If you’re not caught up yet, here’s my review of the previous episode – Warhead.
An emotionally charged and amazingly well acted episode, Trials of the Darksaber is not only one of the best episodes of Rebels but is the episode where I finally connect with Sabine.
For a long time fans have complained about Sabine being a Mary-Sue. I’ll admit that I have joined that chorus on occasion. Looking back however we only ever saw Sabine in situations a Mandalorian should shine. It’s taken seeing her fail as she deals with her inner demons this week to realise that. In turn she’s been humanised and become a far more interesting character to me. I’m happy to admit I’ve been hard on her before and I understand that there has been a lot of other stuff to get through before we could concentrate on her in this way. It’s as though a shroud has been lifted and I finally see her fully.
That wouldn’t be the case were it not for Tiya Sircar and Freddie Prinze Jr, who deserve immense praise for their performances. On a more superficial level seeing Kanan push Sabine emotionally is interesting, but that’s only part of it. Kanan himself is learning. He’s overcome his own issues amid teaching Ezra but Sabine is no Jedi, forcing him to rethink his approach with some help from Hera (who always seems to know what to say to him).
Ezra and Rau each take smaller but still important rules roles that round out the story. As Ezra and Sabine work through Lightsaber forms (squeeee!) I’m reminded how far he has come.
There’s a lot here to warm the heart of this Star Wars fan. From portable heaters reminding me of Dagobah to SoroSuub speeders, Trials of the Darksaber takes me back whilst making me excited to see more of one of its main characters.