Trust is an important aspect of both families and teams. Trust is dependent on loyalty, responsibility, and faith—the knowledge that the people around you are doing the right thing and will be there when you need them, at all times. But how far should this trust be taken? Is every single piece of information necessary to truly have trust in those around you? After all, familial trust is different than team trust, and the Ghost crew is teetering between both. So the question remains: exactly how much should everyone know about each other and their actions to fully know that they can trust each other?
Trust, and the confusing, malleable nature of which, is shaping to be the theme of this season. Whether it’s trust in new team members, in those you’re having conflicts with, in old mentors and in new friends, building and establishing various degrees of trust will be paramount in establishing the basis of the Rebel Alliance, lest somewhere down the line someone pulls a Lando Calrissian. “Out of Darkness” addresses more of these broad trust issues through Hera and Sabine, two characters who definitely needed more screen time. The results are completely worth it.
There are two big takeaways from this episode: much-needed character development (well, more like insight) between the show’s female leads, and a broader, more intriguing question on how engaged the characters are in the fight against the Empire. The latter is a particular great question, as it seems as if each member of the crew have their own reasons and overall approaches against their Galactic Overlords. Kanan probably has the most hostility against the Empire (what with the destruction of the Jedi and all), but seems content with simply fighting the Imperial Army as long as there’s a profit. Ezra seems to have no particular grudge other than generally ignoring authority, and while Zeb has a personal vendetta, he seems to be bottling it up, for now.
Hera and Sabine have a lot more stakes in the fight. Hera in particular seems to be a lot more dedicated to the cause than the other members on the team. The specific reason why hasn’t become clear yet, but she insists that it’s for the greater good, and keeping her connections secret is essential for the safety for the crew. Her “Fulcrum” connection, for example, provides leads that seems to be specifically geared to hurting the Empire, as compared to Kanan’s/Vizago’s connections that were simply (anti-Imperial) jobs for cash. Kanan trusts Hera completely, but Hera clearly knows more than she lets on. The telling moment: grabbing hold of the “marked” crate before Sabine does, something that Kanan doesn’t seem to be aware of.
For a while it looked like Sabine’s battle against the Empire was based on her rebellious spirit, but the speech she gives on the abandoned base is a great monologue, opening herself up about her past within the halls of the Academy and the nightmare she went through while she was there. It was a traumatizing experience and she needs to make sure she’s not making the same mistake, that this time they are fighting the good fight, for the right reasons. Hera pleads with her to have faith, but that’s exactly what Sabine’s had towards in Empire in the Academy. How can she really know things will be different?
This conflict is pushed to the backburner when Hera and Sabine encounter a pack of small, vicious creatures that attack relentlessly in the shadows. With an asteroid conveniently floating by to block out the sun, this leaves the two in danger. Perhaps the show in future episodes will tackle the broader issues of trust as the Rebellion kicks off, but ”Out of Darkness” emphasizes that level of trust needed right now is the kind of trust needed when one’s back against the wall. Sabine’s knowledge of explosives combined with Hera’s calm leadership under pressure allows them to ward off the onslaught of the monsters, long enough so that Kanan and the rest of the crew can come and save them.
While this does bring up some uncomfortable questions—Hera and Sabine can’t even trust their crew to do a goddamn diagnostic (more about that in the Stray Observations), which seems to be ignored—it does provide Hera and Sabine a chance to come to an understanding, quite like Ezra and Kanan at the end of “Rise of the Old Masters.” If Hera can trust Sabine with her life, then Sabine should trust Hera that they are indeed doing the right thing. It’s not quite equal footing, but that’s the thing about trust: there’s a lot of layers to it. And those layers can change.
- “There’s a lot of things you don’t know about my ship.” There’s a lot going on in this little moment beyond the not-so-subtle sexual innuendo. It’s a bit questionable that there’s a defense mechanism on the Ghost ship that Kanan doesn’t know about, and the visual suggest that Kanan might be blinded by Hera’s secrecy due to love (and lust). I mean:
- THIS WEEK IN EMPIRE EVILNESS: Nothing over-the-top today, just some nameless pilots killed while pursuing the Phantom.
- The Ezra/Zeb/Chopper antics continue to be a blight on the show. Zeb is an adult. Chopper is a genuine threat to team now. Their behavior seriously put Hera and Sabine in danger. Plotlines triggered by the incompetence of the main characters are the worst. The Sabine/Hera material was so strong that it managed to overcome it all, but Kevin Hopps (who wrote this as well as “Fighter Flight”) needs to relax with that.
- Something about the direction of this episode seemed off. The space battle at the beginning of the episode in particular seemed a bit funky: it wasn’t exactly clear how Hera was “oh-so-skillfully” out-maneuvering the TIE fighters (I did like the part where the TIE fighters crashed into each other in the smoke). And while the final stand against the creatures was well-handled, there definitely was some recycled animation.
- Rewatching the episode, I noticed that Fulcrum’s two pieces of intel lead Hera into dangerous situations. I don’t know if that will really become significant, but I think Hera may need to start questioning it, a lot like Sabine is, and stop deflecting the real problem onto others. Or maybe Hera is blinded by her convictions?