And so we’ve finally arrived at the last Transmission of the glorious second season, the episode that transcends all epicness and changes everything and sent me spiraling on an emotional rollercoaster. Though it took a while to get to writing on it, I’m glad I had a month to process everything before I started blogging on it. Still, there will be major feels, and there’s a good chance I’ll mess up this post due to the excess of feels. Also I will probably overuse that internet-jargon word for “feeling strong emotion” to such a bad extent you’ll question if I know any other word to describe it. With that understood, we begin… except first let’s get the spoiler alerts out of the way. Then we begin!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode I, Episode III, Episode IV, Episode VII, TCW “Maul Returns”, “Fall Of Mandalore”, and “Yoda’s Journey” Arcs, Rebels episodes Gathering Forces, The Siege Of Lothal, Shroud Of Darkness, and Twilight Of The Apprentice.
So right off the bat they decide to mortally punch me with the feels as Ahsoka talks with Rex on the flight to Malachor. Rex is completely ready to go should Ahsoka need his help, but she knows this is the Jedi’s journey alone to make. After a few friendly who-outranks-who jabs to one another, Rex signs off with a sweet, honest “May the Force be with you”. THIS FRIENDSHIP. I CAN’T. I CAN’T EVEN. Yep this post is gonna take a while to write. Ezra wonders what the deal is with this mysterious Malachor he’s heard so little about. Welllll, Kanan and Ahsoka know a few things about it, mostly legends. But bottom line it’s not really a good place. One might say, “off-limits”. Ahsoka puts it well when she says “There’s always a bit of truth in legends”. And yeah for the record I know very little of The Old Republic era so Malachor’s as much a mystery to me as it is to these three. But certainly after all we see in this episode I’m definitely looking forward to learning more about that era, especially from a canon POV. None of them know why Yoda sent them here, but they can only trust he knows what he’s doing. Also yeah it’s not just the Jedi who were heading out here, Chopper came with. I’m guessing he didn’t get any tearful goodbyes from anyone though😛 It happens to be as the Phantom approaches Malachor, Chopper picks up on another ship nearby. Oh joy. Can’t anything just be simple?? Of course not, it’s just life. But first things first.
So Malachor has quite an eerie air to it, not quite as obviously dark-side-y as say, Moraband, but still really unsettling. But also still really cool, too. The trio comes upon a towering stone covered in carvings in the Old Tongue. As Ahsoka attempts to decipher the lettering, something about that rock sorta calls out to Ezra. Dark whispers convince him to get closer, reach out his hand, and… well, his touch leaves a frightening red glow and shatters the ground beneath them. Yeah Ez immediately regrets that decision. But OMG so much intrigue!! And it’s only a few minutes in! And there’s still so much more to discuss!! Like for example, the fact that the three Jedi have landed at the foot of an ancient Sith Temple. O.O And of course they’re going to go in it, after all, Ahsoka believes inside they’ll find the knowledge they need to defeat all them Darksiders. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE SHADOWY INQUISITOR-ISH-LOOKING FIGURE WATCHING FROM ABOVE! Ezra right now is a mixture of fascination at the mysterious ruins and caution at who or what could be down here. They come upon the remains from some ancient Jedi vs. Sith battle, where of major note Ezra finds a green three-blade! Basically this means Kylo Ren wanted to go really old-school with his choice of weapon. Coooool. Anyway you all know that by now, let’s talk about that battlefield. Very fascinating, seeing another glimpse at this history, but still very eerie. “From what I can tell? Looks like nobody won”. Eerier still might be the fact that THERE’S AN INQUISITOR RIGHT BEHIND THEM!! And they really play it well because you only notice the slightest twitch of movement behind Kanan just as Ezra’s witty retort was cut short by the sudden attack. This particular inquisitor’s new, he goes by Eighth Brother. And danggggggg he’s good. Ignoring his epic fail later on, he’s about as deadly as they come, agile and flexible and moving constantly and not afraid to throw a few grenades around. It all happens so fast my brain can barely comprehend what just happened. The explosion causes the ground to fall out from under Ezra in the midst of the fight. He urges Kanan and Ahsoka on to continue pursuing the fiend. Also wow the fact that they can fly with those spinny lightsabers is awesome. Granted, we find it’s not the safest method, but it sure looks cool! Eighth kept wanting to join Sev and Fifth on their missions, but they didn’t think he was good enough. So now that’s he’s gotten his chance, he’s making sure he proves he’s the coolest, toughest ‘Quiz ever! HE SHALL NOT BE SHUNNED AT THE COMPANY PICNIC AGAIN!! Yep I’m still making these jokes because I’m not sure I can make ’em again after this one.
