Star Wars Rebels Episode 3.6 Recap: Jetpack Joyrides
Strap on your jetpacks and helmets. Star Wars Rebels goes full Mandalorian in Imperial Supercommandos. This episode made me feel like a kid again. I remember sitting in the theater with my father; watching Boba Fett blast off in Return of the Jedi. It's awesome that thirty-three years later, Mandalorian armor is cooler than ever.
Sabine (Tiya Sircar) is playing a holographic game with the imprisoned Fenn Rau (Kevin McKidd) on a rebel ship. She continues to plead that he and his Protectors join the rebellion. Fenn Rau scoffs, the Empire, the Rebels, no difference to him. Hera (Vanessa Marshall) summons them both. They've lost contact with Fenn's Protectors on Concord Dawn. She orders Chopper, Sabine, and Ezra (Taylor Marshall) to take Rau to the base. Find out what happened, but do not engage under any circumstances.
They fly the newly painted Phantom II to Concord Dawn. Ezra foolishly turns his back on Fenn Rau while asking Sabine about Mandalore. Rau knocks out Ezra, stuns Sabine, then commandeers the shuttle. Sabine and Ezra wake up on the planet's surface. Her blasters are on the ground in front of them. Rau is on a ridge above. Ezra uses the force to grab his blaster, but he does not resist. As they approach him, the base comes into view. The Protectors have been destroyed.
Rau acidly blames Sabine for this attack. The rebels had imprisoned him while his men were wiped out. As they investigate the ruins, Chopper detects a rogue signal. A probe droid has been observing them. Ezra grabs it with the force as Sabine shoots it. Rau says he will use the rebels location to parlay with the Empire. Sabine draws a pistol on him. But it's too late; she uses her helmet to zoom in on a brigade flying towards them. They are Mandalorians wearing Imperial uniforms.
They run to hide in the base wreckage, but the Imperial Mandalorians are already there. Ezra gives himself up to let Rau and Sabine escape. Rau still has his lightsaber. Chopper is also captured. The Mandalorians fly the Phantom II to the compound. Ezra and Chopper are taken to be interrogated. The leader takes off his helmet and introduces himself as Gar Saxon (Ray Stevenson), Imperial Viceroy of Mandalore.
Ezra pretends that he is a scavenger sent by the pirate Hondo Ohnako. Saxon does not believe him. Outside the compound, Rau recognizes Saxon as a traitor that belongs to Sabine's Clan Visla. He continues to blame her for the situation. They sneak towards where Ezra is being held. Renn puts on a helmet so he can hear what's happening inside the tent.
Ezra now claims that he is Lando Calrissian. Saxon has had enough. He threatens to shoot Chopper and analyze his memory circuits. Saxon had been trying to lure back Fenn Rau. Still listening, Rau realizes he would have died with his men had he not been imprisoned. They make a move to save Ezra, quietly knocking out the guards. Sabine straps on the trooper's jetpack.
Saxon shoots Chopper, but Ezra uses the force to move his hands. This happens again before Saxon realizes he has captured a Jedi. Sabine throws smoke bombs into the tent. She grabs Ezra and Chopper while the Mandalorians are confused. As they race towards the Phantom II, Fenn Rau takes off and leaves them behind. But he does drop Ezra's lightsaber.
Sabine clutches Ezra and blasts off with her jetpack. Chopper does the same with his rocket. They fly into a canyon with the Mandalorians right behind them. Ezra uses his lightsaber to deflect laser fire as they weave. Chopper has detected the Mandalorians ship. They race towards it, but Ezra is knocked off. He lands on Chopper, leaps unto a rock, then takes out a couple of baddies before he's grabbed again by Sabine. She in turn lobs grenades unto a rock pillar that crashes down on a swath of their pursuers. Meanwhile, Fenn Rau has just left orbit, but decides to turn back.
Ezra, Chopper, and Sabine crash land near the enemy ship with Saxon and one Mandalorian left. Saxon tells Sabine that her mother has joined him. Ezra is shocked to hear about her family. Sabine replies that Saxon must have forced her cooperation. They are about to be killed. Sabine bows down before Saxon, but gives Chopper her helmet. He sends a loud signal into the helmet that disables Saxon momentarily. Rau returns with the Phantom II. He lays down cover fire as Chopper and Ezra scramble aboard. Sabine and Saxon go at it in wicked hand-to-hand combat. Rau destroys the Mandalorians ship.
Sabine kicks Saxon away then takes off to meet the Phantom II. Saxon recovers and shoots her jetpack. Ezra snatches her hand before she falls. Saxon looks on angrily as the Phantom II escapes. Inside the shuttle, Sabine asks Rau why he came back. Rau responds that she has honor, fought like a true Mandalorian, and would have died for her friends. Rau has decided to join the rebels.
The jetpack chase alone would have made Imperial Commandos a thrilling episode. The establishment of a deeper back story and new villain for Sabine continues the Mandalorian thread. I do have one issue that is becoming more apparent as the season progresses. The Jedi pick and choose where to use the force. Ezra stopped Chopper from getting blasted, but was surprised by Fenn Rau. He could have also used the force against the Mandalorians initially. Ezra's power is supposed to be much stronger, as we've seen in previous episodes. His skill level should be at the point where a few soldiers, even flying ones, are no match for a Jedi. A minor criticism, Star Wars Rebels continues its best season.