Sabine faces her inner demons as she learns how to effectively use the Darksaber.
This episode begins with Kanan showing the Darksaber to Fenn Rau who in turns enlightens him on its history as a blade that was created by the first Mandalorian Jedi, Tarre Vizula, which was later taken from the Jedi Temple by the Clan Vizula and had been made a symbol of leadership and unification. This makes her release of the Darksaber to Kanan’s care all the more puzzling. When asked about Sabine admits that she does not want to wield the weapon that Darth used to divide her people, and that her estrangement from her clan which also doesn’t help things either. But at Rau’s insistence that she reluctantly agrees to learn to use the Darksaber under Kanan’s guidance.
To start with, Kanan gives Sabine a training stick which she believes is beneath her given her experience in weapons. The Jedi explains that he needs to see her fighting technique before they progress to the Darksaber. The young Mandolorian tries to attack him but Kanan counters all her moves. He tells Sabine that she needs to learn basics and instructs her to practice with Ezra until she is ready. Several days pass, and Sabine is still training with Ezra and her frustration is mounting. Fenn Rau drops by and since she was undergoing this training at his word he decides to give her Manadolorian vambraces which were created to combat Jedi.
Sabine accepts the gift and soon utilizes them in her next spar with Ezra. When questioned by Kanan about whether she thinks this just a game, Sabine replies that she outsmarted her opponent. But she pushes her luck in using the vambraces to wrap a cord around Kanan, who is able to cut through it with his lightsaber and knock Sabine to the ground. He tells her those vambraces will work for a short time and that only training and discipline stand up in the long run. After stating that Ezra must be gifted in order to put with a lousy teacher like Kanan, a frustrated Sabine storms off.
Ezra follows after her and tries to encourage her to see that despite his methods, Kanan is only trying to help her. Sabine admits that it is not so much learning how to use the Darksaber but rather the responsibilities that come with it that discourage her. To her family, she is a considered a traitor, a disgrace to the clan, and she is not sure she can even face them again let alone lead them and all of Mandalore. Ezra expresses his sympathy but tells her that she at least has a family she to go back to.
Kanan has another conversation with Hera in which he expresses that he is worried to let Sabine wield the Darksaber when she is out of balance. Hera counters that will only inhibit her from making a commitment and urges Kanan to let her use the blade so that she can her demons. When Sabine returns Kanan apologizes to her and she in turn apologizes to him as well. He then gives her the Darksaber for her wield, telling her that the blade is a part of her that both it and his lightsaber are drawn to other.
Kanan then starts are series of strikes, telling to block high, middle or low with the speed increasing every time. It is during this time that he tells that she is not really fighting him but herself and presses her to tell the truth about what happened between her and her family. Sabine reveals that she after she had seen the Empire building weapons intend on destroying worlds, she spoke out against it in order prevent that same fate to her family and her people. But they rejected her and chose to side with the Empire. Kanan explains that the Mandalorian is in a prison of their own making, and he believes she can be the one to set them free. Sabine is still uncertain but with Rau, Ezra and Kanan express their commitment to stand by her.
There is nothing more to say than…wow! “Trials of the Darksaber” was even better than “Imperial Super Commandos” and reveals more of Sabine’s backstory to the audience in the process. I loved the interaction between Kanan and Sabine, a very rare dynamic that we have not seen since the first time in season 2 episode “Protectors of Concord Dawn.” Also, nice paraphrase of Yoda’s classic quote when Ezra says “there is no trying only doing.” This episode built on the events of “Imperial Super Commandos” and “Visions and Voices” and as well set up for future episodes to come. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until February 18th for the series to continue.