So while Kanan and Ahsoka have all the fun, Ezra’s kinda stuck in a hole. Then out of the shadows comes a weary voice. Bridger’s not about to let his guard down and throws out his lightsaber. The voice belongs to an old man in a hooded cloak, poor fellow’s been stranded here for years. Ez has other things to worry about besides this random guy, but the shadowy figure offers help, considering he came here for with a similar goal in mind: the pursuit of knowledge. Dude knows how to get in the temple if Ez’ll help him open the door. And so begins a shaky alliance between “Jabba” and “The Old Master”. OK so before seeing the episode, the fact that we’d be seeing Maul again was spoiled for me. Regardless, this episode still knew how to keep me guessing. The couple of screenshots I’d seen made him look so fierce! Who was this old man with the robotic legs and yellow eyes? How could they be the same person? Were they the same person? Those were some of the first thoughts I had running through my head while watching this. And also the biggest thought of all: “What are you up to, Maul…?”. Plus, I’m at somewhat of a disadvantage because I haven’t read the Son Of Dathomir comics, assuming that they’re canon, of course, since I can’t remember if they were published before or after the canonicity rule came into play even though it was based on an unmade TCW storyarc. So who knows what he’s been up to since I last saw him? I wasn’t even sure if at this point he was alive! Well, I could only sit back and watch and see which of my questions would be answered. Until then, I gave Maul the benefit of the doubt that he was just a nice old stranger… mostly.
Meanwhile, Kanan and Ahsoka started to wonder if there might be a reason this ‘Quiz was giving chase. Kanan sends Chopper to find that ship and find out if there are any other surprises waiting for them here…
As Ezra and the Old Master continue on their journey, some interesting things come to light. OM is not a fan of that inquisitor down here. Ezra queries if that’s ’cause he’s a Jedi, but OM’s all “Naahh I just used to do… other… Force-related stuff”. Bridger raises an eyebrow to that “You is Sith then?”, and then something happens I never thought I’d ever see… Maul showing his humanity. A wounded, feeling side of him reveals itself as he recounts all that the Sith took from him, and how they used him and then cast him aside. I’m not gonna lie this threw me majorly. I mean, back in the olden days of Episode I, he was a good little apprentice and did his job without question and with malice. When he resurfaced during the Clone Wars, he was so bent on revenge and power he was pretty much a monster. I’ve always loved him as a villain, but I could never really empathize with him, he was just so evil! Or so I thought. Seeing him here, mourning the family he was taken from, the brother he lost, and how the Sith treated him like garbage ultimately, actually makes me feel for him. And I still do, even knowing the horrendous things he will do before this episode’s end. Proves once again that SW 100% knows how to write their villains, because they’re not just evil, they’re people. Dude if this doesn’t remind you how messed-up the Sith are then IDK what will. Ezra can also feel for him, because he lost his family too, except he’s more interested in justice than revenge. So Maul is quite excited to show him the secrets in the temple that will help them destroy the Sith for good. And at this point I’m struggling to keep my feelings from blinding my suspicions…
This episode is full of many great heroics, but we’d be foolish to overlook those of Chopper’s. He may not get a planetshaking fate-determining lightsaber duel, but he does break into Eighth’s ship and gives the foe a taste of his own firepower! And may we mention he nearly DIED? Dude, Eight knows how to use that ‘saber in the most terrifying way as it blazed right past Chop, just barely hitting him! “Chopper, sometimes you do it right”. #Understatement #SortaKinda
Things get honestly really unsettling once Maul and Ezra reach the door to the temple. Knowing your enemy is one thing… doing what your enemy does is another. And Ezra’s still a bit suspish of the old Zabrak. Buuuut all he has to do is open the door so what’s that gonna hurt? It doesn’t work on the first try, and then Maul suggests using a little anger to gain the strength and power he needs. I recently reread my post on Gathering Forces, talking about how frightening it was to see Ezra tampering with the Dark Side when he brought forth the fyrnock queen. This is far scarier, and all he’s doing is opening a door. As the Old Master and Ezra open door after door with the Dark Side, I pretty much spent the entire time muttering “NUUUUU EZ WHAT’RE YOU DOING?!”. Maul is a really good teacher… which in his case is not a good thing. Taking a moment from the intense workout, Ezra finally gives him his real name… and in return, Maul, well, confirms his Maulness. And everybody but young Bridger got serious chills. Though I guarantee you he was kinda freaked out by those horns and dramatic markings.
