Following The Freemakers: Race On Tatooine

TWILIGHT545: SUPERSTAR BLOGGER GAL! is here again to deliver another Closer Look on The Freemaker Adventures! And yes, I did have some trouble coming up with an opening on this post. I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t. But enough blabbing from me, let’s just start talking about the thrilling Race On Tatooine already.
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode I, The Yoda Chronicles, and Freemakers episodes The Lost Treasure Of Cloud City, Crossing Paths, and Race On Tatooine

Less than a minute into the episode, we see Dengar blast his way out of the Cloud City prison, gracefully freefall using his headwrap as a parachute, and commandeer a cloud car. Just. like. that. After years of getting little respect in the SW universe (with the exception of his fabulously awesome appearance in TCW), we’re finally really really seeing what Dengar can really do. And he is just amazing. Inventive, cunning, and fierce are words that come to mind. But oh right I forgot… Dengar and his crew getting out of jail is bad news for our heroes. Especially when he shows a certain business card to his slimy boss, Graballa… ohhhh danggg…
This is all particularly bad because Rowan most certainly don’t got time to deal with anyone else with questionable motives. He’s got Naare to worry about. Something about her being a Jedi and killing that Force-flower doesn’t add up… unless she isn’t who she says she is. I imagine the time he spent with Luke also got him thinking. There is an edge to Naare, a forcefulness, one might say a darkness… her methods, her teachings, they are based in Jedi training, but there are whispers of the Dark Side throughout. I doubt Naare ever explained the Dark Side of the Force to Rowan, as he could use that knowledge against her. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he picked up some stuff on that from Luke, too. I’m sorry I’m rambling on this but there’s something fascinating about all this, about the difference between these two masters, between light and dark, between selfless and selfish. He knows what a true Jedi looks like now, and I betcha even if Naare hadn’t killed the Force-flower, he would’ve seen through her disguise soon enough. Either way, Rowan knows there’s something not right about her. Too bad Roger is completely not listening to his ponderings. He’s about to voice his concerns to Kordi, but all she’s concerned about right now is parts and jobs and getting the job done right. And then… “It’s not like I can just clap my hands and a job’ll come up!” *Clap clap* “OMG WE JUST GOT A JOB!!!” “Quick do it again!” *Clap clap* “Blast it was just a coincidence.” XD Ben Quadrinaros needs a pit crew, and he’s gonna pay them major creds to do it. I’d say Kordi and Zander are SOLD. Also seeing Quadrinaros in SW for the first time in 17 years made me positively giddy. Call me weird but I love that adorable bigheaded old racer dude! Looks like heavy discussions will have to wait.
Speaking of the Dark Side, what’s Naare up to? Getting chewed out by her bosses again, that’s what. The Darths want results, not excuses, and make their point using holo glitches as an example. You’d think Sidious would have a little more patience, considering the years he spent slowly taking over the Republic, but nahhh he just wants to win the war already. Not unlike the whole Force-sensitive clone experiment he tried a while back, but you know how that went. Judging by all the stuff she Force-threw in a fit of rage, I’d say she’s a little frustrated. “And I broke my favorite kaffe mug! This day just gets better and better!” And then just when she needed Rowan the most, she found the Freemakers were gone. Mondays, amiright? 😛 Though she may want to work on keeping her angry screams to herself. Actually she’s got a lot of things she needs to work on. Like people skills. Y’know Grey Griffin voiced Ventress back in the days of the Clone Wars Microseries. I can definitely hear a similarity between the two when Naare goes all rage-mode-y. Yay random voice acting tidbits! OK moving on…
When it comes to working on podracers, Zander is now the Freemaker Bossman. These racing machines are his life bro, and when a famous podracer like Quadrinaros is behind the controls, there’s no time to waste! Kordi’s all “Is that what I sound like??” XD So yes I love seeing Ben Quadrinaros again, even if he does turn out to be somewhat of a traitor because he was working for Graballa the whole time. But hey he’s still a good guy, just a good guy who really really didn’t want to be killed by a Hutt and didn’t know what else to do. Hopefully we’ll see him again soon, and in a better light that doesn’t involve him siding with a baddie. But enough of my fangirly nostalgia THE FREEMAKERS ARE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE! Graballa may deliver some stellar one-liners but he is 100% a genuine threat. And then JABBA THE HUTT showed up. With a mile’s worth of Gamorrean Guards and BOBA FETT. YES. BOBA FETT. Who is apparently BFFs with Dengar. Haha yes I love that these two scheming scummy hunters are buddies. Bros before bounties! Also it brought me great joy hearing Dee Baker’s voice behind that helmet, considering he’s never voiced a clone for Lego SW until this point, and also just because he does an amazing awesome job at it. So while Jabba decides to have a little “conversation” with his cousin and the hunters hang out, the Freemakers see this as an opportunity to podrace their way outta here. Hehe I love Jabba’s smug smile when Graballa realizes they got away XD
