TWG contributor Elisa and I sat down and exchanged our thoughts about “Out of Darkness.” Comment below with your own thoughts!
General Thoughts About the Plot
EA: This is an episode I have been eagerly anticipating, and it does not disappoint. While on a mission to meet an informant, Hera does her best to put Sabine at ease about not knowing everything that is going on. Not only do the two women in the series get a whole episode almost entirely to themselves, but we gain some new insights into Sabine’s past as well as watch how their relationship holds and grows under tension.
JM: Above anything else, “Out of Darkness” is a story about trust. Concerned about being kept in the dark–a legitimate concern when working in a team–Sabine reminded Hera of her past on Mandalore and the importance of trust and honesty between herself and the rest of the crew. The episode may not have been heavily steeped in action, but this was the first stepping stone in understanding Hera and Sabine’s relationship, a vital step before moving on with the general story and to other Hera and Sabine stories down the line.
In many way, the fyrnocks resembled the Empire in that they came out from the shadows, had overrun and taken over the Republic Army’s base, and sought to eliminate the presence looking to do good with the crates left behind by Fulcrum. Sabine and Hera represented the Rebel Alliance and how divulging every bit of information to each other may not be the safest approach, especially during such a tumultuous time. Sometimes it requires a leap of faith to trust another person with your life, and given Sabine’s youth and how Hera has seen people get captured for their intel (A New Dawn), she has Sabine’s best interests in mind.
General Thoughts About the Characters
EA: Given the nature of the episode, we don’t see much of Kanan, but we see enough of him, since he was neither completely pushed to the background nor out of the story. I love the subtle humor that always seems to be around Kanan when he’s interacting with Hera. The moments we see with him and Hera in this episode are highly enjoyable and speaks of the long relationship the two have had in their years of knowing one another.
JM: Seeing Kanan relaxed with Hera and joking around with her always brings a smile to my face. He teases her and she doesn’t hesitate to tease back. The two are essentially drift compatible.
When Sabine called him frustrating and he walked away with a “I’ve heard that one before” comment, I felt as if we saw a hint of Kanan’s former attitude from A New Dawn. It later contrasted with his serene and meditative state inside of his room, the Kanan he’s become after accepting his responsibilities. Lastly, the fact that there were still things he didn’t know about the Ghost reinforced the theme of the episode: you may not know everything about the other person or every single detail of the person/thing you rely on the most, but you continue to trust them because they have your best interests at heart.
EA: I love Hera so much, and there are so many things I want to know about her. So far though, her history remains shrouded in mystery with the promise of being explored further another day. Thankfully though, we are given a tidbit of new information as to Hera’s role on the ship. It is through Kanan that we learn that it is Hera’s job to find missions that create problems for the Empire and profit for the Ghost. The mission that she goes on with Sabine accompanying her is one such mission. I love how professional Hera is, and though she has information Sabine clearly wants, and for reasons that are understandable, Hera never gives in. That is something I was honestly surprised about. Hera is clearly the diplomatic one of the group and that diplomacy really shines in this episode, especially in how she listens to Sabine’s worries and attempts to sooth them over. Something else I love is that even though Hera is the older one of the pair, by a fair amount of years, she doesn’t hesitate to follow through on an idea that Sabine has when things are looking bad for them.
JM: Hera is clearly more than just a pilot. When we first met Hera in A New Dawn, she was on her way to meet up with a contact. In this episode, she destroyed a convoy based on a contact’s intel. Even Kanan said, “If she trusts the contact, I trust the contact.” Hera has a way of communicating with like minded people and creating all sorts of contacts and connections. It’s essentially the early makings of an alliance, but with no central organization–at least, not yet. Given the amount of intel and contacts she knows, Hera is the most important member of the crew. Without her, those contacts would disappear, and although Kanan is the leader, Hera is the face and voice for the group when it comes to establishing alliances with others.
