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Recap / Star Wars Rebels S3E02 "The Antilles Extraction"

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'"Listen carefully, cadets. You are here because the Empire sees the potential in you to join the ranks of its most elite pilots. Most of you will fail. Whatever you have achieved before means nothing. Here, only the best survive."
Commandant Argin Relik
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The Rebellion is in desperate need of more pilots. With intel from a new rebel informant, Sabine goes undercover as a cadet in an elite Imperial flight academy, the Skystrike Academy, to help free several young pilots who want to defect to the Rebellion; including the confident and gifted Wedge Antilles.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Academy of Evil: Skystrike is one for Imperial fighter pilots.
  • Ace Pilot:
    • The pilots, especially Captain Vult Skerris, of the TIE Interceptors.
    • And of course, who else other than Wedge Antilles and co.? Specifically, him and Hobbie.
  • Action Prologue: The episode begins with a squadron of A-Wings escorting a transport on a supply run crossing paths with a squadron of TIE Interceptors, and getting curbstomped.
  • All There in the Manual: The planet Skystrike Academy is on is called Montross.
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  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Governor Pryce puts up a much better fight than the stormtroopers. Sabine even compliments her on her skill.
  • Badass Boast: Sabine and Governor Pryce exchange them. Sabine wins.
    Pryce: The Empire taught me well.
    Sabine: My clan taught me better! [elbows Pryce into the electric prod, taking her out]
  • Binary Suns: Montross has them.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Of Sabine and the three escaping pilots, it's the dark-skinned one with an unfamiliar name that bites it when Pryce orders one of them killed. Technically not the first to die, as six Phoenix Squadron pilots and a whole transport go down before him, but he's the first named character.
  • Boot Camp Episode: This episode has Sabine join Skystrike Academy to extract cadets who want to defect. Unfortunately, the ISB was on their tail.
  • Call-Back:
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    • Sabine used to be an Imperial cadet back in the Mandalorian Imperial Academy, and now she's returning back to another one.
    • There's a new Fulcrum, now that Ahsoka, the original Fulcrum, is gone. They've also carried over her symbol, which was last used in her debut episode, "Out of Darkness".
    • Kallus lets Sabine and co. escape and tells them which levels to avoid, then instructs her to "Tell Garazeb Orrelios, we're even."
  • Call-Forward:
    • Aftermath has a part where Wedge remembers how he was recruited into the Rebellion by Fulcrum, and this episode shows how exactly he defected.
    • Sabine decides using a TIE Bomber for her escape with Wedge and Hobbie. While it sacrifices speed, it will hold up much longer than an ordinary TIE against a Zerg Rush and the TIE Interceptors. She asks Wedge if he can pilot, to which he replies, "I can fly anything", much like what Poe Dameron would say to Finn in their escape from the First Order.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Sabine and Pryce spend their fight slamming each other into metal and trying to electrocute each other until Sabine succeeds. Blink and you miss it but Sabine also attempts a Groin Attack.
  • Continuity Nod: Ezra also went undercover in an Imperial Academy, back in "Breaking Ranks". Like how Kanan was concerned about him back then, Ezra is about Sabine as well.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Phoenix Squadron gets in a skirmish with a squadron of TIE Interceptors at the start of the episode. Didn't work out so well for the former.
  • Damsel out of Distress: While Wedge and Hobbie argue over how to rescue Sabine, she's busy saving herself and then shows up to bail them out.
  • Defector from Decadence: As Sabine used to be an Imperial cadet herself, she's now helping at least a couple other cadets, including Wedge, escape from an Academy too.
  • Distressed Dude: Wedge and Hobbie spend some time in a cell before Sabine comes and gets them.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Sabine dresses as an Imperial pilot to infiltrate the Academy.
  • Dye Hard: In-universe. Sabine goes back to what is presumably her natural hair color for the mission. Compared to how she normally looks, it's quite jarring.
  • Electric Torture: Pryce intends to inflict this on Sabine. Sabine breaks out before it can happen, and the device is used to take Pryce out.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: We've never gotten any indication of any female Imperial Faceless Goons onscreennote , but Sabine pretending to be one and no one batting an eye confirms this trope within the show. Other female TIE pilots are shown here and there, including other cadets and one supervising the simulators.
  • Foreshadowing: Kallus' behaviour in this episode is suspicious to say the least. Not even mentioning the whole "actively helping Sabine and co. escape", he also doesn't tell Governor Pryce who the infiltrator is despite knowing who Sabine is (even a disguise wouldn't have fooled him), and he also has some very interesting facial expressions. Him mentioning his debt to Zeb doesn't exactly cover it.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The three would-be defectors Sabine meets are Wedge Antilles, Hobbie Klivian and Rake Gahree. Rake is the only one whose name is unfamiliar, and unsurprisingly he's the one who bites it.
