Star Wars Rebels – Imperial Supercommandos Review
“You haven’t forgotten our ways. That has earned my respect.”
My biggest problem with The Antilles Extraction was that, despite Sabine being at the center of the episode, it didn’t use the opportunities it had to tell the viewers more about her character. Imperial Supercommandos makes better use of her character, while also presenting a story that expands upon the Mandalorian culture in limited degrees. Admittedly, it doesn’t quite come off as a complete narrative since it sets the groundwork for several ideas that Rebels doesn’t have the time to explore here. This mainly comes in the form of references to Sabine’s mother, who has either decided to back the Empire or is being kept captive by Imperial sympathizers. Given the strength of the stories focusing on the connection between Cham Syndulla and Hera, it could be interesting to see how the show might handle another parent-child relationship. If there is a complaint to be levied against the episode, it would be that it is still mostly a standalone entry. The events contained within it, while fun, don’t really connect to any of the larger goings-on.
Imperial Supercommandos begins with Sabine attempting to implore Fenn Rau to back the Rebellion. His stance remains the same as it was in The Protector of Concord Dawn. In keeping with his role as a Rebel hostage, he will allow passage through the system, but he refuses to have his Protectors provide direct aid. I’ll admit that my memory of The Protector of Concord Dawn is a bit limited, so there was a slightly awkward quality to this episode, not unlike watching a sequel to a movie you’ve never seen. Regardless, the major details are all made apparent through context, so this doesn’t prove to be too problematic. When it is revealed that the Rebels have lost contact with the Protectors, Sabine and Ezra travel to Concord Dawn with Fenn Rau to determine what happened to the Mandalorians stationed there. Fenn Rau succeeds in knocking out the two and taking control of the shuttle, but, upon arriving back at the Protectors base, learns that they were wiped out. It turns out that the Protectors were destroyed by a group of Mandalorians who are loyal to the Empire, and that the Empire had never intended on keeping its deal with Fenn Rau.
The Mandalorians have often been an enigmatic and sometimes contradictory group within the Star Wars universe. The expanded universe often presented them as a hardened and militant group, and the Knights of the Old Republic games were even set after a failed Mandalorian assault that brought the Republic to its knees. George Lucas, in his infinite wisdom, decided to throw a Star Destroyer-sized wrench into that view of Mandalorians by revealing in the Clone Wars animated series that they were largely pacifists and that Jango and Boba Fett were exceptions. To be fair, in the films there is little to no information provided regarding the Mandalorians, so most of the canon that was built up around them had little basis in the movies. However, Disney has largely dismissed that pacifist element, presumably on account of it being really, really stupid. The opportunity to see the approach of two different factions of this largely unknown group is interesting. Disney’s representation of them definitely bears a strong resemblance to the pre-Clone Wars view of Mandalorians that was established in the Extended Universe, and it’s interesting to see how Fenn Rau’s views on honor influence his actions. It also serves to offer Sabine an opportunity to reflect on the nature of her people, and look at how her choices are influenced by where she came from.
Before I wrap up, a few Notes and Nitpicks:
- Why couldn’t they let Sabine keep the jetpack? Having it get destroyed at the end of the episode just feels like a missed opportunity. Maybe she’ll fix it in future episodes, but it still seems like a disappointing move.
- There was one image from the trailers that I would have expected to have come from this episode, but apparently it doesn’t. In other words, no sign of the darksaber yet.
- It might be a testament to how The Protector of Concord Dawn wasn’t a particularly memorable episode, but I remember how, when the trailer for Season 3 was released, people were questioning if Fenn Rau was Kallus. To be fair, their voices are similar and it can be difficult to recognize Fenn outside of his armor, but… yeah, that episode didn’t stick with me.
Imperial Supercommandos makes good use of Sabine and allows the viewers to peel back a few layers while also establishing the groundwork for some intriguing directions that Rebels could go with her character. It isn't a standout episode, but, after The Last Battle, it is encouraging to see that the show is back on track.