So let’s just spend the rest of the blog deciphering the deeper meaning behind Anakin’s claim “I’m the only human who can do it, you know”. That was my first thought when I heard they were gonna be podracing. Obviously, Anakin’s Force abilities gave him great reflexes to handle the speed and unpredictability of a podrace. We know that. And maybe, had Rowan been driving, I would’ve chalked it up to that as well. But Zander‘s the one at the controls. Granted, he’s not doing terribly great at it, but he does have his siblings and droid barely hanging on while they’re being chased by bounty hunters on speederbikes, so that could be part of it. But they literally don’t crash and/or burn (at least up until the very end when Zander takes his hands off the yoke) And I’d always assumed that, short of having a few thousand midichlorians, only other, more dexterous, species could handle such a dangerously fast vehicle. Maybe it’s just that most humans who’d tried to drive a podracer just weren’t good at it? That or Zander is Force-sensitive too, but I highly doubt that, so let’s just leave it at Zander is really really really good. Or at least good enough that no one dies. Or maybe Anakin was just highly misinformed from being on Tatooine his whole young life. *Shrugs* Makes me wish they did something like Rebels Recon for the Freemakers so I could shoot my questions to Pablo Hidalgo. But anyway, the chase takes them on some dangerous turns, including a turn right into an actual podrace. First of all, hearing the actual original voice of Fode playing him was mind-blowing (I have a slight “thing” for Episode I aliens evidently). Second of all, Zander’s overjoyed shout of “PODRACING!!!!!” made me die laughing. And it sounded pretty much exactly like me whenever I see something SW-related. But ohh yesss they’re racing for their very lives in an actual race. I love. So much. Their pursuers don’t make it easy on them, and all the while Rowan and Kordi are doing their best to hang on to the engines, and, in a few instances, fix the engines at the same time. And oh yeah let’s not forget when Dengar and Rowan fought hand-to-hand while STANDING ON THE ENGINE and Rowan defeated him using a spare rod as a lightsaber stand-in. SOOO AWESUMM. Oh but right that wasn’t a spare part that was some kind of stabilizer and the pod was thrown out of control. But ultimately it’s that move that sends them spiraling across the finish line and puts a lovely trophy in their hands. Elsewhere, Darth Vader suddenly sensed a disturbance… a feeling that somewhere, a longstanding record of his had just been broken XP
So the Freemakers won the podrace, but not the race. Graballa’s goons are still out there, and they won’t be able to get back to the StarScavenger (yes I only now realized it’s spelled as one word) anytime soon. They need a hero, they need a Jedi, they need Naare. And Rowan’s all “Whaaaaa… No we don’t…!” but it don’t matter what he thinks, the overall opinion of the room is #TeamNaare. And with a little rewiring of R0-GR they’re able to shoot their “Jedi friend” a comm. Huh she sounded mostly concerned about Rowan atm wonder why…? 😛 But regardless of her intentions, she’s their only hope as Graballa and his men walk over… and with a very large number of blasters. Kordi tries to use her salesperson superpowers and negotiate with the Hutt, but when it comes to making ca$h off those Kyber Saber crystals, he don’t negotiate nothin’. They really could use a miracle right now. Good thing Rowan found a whole crate full of ’em. Sabine would be proud at what happened next. Thermal detonators FTW. “Next time… I offer Boba Fett double.” XD Unfortunately, the crate wasn’t full forever, and the Freemakers were out of tricks. But that’s about when the Eclipse Fighter arrived. I regret I haven’t talked about that pretty ship more but it really is a sight to behold. I am curious though whether Eclipse Fighter is its name or its brand/type. But whatever the case, it’s definitely one of my favorite new SW ships. And if you think the Eclipse is impressive, wait ’til you see what her pilot can do! Again yes I know all this Jedi stuff is just for show but Naare’s fighting skills are truly epic and it’s awesome getting to see her really put them to use as she completely pwns Graballa’s crew. Zander is smitten, Kordi is genuinely impressed, and Rowan questions why he ever doubted her. Naare orders the Freemakers to the fighter, but the hunters quickly get the better of Rowan’s siblings and droid. Nothing the Jedi Master can’t handle tho. Stuck in the Eclipse’s cockpit, Rowan looks for anything that could possibly help and comes upon a lightsaber… with a red blade. And I’m betting Luke told him about the kind of people who use red blades. And as if to confirm all of his concerns and doubts, THE EMPEROR COMES ON THE COMM. And what he says is utterly gut-wrenchingly terrifying. “Slice up his family! That’ll make him talk.” O.O Not gonna lie I gave a squeak-gasp of complete horror at that. And I cannot think of a decent segue now; I’m still recovering from the shock. All I can say is ROWAN KNOWS. HE KNOWS MAN. And just about then along comes the rest of the Freemakers and everyone’s favorite Darksider-next-door. Graballa isn’t gonna get ’em today… but you know what they say about “out of the frying pan and into the fryer”. Wait I don’t think that makes sense in this context. The point is, Naare will guaranteed be a problem. But don’t tell Zander and Kordi, they’re pretty much Naare’s number one fans now. Judging by her face as they grouphugged her, I don’t think the feeling is mutual. She makes very clear to Rowan that he’s not going anywhere without her from now on. “…You never know what dangers may be waiting” (paraphrased because I literally can’t remember the exact line I heard a minute ago). Rowan seems to agree… and that’s why he holds his so-called master’s red blade behind his back. OMINOUS ENDINGGGG.
AHHHHH SO MUCH DRAMA. But also AHHHHHH SO MUCH AWESOME!! Until next post…

