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Recap / Star Wars Rebels S3E05 "Imperial Supercommandos"

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"You have not forgotten our ways. That has earned my respect."
Fenn Rau

Having lost contact with the Protectors of Concord Dawn, Ezra, Sabine, and Chopper conduct an investigation with their captured leader, Fenn Rau. They find that the base has been burnt down by Imperial Supercommandos — Mandalorian warriors in service to the Empire.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Aerial Canyon Chase: One between four supercommandos, Sabine with her new jetpack, Chopper, and Ezra desperately trying not to fall. Some of the trappings are averted, as the participants are far too skilled to be hindered too much by rapid turns and falling debris.
  • Arch-Enemy: Saxon and Rau. Saxon mentions that he's been looking forward to wiping out the Protectors since long before he found out they were traitors, and Rau is particularly contemptuous of Saxon and agrees to stay if only to get a shot at killing him.
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  • Archnemesis Mom: Sabine's mother joined the Empire after Sabine shamed the family by running away from the Imperial Academy, and is seeking her daughter. Sabine refuses to believe she did so willingly, though.
  • Arc Words: "I'm right behind you" makes another appearance, said by Sabine to Ezra right before Saxon grabs her.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Saxon is the Viceroy of Mandalore and personally leads the Supercommandos.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Symbolically rather than literally, as the burning ISC ship behind them gives the illusion that Sabine and Saxon's fistfight is happening this way.
  • Bloodless Carnage: We never see the dead bodies of the Protectors, only a stray and bloodstained helmet.
  • The Bus Came Back: Fenn Rau returns after we last saw him being put into Rebel custody by Phoenix Squadron, thanks to the efforts of Sabine and Kanan.
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  • Bus Crash: Rest In Peace Protectors, We Hardly Knew Ye.
  • Call-Back:
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Rau discovers that the ISC's helmet frequencies are on 337 when he and Sabine eavesdrop on them. When Sabine is about to fake swearing her loyalty, she tells Chopper beforehand to send a high frequency through it when she gives the signal.
    • Also, Sabine mentions to Rau earlier on that she was trying strategy to lull him into a false sense of security in their game of cubikahd. She makes it seem like she's surrendering to the ISC before distracting them with deafening noise over their helmets.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Fenn Rau nearly leaves Sabine and Ezra to their fates, but decides against it once he realized Sabine had true honor and comes back to rescue them.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Sabine complained about needing a jetpack back in "The Mystery of Chopper Base".
    • The Imperial Supercommandos have the same colour scheme as the Coruscant Guard, the division of clones stationed on Coruscant.
    • The lead Supercommando is Gar Saxon, who first appeared as a member of Death Watch in Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir.
      • When the Siege of Mandalor was put in as the final arc in TCW, Saxon was one of Maul's forces, which was (chronologically) the first time we saw him in animation, despite those episodes being made years later.
    • Ezra is still getting grief for the destruction of the Phantom in "Steps Into Shadow", with Hera telling him not to wreck the Phantom II as they just got it.
    • The undercurrent of irritation in Hera's voice when she reminds Sabine and Ezra to keep Rau in shackles, clearly a bit grudging toward him for wounding her.
    • Once again, someone related to Sabine's past returns and when Ezra has no idea what happened between them, that person snarks "Sabine never told you about X?" before clarifying what happened from their perspective.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: For some reason or another, whether it's him hiding his abilities or going along with Sabine's plan to escape or blocking fire while holding onto Sabine, Ezra almost never gets a direct fight with the Supercommandos. Given how easily Jedi were able to take out lone Mandalorians in 'Clone Wars'', and the fact that the one direct fight he gets is over in ten seconds (and he isn't even trying to fight the guy, just damage his jetpack to make him crash), it's understandable why.
  • Dwindling Party: Villainous version. The Supercommandos are picked off one by one throughout the episode, going from a squad of seven to Saxon alone (and maybe one or two of the other guys if they survived).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Part of the ending motif of "Sabine Suite" from "Trials of the Darksaber" plays during the conversation in the Phantom II at the end of the episode.
  • Elite Mooks: The Supercommandos are deadlier and more intelligent than Stormtroopers.
  • Funny Background Event: Foreground, but Ezra grins as Sabine insults the Supercommandos' armor.
  • Gunship Rescue: Fenn Rau returns with the Phantom II to save Sabine, Chopper and Ezra.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Rau, after helping Sabine, Ezra, and Chopper against the Imperial Supercommandos. He joins the Rebels, but this time willingly.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Subverted. Rau fights the Imperial Supercommandos with only a helmet belonging to one of his fallen men, which he found while investigating the burned-out base.
  • Heroic BSoD: Rau is left almost catatonic at the sight of the wrecked compound, realizing his men have been wiped out and his former home burned to the ground. Even as Ezra and Sabine have their guns pointed at him, demanding he surrender, he doesn't respond and takes a moment to react to anything.
  • Idiot Ball: Ezra wandering off when he's supposed to be watching Rau leads to Rau ambushing them and taking the shuttle back to Concord Dawn. Later, Sabine gives Rau the task of securing the Phantom II, and he promptly flies off and strands them. They lampshade their avoidable failures to each other both times.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Sabine pretends to surrender to the ISC, only to have Chopper broadcast a deafening noise over their helmet frequency.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Saxon threatens to shoot Chopper to get Ezra to be more cooperative. It doesn't get Ezra to speak honestly, but it does force Ezra to reveal he's a Jedi.
