Review: Star Wars Rebels, “Blood Sisters”

Star Wars Rebels, "Blood Sisters" Chopper and Ketsu Onyo

A review by Elisa and Johnamarie. This review contains spoilers.

Out of all the members in the Ghost crew, Sabine holds the most mystery when it comes to her origins and past, and in “Blood Sisters“, we get to learn a few more details when an old friend makes an appearance. When Sabine was first revealed to be Mandalorian, I was overcome with excitement. Mandalore is an important point of interest for me, since the Republic Commando (Legends) books helped me develop a deep love for the Mandalorian culture and language, so my need to know every single detail about this planet and its people is something that normally keeps me up at night.

Left: Sabine talks to Ketsu as Ezra stands by with the courier. Right: Sabine and Ketsu shoot at the stormtroopers that came to clear out the docking bay. (Photos: Lucasfilm)

Last we saw Mandalore, it had fallen into a civil war, but we know through Sabine’s past as an Imperial Cadet that the Empire eventually took over and established a presence there. When Rex first came into the series, he mentioned the Siege of Mandalore, where he fought alongside Ahsoka Tano (and probably, Bo-Katan Kryze). To be honest, I’m still waiting to see a conversation between Sabine and Rex about this particular event of his life, but since that may not happen, I’m glad we got to know another detail about her past: Sabine was a bounty hunter. Both her and new character Ketsu Onyo (voiced by Gina Torres) aspired to work for the Black Sun, but unlike Ketsu (who let greed, money, and the reputation of being the best bounty hunter get the best of her), Sabine chose a different path because she was given a second chance to redeem herself.

A second chance that she extended over to Ketsu, despite almost dying several times at her hands. Although I felt the transition from committing murder to helping Sabine felt slightly rushed (most likely a result of the episode’s time constraint), the fact that we get a new character (especially one that helped us learn more about Sabine in the process) supersedes tiny details of that nature. Ketsu reminded me of Asajj Ventress in the way she spoke and fought. Speaking of Ventress, it was an absolute delight to see the Shadow Caster—a modified version of Ventress’ ship from Dark Disciple, the Banshee—in the series. Also, although the rebel style didn’t suit her at that moment, I like that the possibility of her joining the cause is still on the table. Sabine showed her that there are other paths in life, so it’d be great to see Ketsu choose a different path for herself later in the future and become an ally.

Left: Chopper waving in the background as Ketsu talks to Sabine. Right: Chopper attempting to catch up with the shuttle. (Photos: Lucasfilm)

Despite the introduction of a new female character and the brief exploration of Sabine’s past, the character who truly shined in this episode was Chopper. He’s had some memorable and truly laugh out loud moments throughout the show and this episode was no different. His actions while damaging Ketsu’s ship, in particular, were pure gold. I also really liked seeing his concern for Sabine when she was knocked out and Ezra when he fell out of the ship. Chopper has a heart underneath that hard metal casing of his and I’m glad more people are starting to see it. And although some fans would have preferred to exclude Ezra from this storyline, he was important in establishing the fact that Sabine likes to keep to herself and for good reason, since Ketsu was the one to damage Sabine’s views on trust and friendship in the first place. As a result, Sabine keeps herself well-guarded, despite her closeness to her crew. Plus, it was a great way to show that even though Ezra has matured in the ways of combat and strategy, he’s still that awkward teenager that we’ve all been at one point in our lives.

Like its predecessor (“Wings of the Master”), “Blood Sisters” set the stage for more Sabine stories to be told. We discovered her role as a bounty hunter, but what made her embrace her Mandalorian roots? Or was that part of her always present? Looking back at the season two trailers, I’m even more excited to explore those details, since Sabine belongs to House Vizsla and there’s definitely a lot of story in those two words that the fans are craving to know.

Elisa’s Thoughts

  • I liked seeing Hera without her headgear again, since it’s a continuation from the previous episode.
  • Hera putting Sabine in charge of the mission made me happy. I especially like how even though she made sure that Ezra understood that detail, he didn’t argue it at all or ask why he couldn’t be the leader.
  • Sabine having once been a bounty hunter fills me with glee, since that was something I had hope to see. It also makes me even more curious about other aspects and events of her timeline. I hope we get to learn more about her former bounty hunting side and see if it has anything to do with the characters (Cad Bane and Embo) she has painted on her wall.
  • Seeing Chopper and Sabine have an episode together is one of the things I’d been hoping to see this season and I really couldn’t have asked for something better with the two of them. Both characters really shined in this episode, and the combination of comedic timing and animation really brought out the strengths of this episode.
  • This isn’t a problem with the show, but just an observation. You’d think someone in the Star Wars universe would have made it possible for shields to activate automatically during a hull breach, especially at a door.
  • There was one part that left me with mixed feelings. Sabine told Ketsu, “Chopper’s more than a droid. He’s a rebel, and a friend.” This is pretty jarring to me because she not only ends up blowing up the shuttle, but she uses RX’s programming against him. This results on him focusing on the Empire attacking him instead of the immediate danger around him. His confusion at the reactor malfunction was bad enough, but hearing him ask, “Where am I?” took it to a whole new awful and sad place.
  • I know not everyone feels the same, but Ezra stumbling over his words and being kind of shy and cute really made me grin. It’s been some time since we last saw Ezra like that around Sabine, and while I am quite happy with it not being a constant between them, I am happy that it hasn’t just disappeared or been forgotten. I look forward to seeing how this interaction is ultimately dealt with in the future.
  • I really wish we could have gotten Sabine and/or Ketsu saying parting words to one another in Mandalorian.
  • Gina Torres as Ketsu Onyo was one of the best things. I adored her character, and it’s characters like these that always make me excited to meet someone new in Rebels. I hope we get to learn more about her and her background at some point. I really can’t wait to see her character again and I look forward to seeing just how she’ll be used in the future. Saying that, I do hope that the future episodes that have been hinted at when it comes to Sabine’s past are without Ketsu. Even if they’re sisters, or once were and are finding themselves to be that again, I’d like to see Sabine be challenged and stand up for herself without help.

Make sure to tune into the next all-new episode, “Stealth Strike”, on Wednesday, November 25, 2015, at 9:30PM EST on Disney XD.

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