When Hera rerouted the auxiliary power to the hull and she said that there were things he didn’t know about her ship, I wonder if there are things that he still doesn’t know about her and vice versa.
Lastly, Hera had a good reason for not sharing vital information with Sabine and we merely have to look back at A New Dawn to see that her first contact was taken into custody. Though the life Sabine leads is a dangerous one, Hera doesn’t want to endanger her further by sharing information that could potentially get her killed and put everyone else at risk.
EA: I truly adore Chopper and his antics. I also love how he has no qualms with teasing Ezra or harassing him if he has the opportunity. Saying that, I do hope at some point, we get to see a bit more of Chopper’s personality. Dave Filoni has likened Chopper to a cat on many occasions, and as someone who once owned a cat, though they can be little demons when they want to be, they also seem to know when they’re needed if you’ve had a really awful day. I’d love to see Chopper, who is well established as being a prankster, do something comforting for Ezra or even one of the other members of the crew if the opportunity presents itself.
JM: The mischievous droid continued to find entertainment in playfully tormenting his crew mates. Someone recently said that he was a bully and not a hero (Zeb was also included in the statement.) I beg to differ. Bullying means maliciously attacking someone, physically and emotionally harming them, and using force and threats to abuse and intimidate. Chopper does none of those things. He’s merely doing what brothers do–playfully tormenting the younger brother. Chopper is a hero when he chooses to be, going undercover and manning the gun like the rest of the crew.
EA: I love how even though Zeb is all for fun and games, he does at least attempt to do what he’s been told to do, especially when it is as important a task as the one that Hera assigns him when he has to check to ensure the Phantom is in tip top shape. Though Zeb’s attempts at doing his task are thwarted by Chopper and Ezra when the two begin to fight, it is him becoming distracted that ultimately leads to the trouble later on in the episode.
JM: Everything I previously mentioned about Chopper should also be applied to Zeb. I bet if Chopper and Ezra were out of his life, he would be bored out of his mind. Those two keep Zeb on his feet and the brotherly interaction and roughhousing is normal and welcome behavior. Also, the targeted audience is a much younger crowd. Zeb, Chopper, and Ezra are essentially The Three Stooges, bringing the physical humor to the show.
EA: A suspicion I had about Sabine was confirmed in this episode! After her line about taking her level 5’s in “Droids in Distress,” I wondered how common that knowledge really was for people who hadn’t been part of the Academy. This episode provided the answer: she was a cadet at some point in time. Her words about it, however, hint at her having a bad experience with the Academy, specifically that she was expected to not ask questions and how she didn’t like that she was being kept in the dark. Up till now, we hadn’t seen Sabine having trust issues. It is made clear that she wants answers and she is frustrated with Kanan and Hera when they’re not given to her. Something I love, though, is that even with the frustration, Sabine doesn’t yell or throw any form of a tantrum. She may have had a snippy moment, but she apologizes for her behaviour later on and opens up to Hera about how she needs to know that both Hera and Kanan can trust her. Watching Sabine be open with Hera about her worries and fears is great to see, and again, solidifies the relationship Hera has with her. She trusts Hera, and even though she doesn’t get the answers or the resolution she wants, there is no feeling that their relationship has suffered for it but has, in fact, grown.
JM: Sabine came across as concerned for not being included and not bothersome, as several fans via social media have stated. She had genuine concerns and had legitimate reasons for questioning and making her thoughts known. She didn’t want to be a soldier again, blindly following orders. Instead, she made an effort to voice those sentiments. Some saw her as a petulant child, whining and making unnecessary remarks, but there’s a lot about Sabine we still don’t know about. She attended the Imperial Academy, and who knows what her training made her do that pushed her to morally question what she was doing with her life. She may have also lost her parents or family, and that, combined with her personal experiences, sparked her need to say something. She had a right to stand up for herself and say, “Hey! I’m risking my life out there. Is it really worth it?”