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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Rebel Transmissions: Twilight Of The Apprentice

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 XD 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…”
AHSOKA…
And VADER…
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,
– Twilight

This Is Madness 2016 Recap

We interrupt the usually-scheduled Rebel Transmissions to bring you a special report — the breakdown of my choices for THIS IS MADNESS 2016!! W00t! Every year gets more and more challenging… not for the characters being voted for so much as for me, the nerd who can’t pick favorites but somehow has to choose anyway. Usually I attempt to make my choices using the [somewhat] scientific method of “which character’s destiny made the greater impact on the galaxy?”, but usually every year there are a few characters I vote for just on account of coolnessness. Last year I planned the next tournament would be voted for in a 100% scientific manner without any of my fangirly bias, and somehow this year I managed to stick with it. It was tough, but ultimately it got me really really thinking about these characters and their stories and made me appreciate the amazing story as a whole even more! So again, remember, just because I didn’t vote for your favorite doesn’t mean I love them any less, it’s all a matter of impact this year 🙂 Also sorry for the lack of pictures in this one… accidentally deleted them all at the last second. Ah well *shrugs*
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, Episode IV, Episode V, Episode VI, Episode VII, TCW episodes Wookiee Hunt, The Lawless, Sacrifice, and Rebels episode Droids In Distress, Call To Action, Fire Across The Galaxy, The Siege Of Lothal, and The Honorable Ones.

