Star Wars: Rebels Revisited – Part 12: Warrior Races, Warrior Races Everywhere

Looks like I managed to miss an upload day. And usually, my Star Wars posts nobody reads are my most reliable thing. Stress and work just managed to get the better of me last week and I just didn’t have the energy to post. I guess that’s the big downside to writing these on the fly and never having a backlog to fall back on.

Anyway, we’ve got some Rebels to talk about…

Season 2, Episode 13: The Protector of Concord Dawn

In this episode, Hera and Sabine enter the orbit of Concord Dawn; a Mandalorian world which could prove vital in allowing the Rebel cells to continue moving through space whilst avoiding Imperial entanglement. Unfortunately for the gang, the leader of these Mandalorians: Fenn Rau, is in league with the Empire and ambushes the crew.

Hera only just escapes by the skin of her teeth, badly injured, but alive. Which puts a fire under Sabine, who is bent on extracting revenge of the fellow Mandalorian for what he did to her dear friend. Kanan has other ideas though and tries to win the Mandalorian Protector over to his side using diplomacy.

It feels like there is a real core of Mandalorian vs. Jedi Philosophy here. A combative relationship that has been waged for eons within the galaxy. My only real issue with it being that it feels like the show very easily falls into the default of the Jedi stance being the “correct” one.

Kanan comes down to Concord Dawn to try and parlay peace between the Rebels and the Mandalorians by appealing to Rau’s past as a fighter in the Republic army against the Separatists, although it doesn’t seem to work considering the Mandalorian is little more than a mercenary at heart and has just chosen what he deems to be the stronger side. While he may have a personal code and sense of morals, he is far more of a realist than anyone else we’ve met in the series.

During this parlay, Sabine gets caught setting up their Plan B; a series of explosives on the Mandalorian starfighters. It’s at this point we get a little insight into the Mandalorian power structure. While Sabine is of the Clan Wren, her clan falls under the house Vizla. Establishing a pyramid like approach to clans and houses and the hierarchy of the Mandalorian power structure.

Dave Filoni even says he likes to think one off Sabine’s parents was present during Death Watch’s assault on Mandalore and Maul executing Pre Vizla when he took over the house and leadership himself.

In the end, Sabrine challenges Rau to a duel of single combat. Despite the reservations of both Kanan and Rau himself, she seems to beat him pretty handily, and without killing him either. Throughout the episode, Kanan and Sabine have been butting heads over how to deal with Rau, with the later wanting to kill him in revenge.

In the end though, she bows to Kanan’s wishes and allows him to live. Which all leads to Kanan taking Rau prisoner. This is played off pretty light, but really feels like one of the first time we’re seeing the darker side of the Rebellion often deftly avoided outside of “extremist” characters like Saw Gerrera and Cassian Andor.

With Fenn Rau now their hostage, the rest of the Mandalorians are forced into a position where they must allow the Rebels safe passage through their space while also lying to the Empire about everything being good. Which, if I’m honest, paints the Rebels as the bad guys more in this situation.

Sure, the Mandalorians are working for the Empire, but they’re just Mercenaries. Now the Rebels have swooped in and have put them in a situation where they need to risk their own safety by lying to the Empire on a regular basis. It’s an uneasy alliance to say the least, and one I kind of hope we see blow back in the Rebel’s faces.

Y’know for the sake of exciting storytelling.

It would have been nice to see this situation from the Mandalorian perspective a little more. Either from Sabine or Rau’s. But instead, it mostly boils the issue down to Kanan being in the right by acting just about as Jedi-like as we’ve ever seen him. A form he only seems to take when it suits him.

Season 2, Episode 14: Legends of the Lasat

This episode continues the story of Zeb’s history with his own people and sees the return of Hondo Ohnaka as everyone’s favourite(?) scoundrel. Ezra is following a lead to rescue some prisoners from Imperial custody. As it turns out, these two prisoners are a couple of Lasat. Revealing to Zeb that he isn’t the last of his kind, and fills him with a number of complicated feelings.

Upon meeting them, the pair recognise Zeb as the former captain of the Lasat Royal guard. And they are looking for a new home world, one that apparently comes at the end of a series of fulfilled prophecies and rituals. Something that seems to disgust Zeb.

It’s strange, as the episode begins, you’d think Zeb would be thrilled to meet some members of his own race, alive and well. I mean, at the very beginning, the very idea that the Empire had exterminated every single member of the Lasat bar Zeb seemed a little farfetched. But he seems less than willing to listen to them and give their beliefs the time of day.