  • Jet Pack: Sabine finally gets one. Too bad it gets damaged when she leaves Saxon, but being the Tech Genius she is it will probably be fine later.
  • Killed Offscreen: The Protectors by the Imperial Supercommandos before the events of the episode. The rebels notice they've gone silent, kicking off the events of the episode.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Sabine gets her Jet Pack, though whether she can repair it after it gets damaged is up in the air.
  • Mythology Gag: The Supercommandos' design is inspired by early concepts for Boba Fett, who was originally conceived as an Imperial "super-trooper".
  • Neck Lift: Saxon grabs Ezra this way during the interrogation a few times.
  • Never My Fault: Fenn Rau blamed Sabine for the loss of his men by locking him up. However, he brought this on himself by getting involved with the Empire.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Protectors got wiped out by the Imperial Supercommandos when the Empire realized Rau wasn't there and was presumably caught by rebels. Had Sabine not invoked the code of justice to Rau out of revenge, then there would've been a chance for him to willingly join the Rebellion (or at least let the hyperspace lanes be open for their use) thanks to Kanan's ultimatum, and they all could have left each other in peace with no suspicion from the Empire.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: On a somewhat more optimistic note, the Supercommandos wiping out the Protectors also fuels Rau's Heel–Face Turn to the Rebellion, which also leads to him becoming The Mentor to Sabine as her Mandalorian adviser. Saxon admitting that he probably would have killed them regardless takes some of the heat off the Rebels.
  • The Producer Thinks of Everything: Rau left behind his helmet back in "The Protector of Concord Dawn" when he made a run for it. As there have previously been errors regarding helmets being left behind in an area that isn't likely to be accessed again (such as "Blood Sisters", which ended with Sabine's helmet either supposedly having been blown up or left with Ketsu) or Hammerspace, Rau is never given time to find it, but instead finds a lone helmet on the ground from one of his men and keeps it.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Imperial Supercommandos are devoted to the Empire, believing it will make Mandalore stronger, and are ashamed of Sabine for breaking her oaths and running from the Empire. On the other side, Sabine calls Saxon a traitor for allying with the Empire at the expense of other Mandalorians, and Saxon sarcastically asks her if she's still a loyalist, suggesting there are other traditionalist Mandalorians who oppose the Empire.
  • The Quisling: Rau explains that Saxon betrayed Mandalore to the Empire so he could fulfill his aspirations of becoming its ruler.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • When they reach Concord Dawn, Rau knocks out Sabine and Ezra so he can rejoin the Protectors. He is met with it having gone up in smoke and fire instead.
    • When the Supercommandos show up, Rau tries to leave in the Phantom II at the first opportunity. He makes it into space, but has a change of heart and decides to help the Rebels.
  • Seamless Spontaneous Lie: Ezra switches one plausible lie to the next with barely any hesitation, keeping up the pretense of a smuggler in over his head in every beat. Saxon doesn't fall for it, but that seems to be less due to Ezra's lack of skill and more due to the fact that the only thing Saxon wants to hear is that he's found a Rebel operative, whether it's the truth or not.
  • Second Person Attack: Rau, to a supercommando.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Early reports indicated that this would be the episode where Sabine found the Darksaber. It's not.
  • Unreliable Narrator: On both sides when Saxon and Sabine meet. While Sabine tells Ezra not to believe a word he says, she agrees with him and addresses him by name after claiming to not know him, and her comment on how only Saxon has benefited from the Empire suggests she has a personal grudge.
    • It later transpires that Saxon was lying about Sabine's mother having joined the Imperial Supercommandos. She merely aligned her clan with the Empire to avoid getting destroyed by them.
  • Wham Line:
    • The introduction of the ISC Commander:
      Ezra: And, who are you?
      ISC Commander: [removes helmet] I am Gar Saxon, Imperial Viceroy of Mandalore, and you, rebel, are now my prisoner.
    • We finally learn that Sabine's family is alive, and allied with the Empire.
      Saxon: Your mother is looking for you.
  • Worf Had the Flu:
    • Sabine has to carry Ezra throughout the canyon chase, limiting their speed and ability to fight back. When they do manage to separate, they take out half the squad with relative ease.
    • Sabine crashlands very poorly and seems to be injured or at the very least in a lot of pain before her fight with Saxon, moving more slowly and landing weaker hits than she usually does. She holds her own anyway.
  • Worthy Opponent: By the time he says it, Rau has had his Heel–Face Turn, but he finally admits to Sabine in the end that despite his previous misgivings to her when they first met as enemies, he sees that she is arguably more traditionally Mandalorian than he has been recently, and this earns his respect.
    Rau: You haven't forgotten our ways; that has earned my respect.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The Protector base is attacked and burnt down before the events of the episode, and there were no survivors, except for the absent leader, Fenn Rau.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Empire ordered the Imperial Supercommandos to slaughter the Protectors for failing to report rebel activity as well as failing to prevent the rebels from using their hyperspace routes.
  • You're Insane!: Ezra tells Sabine and Fenn Rau that Mandalorians are crazy. Rau laughs and admits he has a point, because who else would join up with the Rebellion?


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