DAY ONE: OBI-WAN VS. PADME/VADER VS. FIFTH

Light Side Vote: Obi-Wan Kenobi. TIM started off this year with a test worthy of Yoda’s trip to Moraband. “You? Vote scientifically without bias? Hah! VOTE AGAINST YOUR GO-TO FAVE JEDI I DARE YOU!”. Well I technically still won that test because Obi-Wan’s legacy truly does make a larger impact. Normally I might pull out the “Padme is Luke and Leia’s mom” card again and use that as an excuse, but here’s something I hadn’t considered until recently: Obi-Wan was the one who suggested “hey Tatooine might work” one fine day after escaping the Trade Federation. Basically Obi-Wan not only trained her son and helped save her daughter, but without him, ANAKIN AND PADME NEVER WOULD HAVE MET, LUKE AND LEIA WOULD NOT EXIST, AND WHATEVER APPRENTICE PALPATINE NAMED VADER WOULD HAVE LAID WASTE TO THE GALAXY. Mind. Blown. Take that voice of the Dark Side.
Dark Side Vote: Darth Vader. The Fifth Brother might’ve been an excellent contender in TIM this year, but… against Vader? No, not really. When it comes to the Dark Side legacy, Vader wins about every time. I mean, he does sorta help in wiping out the Jedi and destroying a planet… it’s hard to beat that. Fivey carries a similar mercilessness with him (bro don’t bat an eyelash at killing innocents fo’ sho), but he still ranks below the Darth. So yeahh. The villains always are easier to vote for.

DAY TWO: R2 VS. SABINE/JABBA VS. SEVENTH

Light Side Vote: R2-D2. I don’t know why they keep pitting these two against each other, it just doesn’t seem like a fair vote! They’re both tough, confident, smart, spirited, handy with weapons, and loyal to the core. And plus, in the battle of an astromech versus a human you know I’m gonna pick the droid ’cause they’re so darn adorable! They’re both great in different ways. Ultimately, I dug deep though and found Artoo truly did deserve the vote. He’s played quite the part in SW, helping save ’bout every hero there is — Obi-Wan, Anakin, the Ghost crew (blowing up those blasters was all R2’s idea, after all), and most recently, Luke, among others. Hard to argue with that logic, right? But who knows? We have yet to see where Sabine’s destiny leads… someday she may just beat Artoo 🙂
Dark Side Vote: The Seventh Sister. Every year I’m amazed how far Jabba The Hutt gets in the tournament, especially when up against truly awesome villains like Sev here. Granted, looking back, I may have overlooked Jabba’s hand in the villainy game some. He may just chill around in his palace all day but he has rancors and bounty hunters and the rest of his many many lackeys at the ready at all times. I mean, how coldhearted do you have to be to literally have a party on your sail barge while you throw your prisoners to the sarlacc? Or get Boba Fett to test out carbonfreezing on Han? That’s pretty bad. I think I ultimately chose against Jabba based on the fact he can be an ally sometimes, and has actually worked with our heroes instead of against them. Whereas with Seventh, though we don’t see all that she’s has done in her inquisiting career, with her drive and ferocity, and the fact that she’s technically in the business of hunting Jedi… well, I think she owns the vote. The lives she’s taken have no doubt she’s left a negative footprint on the galaxy and the future of the Jedi.

DAY THREE: LUKE VS. HERA/PALPATINE VS. VENTRESS

Light Side Vote: Luke Skywalker. I looked at this one from quite a few angles to figure out who to choose. I mean, Hera is a major player in the existence of the Rebel Alliance. Where would Luke be without her impact? But where would the Alliance be had Luke not helped destroy the Death Star? Or helped save Leia? Or met Han and got him involved? Or defeated Darth Vader? Ultimately, I get the feeling that the galaxy would’ve suffered much more if not for Luke’s hand in all of this. Anddd whoops I realize that last bit sounded like a pun. Sorreh. Definitely not an easy vote to pick, but I think I made the right choice.
Dark Side Vote: Palpatine. Dude, when it comes to being bad, Palpatine’s the king, the president, the Chancellor, and the Emperor of all baddies. I betcha even Supreme Leader Snoke looked up to him when considering Darksidery as a career! Scientifically, no villain in SW can stand up to him. Except maybe Snoke, anyway. Hmm… now wouldn’t that be a matchup! Besides, though Ventress has been pretty bad herself, she’s got what Palpatine doesn’t — a heart. And thank goodness for that.