Sabine is also 16 years old. That’s roughly the age when questioning authority becomes a normal routine. Personally, I think she was both bold and in her right to question the source of Hera’s intel, especially since it could potentially get her killed. I mean, wouldn’t you want to know more information and keep yourself well-informed? Sabine is an explosives expert. She needs to know what she can mix together and fashion into an explosive. Without one piece of knowledge, she could land herself and her team in serious trouble. Hence, her innate desire and instinct to know everything she needs to know before jumping into the next mission.
EA: Like the rest of the crew, this time around, we don’t see very much of Ezra, eve though he is seen the most given the opening of the episode. This episode also confirms what had been previously hinted with Ezra having mechanical skills–skills that are good enough for Hera to trust. In the opening, when it is only him alongside Hera and Sabine, Ezra says something that makes me curious. He shows interest in learning how to pilot a ship. Hera seems reluctant at the idea, but it makes me wonder if soon she will also be teaching Ezra a set of skills that are more specifically hers and what that could lead to in the future if she does.
JM: Ezra’s crush on Sabine and his constant need to impress her nearly got him killed, but it demonstrated that the ladies of the show can most certainly handle themselves. Also, I’m still the biggest fan of Ezra’s slingshot.
EA: A mysterious and yet unseen character was introduced into the series in this episode. I personally cannot wait to find out more about this character. Given how we don’t see them and how their voice was so heavily masked when speaking to Hera via the comm in the Phantom, it leads to the possibility that this is a character that we may know already or someone who we may see at a later time without learning that they are actually Fulcrum. At the moment, it is all sheer speculation, and given that the credits at the end do not provide a name, it only makes it all the easier to wonder what is being hidden, which I for one cannot wait to see.
JM: Though the voice was altered for their protection, there was the general consensus that Fulcrum is a woman. Others speculate that Ahsoka Tano could be involved somehow, given the marking on the crate that Hera wanted to take from Sabine first. It is interesting to note that Fulcrum led them to a convoy that had a heavy Imperial presence and a base that had dangerous creatures. Fulcrum definitely needs to do more research before passing on information. Or is that a sign that they are working alone? Not having enough human resources to scope out possible leads. Whatever the case may be, I look forward to discovering Fulcrum’s identity.
EA: I think my favourite scene this episode is when Kanan comes into the cockpit to talk to Hera, and then on his way out, ends up talking to Sabine. It’s a nice scene that gives us a lot of information about all three characters in it. Also, I need more of Kanan and Sabine interacting, so +1 for that as well!
JM: Sabine mentioning Mandalore. Even though she didn’t say much, she said enough to let us know that Mandalore is under Imperial control.
EA: I have no dislikes this time around.
JM: None. This episode was everything I wanted and it exceeded expectations.
EA: Hera and Sabine’s interactions together in this episode were a joy to watch. Both are very strong willed characters, and I loved how despite Sabine continually trying to talk to Hera about this single subject, Sabine never comes off as whiny or entitled. She fully comes off as someone who has been burned before and only wants to understand why she’s not being given these privileges. The conversation between the two is very natural and understanding and I can’t wait to see the point when Sabine is finally let into the fold.
Listening to Sabine talk about her past only makes me hungry for more. I can’t wait until we’ve gotten more information on the remaining crew whose histories are still largely unknown.
Also, I loved that Ezra stepped forward during the final confrontation and told Sabine he had her back. That, along with what happens after, allows me to scratch off yet one more thing on my Star Wars Rebels Bucket List.
JM: Echoes of the past. The abandoned Republic base with the ships from the Clone Wars raised more questions not really pertaining to the plot. Will we see a former clone trooper in the near future? Are these subtle Clone Wars hints leading somewhere? What happened to the younger clones that were on Kamino? Is Fulcrum someone connected to the Clone Wars in some way, since they specifically chose an abandoned base that many not have been publicly known? Despite the questions, the episode gave us a much-needed look into Sabine’s and Hera’s characters. The story easily won me over.