Coming into this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels, I had low expectations. Previews from last week showed a few of our rebel team “stuck” on a foreign planet and fending off attacks by local, dangerous creatures. I was prepared for an action packed, but ultimately pointless episode. Once again, Rebels pleasantly surprised me. The episode was fairly action packed (as expected), but more importantly, the focus of the episode was centered on the greater plot – why are the rebels doing what they’re doing? Who is handing out their missions? How does the team feel about all this? “Out of Darkness” addressed some of the bigger questions that have been hanging out there and it made for a great episode.
The episode wastes no time upping the octane level. We enter to find Hera piloting The Ghost’s dropship, The Phantom, in a hair-raising escape from chasing Imperial TIE fighters. Ezra and Sabine are nervously strapped in tight alongside Hera while she shows us her mad skills. During the cat-and-mouse routine Hera confidently boasts, “There isn’t a pilot in the Imperial fleet that can outrun me!” The first thing that hit me after Hera’s bragging was, “I wonder how she would fair against Han Solo?!” For those of you who didn’t know, Han Solo used to be part of the Imperial military – initially trained as a TIE fighter pilot, but quickly promoted to Lieutenant due to his unmatched skills. Hera blows the chasing TIEs to slag, but I wonder if the result would have been the same if Han Solo had been in one of those TIE cockpits.
At first glance this opening appears to be pointless action – we don’t even know why the rebels are being chased! Everything becomes apparent when Sabine confronts Hera regarding the ever increasing danger that’s associated with their missions. Sabine pushes Hera to tell her where their intel comes from and why they’re continually put in harm’s way. Hera quickly shuts Sabine down and simply asks that Sabine trust her. To know that all the rebels aren’t privy to key information adds much needed depth to this show. It was also apparent that this would be a heavy Hera and Sabine episode, which is a good thing – it’s long overdue.
Once all the rebels are reunited back on The Ghost they quickly prep for their next mission. Sabine, not willing to continue blindly following orders, demands to know more about the mission. Hera throws Sabine a bone and reveals that their information comes from a contact known as Fulcrum. No one but Kanan and Hera have ever made contact with Fulcrum. Sabine pressures Hera into arranging a meeting with the mysterious informant at the drop site of their next supply run. Fulcrum, via encrypted radio communications, hesitantly agrees.
As the episode progresses we learn more about Sabine’s background and why she is so adamant to be in-the-loop. Sabine is of Mandalorian descent, that much is known. But if Boba Fett has taught us anything, it’s that Mandalorians rarely have allegiances beyond direct family and the highest bidder. So what makes Sabine different? As it turns out, Sabine, at one point was training to join the Imperial Army. The Empire established a recruitment camp on Mandalore in an effort to add to its ranks; Sabine joined in. After some questionable and uncomfortable assignments that left Sabine with a very bad taste in her mouth, she left her home to join the rebel band she’s with now. We don’t get specifics, but it’s enough to really give some genuineness to Sabine. This lady Mandalorian is sharp, deadly, sexy, and she’s not afraid to think for herself. I really appreciated the internal strife she brought throughout the episode. It really elevated the plot!
In The Phantom, Hera and Sabine touchdown on an isolated, asteroid-laden planet home to a deserted military base used during the clone wars. This is where their supply drop and meeting with Fulcrum is to take place. Thanks in full to Ezra, Zeb and Chopper’s horseplay, the damage suffered by The Phantom from the last mission was never fixed. This resulted in all the fuel from The Phantom leaking out and stranding the two rebels – problem #1. Shortly after realizing that they won’t be leaving anytime soon, Hera and Sabine make contact with some very unfriendly and creepy beasts – problem #2. Unable to take refuge in The Phantom until help arrives – these vicious little monsters can rip through armored ship hull!! – the two lady rebels are forced to make a stand against wave after wave of the killer creatures. Sabine formulates a solid strategy at keeping them alive just long enough for Kanan and The Ghost to come to the rescue.
The rebels make a safe getaway with the supplies, but it feels like we’re missing something… OH YEAH! Where is Fulcrum?!?! He was supposed to meet Hera and Sabine at the drop point, but never did. Was he eaten?! Did he bail at the onset of witnessing an army of the hungry critters? Did he even intend to stay and wait? All these are questions I had at the end of the episode and that’s a good thing! I’m drawn in and I want to know more. This is how it should be with a well formulated story. The catch-22 here is that now expectations have been set. If next episode rolls around and no thought or mention of Fulcrums status is provided, it will be a severe let down.
But as far as this week goes – “Out of Darkness” earns a B. By concentrating on the overarching plot, dedicating screen time to lesser known rebels and keeping things exciting, viewers can enjoy this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels.