stereotyping her, not intentionally, but she could see it.
The Bendu turning around to watch Sabine as she walks away…is she possibly opening herself to the Force a little bit? What is his interest in her?
- “That might work on a stormtrooper, but not me.” – Kanan
- “..this family will stand by you no matter what you choose.” – Kanan
- “Everything I did I did for my family, my mother, my father, my brother”-Sabine
- “Take Bridger down a notch or two”-Fenn Rau
Aaron Goins and Teresa Delgado are the team behind the Star Wars literature podcast, Star Wars Bookworms. They occasionally have opinions about Star Wars Rebels.