What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: After how powerful the previous episode ended, I was eager to see how this story continues and how Sabine’s family will actually react to her return. Unfortunately, as soon as we saw her mother I was able to predict where this episode was going to go. It was clear that she was not really loyal to the Empire and had only joined them out of fear which meant that she would likely side with the rebels by the end, and that’s exactly what happened. The whole episode was filled with cliches, like Ursa betraying the rebels only to have Saxon subsequently betray her and make her realize her mistakes, or Tristan being forced to choose between Saxon and his family, or Sabine being so uncharacteristically foolish to turn her back to Saxon after defeating him just so that Ursa could show that she has learned the importance of family over tradition by interfering and saving her. However, it was refreshing to see that Sabine decides to stay on Mandalore at the end in order to restore order to her home world and complete her mission. It’s not that the plot was bad, it just all felt like things we’ve seen before.
BEAVeR: I didn’t really know what to expect from this episode. Would it be as good as the previous one? And to be honest, I still don’t know exactly how to feel about this episode. That’s because things that strike me as odd could just as well be the perfect depiction of the Mandalorian culture that is so much different from ours that it feels definitely strange at times. The moment in which Sabine and Ursa are alone together is a good example. There are some very strong character moments in this scene, but some decidedly strange twists as well that seem out of character: one moment Ursa and Sabine admire each other, the next they call each other immature or greedy. Mandalorians are definitely hard to understand, and that helped to some extent in making the atmosphere in the episode more tense because every character felt unpredictable. The only problem was that the plot wasn’t. Gar Saxon betraying clan Wren, Tristan choosing the side of his family, Gar Saxon’s low deed in the end and Ursa’s reaction to it… all came right from the cookbook. Still, the surprising ending with Sabine staying with her family, breaking with a lot of cliches, was worth it, and the episode did a good job in staying true to its message despite all of the action.
What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky: As you can probably tell, I was not thrilled with Ursa Wren’s character. She was the typical kind of parent who values tradition over family and is strict to her kids in order to protect them. The way she acted you could tell that, even though she aligned her clan with the Empire, she still had some good in her and cared for her daughter which made the story so predictable. I think it would have been better if we would have been kept more in the dark about her true loyalties until towards the end. Tristan was a bit more interesting and sympathetic as he really seemed torn between his love for his sister and his responsibility to uphold their clan’s reputation, but he didn’t get much screen time and since he cared about his family so much it was obvious he was going to side with them in the end. Sabine on the other hand continued her strong character growth. It was great to see her muster up the courage to face her family again and to see her apply the skills she learned in the previous episode in an actual fight. Her decision to stay and help find a new leader for her people shows just how much she has matured in just these two episodes.
BEAVeR: My favorite thing about this episode is that the balance between action and character-driven story was just right. That story is an exploration of Mandalorian culture and the people who make it up. The episode does a great job showing that they always say they value honor above all else, but that acting with honor is quite a different thing. Sabine is the one who advocates for the true spirit of Mandalore, while the others initially stick to the literal rules of Mandalorian culture. There are quite a few explicit examples of this in the episode, but more subtler ones too. In the first part of the episode, the only time when Ursa speaks positively about Sabine is when it is about her capabilities as a warrior, but as the episode progresses, she starts to see more why Sabine does what she does and what her actions mean. This was a great more subtle character arc on top of the obvious arc from not loving to loving her daughter. Tristan was interesting as well. Him battling Sabine was a clear parallel to Sabine’s final battle in the last episode, but it immediately becomes obvious he isn’t as strong as she was back then, even though he fights full of emotion. The reason is that he’s motivated by anger while she was motivated by care. A lovely parallel. Finally, Sabine stayed more or less constant throughout the episode, but that in itself is a testament to how she has changed. And the conclusion of her staying with her family and her desire to find a new leader for Mandalore instead of becoming one was a refreshing thing to see, as it asserts the power of the introvert for once.
What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
Oky: The setting of this episode was very much representative of story in that it felt very much like something we have seen before. Not only did Krowsnest look like any other frozen lake in the mountains, but it also invoked memories of Starkiller Base from The Force Awakens, especially with the crash landing in the snowy forest. The Wren Stronghold had some interesting architecture and art pieces inside, but aside from that there was not much of interest here.
BEAVeR: Krownest seemed like a very ordinary planet, and the architecture seemed very familiar as well. A bit too familiar, as at some moments you forgot you’re watching something that happens far off in space, which makes the actions of the Mandalorians look extra odd. While the cold, angular look of the stronghold made perfectly sense, it could have used some creativity. Luckily, it held a very nice surprise inside in the form of Ursa’s portrait. It’s nice to see that this show has gotten so art aware with previously works inspired by Picasso, and now something inspired by Klimt showing up. They played nicely with similarities to his work, like the geometric pattern in the background (a reference to Sabine’s shoulder armor as well, if I’m not mistaking!) as well as the contrasts with the dull grey in comparison with the warm gold of the original.
Oky’s Rating: 4/5 – This was a logical, yet unsurprising continuation of Sabine’s arc. It didn’t have the emotional impact of the previous episode, the story was predictable, and the characters could have been handled better, but seeing Sabine reconnect with her family and mature from an unruly teen into a responsible adult was all worth it. It is strange to think that she will be absent from the Ghost crew for a while now considering that she has always been a part of it ever since we first met her, but I am excited to see how or if she will be able to reunite her people in her own way.
BEAVeR’s rating: 4/5 – This episode had some good character development and consistent interesting insights into Mandalorian culture in it which is enough to make it good. The atmosphere was well crafted, as the uneasiness really came through to me. However, some of it seemed just inexplicable and the action was a tad too predictable. Still, with moments like Sabine staying with her family, Ezra handing Sabine his lightsaber or Ursa’s meaningful reaction in hearing Sabine hold her own against Saxon, it was great at times. A worthy conclusion to this little arc that set Sabine very high on many people’s lists of favorite characters.