DAY FOUR: HAN VS. CHEWBACCA/MAUL VS. TARKIN

Light Side Vote: Han Solo. Scientifically, Chewbacca does hold the honor of having help saved two Jedi prior to meeting Han, including one who would become a major player for the Rebels (you know who I’m talkin’ about), and one who would train a great hero who would go on to train someone who has the potential to be a great hero (not namin’ names you should know this one). In some ways he might might might have deserved the vote in retrospect, especially since he keeps getting beat by his copilot year after year. But Han… oh myyyyy… he’s got a lot of honor to hold too! Pushing past my bias that names him my favorite scoundrel/general/pilot/all-around-nice-guy, I think the best reasoning goes to more recent events, as that “someone who has the potential to be a great hero” would never’ve gotten off of Jakku without him, among a great number of events. Captain Solo’s left a truly marvelous legacy behind… who knows where it will lead next? OK hopefully I got all of my thought process on that straight…
Dark Side Vote: Darth Maul. Tarkin and Maul are both heavy-hitters in the villain category for sure. I’ve used the excuse before that Tarkin helped helm the Death Star and so technically helped in killing a planet’s worth of innocent lives. While we don’t know everything Maul has done or will do, he does everything in the most malicious manner imaginable. Anddd I’m starting to realize again that this vote may not be as scientifically accurate as I would’ve preferred it to be. But I will say this: we don’t yet know the impact Maul has made or will make, and because of this, who knows what he’s put into motion already? I might look back years from now after reading another book or watching another show/movie and realize I totally called it. Man I wish I remembered what I was thinking the day I made that vote…

DAY FIVE: YODA VS. FINN/KYLO VS. JANGO

Light Side Vote: Yoda. I was totally excited to see some Force Awakens faces entering the tournament this year, but again, a little bummed out by the matchup. I mean, Yoda vs. Finn? That’s not fair in the slightest. The interesting thing here is, we don’t know the ultimate amount of impact Finn will make on the galaxy. He’s certainly made history, and I know he’ll continue to do so as he fights for the Resistance in the stories to come. But Yoda is the master of all masters, and technically, because he trained Luke who’s (assumptively) training Rey now, whose skills with a lightsaber might‘ve saved Finn’s backside… well, I think our fave storm’s OK with losing to the little green guy.
Dark Side Vote: Kylo Ren. This vote was unfair for the totally opposite reasons. We know very little ultimately about both of them, except they’re both awesome bad guys and have stellar fashion sense. But considering the only legacy we know about Jango is his super-cool son, and can only assume what he’s done with that stellar bounty hunting, blaster-twirling prowess of his… well, he sorta pales in comparison to the guy who blows up multiple planets in just one day and can stop blasterfire in its tracks. #DefiniteUnfairAdvantage But still, Ben here has my vote. *Ducks from three-bladed lightsaber thrown in my direction* SORRY SORRY I MEANT TO SAY KYLO REN!

DAY SIX: AHSOKA VS. BB/DOOKU VS. PHASMA

Light Side Vote: Ahsoka Tano. Oh lookie another unfair matchup! Again, it’s tough to pick who makes the greater difference when we haven’t seen all the difference one of them’s made yet. But considering the Resistance itself might not exist had their been no Rebellion, and the Rebellion might not’ve existed had Ahsoka not been involved… BB-8 would be out of a job. BB-8 gave me a thumbs-down for this stunt… “DUDE I LITERALLY HELPED FIND LUKE SKYWALKER AND THIS IS THE THANKS I GET?” Maybe next year BB…
Dark Side Vote: Count Dooku. Dooku and Phasma are both some kinda tough stuff, but again, we don’t know what impact the Captain will make on the galaxy. Whereas, y’know… helping bring about the Clone Wars and the eventual fall of the Republic kinda gives the “older gentleman” a leg up this time around.

