Rebel Transmissions: Heroes Of Mandalore

I can’t tell you how hard it was not to open this post with just an “OH WOW!” but I already did that with my last Freemaker post. You’d think it’d almost be overwhelming blogging about two major animated Star Wars episodes in one week, but nah it’s an absolute rush and my heart is full! I will say my wrists are sore but that’s not SW’s fault; it’s just so much fun to write about! Let’s dig in full-force on the thrills Heroes Of Mandalore delivered! Also, if you haven’t kept up with my posts since season three ended, you’ll be happy to see that the blog’s a lot better organized and more concise than before πŸ™‚

Contains spoilers from Rebels episode Heroes Of Mandalore (and many elements from the past seasons, so make sure you’re caught up), as well as The Clone Wars “Siege Of Mandalore” arc.

The season opens up with an absolutely unapologetic bang and had me fully pulled in within seconds. I was thinking we might come in a little more relaxed-ish, take some time to reunite with everybody and fully assess the situation before things get wild, y’know? But in retrospect that was a poor assumption. This is Star Wars Rebels, and this episode has Mandos involved. There’s no human way this could possibly open slowly! Not complaining, though. Not only have I missed this crew to pieces over the last few months, but I’ve been dying to find out what would happen next with Sabine’s family mission. And they put us right in the middle of it, right off the bat, not wasting a second. But at the same time, it’s not jarring or confusing. We get just enough info to work with to remind us what’s going on, and enough small sweet moments with Sabine and some of her Rebel fam to remind us why we love ’em all together so much πŸ™‚

Speaking of, I’m so glad they brought Kanan, Ezra, and Chopper along for the ride. I’d wondered a number of times (prior to seeing the season trailer) if we’d have episodes with just Sabine and the Wrens every now and again. I guess some days I’m still so used to the way TCW did it with characters varying from episode to episode, that I forget that SWR tends to keep the crew-family all together or in groups. It worked for TCW, but for this series, I definitely like it better when our Rebels stick together! πŸ˜€ We’ve got blood family fighting alongside what I’ve always liked to call thicker-than-blood family and it’s spectacular and thrilling and still has an undeniable warmth to it. With every bit of friendly chatter and teamwork, and just the way Kanan pats Chop’s dome… even amidst the chaos that sparks when Mandalorians and Imperials clash, it still feels like home :3

Part of the reason it feels like home is that it’s not all intensity. We get lots of really great character moments and interactions in this one, along with some flawlessly-weaved-in laughs. I love that Ezra finally gets to use a jetpack at last… but flying it isn’t his strong suit XD #Understatement. It’s so relatable though! 100% sure that’d be me if I were in his shoes. Yet at the same time he’s still able to hold his own with his ‘saber in hand, which is more than I can say I’d be able to accomplish without getting myself killed. Also bonus ROTFL points go to the little “not with-her-with-her, I’m just friends… with her.” Such a perfect awkward line, it’s music to my ears! πŸ˜‚
Oh yeah and that Kanan-Hera banter! Oh my gravy I can’t tell you how much I’d needed more of that goodness! It’s not that I wasn’t rewatching a ton of reruns over the last six months but duuuuude I can never get enough Kanera! Hehe it was too good and I wouldn’t mind having a little more in the future, but you knew that. Meanwhile Chopper I think’s done with all the cuteness and it makes it all the funnier XP

Also very important note: paintbombs are canon!! OK maybe it’s not that important, but I had this goofy idea back on the Transmission for Path Of The Jedi and later drew a fanart piece of the idea. And now seeing something equivalent inside of Rebels (and FoD too!) is pretty cool. I’m not saying at all that I contributed to what you see on-screen, ’cause I’m 99% sure I didn’t… but it certainly feel good knowing that I kinda predicted it πŸ˜€

Obviously I need to dedicate a whole paragraph to Mandalore and how good it feels being back. I recently revisited a few episodes of the “Siege of Mandalore” arc of The Clone Wars and was really amazed at all its connections with Rebels, and all the little things I’d missed and forgotten after years since watching them. It’s so rich and intriguing, and it’s even more meaningful now as I’m in SW far deeper than I was then. But even then, I remember after the arc’s end thinking “That’s it?? There’s no more story to tell?? What about Maul?! What about Bo-Katan?! What about Mandalore itself?!?! I NEED MORE!!“. I was ultimately content with whatever stories they told next, but little did I know where Rebels would go and just how much more they would give me. Never would have thought in a million years I’d get to not only see Bo-Katan again, but get to see her leading Mandalore, darksaber in hand! It’s just so so infinitely special to see things come full-circle like this, especially as someone who got into the Star Wars fandom partially thanks to TCW. So YAS GO MANDALORE!!

And Alrich’s just great, guys. I imagine I’m not the only one who was surprised he wasn’t an armored-sort, but I’m all in favor of Mandalorians who channel their warrior sides in unique ways. It was also surprising discovering that Sabine got much of her artistic side from him. I’d always theorized art was something she got into as a way to rebel, but knowing it has more admirable roots makes it far more meaningful. And it does make a lot of sense; just observing everything from their architecture to their armor to even their ships, Mandos have quite the creative eye for detail. Yeah there were a lot of smiles goin’ round here guys. It’s so so nice to finally get a parent-child reunion in SWR that starts off with a hug, and listening to them share almost their own language of artistic form and technique is so sweet :3 Not a bad vibe or difficult past in sight! As you can figure by this point I was drowning in all the family feels. Finally, we get to see a family in SW all together! How great is that? πŸ˜€
And then the Duchess showed up.
That was the longest, saddest five minutes I’ve experienced inside of Rebels in a while. From the end of the first part, to the middle point where I was bawling for a bit “WHY YOU GIVE US THESE GREAT CHARACTERS AND THEN WE TURN AROUND AND LOSE THEM?!“, and then to the start of the second part when we found out Ursa and Tristan were OK. Yikes what a raw couple of scenes though. So so so glad it didn’t end that way.

