Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Star Wars Rebels "Heroes of Mandalore"

Go To

"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:

  • 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.
  • Action Prologue: The episode starts with our heroes attacking an Imperial base where they think Sabine's father is being held.
  • 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 for students at the Mandalorian Imperial academy to design a hypothetical anti-Mandalorian weapon. 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 actually done and did her best to destroy it (which failed due to them still having her original design).
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sabine created a superweapon for the Empire, specifically designed to target the ancestral armor the Mandalorians hold so dear, and she named it The Duchess. Bo-Katan's reaction to all of this is quite understandable.
    Bo-Katan: Wait, you named it after my sister? The former leader of Mandalore?
    Sabine: It was a series of bad decisions, okay?
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Bo-Katan igniting the Darksaber in the end as all clans swear loyalty to her.
  • Badass Boast: A group of stormtroopers burst in on Kanan and Chopper and demand they not move. Kanan's response? "Oh, I'm moving."
  • 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 finally gets to use one in this episode... but has a ton of 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.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • When the Mandalorians learn of the Duchess's existence, they're perfectly willing to kill Sabine for creating it. Bo-Katan invokes the trope, admitting that while she also hates Sabine for it, she also knows more about the weapon than anyone else, and they'll need her help to destroy it.
    • Tiber Saxon later plays the trope straighter, torturing Sabine with the Duchess and making it clear that the only reason he's not killing her outright is that he needs her to upgrade it. As soon as she's finished working on it, he turns it back on. Of course, Sabine saw this coming a mile off, and altered the weapon to target Saxon's Imperial armour instead.
  • Category Traitor: Saxon is able to stand next to the weapon and use it to torture Sabine, Bo-Katan, and his Supercommando Captain because he's switched from Mandalorian armor to stormtrooper armor. When Sabine reconfigures the weapon, he falls alongside the rest of the imperial troops.
  • 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 seem to hint that this belief has been carried over to canon.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: The only reason Saxon doesn't kill Sabine is because he can't get the Duchess to perform at full capacity without her expertise.
  • Collective Death Glare: All the Mandalorians turn one on Ezra when he suggests that they just ditch their Mandalorian armor if the Duchess is that much of a problem. Sabine explains their armor is their history, it's all centuries old. It is Mandalore.
  • Commitment Issues: Some Casual Danger Dialogue and a Multitasked Conversation shows us that Kanan is less than happy with Hera using her commitment to the Rebellion as a way of forestalling their relationship.
    Hera: Are we talking about the same thing?
    Kanan: You know how I feel.
  • 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, which actually makes it more torturous than a simple Disintegrator Ray.
  • 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. Even Bo-Katan seems disturbed by it.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: After Sabine tells Ezra that, as a Jedi, he'll be able to learn to use his jetpack "on the fly', Chopper goes on at length to explain the joke to him.
    Ezra: I wish I had more practice with this jetpack.
    Sabine: You're a Jedi. I'm sure you'll pick it up on the fly.
    Chopper: (beeps as if saying "On the fly" annd laughing)
    Ezra: Yes, "on the fly". I get it, Chopper.
  • 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 into sticking to what's right.
  • 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, stating the scenario that the Empire will simply turn it against all Mandalorians, such as themselves. 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 (and is unaffected when Sabine modifies the weapon to seek out regular stormtrooper armor).
  • 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.
  • Follow the Chaos: Sabine and the team know where Ursa is when they see the nearest explosion.
    Sabine: Yep, that's my mom.
    Ezra: Blowing things up definitely runs in your family.
    Sabine: It's a Wren specialty.
  • 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 art piece 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 simply destroy the weapon. Under pressure from Saxon to complete it, she is able to modify it as he suggested.
    • After destroying the Duchess and killing Tiber Saxon, Bo-Katan notes that It Has Only Just Begun, as now the Empire will send everything they have to crush the Mandalorians in retaliation. Come The Mandalorian some years later, where it's revealed that The Purge has indeed happened since then, driving the Mandalorian race to near extinction; any few and surviving Mandalorians have been forced into hiding.