DAY SEVEN: REY VS. EZRA/BOBA VS. HUX

Light Side Vote: Rey. WOW! Now THIS is a matchup! The two new padawans! Ohhoho I loved figuring out this vote! Because in this case, both their stories have yet to be told. Who knows where their legacies will lead? It’s actually really interesting how alike they are… both strong, clever young individuals on their own, doing their best to survive, and then they find an unexpected new family that changes their paths — and themselves — forever. It would’ve been easy to just say “well Ezra ignited that spark of rebellion with that inspiring transmission of his and so owns the vote”, buuuut then I looked at Rey here… GIRL DONE WON A LIGHTSABER DUEL WITH KYLO REN, HAVING NEVER PICKED UP A ‘SABER IN. HER. LIFE. WHOA. I ended up voting for this one scientifically analyzing their use of the Force. Ezra’s quite amazing at it too, but even he had to learn a few things to knock down an adversary. So Rey’s intensely serious skillz earned her the vote. Plus, it’s her first year in the tournament, so it only seemed fair.
Dark Side Vote: General Hux. You may be wondering why in the world I’d pick this guy over Boba Fett. Well first I’d say “What? Hux is a cool dude too!”, but then I’d move on to my logical conclusion: Hux helped Starkiller Base along in destroying all those worlds and all the billions of innocent people on them. Also he is very very passionate about what he does. He don’t take crud from no one! All “Eat this Resistance!” I’m thinking Boba may have a bit more of a heart than that. Plus, Boba was gonna win anyway so I kinda did want to give it to the underdog…

DAY EIGHT: LEIA VS. POE/GRIEVOUS VS. KALLUS

Light Side Vote: Leia Organa. Well this was kinda an obvious answer for me. General Organa is not only the bosslady of the Rebel Alliance/Resistance, but she’s Poe Dameron’s boss period. She did send him out to help find Luke, after all. Plus, yeah, she’s LEIA ORGANA. From princess to general, she’s been nothing but a rock-solid force in the SW universe and her legacy only continues to further as she plays a mom figure to Rey. Don’t worry, Poe, you’re still amazing too. I hope someday to talk about your legacy with the same enthusiasm 🙂
Dark Side Vote: General Grievous. Grievous wins, no questions. Even if I had voted for this before I discovered Kallus is a decent human being, I still would’ve given the General my vote. It’s hard to argue with a cold, calculating cyborg who simply wants to kill Jedi because he can. Agent K may’ve been a jerk in the past, but he clearly has a heart. The only heart Grievous has went up in flames. Yeahhh sometimes winning the Dark Side vote isn’t really a win.

DAY NINE: R2 VS. OBI-WAN/VADER VS. JABBA

Light Side Vote: R2-D2. Wat is dis? I voted for Artoo OVER Obi-Wan?? :O 100% scientific vote man. That little droid did it and saved the ship Obi-Wan was on. Make all the jokes you want Master Kenobi, but that “dime a dozen” droid is the only reason you’re alive or that really anything happened in the SW galaxy! Seriously though really. No Naboo ship, no Padme, no Obi-Wan, no Anakin, no Luke, no Leia, quite possibly no Threepio, no nothin’. Wow is that not an insane thought?
Dark Side Vote: Darth Vader. This one was all too easy. Feeding your dancers to the rancor is pretty bad, but burning a town just to rile up the Rebels? That’s downright DESPICABLE. No question who got that vote.

DAY TEN: HAN VS. LUKE/MAUL VS. PALAPTINE

Light Side Vote: Han Solo. This one was really interesting. It’d be easy to say “Luke because he defeated Vader”, but I thought long and hard on this one and found that no one deserved this vote more than Han. Had Obi-Wan given those credits to some other pilot, the very fabric of SW would be very very different than we know it today. Han got Luke where he needed to go, and then helped Luke save Leia, and then helped Luke blow up the Death Star. He continually helped the Rebel Alliance before attempting to leave, but then got pulled back into it anyway. Though it wasn’t right that he got betrayed and turned into a decoration in Jabba’s palace, he did get Lando involved in the Rebellion, and he went on to destroy the second Death Star. And to top it all off, had he not met Finn and Rey… THEY WOULDN’T HAVE FOUND LUKE. So that makes it… what? Seven favors you own him now, “Junior”? This only served to make me love Han and his friendship with Luke more and I proceeded to fangirl and cry at the same time. AHH THE FRIENDSHIPNESS!
Dark Side Vote: Palpatine. Not quite as thought-provoking an answer, but still, Palpatine pwns Maul in the badness game. Just does. “There is no mercy…” *shudders*

