Star Wars Rebels revisits Mandalorian lore in the excellent Trials of the Darksaber. Sabine (Tiya Sircar) had recovered the Darksaber from their last encounter with Maul on Dathomir. Now she must embrace her family's heritage in an effort to free them from their alliance with the Empire. Sabine kicks a whole lot of behind, but we rarely see her get emotional. Trials of the Darksaber shows her grow considerably as a character.

On Atollon, Fenn Rau (Kevin McKidd) tells Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) the significance of the Darksaber. It was created over a thousand years ago by Tar Visla, the first Mandalorian to become a Jedi. The Jedi Council kept the weapon after his death as a monument to unite Mandalore. Fans of The Clone Wars remember Anakin's vision and Darth Maul's use of the weapon to conquer Mandalore. Rau remembers that Sabine is a Wren from the House of Visla. Rau tells Kanan that she is the natural choice to lead Mandalore against the Empire.

Hera (Vanessa Marshall) summons Sabine to a group meeting. Kanan explains his plan and the need to train her on the weapon. She refuses, her family abandoned them, the only family she cares about is on this ship. Ezra (Taylor Gray) believes using the weapon without the force could be dangerous. Hera implores her to try. They will need the Mandalorian army to help free Lothal from the Empire.

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Sabine, Ezra, and Kanan take a speeder far out into the desert. Kanan has taken her to the place where Bendu, the creature that sits between the light and dark side, lives. Kanan orders her to train with wooden swords against Ezra. She's beaten soundly at every attempt. Kanan warns that every mistake is a limb lost or death.

Days go by with no apparent progress. Hera, via hologram, begs Kanan to let her use the Darksaber. Kanan says she is filled with doubt and not ready. Ezra was different. He had eagerness and the force. Rau arrives with supplies. He brings Sabine two weapons filled arm braces. Then tells her to take Ezra out.

Sabine's use of the weapons catch Ezra by surprise, knocking him down. Kanan jumps in. Sabine uses a grappling hook to snare him, but he easily breaks free. Several deft moves later, he has her on the ground defeated. Kanan decrees that these gadgets will never defeat a Jedi. The Mandalorians were trounced using these methods. Sabine stalks off into the desert in disgust.

Ezra tries following her, but she asks him to go away. She exclaims he doesn't know what it's like to be shunned by your family. He replies that at least she has a family to go back to. Sabine is stunned by that comment. As she walks back to the camp, Bendu rises out of the ground and watches her.

In the camp, Kanan is kneeling in front of the Darksaber. Rau and Ezra watch as Sabine returns. She apologies for her actions and takes the weapon. Kanan ignites his blade then takes her through the training poses. He gets fast and faster, forcing her to challenge herself. Sabine finally breaks through her anger and attacks with gusto. She is torn apart. He parents feel she has betrayed them. The Phoenix crew is all she has. She doesn't want to lose them. Her last parry knocks Kanan to the ground.

Rau stands up, and then kneels, he will follow her. Ezra does the same. Kanan proclaims that they will never give up on her. She has the resources needed to bring Mandalore into the fight. Kanan gives her the Darksaber for good. Sabine's emergence as something more than anartistic weapons expert is a welcome change. The second half of season three continues to heat up on Disney XD.

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Julian Roman