‘Star Wars: Rebels’ Review – S2 Ep.11 (The Protector of Concord Dawn)
By Josh Melo
It hasn’t been since the tail end of The Clone Wars that audiences have gotten to live in the world of the Mandalorians. The Protector of Concord Dawn brings the warrior race to the fore of the series in an intense Sabine-centric episode.
Right off the bat The Protector of Concord Dawn cements itself as one of the darker instalments of the series. With the Empire hot on their heels, the fledgling Rebellion searches for new hyperspace routes in and out of the Lothal system. Sabine mentions the Concord Dawn system (once the home of Jango Fett). Under the control of Mandalorians, the possibility that the protectors are sympathetic to the Rebel cause is a real one. Hera and Sabine take a squad of fighters along with them in hopes of gaining passage through the system, as well as recruiting new and powerful allies into their fight against the Empire. Needless to say, Hera’s attempts at diplomacy backfire, losing half of her squad and almost her life in the process. The ensuing space battle is one of the biggest in scope yet. Plenty of ships locked in a hectic firefight with a gorgeous backdrop of a war torn planet looming ominously in the background. The purple hues bouncing off of Concord Dawn add an almost somber feel to the goings on but when you see Rebel pilots going up in flames right on front of you, you’re snapped back to reality.
It’s a great sequence and hopefully hints at even bigger things to come. If I had to nitpick at something, it would have to be the fact that Hera’s A-Wing would have no chance in hell of making a hyperspace jump in that condition. Typically it takes a single well-placed shot to send a star fighter careening off into space, Hera loses half of her ship and manages to escape? I know it’s a cartoon but I’m not buying it.
After the stellar intro fight sequence Sabine goes revenge crazy and Kanan decides to take another stab at diplomacy. Leaving the rest of the Rebels behind, Kanan takes the Phantom and makes his way back to Concord Dawn. Sabine succeeds in stowing away and the two are off on a space cowboy adventure.
The decision to leave Ezra and Zeb behind rings odd with me but it did grant us some quality time with Sabine and Kanan, a duo we rarely get to see in action together. After the last Sabine focused episode, my hopes weren’t all that high for the continuation of her story, luckily, The Protector of Concord Dawn delivered in spades. Getting to see how the Mandalorians have been holding up after all of these years was interesting in itself, add in the fact that we get glimpses into Sabine’s mysterious past and the episode somehow gets even better. Learning of Sabine’s Deathwatch upbringing will have every TCW fan cheering but the true fallout of the reveal will come from the myriad theories surrounding who her mother ends up being (popular belief says Bo-Katan).
The standoff with Fenn Rau was another great moment in an episode full of them. Sabine strengthens the idea that she is a warrior born and proves she will go to whatever lengths necessary to avenge a fallen comrade. Not to be forgotten, however, is new antagonist Fenn Rau. Spending most of his time behind a cool looking helmet, it could have been difficult differentiating him from the other fighters in the group. Thanks in large part to the great voice over by Kevin McKidd (Rome, Call of Duty); Rau will go down as one of the more interesting foes the Rebels have run into
Kanan’s meeting with Fenn Rau was debatably even more interesting than Sabine’s showdown. Getting more history into Kanan’s days as a Padawan is always great but to hear the story play such an integral role in horrent events gives it even more importance (to actually witness the events from Kanan’s story, Marvel released the latest issue of Kanan that features an appearance by Fenn Rau). I liked that Kanan chose to employ diplomacy over action. Adhering to his Jedi teachings and looking towards the future of Rebellion are all signs of maturity in the character. It feels like yesterday he wanted no part of the Alliance, now he has become on of its strongest members.
To cap things off, having Fenn Rau reluctantly join the Rebels was an interesting move. His loyalty was forced rather than earned. He will undoubtedly show up later on, whether he remains an ally of the Rebels or defects back to the Empire will be an interesting thread to keep an eye on.
Overall, The Protector of Concord Dawn get’s an 8.5/10