  • Hope Spot: When Fulcrum is first mentioned, Ezra questions if Ahsoka is back. This is quickly shot down by Hera, who notes that there are several agents with this code name.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Part of the TIE simulator involves shooting down a disabled transport while it's transmitting surrender and that there are wounded aboard. Cadets who hesitate or refuse are then "killed" by the Ghost, to demonstrate that pilots must put their orders above everything else.
  • Indy Ploy: Once she makes sure Wedge is serious about defecting, Sabine tells him to gather his friends for an escape. When he asks for a plan, she says she's still working on that part while she runs off.
    Wedge: Are you serious?!
    Sabine: Welcome to the Rebellion.
  • The Infiltration: Sabine infiltrates Skystrike Academy to help defecting cadets, including Wedge Antilles, escape.
  • Internal Reveal: Partially. Sabine is surprised when Kallus mentions that he owes a debt to Zeb, suggesting that Zeb never told the crew about the events on Bahryn.
  • Kick the Dog: Sabine makes a snide remark to Kallus (who has been expressing doubt about the Empire and its lack of concern for its own people) when Pryce tells him he's done his job (he hardly did anything productive for the Empire in the episode) and dismisses him. Observant viewers may notice that Kallus did not tell Pryce that Sabine was the infiltrator among the defectors when Pryce was interrogating them, as well as Kallus actually seeming to take Sabine's insult to heart.
    Sabine: Looks like they found someone who can do your job.
  • Lured into a Trap: Pryce arranges for the cadets to go on a training exercise after an extended lockdown in which Kallus was attempting to root out the potential defectors. Seeing this as their best chance, Sabine and the defectors take it. Then Pryce triggers charges on their fighters which separate the solar panels and leave the cockpits without power, while the TIE Interceptors sent along force the Rebel cruiser to retreat.
  • Make an Example of Them: After Sabine's first escape attempt is foiled by Pryce, she orders one of their four fighters to be destroyed. Rake is the one that loses the lottery.
  • Makes Us Even: Kallus figures that helping Sabine and co. escape will make his debt to Zeb even, but clearly, there was more to it than simply repaying a debt.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Near-Villain Victory: Pryce captures the traitors and kills one of them, routes out Sabine, and when they manage to escape their comms are jammed so they can't contact the Rebellion, while Skerris comes within a hair's breadth of shooting them down. If the cruiser hadn't stuck around, all three would have been dead or captured.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Pryce follows in the example of Imperials before her, grabbing Sabine's face while interrogating her.
  • Not What I Signed on For: Wedge and the others defect because blowing up unarmed transports wasn't in the job description. Sabine uses the line while trying to gain his trust.
  • Remember That You Trust Me: A variation in that it's another character doing so, but Kanan repeatedly reminds Ezra that he trusts Sabine, and should stop worrying so much about her.
  • Secret Test of Character: Sabine poses as another pilot with doubts towards the Empire to make sure that Wedge is serious about defecting. Once she confirms that he is, she reveals her true name and that she's part of the Rebellion sent to break them out.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Skerris looks similar to one of the TIE pilots in the fan made short TIE Fighter.
    • Sabine, Wedge, Hobbie, and Rake's TIE fighters' wings come off exactly like the spring-loaded wings on early TIE Fighter toys from Kenner.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Zigzagged all over the place. Sabine's plan to get the cadets out is never spoken, but the plan to get Sabine out is, and both fail. Later, Sabine grabs a TIE Bomber to make it into space, hoping to contact the cruiser, but the comm is jammed by the Imperials. Then the cruiser swoops out of the clouds and picks them up, at which point Ezra reveals that they returned and hid just in case.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • When Skerris and his wingmen trounce the A-wing escorts, the crippled transport begs for its life by saying they are unarmed and that the Empire has no right to fire on them, with the TIE Interceptors' refusal to spare them to show how ruthless they are. But since the transport was already willingly escorted by declared enemies of the Empire in open war with them, that made it a perfectly valid military just like merchant ships in convoys from all sides were routinely sunk by their opponents in World War II with no prior warnings or demands for surrender.
    • The simulated Ghost "killing" pilots who hesitate in the training run is actually a very valid lesson in counter-insurgency and counter-terror warfare. "Unarmed civilians" often aren't (or are being used by actual armed insurgents) and in the real world, hanging around and hesitating would have resulted in the real Ghost killing them. Not to mention that low-level pilots are not in a position to know the entire situation and can't make calls like that without putting themselves at risk.
    • Not to mention, we have seen rebels ambushing the Imperials by pretending to be unarmed, or civilians or in disguise, all the time across multiple media in the Star Wars universe. It makes sense that the Imperials train for such scenarios.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: While Wedge is glad to hear that the Rebellion has come to help him, he's pretty astounded to hear that Sabine's actually just making this up as she's going along and pretty much says this.

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