  • 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 momentarily includes Ezra. Since he's wearing a Scouttrooper helmet, he gets briefly shocked until ripping the helmet off of him.
  • 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. Sabine admits she made "a series of bad decisions".
  • 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 previously did during the Clone Wars. She even considers herself inferior to her sister's memory as ruler.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The Duchess makes Mandalorian armor, some of the best armor there is, a crippling weakness, as Thrawn muses. He sounds quite impressed.
    • Saxon falls victim to the Duchess he recreated after Sabine reprograms it to target Stormtrooper armor, which Saxon has traded his own armor for. Consequently, Ezra also gets shocked because he's wearing a Scouttrooper helmet. However, he's able to throw it off in seconds before the shock becomes debilitating.
  • I Am the Noun:
    Saxon: I am the Empire! Palpatine has shown me the way to true power!
  • 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 for their armor, 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. As her father also puts it, it's not that they can't make new armor, it's that the armor they have is part of their culture and identity.
  • Instant Expert: As lampshaded by Sabine, Ezra does indeed learn the jetpack on the fly, a trait typical of Jedi. He fucks up for a minute, but by the end of the episode he's forcing it up.
  • It's All My Fault: Sabine blames herself for every Mandalorian who dies because of the weapon she created while she was "young and arrogant".
  • I Want Them Alive!: When Sabine leads the initial attack, Saxon tells his mooks that he wants her alive.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong:
    • Admiral Thrawn ponders the questionable wisdom of a super-weapon that targets Mandalorian armor specifically, noting that turning such a centerpiece of Mandalorian culture into a crippling weakness may not subjugate them as Saxon believes, but inflame them. He turned out to be entirely correct.
    • When Sabine reconfigures the Duchess to target stormtrooper armor and seizes a chance to use the weapon against the Empire, Bo-Katan warns her that doing so would be a brutal continuation of ruling by fear in Mandalore, which she herself is clearly tired of.
  • 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 side plot, 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. The operation at the end only works because the Empire had only finished one prototype and hadn't bothered to back up the plans anywhere, so Chopper was able to delete all the files that existed, which were only on the local database.
  • 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, particularly over their relationship status. She repeatedly shuts him down rather than flirt back, which makes him worried. In the background, he's even shown stroking his chin in deep thought over it for a few minutes.
    • 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.
  • 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 a leader in the future.
  • The Reveal:
    • One of Sabine's superweapons she mentioned creating in the past is a disintegrator, dubbed the Duchess.
    • While explaining how the Duchess works, Sabine reveals Mandalorian armor is inherited and passed down through family generations, being reforged to fit its next user. Her own armor 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, with Kanan even telling Hera how she "knows how he feels".
  • 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.
  • Skewed Priorities: Sabine's father is proud to see her again. Not just because she freed him from the Empire, but because her art has also improved.
  • 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 transporting Sabine's father, meeting him for the first time. He asks Ezra if he's with Sabine (as in part of her team). Ezra replies with the Stock Phrase "I'm with her." Realizing how that possibly sounded, he quickly backtracks and begins insisting that they're Just Friends in a hilarious and awkward manner.
  • To Be Continued: When the episode premiered at Celebration 2017, only the first half of it was shown, likely because the season is only sixteen episodes.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Bo-Katan's own brief time as leader has caused her to rethink her late sister's ways and how she was a true ruler in her own right (even adding on how she's "not [Satine]" when rejecting the idea of rulership). 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. When she takes up rulership in the ending scene, she also declares she will rule "for her sister".
  • 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 are understandably outraged with Sabine upon learning she created a weapon that specifically uses their own culture against them. Some are even on the verge of wanting to simply kill her for it.
    • Bo-Katan is particularly outraged because Sabine named her Mandalorian-killing weapon after her sister, Duchess Satine. Sabine admits it was one of many very bad decisions she made at the time.
  • 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.