“Heroes of Mandalore” is not a good start to the show’s final season.
Star Wars Rebels rarely does two-part episodes well. Unfortunately, “Heroes of Manadalore,” the Season 4 premier, wasn’t an exception. This being the show’s final season, the quality needs to improve if Rebels wants to go out on a high note.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Without spoiling anything, not a whole lot happens, and what does couldn’t fit in a single episode’s 22 minutes. To stretch the story to 44, we get a number of unnecessary and rather dull action sequences. In fact, the entire first half of “Heroes of Mandalore” could’ve been compressed to a three minute cold open.
That aside, the premier served not to establish the terms of the new season, but to reset to the status quo. It’s effectively an excuse to get Sabine back in the Ghost’s crew so that next week, I expect, we can kick off Season 4 proper.
This is all made worse because the Mandalorians just aren’t interesting. They’re a warrior culture and not much else. Nor has Sabine’s involvement with them, this season or last, been any better. It’s felt like an unwarranted diversion from the core Rebels story. That might be fine if you’re a handful of seasons in to an ongoing show. Digressions can work then. But this is the final season. This is when things matter, when the creators ought to be running full speed towards an epic conclusion. Taking a full two of their limited remaining episodes to tell a bland story that just gets us back to where we’d already been is indulgent and not a great sign.
There’s still time, though. And I still have hope Rebels will end in a way that establishes its place as a major part of the Star Wars story.
So, on to next week.