“The Protector of Concord Dawn” featured a number of compelling visual designs and shots including the half-destroyed planet of Concord Dawn and that system’s Mandolorian fighters and pilots. For me however, the above screenshot (sourced from starwars.com) is my favorite single image from the episode. The emphasis on the core themes of Rebels in “The Protectors of Concord Dawn” results in an episode with more emotional depth than I expected from a story focusing on hyperspace lanes, Mandalorian armor, and gunslinger showdowns.
Every aspect of this chosen shot communicates the importance of the familial bonds between its three characters. The vignetting effect of the central light above Sabine and Hera envelopes them (and to a lesser extent Kanan), obscuring the background and placing the viewer’s focus squarely on the characters and their connection to one another. It’s simple and straightforward, but it’s also a crucial and well-executed visual representation of the most important aspect of “The Protector of Concord Dawn.” Season 2 of Rebels has been very much about expanding the show’s lore by visiting new planets, introducing new characters, and providing backstory for existing ones, but my favorite moments thus far are those that center on the meaningful connections that make up the family at the heart of its story. In my mind Rebels is its best when it remains centered on the bonds between the members of the Ghost crew, so this episode worked most for me in these final moments when its storytelling circled back to the family at the show’s core.
I love Sabine and I was as excited to learn more about her background as any member of the crew of The Ghost, but unfortunately this week’s episode of Rebels didn’t completely work for me (which is something I don’t think I’ve felt about any other episode of the show). I think my disappointment in “Blood Sisters” is directly linked to Sabine’s bounty hunter friend Ketsu Onyo, whose development was too quick and too tidy to resonate with me.
Still, though “Blood Sisters” probably holds the distinction of being my least favorite episode of Rebels (the worst episode of one of my favorite shows ever isn’t such a bad place to be), there is still a lot to enjoy here.
My favorite shot of this week’s episode comes from Sabine and Ketsu’s initial reunion, and it’s one that harkens back to the cinematography of classic Westerns. The shot I’ve posted here lingers on Sabine’s hand reaching for her blaster, suggesting an impending shootout, and the spotlight on Ketsu in the background clearly designates her as Sabine’s target. It’s a brilliant moment in the episode in the way it evokes the cinematic language of the Western, but it’s also incredibly effective here as a single shot. Everything the audience needs to know about this moment is conveyed in the composition of this still and it’s the kind of visual storytelling that has always been a part of Star Wars at its best.