Recap: ‘Star Wars Rebels’ “Wings of the Master” & “Blood Sisters”
The latest episodes of Star Wars Rebels haven’t been nearly as exciting or deep reaching as those introducing the new season, but as Season 2 establishes itself, so too does it need to reveal more about our main characters, their pasts, and their paths to rebellion. This time, the women of Rebels are put under the spotlight as Hera brings a brilliant addition to the rebel cause while Sabine faces a familiar presence that complicates an otherwise easy mission.
In “Wings of the Master”, Hera (Vanessa Marshall) takes the lead as more and more systems begin to feel the squeeze of Imperial tyranny. Already thwarted in their attempt to help the starving people of Ibaar by Agent Kallus (David Oyelowo) and his blockade of the planet, the Rebel fleet and Phoenix Squadron look to a mysterious ship designer for help. As the fleet prepares another suicidal run for the planet, Hera must prove to Quarrie (Corey Burton) that his newest design, the Blade Wing, is in good hands under her expert control.
Following Hera’s act of heroism, Sabine (Tiya Sircar) and Ezra (Taylor Gray) are assigned to pick up and escort a courier droid to Bail Organa and his own faithful droid partner, R2D2. Things get complicated when an old friend, Ketsu Onyo (Gina Torres) comes for the bounty on the droid. Though their separation was not under good terms, and their rivalry in the face of being caught by the Imperials still boils, Sabine and Ketsu must work together to get what they both want, which is to survive the day.
Though quite a straightforward episode, “Blood Sisters” reveals some of what we could already guess about Sabine. It’s not a far stretch to imagine her as a bounty hunter with a heart of gold searching for a higher purpose in a galaxy savaged by the Empire, and in Ketsu, we get a glimpse of what her life could have been like without the Rebellion. The differences between the one-time friends outweigh their similarities, but it’s a credit to Sabine’s heart – something she shows but allows few people to see – and her belief in something bigger than herself that allows her the strength to punch through Ketsu’s icy exterior and give her “sister” some hope for a better future.
As she is almost always in the background, preferring her solitude while providing snarky quips, distributing bombs and perfectly placed blaster shots amongst her expert acrobatics, it’s nice to finally see more from Sabine and to learn more about where she comes from. It is a bit disappointing that Sabine didn’t receive a more emotionally substantial episode for us to explore her as a character, but “Blood Sisters” definitely gives her more to do than simply attempting to complete a mission, as she uses her wits and brilliant capacity for making others see her way to possibly bring another asset into the Rebellion in the future. Though she has been somewhat of a background character throughout the series, one of her most interesting attributes has always been her artwork, and with more of her past being revealed, however slowly, perhaps we will finally know the origin of the symbol she has adopted, the symbol that becomes synonymous with the Rebellion we know from the original trilogy.
The more substantial of the two episodes, “Wings of the Master” is all about Rebels’ ace pilot and cell leader, Hera. There has been much speculation about Hera ever since her last name was revealed, linking her to Clone Wars rebel Cham Syndulla, and though her past on Ryloth is only briefly mentioned as she appeals to Quarrie, we get a small glimpse as to why Hera is where she is. She has always been the brains, leading her band of rebels to victory, and putting her in a position to make a huge difference within the wider Rebellion makes her even more like her father in her own way. Fleshing out a character that has won our hearts with her intellect, will, and humour adds to Hera’s appeal, especially now that her heroism has been put on grand display in its own right, and we can’t wait to see how she develops as the head of Phoenix Squadron.
Only somewhat more importantly than Hera’s history, “Wings of the Master” brings a familiar, important asset into the fray: the B-Wing. From the moment the powerful ship is introduced, sitting idle in Quarrie’s hangar bay (named after Ralph McQuarrie himself), the red ship is recognizable, but it isn’t until Hera takes the prototype out for a spin that the true nature of the strange looking ship makes ear-splitting grins appear on all our faces. These subtle yet blatant connection moments are what Rebels do so well, one of the best moments of the episode involving the deceptively powerful little B-Wing breaking Kallus’ blockade with one shot as the main Star Wars theme invokes goose bumps. The successful introduction of the B-Wing also leads the charge for Quarrie to enter the Rebellion, given the task of designing new ships (maybe an X-Wing will come out of it!).
In the background of Hera and the B-Wing, “Wings of the Master” also reveals a few other tidbits about the galaxy as a whole as the rebels race to bring supplies to the blockaded Ibaarians. Though probably until the Rebellion became such a nuisance, Imperial control of planets – seen all last season on Lothal – was all about power and resources. In this episode, however, Kallus gives the impression that his blockade of Ibaar has evolved into more of a tactic to draw the rebels out and into his net as he exploits their desire to help those in need. In the face of this and the overwhelming strength of the Empire, bringing in an unknown entity (Quarrie, the B-Wing) displays the ingenuity of the rebels in the face of the Empire’s established tactics and predictability, a fact that the rebels exploit again and again. The shape of the fight for the galaxy is beginning to shift, and Rebels continues to do an expert job of leading the Star Wars story into A New Hope.
“Wings of the Master”: (4 / 5)
“Blood Sisters”: (3 / 5)
(Photos copyright: Disney, Lucasfilm)