Star Wars Rebels is back for the fourth and final season!
Throughout the first major chunk of the season, there will be two episodes aired on the same night, and that began on Monday with a two-parter. (You can find details about the season schedule here.)
In Heroes of Mandalore Parts 1 & 2, we get a heavy dose of Sabine and her family. The first part begins with a search for Sabine's father, who the crew hope is still alive and in a prison they have scouted. After her mother Ursa gives them new intel, the team of Mandos and Rebels eventually find her father and rescue him from capture.
Ursa and Clan Wren are in contact with Sabine discussing the retreat of imperial forces when Sabine hears a familiar sound and warns her mother to get out of the area. Sabine and the crew rush to the site of the battle and discover the disintegrated remains of her clan. The first part ends with the assumption that Sabine's mother and brother have died at the hands of a weapon she created.
In part two, we quickly discover that they were able to survive thanks to Sabine's warning, but her Ursa is injured from the attack. Now, Bo-Katan and the rest of the Mandalorians pose a moral question to Sabine. Is she willing to face her past and help destroy the weapon she once created for the good of her people?
Sabine does face the problem head on, and comes up with a plan to destroy the weapon and in turn take away the advantage it has created for The Empire. Tiber Saxon--who is now the governor of Mandalore since his brother's death--is in control of the weapon, but has not unlocked its full potential yet. He needs Sabine for that, and he has a discussion with Thrawn about that very subject.
In the end, Sabine leads the charge while Fenn Rau, Bo-Katan, Kanan, Ezra, and Chopper play major roles in the mission. Sabine recalibrates the weapon to attack imperial armor, but destroys the weapon after Bo-Katan reminds her of the honor her people have. The episode ends with Sabine handing Bo-Katan the Darksaber and she is now the leader of many clans, including Clan Wren and The Protectors. They are now tasked with fighting The Empire to take back their planet.
-In this episode, we get hints at a potential relationship between Sabine and Ezra for this season. We hadn't seen any romantic hints between the two since Lando was around in the early seasons.
-There were a few hints in the conversation between Bo-Katan and Fenn Rau that Sabine might be fit to rule Mandalore. That has been a long-speculated idea for the overall arc of Sabine's character. It will be interesting to see if Bo-Katan accepting the Darksaber is ultimately a misdirection for what is to come for Mandalore.
-We didn't get much from Hera in these two episodes, but she did make a brief appearance to remind Kanan that they couldn't be on Mandalore for very long. We could see a shift to focus on things that matter to the overall rebellion and less on arcs that build characters in this final season.
-Ezra seems much more confident and in command in this season, but he did still struggle with himself a few times.
-We got a reference to Palpatine himself in this episode. I'm not sure if we've heard his actual name in this series yet, but his presence will be something to keep an eye out for as the season progresses.
-After Justin Ridge became the primary supervising director for season three, Dave Filoni was back in the chair for these two episodes. That is something to keep an eye out for as more episodes are released.
Overall, this was a great start to the final season. The animation is the best it has been all series. These characters really matter to the audience after three seasons of development. They have done a good job of adding more backstory and mystique to Mandalore, and I have a feeling this won't be our last trip there this season. There was great action, emotion, suspense, and feel-good in these two episodes, and we are set for what should be an emotional final season.