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Star Wars Rebels - Trials of the Darksaber - Review: "Sabine"


Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode Guide:
3.01 Steps Into Shadow Part 1 - Review
3.02 Steps Into Shadow Part 2 - Review
3.03 The Holocrons of Fate - Review
3.04 The Antilles Extraction - Review
3.05 Hera's Heroes - Review
3.06 The Last Battle - Review
3.07 Imperial Supercommandos - Review
3.08 Iron Squadron - Review
3.09 The Wynkahthu Job - Review
3.10 An Inside Man - Review
3.11 Visions and Voices - Review
3.12 Ghosts of Geonosis - Part 1 - Review
3.13 Ghosts of Geonosis - Part 2 - Review
3.14 Warhead - Review
3.15 Trials of the Darksaber - Review
3.16 Legacy of Mandalore - Airs February 18
3.17 Through Imperial Eyes - Airs February 25

Star Wars Rebels 3.15 "Trials of the Darksaber" - Review:
Directed by Steward Lee & Written by Dave Filoni

This episode put Sabine and Kanan in the spotlight for an interesting look at the cost of being the bearer of the Darksaber weapon which now belongs to Sabine. The status of those who hold the Darksaber gives its owner a significant influence over the rest of the Mandalorians and it's something that Kanan suggests Sabine exploit in favour of the Rebel Alliance, and despite the fact that she doesn't hold her family members in the highest regard, decides that reluctantly it would be for the best. However, first Sabine needs training in the weapon, and who better to train her than Kanan?

This was one of the best episodes of the season so far and it was great to how concise and well executed it was thanks to a tight, smart script. The title itself may have suggested a more action packed episode but I was glad that we got this instead, a character focused drama that was really fun. The decision to focus entirely on Sabine's training was a good one, and the lack of a villain also made things more engaging because Sabine was battling against herself, her own demons. We've had a few Sabine focused episodes over the course of the season and whilst she has never been my favourite character on Rebels, this episode continued to mark her improvement as her frustration increased when pitted against Kanan's patience. This echoed some of the earlier Ezra/Kanan scenes from previous seasons but was handled in a different way and really worked well.

Sabine's past was also explored in more depth here as she explained that she still feels guilty for designing weapons in the Imperial Academy that were later used on her own people. She tried to make things right by trying to save her people from the Empire but ended up being an outcast from her family for it, still fearing the Empire. It was an interesting revelation for the character and was something that she had to grapple with and overcome here. It's also worth noting how good Tiya Sircar was as she provided the voice behind Sabine in bringing out her characters' emotions a lot more than we've seen previously, and everything eventually culminated in her unleashing an attack against Kanan in which she didn't hold anything back.

It was also interesting to learn more about Mandalorian culture as a whole. The Mandalorians are probably most notable for giving us both Boba and Jango Fett, and it's great to see that this is something that it looks like the show is going to continue exploring going forward. The fact that we also got a bit more information about Sabine's new technology in the form of Mandalorian vambraces was a welcome one, as we learned that that they were effective at stopping Jedi. This puts her on a more even playing field with force-wielders like Kanan and Ezra, and it'll be interesting to see what happens if they ever come back into play further down the line. Jedi aren't always invincible after all, and if the right tactics are employed against them then they can be stopped, should the need arise. It's unlikely at least for the moment that Sabine will use it against Kanan and Ezra, but if the show brings more force-users into play or sees her pitted against someone like Darth Maul, it gives her some interesting elements to work with.

Trials of the Darksaber ended with Fenn Rau, Kanan and Ezra pledging their loyalty to Sabine. Whilst Fenn Rau wasn't in this episode much he's one of the more welcome supporting cast of Star Wars Rebels and it was good to see him here. With the next episode, which airs today, we may be getting more Fenn and there will no doubt be more conflict that will see Sabine forced to use the Darksaber. The biggest question that remains is will the Mandalorians side with the Rebels now against the Empire? Regardless of what happens, there's definitely been a lot of set-up in this episode to make the next something that will no doubt be an exciting one, but it will no doubt have a lot to live up to, because thanks to both the direction of Steward Lee and Dave Filoni's script, this episode easily establishes itself as one of the best episodes of the whole series so far, not just of Season 3.

What did you think of Trials of the Darksaber? Did you enjoy it or were you not a fan? Let me know in the comments section below and catch the next episode of Star Wars Rebels on February 18th at 8:30pm on DisneyXD.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, The Magicians, Narcos, Preacher, Star Trek Discovery, Star Wars Rebels, The Shannara Chronicles, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV. He also occasionaly writes book reviews at his own site, The Fictional Hangout and ontributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of 250 favourite movies here.
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