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A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
“Legacy of Mandalore” is a terrific episode of Star Wars Rebels, showcasing the sort of complex character and narrative continuity the show doesn’t always espouse. It isn’t as strong as the previous outing and the dialogue is considerably weaker, but there’s nevertheless a considerable number of emotional strengths throughout the half hour, including one of the strongest endings in the show’s history. The weakest aspect of Star Wars Rebels has been character consistency and “Legacy” is a fantastic showcase of why the show needs to pay more attention to that in the future. Sabine’s character arc in relation to her Mandalorian roots has been shaky, but recently it found footing and that consistent build made “Legacy” feel as emotionally powerful as the episode was intending her arc to be. Sabine’s relationship with her mother works for the same reason. The fearsome Ursa was established through her daughter’s perspective and she behaved exactly as one would expect. There’s a sense of sharpness between mother and daughter but critically the episode also presents Ursa’s perspective on what happened between her and her daughter. That the perspective fits within both charactersSurprises are nice, but there is also a considerable amount of storytelling intelligence in allowing characters to behave in a fashion the audience expects. Surprises only make sense, after all, when they arrive from a foundation built upon consistency. Ursa betraying Sabine, Ezra, and Kanan to Garth Saxon makes sense within the same vein, a character who has been stuck between a rock and a hard place and has thusly become accustomed to making the sorts of tough decisions that require an inherent sacrifice. The writing around her betrayal is extremely clumsy, but it works well enough that it doesn’t bog the episode down too much.
Sabine and crew crash land on a snowy, mountainous landscape that is incredible reminiscent of PLANET from The Clone Wars. As that location was featured in a Mandalorian storyline, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rebels reused that animation for budgetary concerns. Either way, it looks gorgeous and is a refreshing change of pace from grasslands, deserts, and Imperial corridors. Their reception upon landing is as welcoming and hopeful as one would expect and it is here where the episode hits its first major bump. Ezra is a character the show has simply lost track of in terms of any sort of coherent character trajectory whatsoever and it becomes stark in comparison to Sabine’s character development, which is not a phrase I expected to type out not that long ago. When Darth Maul isn’t in the picture, Ezra doesn’t stick to the darkening of his character trajectory that had been set in place when it seemed like a certain possibility that he would go over to the Dark Side. He’s now the comic relief sidekick again and if Rebels needs a character that was originally killed off in order to reseceitate their protagonist, that’s a problem. That aside, Ezra behaves like a buffoon before Sabine’s brother Tristan is revealed to be underneath a snowtrooper’s uniform.
Sabine is rankled by the sight of her brother in an Imperial uniform, but she’s even more rankled by the broken relationship her mother brings up. Sabine unknowingly betrayed her clan but the betrayal was seen as an intended betrayal and her family lost everything (their house is quite nice, just to note). Ursa is unimpressed that her daughter has the Darksaber, which in accordance with Mandalorian tradition has to be earned. Simply stealing it doesn’t prove a thing. Luckily for Sabine (with an odd definition of “luckily” attached, perhaps), Garth Saxon presents a perfect opportunity for Sabine to earn the Darksaber. Saxon, who never really gelled together as a character in a significant capacity, fights as dirtily as one would expect but Sabine eventually emerges as the winner in the conflict. As per tradition, Sabine had the right to execute Saxon but she refused to do so. Ursa takes care of the job on Sabine’s behalf, shooting Saxon dead on the ice. As there are few things that really solidify a mother-daughter relationship than shooting a deranged militaristic fanatic, Ursa and Sabine begin true steps towards reconciliation that, in spite of a hackneyed dialogue-filled script, felt earned. Sabine staying back to help her family and to get her father back (at least that’s what the insinuation was) was the episode’s best stroke of character work and storybuilding coming together in a satisfying way. It was bittersweet, with a slight emphasis on the sweet, and it gave Rebels a feeling of completion it doesn’t always earn.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+Sharmila Devar and Ritesh Rajan were great additions as Ursa and Tristan, respectively, and it’s great to see more voice actors of color get opportunities
+“Ezra, less is more.”
+Sabine’s father is a hostage. I smell a future storyline that actually sounds promising.
+“When you ran away, it saved you.”
+“Do not say you’re proud of me.”
Episode Title: Legacy of Mandalore
Written by: Christopher Yost
Directed by: Mel Zwyer
Image Courtesy: IGN
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