Star Wars Rebels – Season 2 Episode 12
“The Protector of Concord Dawn”
Star Wars Rebels gives Sabine another chance to be the focal point of an episode and delves into her Mandalorian past.
My familiarity with the Star Wars Expanded Universe is fairly patchy but I understand that Mandalorians are kind of a big deal. Boba Fett wears Mandalorian armour and is widely regarded as being awesome so surely the Mandalorians must be along the same lines.
I only really have their mention in the Knights of the Old Republic games as well as their appearances in The Clone Wars to go on which is definitely limited but from what I can see it’s a multi faceted culture with a lot of history. Some of that history plays out here in really interesting ways.
Sabine has been broadly established as a pacifist. She likes to blow things up but that’s mainly for artistic reasons. She has a violent past and wants to move away from that. Fighting with the crew of the Ghost and the Rebellion is for moral reasons with any violence committed being a necessity. Or at least that’s what this episode would have you believe. It has never really been established where Sabine stands on any issues or what her ethical code says to her. This episode pretty much expects you to take the characters at face value as written here.
I really liked how the episode explored Sabine’s connection to Mandalorian society. Her reaction to the injured Hera being a sort of primal anger was really unexpected and it’s interesting how she fully embraced it as if she had been keeping those instincts in check but needed to tap into them in order to seek justice for her friend. The mention of her family connections and how they are regarded in Mandalorian society was really interesting. She is clearly proud of her heritage and somewhat resents the fact that her family aren’t really accepted. It gives the character some history and develops a depth that wasn’t previously there.
Kanan is a lot calmer and more in control than we usually see him. In some ways he’s sort of like a The Clone Wars era Jedi in the way he takes charge of the situation and wants to practice diplomacy rather than violence. He makes a point of killing being off the table and stands by that throughout. This is another example of having to accept the characters at face value as presented because Kanan has never really had a “do not kill” stance before. Just how many Stormtroopers has he killed and how many people have indirectly met their end because of something he did? The first Inquisitor comes to mind. Given that Hera is supposed to be someone he is in a relationship with -though that remains unclear- I would think that he would be struggling with feelings of anger and a desire for revenge. It would certainly be consistent with the character that has been established.
Despite that the episode presents the two sides of the argument well. Sabine represents a violent solution and Kanan represents a diplomatic one with the eventual truth sitting somewhere in the middle. There is violence but nobody is killed and Sabine proves that she can be keep her cool while still tapping into her warrior instincts so everyone can claim a victory.
The biggest obstacle came in the form of Fenn Rau (Kevin McKidd). He is a formidable Mandalorian pilot who is able to give Hera, Sabine and Kanan a run for their money. The action sequences involving him were varied and entertaining with a particular highlight being Kanan slicing open his cockpit towards the end of the episode. It reminded me of a similar maneuver by Anakin in Attack of the Clones but was much better here.
Fenn Rau was characterised as being an honourable man who wasn’t blindly devoted to his alliance with the Empire. His initial conversation with Kanan nicely outlines his motivation. All he wants is for his people to be left alone and that’s something that is tough to disagree with. He sees allying with the Empire as the best way to do that and doesn’t want to upset that by helping the Rebellion.
The whole resolution felt a bit rushed as I didn’t really feel like Fenn Rau was in any way sympathetic to the Rebellion. The idea of him pretending to be a prisoner so that the Empire would think that his capture is the reason the Rebels are allowed passage through their space. With him being a prisoner of the Rebellion there should be plenty of opportunity to bring this character back and I hope they do.
An entertaining yet uneven episode that allowed Sabine another opportunity to be the focal point while dealing with her past.
I really liked how the episode explored Sabine’s connection to Mandalorian society. Her reaction to an injured Hera being a primal anger and it’s interesting how she fully embraced it as if she had been keeping it in check.
Kanan was a lot calmer and more in control than we usually see him. He wants to use diplomacy rather than violence. Killing is off the table for him and stands by it. This episode only really works if the characters are accepted at face value as they are presented here as Kanan has never really had a “do not kill” stance before and Sabine has been broadly established as a pacifist.
The episode handles the two sides of the argument well. Sabine represents a violent solution and Kanan represents a peaceful one with the result being somewhere inbetween. Sabine proves she can keep a cool head while tapping into her warrior instincts so everyone can claim a victory.
The biggest obstacle comes from Fenn Rau. He proves himself to be formidable as well as honourable. He allies with the Empire to keep his people safe and doesn’t want to be connected to the Rebellion out of fear of what the Empire might do. It’s a solid and understandable motivation.
I felt that the motivation was a bit rushed as I didn’t believe that Fenn Rau had suddenly become sympathetic to the Rebel cause but I liked the idea of him allowing himself to be taken captive as that would be a valid reason for his people to allow passage to the Rebels.