I love that this episode not only connected all the dots surrounding Sabine’s backstory for me, but that it expanded upon Mando culture in a number of really neat ways. No idea the armor held so much history and meaning, but wow! I know I’m probably just repeating myself, but I had no clue how much Rebels would deepen my knowledge and respect for these worlds (including the fact I didn’t know they were worlds plural before SWR) and it really is truly truly amazing. Sigh you’ll have to forgive me there’s literally so much to write about that I can’t narrow down what I need to write about, exactly… hence why’s this is several days late.

The episode really just comes together so great. Few things feel better in Star Wars than to see a conflicted hero go from the wrong decision to the right decision, and in doing so win the day. Rereading some of my older SWR posts, I’m reminded just how much Sabine’s grown up since and it’s just incredible, and as I’ve said before, makes me feel a bit (or a lot) like a proud parent πŸ™‚ Cap that off with the epicness of Bo-Katan’s rise, and all together you’ve got something too special for words with this episode. What a way to come back to Rebels! πŸ˜€

Yes there are a lot of things I could further discuss, and in time they’ll probably come up on this blog, but I think I’ve said all I absolutely need to say now. Hopefully future posts will come out a tad smoother than this, but for sure there’s still tons to talk about on the Rebels front πŸ™‚

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

Advertisements

Rebel Transmissions: Trials Of The Darksaber

First of all, I apologize for the delay on this one. Life just gets busy man. I’m figuring my posts from here on out’ll be weekend things, at least for a while. But there’s no way I’ll stop writing ’bout my Rebels, especially with an episode like this. Let’s dig in and dissect the beautiful, rich episode known as Trials Of The Darksaber.
NOTE: Contains spoilers from TCW episodes The Mandalore Plot and Shades Of Reason, and Rebels episodes Imperial Supercommandos, Visions And Voices, and Trials Of The Darksaber

