Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Trials of the Darksaber.” Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
Sacrifice. I’d bet most members of the Rebel Alliance have a story about what they gave up in order to fight against the oppression of the Empire. Resisting comes at a price, illustrating the point that doing what’s right isn’t what’s easy. We learned about the cost of Sabine’s defection to the Rebellion in the newest Star Wars Rebels, “Trials of the Darksaber.”
Before we talk about Sabine’s huge step forward and her bravery, let’s discuss the darksaber. Sabine found the Mandalorian weapon in “Visions and Voices” when she visited Maul’s lair on Dathomir. The unique lightsaber was introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and it has a uh, colorful history. Created by Jedi Tar Vizsla, the weapon was passed down through the years and is known for being responsible for many Jedi deaths and being a symbol for ruling and joining Mandalore. In other words, it’s a huge freaking deal for Sabine to pick up the weapon with the intention of wielding it—especially considering she hails from House Vizsla.
You could see all of the darksaber’s history weighing on Sabine’s shoulders as Fenn Rau, Hera, and company encouraged her to use the weapon. It comes with immense responsibility, and Sabine was scared to face her family. Though watching the scene play out wasn’t easy, I rather admire Hera for pointing out to Sabine the benefit of aligning the Mandalorians with the Rebellion is bigger than any discomfort and anxiety Sabine is experiencing. Someone has to look out for the big picture, and given Hera’s position, she was beholden to mention the positive gains.
Once Sabine accepted that she had to use the darksaber to try to recruit her clan (and all the Mandalorians, no pressure), Kanan decided to teach her. I want to say we got a training montage, but the back and forth between Kanan and Sabine was more meaningful than a series of clips. Sabine did pick up the basics in a matter of days, yes, but it wasn’t easy—despite, or maybe because of, her extensive combat training and background.
Kanan was a better teacher with Sabine than he was with Ezra. Time has passed, he’s learned, and his time with Bendu helped him let go of his fears. Still, he held back a little and Sabine struggled. It took Ezra, Kanan, Hera, and Fenn Rau coming together combined with Sabine’s persistence to reach a breakthrough.
So much about the training was well written. From Hera pushing Kanan, to Kanan slapping Sabine down after she tried using the gauntlets as a shortcut, from Ezra having to teach Sabine how to do something, to Sabine’s epiphany. This was one of those episodes where every word landed, so by the time the emotional ending came around, it sang.
Going back to what Sabine sacrificed for the Rebellion: we learned she tried to help Mandalore by working with the Empire. However, it ultimately led to her contributing to the Empire enslaving her people. Her family sided with the Empire. She left. She was branded a traitor. Leaving your clan in Mandalorian culture is a major transgression. Sabine’s carrying guilt and conflict with her, and the darksaber is forcing her to face all of it.
Can I just say how much Tiya Sircar and Freddie Prinze, Jr. nailed this episode? They both brought weight and nuance to Sabine’s and Kanan’s lines. Basically, they delivered all the feels. Both characters took steps forward in “Trials of the Darksaber.”
Two more quick thoughts: how cool were those gauntlets Fenn Rau gave Sabine? It’s neat/scary to see a device Mandalorians have crafted specifically to fight Jedi. Secondly, did you hear Chopper purr at the beginning of the episode? I want a Chopper toy that emits the purring noise.
How do you feel about Sabine’s training?