Warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Blood Sisters.” Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
The last episode of Star Wars Rebels turned the focus on Hera Syndulla, but this week was all about Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar). We know the Mandalorian attended the Imperial Academy, but in “Blood Sisters,” we learned she was once a bounty hunter with ambitions to join the Black Sun. Having this new information about her background makes Sabine’s switch to Team Rebel more intriguing, and though this episode didn’t explore that particular decision, it did put down plenty of background.
We found out about Sabine’s history thanks to a run-in with Ketsu Onyo. She used to be close to Sabine—very close. It sounded like they ditched the Academy together and left to pursue their ambitions. And hey, Ketsu was voiced by none other than Gina Torres. She did wonderful work making Ketsu hard-edged and intimidating but then softer once the character saw the benefit of working with a team. The dynamic between Ketsu and Sabine was well-written, and they dropped several casual statements to intimate the level of their relationship and their past. For example, Sabine saw Ketsu’s moves coming when Ketsu tried to steal the power droid. Basically, they told us through clues rather than an exposition dump.
The story gave us an idea of what Sabine gave up and also how devoted she is to the Rebellion. I’m curious to see Sabine of the past, but I already know I’d like present day Sabine better. When you think about Sabine, you usually consider her skills in battle, her incredible talent with explosions, her intelligence, and her artistic skills. Here, despite Ezra going on about how much Sabine likes alone time (I’m with you there, Sabine), we spent time exploring another side of Sabine: her compassion for others.
Sabine was concerned for Chopper and the cause, and she forgave Ketsu for her actions in the past and present. She brought her friend into her circle rather than shutting her out, and yeah, some of that was circumstance thanks to the arrival of the Empire. But I believe Sabine would have tried to recruit Ketsu anyway. It wasn’t necessarily about getting Ketsu to put her faith in the Rebellion, it was about giving her back-up and a family. No, the Black Sun doesn’t count as family.
Droids were key parts of the episode, too. Chopper was there—of course—and he stepped up his game yet again. He’s been going out on a limb to assist the Ghost crew this season, and it’s interesting to see him be more helpful. His little arm motions continue to be adorable, and he got a workout in “Blood Sisters.” He just makes me clap with glee sometimes. And he also helped the power droid courier—if there was anything cuter in the episode than Chopper pushing the power droid out of the way, I can’t think of it.
Besides Chopper and the Gonk droid, there was the pilot of the transport ship. Did anyone else think it was interesting how Sabine didn’t care about ditching the pilot droid? He wasn’t a teammate like Chopper but still. He was innocent. Finally, there was R2-D2. We don’t need to see the legacy characters a ton in Rebels because their mere presence can distract from the story at hand, but this was a short cameo and emphasized how important the plans were. If they were headed towards Senator Organa, they’re a big deal.
One more quick observation: the stormtroopers that attacked Ketsu and Sabine in the hangar mentioned a curfew. It’s a small thing, but it was a reminder of the Empire’s controlling ways. I like seeing occasional nods to the more insidious side of their might and oppression.
- “You were a bounty hunter? That explains a lot.” – Ezra
- “Chopper’s more than a droid. He’s a Rebel and a friend.” – Sabine
What did you think of the Sabine-centric story? Head to the comments and let me know your thoughts about “Blood Sisters” or hit me up on Twitter.