So! The Darksaber! It’s a big deal. A very very big deal. A bigger deal than I’d ever realized, even with years of SW experience under my belt. I happened to have rewatched The Mandalore Plot a few days ago, and it amazed me realizing how far that little black blade has gone since then. To hear Pre Vizsla talk of its history, boasting of how many Jedi have died by it, doesn’t evoke any sense of honor. That’s just Pre for you tho he’s sorta kinda a lot arrogant. Fenn Rau’s version of the story has a lot more going for it, telling of the Mando-Jedi who forged the unique weapon and the symbol of power it became to all of Mandalore. Oh my gravy the epicness. The animation they used for the backstory was just all kinds of wow. Though for many of my readers the notion of a Mando-Jedi wasn’t new, it was mind-blowing for me. I once joked that, considering the generally difficult relationship between the supercommandos and the Force-wielders, Mando blood and large numbers of midichlorians were “akin to oil and water” (Rebel Transmissions: The Protector Of Concord Dawn 2/6/16). The prospect of Mando-Jedi has always been cool but I had no clue how it’d work in a canon sense. Well… apparently it did. Get me a canon novel on Tar Vizsla stat! Fenn is majorly impressed Sabine was able to find it, after all, the one who wields ‘saber could unite all of Mandalore. But apparently Sabine hasn’t touched it since Dathomir…
Also wow every time I turn around, our resident artist has made my new favorite painting! Most kawaii family portrait ever! Love that she drew Ezra looking a tad uncomfortable caught in Zeb’s brohug; she’s still not gonna give him a respectful artistic rendering XD I admit I got a little distracted from the feels at hand looking at the art all over her quarters. Tbh I was really hoping to spot her Cad Bane and Embo doodles but either we don’t see those angles of the room or she took those down in favor of some new masterpieces. Sabine’s surrounded by color, but all feels blue and gray right now as she heads to a meeting. Also Chopper kind of “purring” elicited quite an “awww…” from me. I believe that was Chop’s way of showing some compassion. He doesn’t do it a lot so it’s totally totally precious. She goes into this meeting with her mind already made up; she’s not about to learn how to use the Darksaber. Far as she’s concerned it’s done too much harm and there’s no way she could unite her clan for the mini-Alliance’s cause. OK so this was one of many many things in this episode that surprised me and intrigued me. I wasn’t sure Sabine even knew what the blade was, let alone its significance. It makes sense in retrospect though considering the value Mandos place on their history. Beyond that, I had no idea she’d be so very against it (I mean, she did choose to take it home), but like say, I had no idea really of its significance either. Even Ezra doesn’t know if giving her a lightsaber is ideal without aid of the Force. Pff I love that he makes himself out like an expert when he’s totally not XP Kanan, Hera, and Fenn all know though that learning to wield it would make a galaxy of difference right now. So, reluctantly, the fierce little Wren takes the hilt…
Training begins once Kanan, Sabine, and Ezra set up camp far off from the base (“…you’ll do less damage out here.” “I’ll damage your face if you don’t shut up” XD ). And Kanan starts her off with sticks. Y’know if I recall Kanan started Ezra out on an actual lightsaber (Granted, Ez did nearly spear Master Jarrus in the face when he first turned it on… but then again, Sabine already knows how to ignite the Darksaber, so that wouldn’t be an issue). And I mean, dude! We’ve seen an actual training mode on lightsabers! I don’t think even tiny younglings in the Temple started off with sticks! Sabine’s confident in her skills with a stick, but Kanan downs her pretty fast, so Ezra takes over for her training buddy. Though Sabine doesn’t appreciate it much, I love watching Ezra teach her. He doesn’t know it all himself, but perhaps that honesty of not knowing everything makes him a more relatable teacher than Master Jarrus right now. Hera’s not sure what Kanan’s doing with this brand of training, but I kinda get the feeling Kanan’s not entirely sure either. He wants to do things differently with Sabine, but days later he’s still not feeling like she’s improved enough to handle the real thing. Sabine gets a little bit of a leg up when Fenn gives her a pair of genuine fully-loaded Mandalorian vambraces, but not for long around Master Jarrus. Understandably, she was kind of completely done with him after that and ventured off for some alone time. It gave me some serious massive feels watching Ezra try and encourage her, but there’s more to her frustration than merely Kanan’s teaching methods. How’s a traitor like herself supposed to go back to her family and lead her clan? *Cries forever* Also, interesting that the Bendu was there all along. Wonder what he’s thinkin…?
And so the feels continued to wreck me when we spent a moment with Kanan and Hera. Half the feels are due to the fact I still adore how honest and raw they are with each other. The other half has a lot to do with this glimmer of real pain from the past. “Remember how hard it was for her to trust us…” *cries again* Continuing in her tradition of bosslady mic-dropping wisdom, Hera gives it to him straight that the only way for Kanan to succeed in training Sabine is to just give her that Darksaber. He does that, and she’ll open up and face her demons on her own. Seriously OMG they wrote this so well I rewatched the scene again just now to make sure I was getting everything right. You go Captain Syndulla! πŸ™‚
Safe to say Sabine was unprepared for what awaited her when she got back. Kanan finally handed her the Darksaber’s hilt, ready to start again with his student. Like Ezra and Fenn, I was quickly on the edge of my seat (and later on, unable to sit down). The swordfight is intense and really quite mesmerizing between Kanan and Sabine’s moves. Sabine handles her blade super-well for her first go at it, while Kanan absolutely wows me with his teaching skills and his connection to the Force. And every minute is a further reminder of the Darksaber’s incredible legacy. The weapon terrifying in the hands of Pre Vizsla and destructive in the hands of Maul now has the potential to heal in the hands of Sabine Wren. But all of this is merely practice, and Kanan can tell she’s still not putting her all into this. There’s more going on in this fight than just the swords. It’s Sabine fighting her hurt, her fear, her past, and the uncertainty of the future. Oh my gosh you guys when she started bearing her soul like that… my heart just shattered into pieces. You’re lying if you tell me you didn’t cry at the very least on the inside. I will say a lot of her story surprised me. (Forgive me I’m about to break up this feelyness for a second with some SW contemplating) I had utterly no idea that her family hurt her so bad. From all that Gar Saxon had mentioned in Imperial Supercommandos, I got a very different impression than what is actually the truth. I’d assumed, based on what he’d said about her mother, that because Mrs. Wren was with the Empire as of recent, that meant she hadn’t been supportive of it before, that as well as Sabine’s comment “…I doubt you gave her much choice”. But this new information seems to negate that, revealing her family had evidently always been pro-Empire, meaning perhaps that Mrs. Wren is actually higher-ranking Imperial, or even a Supercommando like Saxon. I literally watched that episode the other day in hopes of getting some facts straight and I’m still not totally certain of what her mother’s allegiances mean as versus the rest of her family and clan Vizsla. I suppose these are things we’ll find out soon enough. (next week maybe hopefully?) Either way, I’ve truly seen her story in a completely new light. And whatever happens, whatever she chooses, whatever her blood family and her clan think… her thicker-than-blood family will stand by her and with her. You know I had a totally different really deep thought that came to mind earlier, but I can’t remember it now. But I did come upon this really nifty thought: Fenn Rau came to fully join the Rebels’ cause because he respected Sabine’s loyalty to a family not her own. If the rest of clan Vizsla can see the fierce loyalty and heart she has for both her family and her people… I think they’ll find a reason to follow, with the blade, or without.
OK whew that was a lot of thoughts to organize there! Augh I just love this episode!! It’s so great just taking time away from the missions to just focus on these amazing amazing characters and their story at the heart of it all. We’ll talk some Freemakers next week and then the Transmissions’ll be back πŸ˜€ Now if you’ll excuse me there are some massive feels I’m going to need to work on recovering from…

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

Rebel Transmissions: An Inside Man

OK so let’s keep on catchin’ up with the Rebs! For this week, we revisit An Inside Man and all of its intrigue, action, and awesome. Let’s see… where to begin? Well first, the spoiler warnings.
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Rebels episodes Fighter Flight, The Honorable Ones, The Antilles Extraction, Hera’s Heroes, and An Inside Man