As it turns out though, Zeb feels huge guilt for the fate of his people and feels that he, as the captain of the guard, should have done more to prevent the Empire destroying their whole world. It makes me think, in some way, he was more content to be the last of his kind, because then he could create some whole new legacy for his people through his own actions.

Once away from the Empire, the two Lasat; Gron and Chava begin a ritual to start searching for their new home world, the legendary Lira San. Something Zeb throws off as a childish flight of fancy. He frames is like some kind of promise land story, akin to Atlantis or El Dorado. Although he doesn’t take much convincing to participate in the ritual and reveal the location of a planet out somewhere in Wild Space.

Unlike the Unknown Regions, which appear on the galactic map in all its incarnations, Wild Space was a region of space not usually shown on maps of the galaxy, usually located just off the edge. So far out there that most people never bothered to include it on their maps.

Okay, I’m about to go a little off topic here.

I am a weird nerd who really enjoys the more “mundane” aspects of world creation and the bones of how the Star Wars galaxy works and an actual place. Like hyperspace travel for example. In the lore, most ships travel through safe, established hyperspace routes. Which are like highways that starship captains know are safe. In this instance though, Hera is making almost blind jumps out into space, meaning there is no telling them what could be in their path.

Which is what we see when proximity alarms start blaring and Hera is forced to bring the Ghost out of hyperspace just before a very cool looking imploded star cluster.

Which would have been a big enough problem on its own, if not for the hot pursuit of Agent Kallus and ever unfaithful Hondo leading the Empire right to the Ghost. Are we supposed to like him or not. He helps, then he screws over then he helps again. He’s “charming” I guess, but not charming enough for him to be more trouble than he’s worth.

So what do our heroes do to save themselves? Some mystical mumbo jumbo…

Okay, so here’s the thing about the Star Wars universe. The mere existence of the force makes it so any kind of spirituality and mysticism present can really manifest itself in the world. While we’re very used to seeing the Force through the very narrow perspective of both the Jedi and the Sith, there are so many other people out there that use the force in their own way.

Like the Dathomir Nightsistsers seen in Clone Wars, these animated series have made an effort to occasionally show that there is much more to the Force than we know from simply seeing it through the eyes of the people swinging Lightsabers around. While Zeb is dismissive of the rituals to begin with, when his back is against the wall he gives in to tradition and his electrostaff-like weapon becomes the key to their escape.

Putting a bit more than a toe into the more fantasy roots of the series, Zeb almost seems to magically allow the Ghost to approach the anomaly without the intense gravity breaking them apart, plot a hyperspace route and jump through the cluster to actually arrive at the planet of prophecy.

The world they arrive at is the original home world of the Lasat, which the show makes the choice never to show us. Rather we see it from orbit and then hear from Zeb upon his return that the world is filled with the original Lasat, whom I imagine are probably not super aware of galactic goings on given how near impossible their world is to get to.

Although Hera gives a throw away line that, now they’ve been there once, they can get their again using the Hyperspace records. Meaning Zeb ends this episode with a renewed perspective on life. While before he felt like he was the last of his kind, doomed to be the final legacy of his people, he’s now become their vanguard and protector.

Which is a massive turnaround for him and his approach to life I imagine. Like, it’s like going from having nothing to live for to absolutely everything.

Verdict:

I started off not too hot on these episodes, but strangely it was having that week off and more time to think about them that I came to appreciate them a bit more. I still feel like the Mandalorian storyline they’re telling in this series is unfolding at an absolute snail’s pace. But then again, given that that both the final Clone Wars season and the two series of the Mandalorian series itself cover the people’s much more comprehensively, I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to see where this one goes.

It’s not anywhere good as far as the Mandalorian show paints things.

The second episode, on the other hand, seems to paint a much brighter future for Zeb and the Lasat. The last time we really focused on Zeb, he was battling Kallus and getting baited by the Imperial Agent as the cause of all his woes. And while Kallus was a presence in this episode, that animosity was kind of gone, replaced with Zeb’s sense of renewed hope that his people were only safe, but hidden from the Empire.

It makes me wonder if we’re going to get that eventual face off between Kallus and Zeb that the early interactions between the characters seemed to imply was fated for the two. I mean, probably. Given Zeb still feels the guilt of everyone he’s ever known being killed by the Empire at Kallus’s command.

In a way, I’m way more interested in seeing the eventual fates of Zeb and Sabine than I am Kanan and Ezra. Jedi stories are a dime a dozen in the Star Wars universe, seeing these different characters getting the focus is a refreshing new perspective on the lore. Because Rebels has ended up having way more Jedi stuff than I ever expected it to before I started watching it.


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