*Spoiler warning: This review contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Blood Sisters”
Continuing the trend from last week’s “Wings of the Master” this week’s episode, “Blood Sisters” focuses on another member of the crew of the Ghost that has not–to this point–received much of the spotlight. In this case, Sabine Wren comes to the forefront in a fun adventure that sheds just a little bit of light on the Mandalorian’s past.
Tasked by Hera with the transportation of an information courier to a Rebel base called Havoc Outpost, Sabine and Ezra have great difficulty locating their contact. And when they finally do discover that it was a (Gonk) droid they were looking for, they also discover that they were not the only ones in search of it. Rather, a female Mandalorian bounty hunter by the name of Ketsu Onyo has also been in pursuit of the droid.
As one’s past is often wont to do, Sabine’s has caught up to her in the form of Onyo, a former friend and representation of the alternate path Wren might’ve taken. The introduction of Ketsu Onyo provides Sabine with the opportunity to reveal that the two women had once been Imperial cadets before planning to join the criminal organization Black Sun. But at one point, the former had left the latter for dead and chose her potential employer over her friend.
Now the two are rivals, but just before Sabine, Chopper, and the courier make their way off-planet in a stolen shuttle, a brief skirmish with stormtroopers makes them temporary allies–and not for the last time. For her part, Onyo certainly fits the mold of the Mandalorian bounty hunters and all that we’ve come to expect of them. She is fearless and masterful as a warrior. And even when it appears that the stormtroopers finally have the drop on her, one never quite believes that she’ll lose–which of course she doesn’t. Voiced by the amazing Gina Torres (whose résumé includes both roles in Whedonverse series Firefly and Angel as well as a role in J.J. Abram’s Alias), Ketsu Onyo is a welcome addition to the Star Wars saga.
Soon, the scene and the chase shifts to space. The two engage in moves and counter moves–each seemingly aware of what the others about to do before they do it. Consequently, the Mandalorians soon arrive at a stalemate with Onyo holding Chopper as hostage and offering to trade for the Gonk droid courier. Finally, Sabine and her rival meet face-to-face, and the ice between the two begins to thaw as the negotiations begin.
Sabine’s loyalty to the Rebellion prevents her from giving up the courier any cost, and while Ketsu Onyo doesn’t agree with Wren’s position, she respects her dedication to the cause. Sabine attacks this metaphorical crack in Onyo’s armor by expressing forgiveness to her former friend and relating how the Rebellion has changed her enough to offer absolution.
Into this thawing situation comes a resurgence of tension as the Imperials arrive in pursuit of the stolen shuttle. The two Mandalorians are forced to work together again, and Sabine immediately takes the lead. Demonstrating her knowledge of both emergency protocol and explosives, Wren formulates a plan of escape that includes destroying the stolen shuttle as both a distraction and a means of neutralizing the Imperial vessel’s tractor beam capabilities.
It is a well-laid plan, so of course it goes awry and Ketso Onyo is compelled to justify Sabine’s faith in their renewed but tenuous friendship. While planting explosives on the shuttle, Wren is knocked unconscious by a blast from the Imperials who’ve noticed suspicious activity aboard the stolen craft. At the urging of the droids, the bounty hunter who seemed to be concerned only with credits makes a choice to risk her own freedom and safety to ensure Sabine’s.
The group soon escapes and the Mandalorians and the droids make their way to Havoc Outpost and safely deliver the courier. For a moment, Ketsu Onyo is part of the Rebellion, and though Hera offers her a more permanent membership, the bounty hunter declines for now.
As for Sabine, her journey does not really move forward in this episode; rather, “Blood Sisters” reveals how far she’s already come from a past about which we’re only starting to learn. Much like “Brothers of the Broken Horn” cast Hondo Ohnaka as a foil for Ezra, this week’s entry does the same for Sabine and Ketsu Onyo. Perhaps a future episode will see Onyo follow the path of Wren.
Thank you for reading! If you have feedback or just want to say hello, you can leave a comment on this page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact me on Twitter @influxman or check out my Rogue page on “Star Wars in the Classroom.”
And don’t forget to check out Rebels Reactions for even more insight, discussion, and analysis of this episode.
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