Season 2, Episode 12 — “The Protector of Concord Dawn”
By Jason Gibner. When The Clone Wars was abruptly cancelled back in 2013, millions of Star Wars fan voices cried out in terror that that show’s many ongoing plot threads were seemingly forever lost. Seeing how the absolutely fascinating world of Mandalore, with all its houses and clans and that too-cool-for-school Mando Armor was enough to make a fan weep like a Rancor keeper. I mean for real, here’s a place where a long thought dead Sith with cyborg legs just took over the whole thing, put the Queen of the planet in jail and kills off every clan that came against him just to get wild revenge on Obi Wan (who was also kinda the Queen’s long distance/no contact boyfriend). Got all that?
Dave Filoni, show runner and Jedi Master of Star Wars animation, appears to making it his life’s mission to see that those dangling threads are not only wrapped up, but have a chance to evolve into new stories with Rebels. So now in the second season’s refreshing “The Protector of Concord Dawn”, we finally have an explanation as to why the criminally underused Sabine Wren wears Mandalorian armor, and a tiny but golden glimpse into what it’s been like on Mandalore under the control of the Empire. For the most part, this is Star Wars cooking with gas, while break dancing at the same time.
WHAT WORKED: As a fan of Clone Wars, having this episode delve deep into that show’s rich history is a treat but not quite as much as the refreshing blast it is to see Sabine finally getting a chance to shine. In this episode’s twenty something minutes, Sabine shows more spark and more depth than we’ve ever seen in any Rebels episode so far. Even better is that in these sparks lies the sense that there’s a lot more to learn about her. We finally might be starting to see who this person is beyond the multi-colored hair, cool armor, and spray paint. Welcome to the show, Sabine Wren.
WHAT DIDN’T: Like so many episodes of Rebels, this episode feels way too rushed. Filoni and his team seem to do the best when they have a little room to tell their stories over arcs of a couple episodes. While I get that the show has some big stuff to cover soon — and they may not have the same kind of Cartoon Network “do whatever you want, Mr. Lucas” freedom with Disney — this episode could have easily been turned in a two parter with an awesome cliffhanger or something. While it somehow holds itself together, it’s has a very hurried tone.
Sabine : “Ugh, you know this Jedi philosophy stuff doesn’t work for everyone.” Kanan : “That’s why we’re at war.”
Sabine : “I’m clan Wren, House Vizsla!” Mandalorian : “House Vizsla? She’s Death Watch!”
“Alone is who we are.” – Fenn Rau.
BEST MOMENT: After a haunting moment where we see Hera unconscious in a shot-to-hell A-Wing, Sabine gets fired up and decides to take the fight right to Concord Dawn (with Kanan coming along to act as the Jedi Space-Dad making sure she doesn’t screw the whole thing up). In a sequence that could have sank the whole episode, Sabine and Kanan sneak through the Mandalorian base and eventually Kanan has an Old West-style talk with boss Fenn Rau, while Sabine eventually has an Old West-style fast draw with Rau. Seeing Star Wars so clearly call back to it’s Western film inspirations could have been cringe-worthy, but here it works perfectly.
EPISODE’S MVP: I’m going to say it’s a dead center tie between Sabine getting her chance to shine and the return of that Mandalorian culture storyline. Clone Wars was able to pull off a smarter-than-you-think magic trick by taking these people beyond just the impossibly cool Boba Fett costume, exemplifying why they were so cool without ruining any of the mystery of why we loved Boba in the first place. This episode of Rebels picked up that ball and ran with it.
HOLOCRON READINGS :
– So the Republic brought in Mandalorian warriors from Concord Dawn to train clones during the Clone Wars? According to Legends stuff, Jango Fett was from Concord Dawn and we all know all the clones were made from Jango. Fascinating.
– From Boba Fett’s man-with-no-name spirit, to his spurs clinking whenever he walked in Empire, to the spaghetti roots of the name Jango, the Fett’s have been one of the saga’s closet links to the Old West. Choosing this episode to introduce a direct link to Star Wars’ Western influences was a stroke of genius.
– As if we needed to be reminded that Filoni and his team know their history, the symbol on Fenn Rau’s helmet is taken directly from a early Joe Johnston design for Boba Fett. Hot, hot, hot!
– Kanan and Rex talking about the Rau serving in the battle of Mygeeto comes directly from the brilliant Star Wars: Kanan comic from Marvel. With that reference, I can imagine that some Kanan comic superfan somewhere passed out.
– I know that outlandish, fan-made family trees for Star Wars characters is all the rage right now, but I tell ya… if Sabine isn’t the daughter of Bo Katan, I’ll light my shoe on fire.
8.5 out of 10
Next: “Legends of the Lasat”, soon.
Before: “A Princess on Lothal”, here.