All it took for Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) to become her powerful Rebels self again was some wisdom from a droid, a haircut, and a visit with her adorable white Loth-cat. Now, she’s back in action.
The season premiere’s shocking ending was indeed a fake out: Sabine was stabbed with a lightsaber by Imperial apprentice Shin Hati (Ivanna Sakhno). At the beginning of the second episode, “Toil and Trouble,” Sabine is still kicking. Unfortunately, her encounter with the Imperial droids and Shin led her to losing the map to Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) and Ezra (Eman Esfandi), but Sabine wants to rectify her mistakes.
“You’ve done enough,” Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) tells her former padawan. Well, that’s a little harsh—especially because one beat later, Ahsoka returns from Sabine’s headquarters with a decapitated droid’s head. Ahsoka needs Sabine to decode what’s going on inside the bot’s mind. Sabine reveals that there are Imperial operations happening in Corellia, a nearby shipyard. That’s odd—why are there still random workers fighting for the Empire? It’s the era of the New Republic, didn’t they hear?
While Ahsoka sets off to find the bridge between their galaxy and the galaxy housing Ezra and Thrawn, General Hera (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has to build another type of bridge: one between Ahsoka and Sabine. The pair can’t admit that they need each other. Hera pushes Ahsoka to settle her issues with Sabine: “You’re both difficult. I always thought that made it work.”
After Ahsoka and Hera depart for the shipyard, Sabine has the exact same conversation with Huyang (David Tennant). The unspoken tension between Sabine and Ahsoka is off the charts—they’re communicating through mutual friends as if they were an on-again-off-again high school couple. Huyang offers some wisdom to Sabine. The long and short of it is: Sabine should be fighting for her beliefs, no matter what Ahsoka says. And what does Sabine believe in? Finding Ezra.
Sabine undergoes a makeover, chopping off that stringy orangey purple hair into her signature Rebels pixie cut. (Can we also get her to the galactic salon to redo those chipped nails?) No matter how hard Ahsoka is on her student, Sabine is ready for the fight. She’s going into battle for herself, first and foremost, but also to save her pal Ezra.
Meanwhile, the evil Jedi Baylan (Ray Stevenson), apprentice Shin, and Nightsister Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) crack open the spherical map and find the bridge to Thrawn. In locating the Grand Admiral, the trio plan to use his power to reinstate the Empire. Morgan states that she can feel Thrawn calling out to her. Baylan seems ticked that she has more power than he, arguing that those calls are a mere dream. Seems like the theme of Ahsoka is masters who are unwilling to cede power to more deserving allies.
Shin is sent to Corellia to help a transport of fighter droids from the undercover Imperial team of workers—which, not-so-ironically, is where Hera and Ahsoka are located. Hera presses some shipyard employees about their political alignments. They’re all cagey about it. They don’t really seem to care about the New Republic, because their loyalty is with the money, not the politics.
In simpler terms: The lingering Imperial forces have paid off these greedy workers, and they’re all working for Baylan. Ahsoka discovers this too late, right as a transport filled with droids and other weaponry departs from the shipyard. Hera follows the ship while Ahsoka battles an Imperial warrior on the shipyard. Both are unsuccessful. Shin steps in to fight Ahsoka, and the transport jets off into a location where Hera can’t follow it.
Hera is able to track the transport, but what will Ahsoka do about her inability to take down Shin? Duh—she’s going to need Sabine’s help. Right as Sabine bids her final farewell to Ezra (well, to a mural of him near her home), Ahsoka arrives. It’s time for them to look past their differences and fight together.
This would be a fantastic place for Ahsoka to end its second episode, but there’s just one more scene. On the Imperial side of things, Morgan voices her concern over Ahsoka’s investment in their quest to find Thrawn. Baylan agrees, but he also says that they can’t kill her. She’s one of the last Jedi left. Baylan is a Jedi too, and although he’s sided with the Empire, he wants to keep the Force alive.