Ah, Lothal! The world where it all began! It’s funny… after the first season ended I was really excited to see more of the galaxy, and now every time we come back to Lothal I’m all “YAY WE’RE BACK TO THE MOUNTAINS, GRASSLANDS, AND LOTHCATS!” And there’s a familiar sight — Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper surveying the city from above. NOSTALGIA FEEELS. Unfortunately, the enormous Imperial presence here isn’t quite so wonderful. That’s part of the reason the Jedi and droid are here. Their good friend Ryder Azadi arrives fashionably late — and for good reason. Because he might be still trying to give some biker-bucketheads the slip. As well as the usual variety of bucketheads and oh look! A walker joined the party too! Thank goodness Ez, Kanan, and Chopper decided to hitch a ride. This is where the fun begins! I mean, is there a more beautiful sight in all the galaxy than Ezra and Kanan, balanced on both sides of the landspeeder, perfectly lightsabering the legs off the walker as they flew under it? Not sure there is, my friends. Definitely takes me back to those simple days of season one, where tangles with ‘troopers and walkers were the daily routine. Well, technically that sort of is still their daily routine, they’re just tangling with them on a larger scale now. And with more and more allies by the day, they’ve got some major new tricks up their sleeve… like rigging speederbikes to blow up once they hit a certain speed. That is utterly genius. All credit for that genius goes to an Imperial factory worked named Morad Sumar. Aww yayyy Mr. Sumar!! At first when Ryder mentioned “an old friend” my first thought was “OMG Zare Leonis??” but this is just as exciting and makes more sense. Though we only got to know him briefly way way back when on Fighter Flight, I’ve always loved his courageous spirit and warm personality. If my memory serves me, I believe the Sumar fam didn’t have a choice, but the fact Mr. Sumar turned this terrible job arrangement into a way to make a difference is super super admirable and very cool. Now Sumar’s igniting sparks of rebellion of his own πŸ™‚ Yeah I could go on about him forever, especially after this episode. Again with the nostalgia feels. Especially when you realize indeed how much Ez has grown up since then. Some days I still can’t get over how tall he is… whoops better stop there before I start going on and on about that again. Mostly it just made me smile that Mr. Sumar noticed and said something about it, ’cause I’ve been thinking it for months now. Anyway, Ezra and Kanan are hoping that maybe Mr. Sumar could get them a job at the factory, so to speak. This way they can find out exactly what big weapon the Empire’s working on and use that knowledge to convince the other rebel cells to finally really bring the fight to Lothal’s Imps. Sounds like a plan! And then Twilight had no idea how to segue this paragraph in a clever way so she awkwardly ended the paragraph with this sentence.
Next thing we know, Ezra and Kanan are orange-clad working amongst the rest of the factory crew. I can’t imagine what it must be like… being an average everyday decent citizen and then suddenly forced into building Imperial weaponry. I’ve always said working for the Empire is dangerous and terrifying, and usually I’m thinking of all the militants and ‘troopers and inquisitors and the like when I say that; those who were willing to join this great Empire. Imagine being someone who had no interest or desire. And then imagine getting Pryce and others like her in management. Yeesh. I’m guessing Thrawn’s referring to Sumar as a number is probably the norm in this business. Oh yeah did I mention Thrawn showed up? Man this whole scene had me sick with terror. Particularly when it soon becomes clear that there’s no way out of this for Mr. Sumar. Nothing short of gut-wrenching. No words, just tears. *Twilight tries to write a less-awkward segue and fails* So thankful Chopper was there though to let loose a runaway speederbike and help give the Jedi the slip. Also thankful for the timely arrival of two storms with armor and helmets ripe for the pickin’. And for Imperial astromechs with clearance codes who are easy to zap into dreamland. I’m thankful for all of it, because Thrawn ain’t messin’ around right now…
Speaking of Thrawn, how about that art collection of his? New favorite piece of Sabine’s might have to be the firebird and purple lothcat πŸ™‚ My artistic tastes aside, everything about this display drips with intrigue. Though I have yet to read the Legends about him, I do know he has this unique ability to look at a painting and get a battle plan. What further does he gain from Hera’s family portrait? And why does he have a second zoomed-in one? I can’t make out the details enough to figure. What are some of the more abstract pieces for? I recognize the Picasso-esque Mandalorian piece, but how does that relate to Sabine aside from the fact she’s a Mando? And OMG are those cave paintings of people riding giant wolf-like creatures?! And again, how does that all relate to the rebels? Truly, only Thrawn knows. He knows a lot. He knows these rebels have a connection to Lothal, and also that a couple of them might be running around looking for information in level A2. HOW. DOES. HE. DO. IT? He’s amazing. And terrifying. But you know that, likely longer than even I have.
So though Kanan and Ezra have the disguises and some great cover stories (“Wait, is this B17?” “I told you we were on the wrong level”), they haven’t fully convinced the other stormtroopers and had to make a run for it. They arrive at a turbolift only to find Agent Kallus was already there. I’ve known for a while clearly he was Fulcrum. After all, he looked genuinely shocked at what happened to Sumar, and he was clearly trying to find out more about the Empire’s little secret weapon, and that’s just what we’ve seen today. But Kanan and Ezra don’t buy it. Probably would’ve helped Kallus more had he not said “Don’t move… rebels…” like that. He spoke like he’d done a hundred times before when he was a raging jerkface. I’m thinking a pleasant “Hi there, I’m Fulcrum and I’m helping you escape” would’ve gone over a lot better. Uttering the code phrase helps a little, and briefly mentioning how Zeb helped him and then how he helped Sabine gives him a little more credence, but it seems only Chopper believes him for sure. Right now though, it seems the Rebs’ best bet is to give the commanding sideburns a chance. And it works out well, thanks to Kallus (and his fantastic acting skills) they’re able to contact Ryder and walk[er] on outta there! And of course, possibly my favorite part in the episode is when Ezra makes it look convincing. “EZRA!” “What? That is convincing!” “Yeah, but I was gonna do it.” “Well, he’s one of us now, you’ll get your chance!” XD XD Agent K don’t look thrilled at that prospect, but it’s all in a day’s work for our fantastic Fulcrum πŸ™‚
‘Course, the Rebs don’t just “walker on outta there”, things get a bit more complicated and a bit crazier than that. Thrawn quickly figures out which AT-DP isn’t like the others and lets the AT-AT drivers know, resulting in quite a chaotic walker dance that is amazing to behold. But even when one AT-AT’s got them down (literally), Ezra, Kanan, and Chopper get right back up (literally after lightsabering a hole into the walkers). And with Ryder driving and Mrs. Sumar manning the big guns, they pretty much #WIN. Also yes I just love that Sumar’s family knows how to bring the fight as well. The image of a seemingly ordinary farmer’s wife expertly shooting this massive cannon is too epic and makes me feel like I can do anything. That’s the Rebel Alliance for ya; everyday people making an extraordinary difference and standing up for what’s right. That’s what Morad Sumar did, what those closest to him will continue to do, and ultimately what thousands, if not millions, of people will do *Applauds*
Transferring the data Chopper pilfered over to their base, the Ghost fam’s now looking at plans for a sleek, shielded TIE model that could spell some major problems for the mini-Alliance should it be mass-produced. They have Kallus to thank, though, for getting that info. No one at the base can quite fathom the Kallus-Fulcrum connection either, except maybe Zeb, and even he seems a bit weirded out that their brief time spent as allies made a difference. It seems feasible that he might be the real deal, but they’re not banking everything on him yet. Only time’ll tell what’ll it take to fully convince them. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure Kallus is convinced when it comes to the Empire. Especially now that Thrawn knows they’ve got a turncoat… and I don’t imagine it would take him long to figure out who it is…
Oh dang things just got reallll. I can only hope the best for Agent K from here on out. And I certainly hope you enjoyed the Transmission and got something out of it. I’m sorry the post was a little hiccup-y. I’m trying to write these things with less of my retelling the story and more of my thoughts, but it can be a tricky balance to find after doing things a certain way for so long. Either way, it’s been great fun talking about this great episode πŸ™‚