DAY ELEVEN: YODA VS. AHSOKA/KYLO VS. DOOKU

Light Side Vote: Yoda. It almost pained me to vote against Ahsoka this round. But again, Yoda trains evrahbody! And since Yoda trained Obi-Wan who trained Anakin who trained Ahsoka, the order of Jedi mastery just makes sense to give it to him. Plus, the last few years, he always got matched up against one of my go-to favorites, like Obi-Wan, Luke, and Qui-Gon, and that really wasn’t the fairest since Yoda is just as awesome as they are. So I’m actually glad to give Yoda some credit where credit is due for once 😀
Dark Side Vote: Count Dooku. Kylo Ren seems like the obvious choice, right? I mean, you remember what I said about him blowing up all those planets. But Count Dooku done went and helped bring down the entire system of government in the galaxy. THAT is pretty intense if you ask me, and a bit on a larger scale. Plus, if Dooku hadn’t played his part in the fall of the Republic the Empire Darth Vader served might’ve never existed and who would be Kylo Ren’s senpai then? Yay underdog votes!

DAY TWELVE: LEIA VS. REY/GRIEVOUS VS. BOBA

Light Side Vote: Leia Organa. All I’m sayin’ is Leia is the bosslady and she’s helped orchestrate the Rebellion since she was a teen. Her levels of impact are unrivaled. Also, had she not sent Poe and BB-8 to Jakku… Rey wouldn’t be wielding a lightsaber right now. Talk about a legacy.
Dark Side Vote: General Grievous I’m sorry I didn’t vote for Boba Fett this tournament, really I am. But Grievous is a monster, man… he’s done some downright atrocious stuff in helping further Palpatine’s schemes. He’s one of those villains that’s hard to find the good in, y’know? Hard for a bounty hunter, even a Mando bounty hunter with a vendetta, to compete with. They’re both still amazingly cool characters, don’t get me wrong. Just… yeah, understand the amount of impact.

DAY THIRTEEN: OBI-WAN VS. LUKE/VADER VS. MAUL

Light Side Vote: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Well, obviously since Obi-Wan trained Luke and convinced Yoda to further train Luke. He’s kinda a big deal.
Dark Side Vote: Darth Vader. Vader Vs. Maul is always always always a toughie. Both have done things that leave me aghast in shock. But only one of them helmed that ultimate weapon… and only one successfully defeated Sidious. Kind of a stretch maybe, but I think it makes sense.

DAY FOURTEEN: YODA VS. REY/KYLO VS. BOBA
Light Side Vote: Yoda. Because again, Yoda trained Luke who goes on to train Rey. That’s a pretty important amount of legacy to leave if you ask me.
Dark Side Vote: Kylo Ren. Again, when it comes to being bad, Boba is a sweet cinnamon roll compared to the likes of these Darksiders he’s been matched up against. Starkiller Base just done did more damage than those blasters, you and I both know that.

DAY FIFTEEN: LUKE VS. REY/VADER VS. KYLO
Light Side Vote: Luke. Whee the masters goin’ against the apprentices!! What can I say? Rey may have some natural talent, but Luke’s going to help her refine it. The path she chooses, the legacy she leads, will forever be influenced by her new master. Deeeep.
Dark Side Vote: Darth Vader. “YOU’LL NEVER BE AS STRONG AS DARTH VADER!” Sorry just truth Kylo bro. He’s his senpai, his role model, his inspiration, and his grandpa. Darth Vader wins all the vote here.

