Mandalorians return in this week’s nail biter of an episode of Star Wars Rebels: “The Protector of Concord Dawn.”
The rebel fleet needs a new hyperspace route to Lothal to avoid the Empire, who hounding them at every turn. Sabine suggests they seek passage through Concord Dawn, a colony controlled by the Mandalorian Protectors. Kanan and Hera want to recruit the Mandalorians; but when things get hostile and a Ghost crew member is wounded, Sabine wants revenge.
A squadron of Rebel A-wing fighters enter the system of Concord Dawn. The planet looming before them, Hera comments, looks like it has seen war, with almost half its side crumbling to pieces in space. Sabine, the only other Ghost crew member on the diplomatic mission, says Concord Dawn has seen over a hundred wars, and that her people don’t need a reason to fight.
Unfortunately, the Protector of Concord Dawn has a reason. As he and his Mandalorian fighters approach the A-wings, Hera contacts him to try to negotiate the fleet’s safe passage through his system; but Rae reveals he works for the Empire, and the trespassing rebels are now his number one target.
The Mandalorians go to work on the surprised rebels, and quickly take out two fighters. The remaining A-wing pilots, Hera, Sabine, and another rebel, need clear space to make the jump to hyperspace. With some fancy flying maneuvers, Hera gets her comrades the opening they need. Sabine wants to stay behind and wait for Hera, but the Twi’lek orders her to move on. She does, and Hera is about to follow, but before she can make the jump herself, her ship is peppered with Rae’s laser fire.
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When Sabine pulls out of hyperspace in front of the rebel fleet and Hera isn’t quick to join her, Kanan and the rebels watching from a nearby freighter are immediately worried. After an agonizing handful of seconds, Hera’s A-wing appears; it’s battered and burning in places, and Sabine can see Hera, slumped over in her seat, is badly wounded.
Flash forward to a worried Ghost crew awaiting word of Hera’s status in the medbay. Kanan is in there with her (can you say “space married”?) and beckons the others to come in. Hera, usually so lifelike and busy, lays unconscious tended by a medical droid. Sabine feels personally responsible for Hera’s wounds, berating herself for jumping into hyperspace instead of disobeying Hera’s orders and staying behind to help. She swears to Hera she will get justice for what happened.
Sabine and the others report to Commander Jun Sato and reveals the identity of the Protector of Concord Dawn as Fenn Rau. Captain Rex, also in the briefing room, remembers how the Rae and the protectors came and trained clones on Kamino, while Kanan recognizes Rae as the same Mandalorian pilot who saved his life in the Third Battle of Mygeeto during the Clone Wars.
Kanan is still hopeful there’s an opportunity for recruiting the Mandalorians, but Sabine completely disagrees. Sato is also skeptical, and Kanan eventually agrees to go down to Concord Dawn alone to sabotage the Protectors’ ships so they at least can’t stop the rebel fleet from moving through. He refuses to take any of the Ghost crew with him except Chopper, much to the dismay of Ezra and Zeb. But Sabine has other plans.
As Kanan and Chopper pilot The Phantom toward Concord Dawn, Kanan discovers they have an additional passenger: Sabine stowed herself away in the storage compartment beneath the floor. Kanan isn’t happy at first, but he quickly reveals his plan is to destroy the Mandalorians’ ships only if negotiations fail. Sabine is convinced they will fail, but she follows Kanan’s lead.
Once they reach Concord Dawn, Chopper pilots The Phantom to a secure location to await Kanan and Sabine’s call, while the latter sneak onto the Protectors’ landing base.
As Sabine’s checking her store of explosives, an Imperial shuttle lands on the base. An Imperial officer comes out to speak with the Protector himself. Through the audio pickup in her helmet, Sabine hears their exchange, and she and Kanan realize the Empire is paying the Mandalorians for their service.
Rau tells the officer about their run-in with rebel fighters. The officer orders them to report any further encounters with the rebels to the Empire.
“You give me a chance to recruit the Mandalorians. If that doesn’t work out, you get to blow up their fighters.”
The shuttle leaves, and Sabine is even more unsure of Kanan’s chances at diplomacy. Kanan explains he will try to talk to Rau, while Sabine moves around the base tagging the Mandalorians’ fighters with explosives, just in case negotiations. But Kanan still wants to avoid killing anyone, even though Sabine is feeling less merciful. Nevertheless, the young Mandalorian agrees to Kanan’s plan, and the two split up.