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

Rebel Transmissions: Imperial Supercommandos

Okeydokey, the Rebel Transmissions are back again! And that’s all I got for a clever opener. You guys know I’m not good at these sometimes. But if you’re looking for a certain [fangirly] point of view, that’s what I aim to deliver! Now for some thoughts on Imperial Supercommandos.
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Rebels episodes Steps Into Shadow, The Protector Of Concord Dawn, and Imperial Supercommandos

So first of all, I’ve noticed different places spell the title in different ways. I’m sticking with “Supercommandos” as one word because that’s just the way I’ve always spelled it. I might be spelling it wrong but if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know I do that a fair amount.
Anyway, you remember Fenn Rau? The Protector of Concord Dawn who tends to fire on people he shouldn’t and is generally not the nicest guy? I’ve been wondering for a while how he’s been doing as the mini-Alliance’s prisoner. Apparently, he’s been playing a Mando game that appears to be a blend of Battleship and Chess with Sabine. What strikes me instantly about all of this isn’t just that I’d really like to learn to play this game, but that Sabine is just casually hanging out with this guy. I know it’s been around a year or something since it happened, but I haven’t forgotten how angry she was with him when he nearly killed Hera. Though she ultimately chose against vengeance, I wasn’t sure she’d ever really be chummy with him or anything. But just goes to show ya how awesome this girl is. And it’s not like Rau’s been such a nice guy either lately. He seems convinced Sabine’s turned her back on her people and makes a point to mention it a lot and not in the nicest way. I wouldn’t call her a “traitor”, just… someone who moved away from her home… for reasons. But you know Mandos they take everything so seriously! Regardless, Sabine is simply hoping that maybe they can get Fenn Rau on their side. And as Zeb calls both Mandos to a briefing, perhaps they actually could. So the mini-Alliance’s lost communication with Concord Dawn and they’re thinkin’ the supercommandos are up to something. Hera sends Sabine, Fenn, Ezra, and Chopper on it. “And try not to wreck the Phantom II… we just got it.” *Cough* She’s looking at you Ez… XP Also it gives me some serious feels to know they named it the Phantom II… its legacy lives on! I’m guessing Sabine’s been busy or she surely would’ve painted it or something in it by now.
And so onward came the awkwardness as Ezra sat in the backseat with Fenn Rau and all of his stoic snobbyness. I pretty much was on the floor laughing the whole time because it was so beautifully awkward. Fenn just keeps on glaring and Ez has no idea how to respond. Thankfully, his interest in the torn-apart world of Concord Dawn is a welcome distraction for everyone in the all-too-quiet shuttle. Fenn explains that its shattered state is due to a lot a lot a lot of not-so-civil civil war amongst the Mandalorians. And then he throws Ezra a solid punch and gives Sabine a stunning. Eyup that’s Mandos for ya. When they work their supercommando magic it happens so fast you barely have time to process it before someone gets K.O.’d. I mean, seriously, how in the universe did he get those cuffs off?? Did he borrow a pen? Snatch the key? Chew them off? I wouldn’t put it past him on that last one. Either way this might be a problem. Apparently Chop was OK though ’cause it was thanks to him he got Ezra up (by grabbing his nose lol) and his and Sabine’s cuffs off. The three find themselves now on the surface of Concord Dawn. Sabine and Ezra were completely expecting a standoff with their prisoner, but he’s no longer interested in a fight. His entire base has been decimated, very nearly burned to the ground, not a soul in sight. And Fenn knows that this attack was delivered by other Mandos. He immediately throws the blame on Sabine, believing he could’ve prevented all of this had he not been imprisoned. She argues against that, as she’s truly sorry for what happened, and knows there must be more to all this. Poor Ez is utterly confused, which I can relate to, ’cause for all of my years of watching animated SW I still don’t get all of Mando culture either. And oh look there’s a probe droid! It’s always somethin’ isn’t it? Using some Forcewielding and blasterwielding, Ezra and Sabine make quick work of the probe, but they’re not interested in sticking around and waiting for the Imps to show up. Fenn is much more interested in staying, and maybe giving the Empire some dirt on the Rebs’ hiding spot. It’s nothing personal– no wait, it’s totally personal because Rau still completely considers Wren a traitor and the reason his men are dead. It’s about then the Imps show up, but not in Star Destroyers or TIEs, but in jetpacks. “…flying stormtroopers?!” Nope just a few of your friendly neighborhood IMPERIAL SUPERCOMMANDOS. Bro when you take a bunch of fierce, fight-ready blaster-slingin’ Mandalorians and put them in Imperial armor you just know you’re toast. So when Ezra makes the mistake of firing at their leader… ooooooh dang he’s dead. The Imp-Mandos quickly give chase. Sabine’s first instinct is to help, but Rau does things the Mandalore way and gladly accepts Ez’s sacrifice and makes a run for it. Yeah, again, I’m so glad Sabine was “raised right”. But Rau does decide to stick around and find out what those Imp-Mandos are up to…
So now Ezra and Chopper are at the mercy of Imp-Mando bossman Gar Saxon. Saxon is certain they’ve got their hands on a couple of Rebels, but Ezra has literally the best cover stories ever. I mean, wow, he’s really good at playing the role of an average everyday pirate-scavenger! Whether he just came up with this on the fly or if he practiced his acting back on the Ghost, it’s impressive any way you spin it. Yep bro still has all that street-savvy swag! But Gar don’t care he don’t buy none of it. Hmph your loss, Saxon, if you can’t appreciate his fantastic improv skills! He does appreciate some things though, like apparently some good ol’ fashioned droid blasting. Uh-oh.
While Ezra further talks his way out of trouble, Sabine’s still thinking up how they’re to go about rescuing her comrade. Rau knows well of Saxon’s doings. Dude wanted to rule Mandalore but didn’t have an honorable bone in his body so the Empire gave him a fancy title and armorsuit instead. Anddd once again Rau turns the conversation back on to Sabine’s so-called treachery. I’d be all “dude let it go already” but he just lost all his friends and fellow soldiers so I kinda have to cut him some slack. Rau wants some vengeance, Sabine just wants outta here, the only way they’re getting that is if they can muster up a little teamworkery magic. It really is super fascinating seeing Sabine interacting with a hardcore by-the-book Mando like Fenn Rau. Looking at how she shares some of the same core values of honor and loyalty, but also furthers those and other values in a way that Rau does not. Wait does that make sense? I think it does. I’m sorry I mighta lost my train of thought somewhere in there.
