Star Wars Rebels: “Heroes of Mandalore” – Full Spoiler Review
Season four of Star Wars Rebels is finally here, kicking off with a double episode known quite simply as “Heroes of Mandalore”. Part one of which sees Sabine Wren lead a daring assault on an Imperial compound and then a heavily armoured convoy, in hopes of rescuing her imprisoned father. The mission ultimately proves to be a success, thanks in no small part to the returning Bo-Katan Kryze. But their triumph is quickly dashed when an Imperial weapon is unleashed upon a group of Mandalorian fighters – immediately vaporising their legendary, almost impenetrable armour. Sabine solely blames herself for the monstrosity, having designed the weapon during her days as an Imperial cadet. This then directly leads into part two of the episode, where Clan Wren, Clan Kryze and most of the Ghost's crew assault a Star Destroyer housing the weapon's core. Wren is forced to destroy her very own weapon shortly thereafter, before handing over the darksaber to its rightful owner, Bo-Katan. So now that we know the basic outline of each episode, let's take a closer look at everything I personally liked about “Heroes of Mandalore”, and all the things I wasn't so keen on.
• We begin today's episode with the reemergence of Bo-Katan Kryze. I mean, how could we not? Of course, some will argue this was yet more cheap fan service, designed to have people like you and I lose our collective minds over sheer nostalgia. And to a certain degree, they are correct. Bo-Katan was, after all, a fan favourite character who partook in some of the Clone Wars' greatest story arcs. But in my mind, her appearance in Rebels feels totally justified, given the heavy plot involvement of the Mandalorians.
• Another aspect of the episode I thoroughly enjoyed, which should really come as no surprise at this point, was the stunning action set pieces. Rebels always seems to deliver when it comes to this area. And while it is sometimes over the top and somewhat unbelievable, you can't help but enjoy every single explosion, Jedi backflip, and awe-inspiring feat of Mandalorian prowess.
• The introduction of an utterly devastating Imperial weapon was also great to see, since Rebels usually treats the Empire as nothing more than a joke. So it was rather refreshing to have the stakes well and truly raised.
• And finally, as the focal point of each episode, Sabine only continues to grow more likeable and believable as more and more layers are added to her character. If she hasn't won over most fans thus far, I'm sure she will do by the end of this final season.
• Moving onto the negatives - and is it just me, or does Rebels always struggle to open their seasons? Yet again we were thrown directly back into the action, with no real explanation as to what was going on. It's just a bit jarring going from an epic battle which directly impacts the show's direction one minute, to then opening with an unrelated rescue mission on a distant world.
• Perhaps equally as jarring were the sudden shifts in tone, which all seemed to involve the most annoying character in television history, Ezra Bridger. Okay, maybe that was a bit harsh. But it seems as if Ezra's sole purpose in this show is to add “comedic relief” through either visual comedy, or dumb one-liners that completely break up, and often ruin the effect of serious scenes.
• And last but not least, it was simply way too convenient for Sabine to completely reverse her weapon's attack, in what seemed liked thirty seconds. But if that wasn't bad enough, the resulting destruction of most nearby Imperials led to yet another unbelievable victory for the protagonists.
Overall, parts one and two of “Heroes of Mandalore” were solid openers to the very final season of Star Wars Rebels. They both offered incredible action and many heartfelt moments, all while furthering the character development of Sabine Wren. In saying that, however, they suffered from many of the same drawbacks that have plagued the series right from the very beginning. So let's keep our fingers crossed that next week's two part episode can do a slightly better job. Speaking of which, “In the Name of the Rebellion” is set to have the Rebels reluctantly accept a mission to spy on an Imperial outpost they would rather destroy. Ezra and Sabine subsequently find themselves separated from Hera and Kanan, and are left to join Saw Gerrera's desperate search for the Empire's secretive and elusive superweapon. Do let me know in the comments below what you think of the premise of next week's episode, as well everything you liked and disliked regarding “Heroes of Mandalore”.