So turns out Eighth wasn’t here for Jedi, but rather “a shadow”. You can guess who that is. It’s the guy currently walking alongside our young hero. And now the two come upon the key to defeating their mutual enemy: a Sith holocron. At first glance it looks almost like it’s right there and all they’d have to do is grab it and go, but did I mention the major 100-foot-deep gap in between them and the ‘cron? Ezra suggests Maul Force-toss him like he and Kanan do. I’m literally all “YOU WOULD TRUST HIM TO THROW YOU?!?!” and about grabbed and shook the screen. And yet Maul does it pretty well. It’s downright frightening that Maul and Ezra work together so well already. But as soon as Ezra has the holocron in his hands, the temple both starts to crumble and starts to light up and– ooh is that Force lightning coming from an orb in the ceiling? Kanan and Ahsoka decide they need to go find their young comrade NOW, and run off with their captive Jango Jumper in tow. It looks like now Ezra has little choice but to make a jump for it with the Old Master’s help. Ez comes dangerously dangerously close to falling, especially as it seems the ex-Darth might be doing a “you-throw-me-the-idol-I-throw-you-the-whip” sorta deal. I’m all “SEE?! I TOLD YOU NOT TO TRUST HIM!!” >A< I mean, when he grabbed Ezra's clutching-the-'cron hand I could only hold my breath. And then… though he was clearly conflicted about it, he surprised me again and helped the apprentice up instead. DANG IT MAUL STOP KEEPING ME GUESSING! (OK not really, I seriously enjoyed this drama) Ugh I felt like I botched that entire scene forgive me. Also did I mention outside the temple Fifth and Sev showed up? And having freed Eighth, things are definitely about to get intense. Then Maul casually uses the Sith holocron to open a few doors and they walk right on into that very fight. Ezra’s ready to help Kanan and Ahsoka take on the ‘quizzes with help from his new friend. But weeeeeeelllll… Ahsoka’s all “OMG MAUL???”, the inquisitors are all “OMG THE SHADOW???”, and Maul suddenly loses the nice old man vibe as he proclaims delightfully in a very creepy way “Oh, what fun!“. Kanan’s all “Wow I leave you alone for one minute and you become BFFs with a previous Sith apprentice.” Ezra still defends him despite the array of shock and accusations. And then Maul takes what looks like a cane and reveals it’s a double-bladed. Ah now this is the fierce Zabrak I remember seeing! Maaaaaan with these lightsaber skillz he really done aged well. And you’d think he’d be rusty from not having performed any combat for a while but evidently no. Maybe a little Nightsister magick still working for him? Or maybe Zabraks just don’t get old the same way humans do. Or maybe he’s killed a few other ‘quisitors while he was down here. Who knows, but whatever the case, this solitude on Malachor has really worked for him. This entire scene is tense and terrifying and amazing, with lightsabers goin’ everywhere. OK realization: Sev comments “What’s he doing here anyway?” and Fifth replies “Loser probably wants that artifact” which occurs to me he probably hasn’t been here that long. Just took Sidious a long long long long while to figure out what “other uses” he had for the ex-apprentice I guess. Maul probably lives in a regular suburban neighborhood with a pet massiff and goes to the gym to practice lightsabering and works a day job at an insurance company. Then Sidious called him up all “So hey remember that favor you owe me? Could you possibly get me a certain Sith holocron and make a superweapon for me?” to which Maul is all “Um no I can’t stand your guts remember?” “BUT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED TO YOUR PUPPY…” “ok ok fine whatever.” I’m totally sure this is how it went😄 Though yeah good question is he doing this for himself or for someone higher up? I believed him when he said he was done with the Sith, but is he really truly done? I know I might be way off with this theorizing but I’m just thinkin’.