After a few bolts of laserfire come too close to Chopper, Ezra finally spills his guts. “OK my name’s Lando Calrissian…” XD XD When in doubt, Lando it out! But again… Saxon don’t buy none of this, and soundly kicks Ezra in the head. OMG WHO DOES THAT?? Upon threatening Chopper again, Ezra gives Saxon a half-truth involving The Protector. Now this he buys. Saxon sure would’ve liked to have killed Rau when he killed the rest of them, so he kinda sorta really needs Ezra to give him what he wants to know. BTW guys Gar Saxon is utterly terrifying. Between so callously discussing killing people and the way he uses brute force on our heroes, it’s just… yikes. Sometimes the scariest adversaries don’t wield red lightsabers… O.O Knowing that it was only because he was imprisoned by the Rebels that he wasn’t dead, Fenn finally calls a truce with young Wren. Hooray! All the teamworks!! And the teamwork begins as Sabine casually borrows a jetpack from one of Saxon’s men… yep ’bout time she got herself one of those! I like that it’s a smaller, more compact pack compared to the ones the Fetts and other Mandos use. Just perfect for her, really. All it needs is a splash of color πŸ™‚ Anyway…
It’s a good thing they’d decided to teamwork things ’cause Ezra wasn’t doing so hot. After thrashing him around didn’t work, Saxon decided to take aim at Chopper for a change. Ezra was so clever, using the Force to divert the blasts like that! Unfotunately, Gar caught on pretty quickly as to why he was shooting like a stormtrooper. Which may’ve made the Rebs’ situation a lot worse. But all the same, Ez gets major points for protecting Chop like that. I know I’m stating the obvious, but I seriously love that the Ghost crew’s bond extends to even the grouchy metal family members πŸ™‚ And just then, in rolled a smokescreen detonator… Sabine, Ezra, and Chopper are out, peace! They were so so close to getting out of this Mando jam… and then off went the Phantom II. Thank you, Fenn. Thank you. C’mon man, can’t you trust anyone these days?! And now the three stand alone against four armed Imperial Supercommandos. Gar Saxon recognizes Sabine pretty instantly, being they were both Viszla clan buddies (OK “buddies” is somewhat of a stretch. Try “acquaintances”). That is a good point if he hadn’t seen her in a while… and if she keeps repainting her armor… how did he actually recognize her? Oh wait well there was the whole thing with him being an Imperial and naturally knowing her name and Rebelling career from there. Sorry I’m dumb and forget things sometimes. Never mind. Saxon then mentions Sabine’s mother has been looking for her. He claims that her leaving the Imperial Academy basically dishonored the Wren family name. Sabine don’t buy an inch of that. OK so obviously this is kinda HUGE considering we’ve heard very little of her family before this. What really intrigues me about all of this is that Saxon claims Mrs. Wren is with the Empire now, since sometime after Sabine dropped out. I’d originally assumed that her folks never questioned the Empire and just put her in the academy ’cause that’s just what all Mando parents did. But this sounds like that wasn’t the case…? Intriguing. Aside from that, it’s just fascinating to know her mother’s alive at all. I mean that comment back on the pilot… “What happened to your real family?” “The Empire.” Easy enough answer, but there’s clearly more to it. Plus, how much of what Gar Saxon’s saying is true? I imagine that, unfortunately, there must be some truth in it, because Saxon doesn’t seem to be a big fan of dishonesty. Once again, SWR gives us a couple keys to their pasts, but never all at once. Gosh I hope I’m making sense here I’m so all-over-the-place today. So yeah, Sabine don’t got time for Saxon’s crud. The bossman makes a deal: either she swears allegiance and gives up Fenn or she dies. Well when you put it that way NO DEAL! Chopper transmits some nasty loud feedback through her helmet to knock the Imp-Mandos down, and Sabine grabs Ez and they jet on outta there! Ahh such a beautifully executed plan! And what commences is one of the greatestest chase scenes in all StarWarsdom! I’m a sucker for SW chase scenes, whether it’s the speeder pursuit through Coruscant in Episode II, the speederbike chase in Episode VI, or any of the others throughout the saga, I just love the thrills and excitement and the genius witty witticisms that often come with them! Here we are watching Sabine pursued by Imperial Supercommandos and all the while Ezra’s awkwardly hanging onto her trying to lightsaber blasterfire away as they dart through the rocky terrain of Concord Dawn. It’s all too beautiful for words. Which is probably why I’m writing this so poorly today. Love every moment! Together the three of them hold their own pretty well. Right up until they’re knocked down, anyway. It’s about then when the Phantom II makes an entrance. Fenn could’ve lightsped along his merry way, but he came back for them. Aww yay there’s that teamwork I was lookin’ for! Sabine was about to board when Saxon grabbed her. OK again the way he uses straight-up brute force is genuinely scary. Good thing this fierce little Wren knows how to handle the SupercommanDork. Hehehe I’m so stupidly proud of that zinger I just came up with πŸ˜› She delivers a solid blow to his jetpack, which made me wonder, considering other such incidents, if it might detonate and do him in. Which further concerned me when he fired on Sabine’s. But clearly these jetpacks are built a little better than Boba Fett’s. Or else his was damaged more. IDK. Thank goodness Sabine’s got friends far more dependable than Mando gadgets as Ezra pulls her to safety. I get the feeling Gar Saxon’s not happy though… and that he might be a problem later. But right now let’s just rejoice in all the teamworkness! Fenn Rau’s got serious #respect for the bravery and loyalty young Wren showed to her non-Mandalorian comrades, and with that respect comes a real desire to join the mini-Alliance. Sabine’s “Welcome to the family” gave me such feels. Again, here’s a guy who was an outright jerk more times that we could count, but Sabine not only forgave him for past wrongdoings, but never gave up on him. Yes, Ezra, Mandalorians are crazy, but every now and again there’s one Mando who’s just crazy enough to do something truly crazy: the right thing.
So I hope I did better on this than I think I did. Sometimes it’s just so hard to write down every little thing I’m thinking, ’cause there’s just so much to think about when it comes to Star Wars! If I missed anything I’ll most definitely try and cover again another post. Thanks for reading πŸ˜€

