"Out of Darkness" has some great ideas, but at the end of the day? It's about watching Rebels' female cast kick all of the ass.
I've been enjoying the last few Star Wars: Rebels episodes, but if I wanted anything more? That would include (a) giving more time to other cast members and (b) focusing less on the Force. Every episode has basically been "Star Wars: Ezra's Adventures" so far, which usually means Ezra has to prove his worth as the Ghost's latest Force user. It's been fun, but Rebels should absolutely branch out from time to time; there's a lot more to Star Wars after all.
Kanan and Zeb have had some attention (although still within context to Ezra's character) but "Out of Darkness" is the first episode to focus squarely on Ghost's female crew members: Hera and Sabine. It's a great opportunity to not only develop these characters, but show how badass Rebels can be without breaking out a single Force power. To top it off, "Out of Darkness" even leaves the Empire behind for a bit to face a far more alien threat.
Want to check it out for yourself? You can watch it on Disney XD or iTunes.
The episode opens as Hera, Sabine, and Ezra flee from TIE Fighters in their Phantom shuttle after a mission went wrong. While the group escapes the encounter and returns to Ghost, it isn't without damage; the Phantom's fuel tank has ruptured, a detail which slips through the cracks during diagnostic checks. So when Hera and Sabine leave for their next job, picking up supplies from a mysterious benefactor, they don't realize it's impossible to return to Ghost until they've already landed.
Unfortunately, that's especially bad news in this case, because their location is far more unsafe than expected. Hera and Sabine are retrieving cargo from Fort Anaxes, an abandoned asteroid base the Republic used during the Clone Wars. But there's a reason it was abandoned: an infestation of alien creatures have completely taken over the base's interior. Vastly outnumbered, Hera and Sabine need to find a way to defend themselves until the Ghost can arrive to extract them.
That's pretty much the episode in a nutshell; a simple, small-scale conflict that almost never leaves the landing strip where the Phantom landed. Limiting the scope has worked pretty well for Rebels lately, and "Out of Darkness" is no exception. It really gives us a chance to breathe and get to know these characters without feeling like the universe will fly apart at any moment. That means we finally learn more about Sabine, the only character who hasn't had time to describe her backstory in any meaningful way (even Kanan and Hera got an entire novel for that).
As it turns out, Sabine is a former Imperial soldier who trusted her superiors without question, leading to some unspecified disaster happening. (Given the Empire's behavior in Rebels so far, that could range from planetary genocide to arresting an unlicensed fruit vendor, but we can safely say it's probably closer to the former.) She joined the Ghost's crew specifically to take orders from people she could trust, and more importantly will be upfront with her about their objectives.