Sometimes, a piece of Star Wars is just so damn good that words don’t suffice and you have to resort to a classic: gifs. And that, my friends, is where we find ourselves today while discussing Trials of the Darksaber.
Trials of the Darksaber is easily the best episode of Star Wars Rebels in Season Three and definitely one of best episodes of the entire show. It’s entirely character focused as Kanan (and the rest of the crew) convinces Sabine that she has to train with the darksaber and try to unite the Mandalorian clans against the Empire. Sabine wants nothing to do with any of this but very reluctantly agrees to be trained and ends up being pushed right to her emotional breaking point.
This is Sabine Wren unlike we’ve ever seen her before. Over the course of the show, we’ve gotten hints of her past both in regards to her Mandalorian heritage and her time at one of the Imperial Academies but this episode finally lays it all out. (And boy was it worth the wait.) Turns out that Sabine helped design weapons for the Empire which were then used against her own homeworld and when she tried to do something about it, not even her own family wouldn’t stand with her. Unlike Ezra, Sabine’s far more like Hera and unwilling to put herself out there and talk about her past as it relates to her family which just adds even more to the emotional impact when she finally breaks and talks to Kanan. It’s heartbreaking and an incredible performance by Tiya Sircar. (And Freddie Prinze Jr is no slouch either this episode.)
When Fenn Rau, Kanan, and the rest ask Sabine to take up the darksaber and potentially lead not just Clan Vizsla but all of Mandalore, they’re asking a hell of a lot. They’re not just asking Sabine to learn a new way to fight or a new weapon to master. They’re asking her to become a leader and there’s a lot that goes along with that and that’s before we even take all of her family troubles into account. A leader is responsible for making decisions that will affect all of their people. That’s a ton to put on the shoulders of an 18-year-old woman but then again Star Wars has never shied away from putting heavy burdens on teenagers. Sure Kanan puts a lot of pressure on Ezra by training him to become a Jedi but what they’re asking of Sabine? That’s a whole ’nother ballgame. If nothing else, this episode reinforces that Sabine Wren is one of the strongest characters in Star Wars right now.
A few assorted notes:
- Kevin Kiner is just so damn good. All of the training sequence music is distinct and stellar.
- A Mandalorian giving another Mandalorian armor pieces is one of the most genuine and caring things ever.
- The crew of the Ghost would be completely screwed without Hera Syndulla. Especially Kanan.
- The darksaber history sequence was super cool looking and very reminiscent of the Tale of the Three Brothers from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- Would love to see more of Sabine’s room art! The family mural was so sweet.
Trials of the Darksaber is a Rebels episode that just does everything right. It doesn’t need a crazy plot line or an Imperial attack. It just brings one of the family right to the forefront and lets her grow and shine. Honestly, I don’t know the last time that twenty-two minutes of television hit me so hard and it’s impossible to come up with any aspect of the episode that I didn’t like it. Well done all around to the entire Rebels team.