Kanan enters the small building where Fenn Rau is having a drink after his dealings with the Imperial officer. He acknowledges Kanan, seemingly unperturbed by his presence. He guesses he is a rebel, and asks him what he wants before he guns him down. Kanan draws near and begins to talk of Rau’s work during the Clone Wars, including his piloting on Mygeeto. He places his constructed lightsaber before the Mandalorian and says he was there, and that Rausaved his life.
Rau puts away his blaster and seems more willing to listen. But as the two continue to converse, it becomes apparent the Protector has become embittered since the days during the Clone Wars, when he was young and “reckless.” He doesn’t think the rebels have a chance against the Empire, and doesn’t believe in uniting for a hopeless cause.
Meanwhile, Sabine is placing explosive charges on the Mandalorians’ fighters with her usual stealth and efficiency. Eventually, however, she gets caught by one of her Mando brethren. She plays it cool, even though she and the four other Mandalorians all have their blasters drawn. They call her a bounty hunter, and she retorts that her armor was forged by her family (them thinking she’s a bounty hunter may be a nod to Jango Fett, who was supposedly not a true Mandalorian). They ask her who her family is, and she tells them she is of Clan Wren, House Viszla.
“I invoke the code to seek justice through single combat!”
The name Viszla triggers an immediate response. “Death Watch” are still considered traitors to Mandalore, and the Protectors are even more distrustful of Sabine because of her association with them. She says her mother was part of Death Watch, but that she isn’t. Then, she invokes the right of single combat with the leader of the Protectors.
Kanan and Rau are alerted to Sabine’s presence and her request for single combat to the death. Kanan is flabbergasted; Sabine, however, acts like she has it all under control. Rau seems amused by Sabine’s challenge, but he nevertheless accepts it. The two form a Western gunfight standoff, their hands poised by their holsters to see who can draw and kill first. Kanan keeps trying to convince Sabine not to do it, but she is undeterred, telling the older rebels, “Trust me,” and “Kanan, you really need to stop talking now!”
Finally, Sabine and Rau draw. Sabine is faster, but instead of killing Rau, she merely shoots the gun out of his hand. Then, she activates the charges through her wrist armor, and the fighters explode.
Everyone is thrown to their feet. Kanan, lightsaber drawn, helps Sabine get up. They take cover behind a table in the bunker and engage in a shooting match with the Protectors. Rau is able to escape to his ship, which was too far to the edge of the landing field for Sabine to tag before she was caught. He intends to call reinforcements to tear the rebel fleet to shreds.
Kanan isn’t let that happening. And though he’s still not willing to kill anyone (to Sabine’s perhaps mock frustration), he’s not unwilling to flex his Jedi powers to win the day. After making it past the Mandalorians protecting Rau’s exit, Kanan takes off on foot after Rae’s rising ship. He leaps aboard, and Sabine joins Chopper on The Phantom.
In a scene reminiscent of the speeder chase in Attack of the Clones, Rau tries to shake the Jedi off his ship, and nearly succeeds. Still, Kanan manages to make it to the nose of the ship, where he stabs his lightsaber through the windows and into the control deck to disable the ship. He then knocks Rau out, and uses the Force to propel both him and the Protector of Concord Dawn into the waiting open bay of The Phantom.
When Rau awakes aboard The Phantom, he realizes he doesn’t have much choice but to help the rebels. He receives a message from his followers, asking if they should gather reinforcements and go after him, but he tells them to stay put. He also tells them to allow the rebel fleet to pass through their system unless he says otherwise.
When they board Commander Jun Sato’s flag ship, Rau makes the comment he’s friends with the rebels only because he has to be. Kanan then explains to Sabine that if the Empire found out Rae had been captured, they would send a force out to patrol Concord Dawn themselves. Rau, though he worked for the Empire, didn’t want it to fall into the regime’s hands.
After Rae is taken away, Ezra appears and tells Kanan and Sabine that Hera wants to see them. They enter the medbay to find their friend still battered, but conscious and smiling. Sabine tells Hera since they weren’t at war with the Protectors, there was no need to resort to killing to solve the problem the Mandalorians posed. Hera says she sounds more like a Jedi than a Mandalorian, to which Sabine responds, “Well, I guess I was just raised right.” Hera and Kanan smile, and the scene closes on the three members of the ragtag rebel family.
Tune into Disney XD next week for season two, episode 14 of Star Wars Rebels, “Legends of Lasat” or read a recap of it here at Dork Side.