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

Rebel Transmissions: The Antilles Extraction

Ah I adore all the Star Wars wonderful going ’round today! And I hope to continue that with this week’s Rebels commentary. Let’s head back a little before a few certain someones stole the Death Star plans and revisit the original “rogues” in The Antilles Extraction!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Rebels episodes Breaking Ranks, Out Of Darkness, The Honorable Ones, Twilight Of The Apprentice, and The Antilles Extraction.

Our story begins with an absolutely gutwrenching dogfight right outta the gate. It’s exciting yes, but no doubt it’s gutwrenching. The Imps take down an entire Rebel escort and every pilot they’ve got… all because they were providing aid to people in need. Ugh that is so so wrong. The TIE pilot’s snarky comment reminded me there’s a person behind that helmet. What did the Empire do to make that man lose his sense of humanity? What would drive a man to unapologetically fire at an unarmed vessel? The Empire is messed-up, you can see that in even this small moment. Somehow it’s not surprising a few someones want out of that career choice. Which is the dirt our new Fulcrum has dug up for the mini-Alliance. Sadly no it’s not Ahsoka (We totes getcha Ez), but I do like our new Fulcrum already. Because after about three seconds hearing his voice I exclaimed “SHUT UP. IT’S KALLUS!!!” Ahsoka’s voice had been a little more garbled, a little less obvious, and at the time, it didn’t even cross my mind it could be her. It took a few episodes for me to figure it out, and it still surprised me in the end. But Kallus… he’s been doing some thinking, I’ll wager. And his voice is lot more obvious. I was just happy as happy could be to know that, deep deep deep down, the commanding sideburns isn’t the jerk I’d been calling him since the pilot πŸ˜€ I was so excited to hear his voice I almost missed what he was talking about — three Imperial pilots who’re ready to jet on outta there. The Rebs get to help people and get a few new pilots to their steadily-declining fleet! Win-win! The mission’s already set up: Sabine will go undercover at the Imperial academy and help ’em escape. Ezra has some concerns about this, but while he’s played the part before, she was an academy student for reals. And you just can’t argue with “for reals”. All she needs are some fake credentials and some new hair dye and she’s good to go! Yeahhh ordinary hair colors just don’t work for her, do they? The bright highlights and most recently, her full-on purple ombre ‘do, are a part of who she is. I could see her working for the Resistance and still be rockin’ color in her hair! So yeah it was a little weird to get used to even for just this one episode. Anyway…
So how’s about that Skystrike Academy? I love that name bro. With a moniker like that I can see why it’d be easy to join up and fly for the Empire without reading the fine print. Good thing people like Sabine– er, “Rea”, are here to help. While the Academy’s got some cool stuff going for it, it’s still cursed with the uncoolness of its unsupportive Imps-in-charge and overall lack of humanity. We see that first-hand as “Rea” and her wingman Wedge take on a slew of Y-wings in a training simulation. They really did a great job with this scene ’cause while you assume that this is all training and no one’s killing anyone, the training tech is so impressive it demands us to believe otherwise. So when Sabine and Wedge came upon a disabled, helpless Rebel ship and are ordered to destroy it… man that’s not cool. Even Sabine knows this isn’t what the Imperial rules state, but bossman don’t care, he wants blasting done. And then oh look here comes the virtual Ghost and there go Sabine and Wedge’s TIEs. Wow the Rebs certainly made a name for themselves if they’ve worked their way into simulations. Sabine’s all “dude what the heck??” but that’s just the way these Academy teachers play the game… by making sure they always win. Anyone who doesn’t always win ain’t worth their time. Who needs humanity when you can be a winner? That might be what the Imps think, but clearly, Sabine and this Wedge guy share a different opinion. OK so I need to talk about Wedge obviously. Seeing him in SWR is super-special to me, because three years ago, when the series was first announced, I wrote this: “I’ve always myself wondered how the Rebellion came to be, and I’d hope to be introduced to some of these brave Rebels. I admit that I sadly overlook the Rebels sometimes as compared to the Jedi. As in, I know more about Kit Fisto than I do Wedge Antilles. That’s got to change, I know. Well, what better place to get to know them than this new show?” (From Clones To Rebels, 5/21/13) I had assumed the show might surround characters we already knew, but once I came to meet the wonderful Ghost crew, I couldn’t imagine anyone else in the lead. So it’s fantastic to see we’re actually getting to know more about Wedge Antilles, just like I’d hoped for way back when πŸ™‚ Also I’m just glad I get to see him more and learn more about him and I love him to death now X3
