“Star Wars Rebels” Review: “Out of Darkness”


As “Star Wars Rebels” progresses further and further into its first season, the show appears to be growing more and more confident in its ambitions for each episode. The writers employ a two-pronged purpose in the latest entry, “Out of Darkness”: They attempt to give some stage time to two of the most underused main characters while at the same time trying to tease the bigger picture to come. The episode doesn’t quite pull it off, but it’s a welcome step in the right direction.

“Rebels” finally dials back the testosterone and lets us spend time alone with the Ghost’s female crew members, Hera and Sabine. The latter is having trust issues with Kanan and Hera’s constant secrecy surrounding their missions, so she joins the Ghost pilot on a mysterious operation on a dangerous planet. After the writers illuminate some of Sabine’s backstory, it’s lights out for the rest of the episode, as our heroines are attacked by indigenous beasts that only come out at night.

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We learn that Sabine used to be a student at the Imperial Academy, and she’s still scarred from the experience for a yet undivulged reason. This has led to her trust issues with the crew of the Ghost, specifically Hera, who’s unwilling to reveal any information about their mission or her mysterious contact, known only as “Fulcrum.”

It’s Hera’s evasiveness that really divides the episode for me. On the one hand, she clearly hints that she and Kanan have a master plan cooking, which I’m guessing (and hoping) is to prove themselves to the Rebellion in these missions so they can join the fight against the Empire.

But although I like that we’re getting a glimpse at where the larger story arc is headed, the information we get isn’t all that satisfying. It also makes it hard to believe that the dynamic has changed between Hera and Sabine by episode’s end, because the Mandalorian girl is basically just told to shut up and trust her. One concrete revelation shared between the two would have sold the newfound trust they develop, as well as the episode as a whole.

The rest of the episode is essentially an animated remake of Pitch Black,” which really draws no complaints. The monsters themselves, which look like evil doppelgangers of the dragons from Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon,” aren’t all that menacing, but the explosive setpiece that ensues is a visual delight.

The only weak part of “Out of Darkness” stays on the ship, as the bickering among Ezra, Zeb and Chopper continues to feel out of place. It feels even more forced, as their antics provide the plot’s fuel by stranding Hera and Sabine on the planet without any.

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Still, this episode was starting to feel overdue, and although it comes up a bit short, the groundwork it lays will go a long way. Now we can watch the Ghost in action with its skeleton crew a bit more fleshed out.

(P.S. I’m putting my money on Bail Organa being Fulcrum. But Ahsoka Tano would be a good guess too.)