(NOTE: I just got further into the episode and realized this entire conversation is inaccurate and I’d kinda forgotten everything but it’s so funny I had to keep it in here) But yeah after a brief confrontation the inquisitors are all “NOPE WE’RE GONE” and fly away. Now that the lightsabers are put away, Ahsoka asks the question we’ve all been asking since he showed up: “What game are you playing?” “The end game” WHUT. Also I find it interesting it almost seems like Ahsoka and Maul know each other. I’m pretty sure they never clashed during the Clone Wars, though I’m sure Ahsoka heard a lot about him from all that Obi-Wan put up with. So maaaaaybe they met sometime before this?? Both hung out at the same gym in the same suburban neighborhood? Interesting thought. Regardless I give Maul props for being classy and calling her “Lady Tano”. Bottom line, Maul is also a rebel… of sorts, and with Vader surely on the way, he knows the four of them need to get going. Ezra attempts to further convince, showing the Jedi the holocron and how it could be used for good. Maul knows a place in the temple they can open the ‘cron, so what’ve they got to lose? Plus, he’s not facing Darth Vader alone, no sir. Though not entirely convinced they can trust the old Zabrak, Kanan and Ahsoka decide to give it a shot.
Meanwhile, the inquisitors know they really need to get that holocron back, so Eighth Bro excitedly volunteers to go find them. Yep I definitely think he’s trying to prove himself. Poor guy’s sat alone in the cafeteria for far too long. I could entirely hear Sev mutter “He’s such a dork” and Fifth respond “Indeed” XP
So yaaaas all the teamworks with Ezra, Kanan, Ahsoka, and Maul! OK maybe not so much. Maul triggers a temple lift for him and Ezra to ride, but Kanan’s all “haha no rule of two here buddy” and gets on the lift instead. I’m sure Maul and Ahsoka had a great time on their turn on the lift. Probably some awkward small talk. Seriously still makes me wonder if they’ve met before. Lookin’ forward to that Ahsoka backstory book for sure. Anyway, on the lift Kanan voices his concerns that Ezra’s being used. Ezra argues that Maul sees his potential and trusts him. Oooh some drama here… and once again there’s no time for talking things through because out of the sky comes Eighth Brother, kicking Kanan in the face! Ezra pulls out the blaster-saber and holds his own well… at least for about five seconds before Eighth knocks him over the side, demands the holocron, and then makes his spinny-blade into a sharp-edged wheel of death. I’m all “OH NOOO EZRA’S GONNA LOSE A HAND!!” and then suddenly Maul jumps into action, giving that jerk a real lightsaber duel, and then knocking him off the temple. While Eighth flies away, Maul offers Bridger a hand. And Kanan and Ahsoka look on like “WHUT”. To better handle the inquisitors, Maul suggests splitting up, and this time goes with Ezra. Ez once again implores his master to trust him. And that’s really all Kanan can hope to do as he watches the dark dude and his padawan go up the lift. Yet another amazing line on Ahsoka’s part: “He’ll be OK” “How do you know?” “Because you taught him”. DEEEEEEEEEEP.
On the lift, Maul encourages Ezra to fight mercilessly if he wants to win these battles, something Ezra’s not entirely sure what to think considering what his master has taught him. “You’ve been given a gift for one reason only, to use it”. Yeesh that Maul is slipperier than a sidewinder in a pickle barrel. The master vs. master conflict in this episode is absolutely fascinating to watch, especially as the former-Darth is as I’ve said before, a super-good teacher. He knows what to say and how to say it, gives positive reinforcement, and treats Ezra pretty well. Not at all like you think a Darksider would do it. Well, Maul was taught by the best… or should I say worst? ‘Cause if you look at the way Palpatine reeled Anakin into the Dark Side not too long ago… it was kinda in the same manner. And then just as they turn around, Maul and Ezra have miniprobes to deal with… and soon after that, the most sinister of sisters, Sev. And then Kanan and Ahsoka come face-to-face with Fivey… and Eighth too. Whoopee. As Ezra duels with Sev, Maul continues to encourage him to use that anger. And I’m sitting here wondering if we’re about to get one of those mirroring moments, if Ezra will be to Sev as Anakin was to Dooku. Maul decides to make this easy for his “apprentice” and Force-grabs the inquisitor and allows Ezra to choose how he’ll go about killing her. I’m all OmO But Ezra… he can’t bring himself to do it. Sev seems pleased for a second, buuuuut yeah… Maul decides to handle it. Dude… Seventh Sister was a nasty villain, that’s for certain, but she did not deserve that. Even Ezra is shocked, though who wouldn’t be if you saw someone die like that? THE GREAT SEVENTH SISTER WILL BE MISSED. Maul encourages him again to maybe not hesitate next time. Next stage of the plan is that Ezra will take the holocron to the temple and Maul will help the others. Yeah in a weird way Maul, Kanan, and Ahsoka make for a pretty boss squad takin’ on the ‘quisitor boys. Of course, I can really only applaud Ahsoka and Kanan’s methods, as they merely busted the inquisitors’ lightsabers. Again, Fifth didn’t deserve to go down like that, but I suppose it was the only way he could. Eighth, well… he’s the example of what not to do as a ‘quiz. Perhaps future generations of inquisitors will learn from his mistake. RIP Eighth Brother; he will always be one of the cool kids to me. And then things get really really painstakingly real, starting with Maul laying claim to Ezra as his apprentice now… and making that point by using his double-blade to blind Kanan. Not gonna lie I cried out “NOOOO NOT HIS PRETTY BLUE-GREEN EYES!!!!“, even though I know that makes me sound horrendously weird. I think it hit me hard personally because I’m very visual; if there’s one sense I couldn’t live without it would be sight. As an artist and lover of art forms (such as Star Wars), I can’t fathom how major a loss that would be. So my heart went out to Kanan 100%. MAUL WHYYY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME?! ALWAYS PLAYING WITH MY EMOTIONS!! Ahsoka rushes to defend her friend, while Maul fully explains that Ezra’s actually about to activate his new battle station, so no one on his long list of foes gets left out of the revenge party! Well, gee, you couldn’ta mentioned that BEFORE? Just Maul for ya… unfortunately.
So I’m sure Ezra wished he’d known that ahead of time too, because the explosion of Force energy that followed was not the kind of knowledge he’d been looking for. Also Nika Futterman doing awesomely as the Presence. Scared me for a second ’cause she sounded so much like Ventress, but nope Presence-voice is a whole different ballgame… an absolutely terrifying one. Wow Maul defs means business right now. Definitely seen as he continues evilly ranting as he fights Lady Tano, if the firey blast shooting through the temple through the ground to the sky to potentially space wasn’t proof enough. Ahsoka handles herself awesomely against Maul, not letting his crud get to her once and slingin’ her white ‘sabers like an absolute boss. And then Kanan gets up, an Old Republic mask shielding his wounded face, but looking all kinds of unshakable nonetheless. Also can we just note the mask kinda resembles the Jedi Temple Guard mask the ex-Grand Inquisitor wore in Shroud Of Darkness? WHOAAA THE IMAGERY AGAIN. Maul thinks Kanan’s easy prey. But ohohoho Master Jarrus was more than ready. Those brief moments where you can tell Kanan is picking up on the sound of Maul’s footsteps to locate his position… WOW! Just WOW! He deflects his adversary’s every move, and ultimately grabs him by the arm and pitches him over the side of the temple. Talk about “making this quick”! And then he gets a call from Chopper, who may’ve seen a TIE nearby…
Yeah Ezra is not interested in the kind of power the Presence is offering. Now he might’ve realized Maul played him like a card. The Presence is all “well if you’re not gonna do it maybe that guy will”, and that’s when DARTH VADER entered, in spectacular fashion, standing on his TIE fighter, red blade in hand, cape flowing. Both incredibly cool and incredibly gutwrenchingly terrifying. And in one swift move, he leaps from the TIE and right. at. EZRA. “I’m not afraid of you” “Then you will die braver than most” OH WOW. Ezra deserves a serious amount of credit for how awesomely he fought Vader. His abilities have definitely grown since their last confrontation, and very rarely does anyone confront him more than once and actually live. However, despite this, one swing of that red ‘saber, and Ezra’s beautiful blaster-blade is in pieces. Bridger’s look of terror as Vader brings down his blade brings out the dark lord’s comment “Perhaps I was wrong” and then… “Wouldn’t be the first time…”
IN THE SAME ROOM.
“Our long-awaited meeting has commenced.”
CANNOT. COMPUTE. THE EARTHSHATTERINGNESS.
I don’t even dare try to reiterate what happened. Except that what happened was one of the most simultaneously exciting and simultaneously terrifying and simultaneously doubling-over-with-feels-inducing things I have ever witnessed in Star Wars history, and possibly my life. Because I don’t dare try and act like I’m explaining it all to you for the first time, let’s just talk about my own thoughts.
I was not prepared when Vader found Ahsoka in the season opener. And despite I could see it as something that would likely happen… when I first heard the title of the finale, Twilight Of The Apprentice… I realized how truly unprepared I was. With a title like that, I knew that no one would come out of this episode unscathed in some way. After all, even with Kanan’s knighting, the three are all still apprentices in some way or another. The very idea of Ahsoka and Vader facing each other was almost unfathomable. Yes, I’d always wanted to see Ahsoka join the Rebels, but no, I wouldn’tve wished for her to fight the man once her master. But yet, it was also unavoidable. I had no idea what to expect ultimately. Ahsoka and Vader would know each other’s weaknesses and strengths better than anyone, but they’ve also both grown, Vader in Dark Side prowess, and Ahsoka in real-world skill that enhanced and added to her Jedi training. Who’s side would the fight tilt in favor of? And considering Darth Vader is alive and well by the time we get to A New Hope… how could she be by then? But the one thing I knew for sure, that IF Ahsoka went down, she was not going to go down in vain. That was my sole comfort in all of this. I could only watch and see what would happen. And I was on the edge of my seat, breathing like I’d run a marathon. I don’t think I’d felt this on-edge since Kylo Ren and Han Solo’s confrontation a few months ago. And then when Ahsoka sliced open his mask… and saw the fragment of his face… oh wow. Even after all he’s done, she still refuses to give up on him. Something not even Obi-Wan or Yoda could do. She saw past the dark, monstrous form, and saw her friend. Ahsoka’s always loved people, maybe even more than traditional Jedi values would allow, and that’s something I’ve always loved about her character. And we see that part of her crystal-clear as she sacrifices herself to save Kanan and Ezra. As that happened I cried out “AHHH SHE’S PULLING AN OBI-WAN!!”, recalling Master Kenobi’s own great sacrifice in his final confrontation. Ezra’s tears match my own. But they did it just the right way, respectful and a shining example of her selflessness and kind heart.
And in the stirring, enigmatic, and epic-in-scale last few minutes of the finale, we see the mini-Alliance react to the losses and scars (as if I didn’t cry enough seeing Hera’s reaction, Rex’s face pretty much shattered my heart). We see the Darth and the ex-Darth walk away from Malachor, Vader looking worn, and Maul looking for his next big revenge plan (I’d make some reference to Lego’s The Empire Strikes Out but I don’t want to come off as disrespectful). We also see a figure in the shadows… a figure who looks a whole lot like… AHSOKA?? (I’d sit here and dump all my theories on that matter too but again, not the right time and place to do that) We see Kanan Jarrus, unable to see, but with the Force as his ally, not truly blind. And then we come upon Ezra Bridger, who with a Sith holocron in hand and a glint of red in his eyes, has many difficult decisions ahead of him. But in the midst of the uncertainty and the pain and confusion, life goes on… and so too will the growing Rebel Alliance.
OK brb crying. But seriously wow, there are no words. This episode, this series… I love it. So so much. And next week I’ll do my annual recap post to look at the season as a whole and cover any interesting thing I might’ve missed. And so the Rebel Transmission comes to a close.
Keep The Peace,