Returning to the episode, it seems Governor Pryce and Agent Kallus dropped by, and that’s never good. Well, mostly it’s a problem when Pryce drops by, Kallus I’m cool with now. I couldn’t help but quite wonder what’s going through his head. He walks and talks with the same confidence he did a season ago, but he’s not the same guy he was a season ago. He’s a Fulcrum. Personally I’d be really paranoid and freaked out if I were in his shoes, but he’s keeping cool really really well. Though you can tell he got his feathers a little ruffled at Pryce’s snide remark about “teaching him something”. Brooo he should’ve just left the Empire on account of her crud alone.
It seems Sabine’s mission is going well though, she spies Wedge, along with two others, and it looks like they’re all trying to figure out an escape. Methinks she’s found the mini-Alliance’s newest pilots. In striking up a conversation with her wingman, we find that indeed Wedge is good and ready to get out. When he went from cargo ships to TIEs he figured out quickly the Empire he was serving wasn’t worth serving. That’s when Sabine reveals her true identity and her true mission. Now if someone can come up with a plan, we can chalk it up a win for the mini-Alliance…
Safe to say Ezra’s not enjoying any of this. All he and Kanan and Chopper can do is wait, and he might be a little worried about her. Like a lot. Kanan advises his padawan to accept he can’t control what happens, and also to trust Sabine. Kinda funny seeing Kanan now an expert on the topic, as he himself was once in this situation when Ezra was undercover. For different reasons, yes, as this is more of an Anakin-and-Padme thing than a master-and-apprentice thing, but still, what a reminder… Master Jarrus has definitely done some growin’ up himself. Granted don’t know if Ez will take that advice 100% 100% to heart right now, but that doesn’t make Kanan’s advice-giving skills any less cool. Yes learning to let go is a tough lesson, but I’m hoping that maybe Ez will learn it better than Anakin did.
So Sabine’s newly-formed plan is in motion. They’re going out for a real-space simulated dogfight and all Sabine and Wedge and his crew have to do is casually fly on over to the Rebel freighter and lightspeed off. Easy breezy! But Pryce had other ideas. The instant those four test TIEs rebelled, she popped their sidepanels off, leaving them exposed, aimless little pods ready for the pickin’. Poor Rake… he seemed like a cool guy. I’m sorry we didn’t get to know him well. Also wow Kallus is so good at keeping his cool right now ’cause I know I wouldn’t look so chill. With TIEs on all sides, Ezra and Kanan have no choice but to head into hyperspace, a choice Ezra clearly hated to make. So now Sabine, Wedge, and Hobbie have no way to escape and are at the mercy of the merciless Empire. That’s not terrifying at all! /sarc/ The good Governor likes herself some info and knows how to get it out of peeps. All she ultimately gets is “Rea”‘s real name, but that’s all she needs. The good news is, Kallus is no longer a jerkface. Bad news is… Pryce is a much bigger one. Gov’nuh already knows much of the young Mando’s doings, which is why she shouldn’tve been surprised when Sabine utterly owned her in a fistfight. Well, considering how well Pryce held her own for a while, I don’t think she was too surprised. Just probably caught her off-guard when the fierce little Wren smacked her into that electric torture prod. Seriously this fight was AWESOME. it’s impressive that Pryce, as an orderly diplomatic graycoat, could throw punches like that. But finally getting to see Sabine’s supercommando Mando side in a weaponless face-off is the awesomest of all. Dude I wanna be Sabine Wren when I grow up! Yeah Wedge and Hobbie were trying to formulate a rescue but… well, she’s just that good. Now I think the boys both wanna be Sabine Wren when they grow up XD With a solid blaster at her side, Sabine paves through the all the ‘troopers in their way. And suddenly they’re stopped by Agent Kallus. Up until this point, I’ve firmly believed Kallus is Fulcrum and that he’s a good guy now, but as he stands between our heroes and their way out, I was hit by doubt. What if I was mistaken and he wasn’t Fulcrum? Or what if he was Fulcrum but he was actually leading them on? What if…? Then Kallus quietly gives them directions to their best possible escape route. “Tell Garazeb Orrelios we’re even”. AWW YAYYY I WAS RIGHT KALLUS IS A GOOD GUYYY!! X3 From there the trio grabs a TIE bomber, and with Wedge doing awesome in the pilot’s seat, they’re able to escape Skystrike, reunite with their Rebel freighter, and win the day! It’s this kind of awesomeness that’s impossible to put into words… but you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. It’s awesome. After recent near-escapes and half-victories, it’s good to know that no matter what happens next, Sabine’s mission was a definite win, because it got two fantastic young pilots in its ranks πŸ™‚
What a great one am I right?! So great getting a Sabine episode this early on, and like I said before, finally getting to meet Wedge Antilles! (and Hobbie too!) I’ll fly with ya next week! *Punched for the bad pun*

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight