Recap / Star Wars Rebels "Heroes of Mandalore"

"It's time for you to prove your loyalty. Not just to your family, but to all of Mandalore."
Bo-Katan Kryze to Sabine Wren

The rebels work together with Clan Wren to free Sabine's father from the clutches of the Empire on Mandalore. However, deadly consequences await them at the end...

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Absentee Actor: Zeb doesn't appear in this episode. Hera briefly appears in a holocall, but is otherwise absent for the rest of the episode. Thrawn also only makes a brief appearance via a holocall as well.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: In between the rescue of Sabine's father and the raid on Saxon's Star Destroyer, Rau and Bo-Katan step aside and talk about Sabine, reminiscing about how she represents the best of what they once were.
  • Admiring the Abomination: In his brief appearance, it's clear that Thrawn has a deep admiration of the Duchess and its ability to turn strength into weakness, and he longs to see it at its full potential.
  • All Too Easy: Clan Wren is approached by a lone walker in the distance. Pft, is that all the Empire has left to throw at them?... except a lethal superweapon is attached to it.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: How the Empire tricked Sabine into making the weapon in the first place. They made it a contest to design a hypothetical anti-Mandalorian weapon, and Sabine, blinded by loyalty and arrogance, made the best one she could. It was only once the Empire started testing it, on her own friends and family no less, that she realized what she had done and did her best to destroy it.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Bo-Katan igniting the Darksaber in the end as all clans swear loyalty to her.
  • Berserk Button: Sabine snaps after seeing her weapon used against her family, leading her to turn it against Saxon and the stormtroopers with intent to claim the weapon herself and use it on the Empire. Bo-Katan has to convince her to destroy it completely.
  • Briar Patching: Sabine modifies the weapon and pleads with Saxon not to use it against their people. He does, of course, and it turns out she modified it to attack Stormtrooper armor, debilitating him and everyone on the base.
  • Call-Back:
    • Ezra complained about wanting a Jet Pack back in "Ghosts of Geonosis" and "Zero Hour". He gets to use one in this episode, but he has trouble getting the hang of it.
    • Bo-Katan says that the Jedi instated her as leader of Mandalore as intended when the Siege of Mandalore was over. The originally planned Series Finale for The Clone Wars would have centered around these events. The lead-up is covered in the fifth season.
    • The rebels journey to Sundari to save Sabine's father from public execution. As stated in "Legacy of Mandalore" and shown in The Clone Wars, Sundari is the capital of Mandalore.
    • Ursa mentioned in the previous episode that Clan Saxon is being backed by the Empire. Gar Saxon has been succeeded as governor by his brother, Tiber Saxon.
    • Governor Saxon gloats that Palpatine showed him the way to true power - then blasts Sabine and Bo-Katan with lightning.
    • Clan Vizsla from The Clone Wars appear as a part of the Mandalorian Resistance.
  • Call-Forward:
    • The weapon that Sabine designed causes the death of her family (or so she thinks), much as Jyn Erso is killed by the weapon her father was forced to create in Rogue One.
    • Sabine leaves the Mandalorian Resistance in the care of Bo-Katan, allowing her to return to the main Rebellion. Sabine is seen with the rebels on Yavin 4 in a Forces of Destiny short.
    • Thrawn asks Governor Saxon if he seriously thinks that people will cow to the Empire if they are subjected to the threat of a superweapon, to which Saxon cites that fear is a good tool. Tarkin agrees with Saxon's sentiment, and as Thrawn points out, that's pretty flawed logic, which foreshadows Thrawn's indirect rivalry with Krennic regarding the Death Star later this season.
  • Canon Immigrant: A Legends quote about Mandalorians passing away is that the fallen are "not gone, merely marching far away". Rau and Ursa pledging that the recently-deceased Protectors and heavily-massacred Clan Wren will stand by Bo-Katan in their respective vows seems to hint that this belief has been carried over to canon.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Ezra exits a hallway with his lightsaber still ignited as the door opens behind him, entering a chaotic battle scene involving Mandalorians fighting, in a similar shot composition as when Obi-Wan entered a war-torn Sundari in "The Lawless" in The Clone Wars. This time, however, Mandalorians stand together rather than against each other.
    • The reason why Sabine knows quite a bit about art besides doodling despite her age (like saying she based her art off of Janyor of Bith's works when talking to Lando in "Idiot's Array") is likely related to her father being an expert in art himself.
    • One of the clans has a color scheme similar to that of Boba's armor...
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: How the Duchess works: It generates an electrical arc that seeks out the beskar alloy in Mandalorian armor, overheating it and cooking its wearer alive until they are disintegrated. This weapon is considered an abomination because it turns a piece of Mandalorian culture into a weapon to use against them. However, it can be dialed down to the user's preference.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Rau introduces Bo-Katan and interacts with her in a way that implies they've met before, including recognizing her and having little problems working together with her. Chances are, this was likely during the Clone Wars-era Mandalorian Civil War, or Rau and Bo-Katan met during the recent civil war that happened after Gar Saxon was killed.
  • Death Glare: Sabine gets a rather chilling one, staring down at Tiber Saxon as she tortures him.
  • Electric Torture: Saxon dials down the power of the Duchess so it merely creates painful electrical shocks as opposed to death, in order to convince Sabine to finish the weapon. She instead alters it so it affects Stormtrooper armor, giving him a taste of his own medicine until Bo-Katan talks her down.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: The Duchess creates an electrical arc that is attracted to a specific alloy in Mandalorian armor. At full strength, the armor is superheated and the wearer is cooked alive, leaving behind piles of ash and brittle armor.
  • End of an Age: In their side conversation, Rau and Bo-Katan admit that the current age of constant Mandalorian infighting is coming to an end and hope that Sabine and others like her will bring a new, better age. While their time is not over yet and Bo-Katan takes up the darksaber, she knows it won't last forever.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Imperial Supercommando Captain is rightfully wary of the weapon, asking if the Empire won't just turn it against all Mandalorians. He's also clearly still wearing his armor, even if it is modified, as shown when Saxon tortures him alongside Bo-Katan and Sabine for questioning him.
  • Exposition Dump: When Bo-Katan and her Nite Owls show up, no one except for Rau knows who she is (though Sabine's case makes sense in that she's only heard of Bo-Katan according to All There in the Manual, and she didn't realize the woman in front of her is Bo-Katan herself), leading to an exposition dump of who Bo-Katan is and what happened after the Siege of Mandalore.
  • False Flag Operation: The Imperial outpost is a decoy; Sabine's father is actually being transported to Sundari for a public execution.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: A recording of the Duchess in action shows on-screen how it kills its targets. The Mandalorians are electrocuted while their armor visibly overheats and turns brittle, followed by a shot of them collapsing into dust.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Ursa has a portrait of herself in the Wren household, likely created by a professional formal artist. Since Sabine probably got her love for art from someone, we find out that Sabine's father is that person, also implying that he made that artpiece of his wife.
    • It turns out that nobody from Mandalore up until this episode (or only until after Sabine returned home in Season 3) knew what Sabine had created for the Empire. This means that Sabine's confession back in "Trials of the Darksaber" was even more serious than we thought, as it was the first time she ever told anyone, and that's why no one in Clan Wren during "Legacy of Mandalore" brought up the superweapon against Sabine and focused more on that she ran away. Tristan confronting Sabine about it suggests she told her family about her role after "Legacy of Mandalore", and Alrich likely learned of it while imprisoned.
    • When Rau asks if the Duchess could be altered to target Stormtroopers, Sabine says she considered it, only to dismiss the possibility and insist they destroy the weapon. Under pressure from Saxon to complete it, she is able to modify is as he suggested.
  • Friendly Fireproof: The superweapon is designed to target anybody in Mandalorian armor while Imperials and unarmored troops in range are unaffected. Sabine changes the frequency so it targets Stormtrooper armor instead, including their vehicles, which also includes Ezra momentarily since he's wearing a Scouttrooper helmet.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The awkward exchange between Alrich and Ezra sounds like Ezra accidentally implied he and Sabine were sleeping together. No wonder he's so embarrassed.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Kind of. There is not another Duchess that succeeded Satine, but Sabine named one of the Imperial superweapons after the late Satine—the Duchess. Governor Saxon allows the deployment of the weapon against Clan Wren as a dose of cruel irony. Bo-Katan is not amused by Sabine's choice of names, among other things.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Bo-Katan and her people start to lose faith in the idea of the resistance and end up turning against Sabine and company. Sabine gives a Rousing Speech which convinces Bo-Katan, who in turn talks down her clansmen.
  • Hero of Another Story: Over the past few years, Bo-Katan has taken time to think about her sister and now sees her in a better light than she held her during the Clone Wars.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The Duchess makes Mandalorian armor, some of the best armor there is, a crippling weakness, as Thrawn lampshades.
    • Saxon falls victim to the Duchess he recreated after Sabine reprograms it to target Stormtrooper armor, which Saxon has traded his own armor for. Ezra also gets shocked because he's wearing a Scouttrooper helmet, but he's able to throw it off before it becomes debilitating.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Upon Sabine saying that the Duchess works by targeting the alloy in Mandalorian armor, Ezra asks why the Mandalorians don't just use another material, earning him a Death Glare from every Mandalorian around him. Sabine has to explain that all Mandalorian armor is passed down through their clans and reforged as necessary, her own being 500 years old. It's not that they can't make new armor, it's that the armor they have is part of their culture.
  • Meaningful Name: The Duchess, a weapon that targets Mandalorian armor, was named after Satine who attempted to eliminate the warrior tradition.
  • Mythology Gag: Clan Vizsla's insignia is similar in shape to Jaster Mereel's Journeyman Protector insignia, except it is only the feather and the tips of the feather are red.
  • Non-Indicative First Episode: "Heroes of Mandalore" wraps up the Mandalore sideplot, which is not covered again for the rest of the season, serving more as a prologue or bridge between Seasons 3 and 4 (as the episode does hint at wrapping up Kanan and Hera's relationship as well as tying up Sabine's arc). Really, "In the Name of the Rebellion" is the true beginning of the season, as it relates more to the Rebellion.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: When Sabine first realized the Duchess would be deployed against her own people, she went to great lengths to sabotage the prototype and delete any data on how she created it. Saxon still managed to duplicate the technology, but at a fraction of its true potential. That's why he needs Sabine to perfect it.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Sabine realizes the Empire is about to deploy one of her superweapons on her family.
  • Order Reborn: Starting with this episode, the Mandalorian Resistance is officially revived.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Kanan flirts a bit with Hera but she repeatedly shuts him down rather than flirt back, which makes him worried.
    • On the Imperial side, Thrawn raises his voice and scolds Governor Saxon in how to use the Duchess efficiently, clearly seeing that the latter is too busy being an egotistical suck-up to see the solution himself.
  • Passing the Torch: Despite being reluctant at the beginning of the episode, Bo-Katan accepts the Darksaber and the mantle of leader from Sabine in the end.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: Sabine leaves Governor Saxon to die after he gets injured by her superweapon.
  • Refusal of the Call:
    • Sabine tries to give Bo-Katan the Darksaber and the responsibility of leading the Mandalorian Resistance, but she refuses, saying that she doesn't believe she can rule Mandalore as the successor to her sister out of fear of an in-universe Tough Act to Follow as well as having lost some self-confidence after the Empire took away her position as leader of Mandalore despite the Jedi entrusting her as such during the Siege. She gets better.
    • Likewise, Rau and Bo-Katan discuss how Sabine is worthy of being leader, with several of her actions and other people's responses to her throughout the episode such as being allowed to talk while laying out a plan in the war room without being talked down being definite signs that she is capable of becoming a leader. At the end of the episode, Sabine humbles herself, saying that she was meant to give the call of leadership to Bo-Katan. That isn't to say, however, she can't be leader in the future.
  • Retcon: Way back in "Droids In Distress", Sabine is as horrified by Kanan (read: not much) by the ion disruptors and how it affected Zeb's people—very much similar to the function of the Duchess.
  • The Reveal:
    • One of Sabine's superweapons is a disintegrator, dubbed the Duchess.
    • While explaining how the Duchess works, Sabine reveals Mandalorian armor is actually inherited and her own is 500 years old.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Sabine and the others only hear Clan Wren panicking over the comm when the superweapon is about to be deployed. It ends in a long beep, as the comm has been destroyed. Subverted in the next episode, when Saxon shows a recording of it.
  • Second Person Attack: We see the core exploding from Saxon's viewpoint as he wakes up just in time to see it. Since the scene immediately cuts to outside where we can see molten metal pouring down from where he was, we can assume his death wasn't pretty.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Sabine's father is well versed in the subject of art (likely being a political artist or an art professor), which is where Sabine gets her love for art from. When she breaks him out of prison, they talk a little bit about how Sabine's art has progressed since the last time they were together.
  • Ship Tease: Even more blatant between Kanan and Hera in their holocall.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The caravan action sequence is one long shout out to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, right down to ending with Ezra just barely surviving going off a cliff.
    • Kanan cuts the lights in the transport in order to fight Stormtroopers in the dark in classic Zatoichi fashion.
    • Ezra struggling with the jetpack is taken from The Rocketeer.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: As it turns out, Gar Saxon's death led Thrawn to take control of the situation in Mandalore, pushing Tiber Saxon to develop The Duchess to break the stalemate in the Empire's favor.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: Ezra climbs up the falling transports this way.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: While Tristan looks more like Ursa, Sabine looks more like their father.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When Ezra takes out the drivers and meets Sabine's father, he asks if Sabine's with Ezra. Ezra replies with the Stock Phrase "I'm with her." before quickly backtracking and saying they're Just Friends.
  • To Be Continued: When the episode premiered at Celebration 2017, only the first half of it was shown likely because the season is only fifteen episodes.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Bo-Katan's own brief time as leader has caused her to rethink her sister's ways. Not enough that she turns down being a warrior herself, but enough that she insists on honor, something she would never have done in her Death Watch days.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: While only the first half of the episode was shown early, the Season 4 trailer revealed that Ursa and Tristan are unharmed, the rebels and the Mandalorian Resistance head towards Sundari at night, and that Sabine and Bo-Katan get into a fight, which is eventually followed up by Bo-Katan taking up the Darksaber and becoming the leader of the Mandalorian Resistance once again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Bo-Katan and other Mandalorians turn against Sabine when they learn she's responsible for creating a weapon that specifically uses their own culture against them.
  • You Are Not Alone: At the end of the episode, when Bo-Katan expresses doubt at her leadership skills, Sabine says that she believes in her and so do the other clans, who pledge their allegiance to her. Ursa and Rau both pledge allegiance for their respective groups as well, who have been recently destroyed or decimated.


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