FINAL VOTE: LUKE VS. VADER

What can I say? I heart the Light Side. Luke did defeat Darth Vader, but ultimately with love, not fighting. Luke’s legacy, his impact on the galaxy is astronomical. And like say, he’s about to do like Yoda and pass on what he’s learned. I think Luke completely deserved the vote, and the final win this year, don’t you think? 😀
And on a totally 100% biased fangirly note… he’s just a flat-out amazingly incredible character!

TIMSketch

And so ends another great This Is Madness! Can only imagine what next year’s tournament will hold.
Also #JynErsoFor2017Champion 🙂

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

Rebel Transmissions: Always Two There Are

Yes the blog is back to its Friday slot! At least for now, anyway. But this amazing episode of Rebels absolutely needed to be blogged on today, especially since it has a bit of a Halloween-y vibe 🙂 And so without further ado, Always Two There Are!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Rebels episodes Droids In Distress, Fire Across The Galaxy, The Lost Commanders, Relics Of The Old Republic, and Always Two There Are

Cover photo for Rebel Transmission 2x04

So our Rebels were having a rather casual afternoon (or evening… or morning… it’s hard to tell in space). Rex and Zeb were having a friendly game of dejarik, Sabine and Chopper are just chillin’, and Kanan and Ezra were finishing up some Jedi training. Kanan’s given his student the simple task of levitating Chopper (and dropping him afterward XP ). Zeb’s lost another round to Rex. Let’s be glad Lasats aren’t known for ripping people’s arms off (though I’m sure he could if he wanted to). Don’t think Sabine’s not gonna join in the fun, too… right before Ezra started workin’ on his Forcin’, she told Chopper to lock himself down. Ezra tried his hardest before Rex pointed out what those two were up to. Sabine and Chopper have a good laugh and exchange a little bit of a fistbump 🙂 Oh it’s so much fun watching these guys just having fun… even if it is at Ezra’s expense 😛 The Captain uses this as a teaching moment, to not just look through the Force, but with one’s eyes as well. He makes mention of the general he served with and how he used both the Force and his wits to his advantage. Yeah Anakin did that quite a bit didn’t he? General Skywalker was late to the Jedi training game and because of this he had a lot of real-world, hands-on experience that most other Jedi back in the day didn’t have. And since Ezra’s in pretty much the same situation, this is solid advice. Heh heh imagine this: an alternate universe where Anakin was Ezra’s master. I can only imagine how the battle droid carnage would look! OK anyway I’ve completely rabbit-trailed. Kanan doesn’t quite buy into Rex’s advice though. Any further “discussion” was (at least temporarily) halted by Hera, who’s got a mission for Sabine and Zeb to an old Republic medical station to grab some supplies. “Well you better hurry… Captain Wits here is gonna need ’em” “Ohh so there’s where the boy gets his lack of discipline!” XD 😆 Ah I’m sorry I just love this “too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen” headbutting going on! Hera’s so done XD And Ezra’s done too, he’s joining up with Zeb, Sabine, and Chopper this time around… anything from being caught in that crossfire. Yay a mission with the “kids”! Those are always fun!
Our heroes find themselves entering the dark creepiness of the abandoned medical station. Yep it’s dark and it’s creepy and did I mention it’s old and abandoned? Nothing they can’t handle right? Also a bit of a question has been answered, apparently “astromech” is a language that can be taught. I’ve always wondered if when folks like Anakin and Luke responded to something Artoo or some other droid said they actually understood them or if they were just assuming. But yeah Ezra totally understands Chopper (at least mostly)… which I imagine sometimes is a bit of a disadvantage. Zeb’s the only one here who doesn’t know it (though way back on Droids In Distress he seemed to know Chopper didn’t say anything akin to “hello hyperspace”, but that’s probably just because much of that C1-10P’s snark needs no translation). Thankfully, Zeb does now how to wrench open locked doors. Even as they walk through the eerie halls, Sabine can’t ignore a blank wall that needs her artistic genius. But as she makes her spray-painted statement, she has no idea a miniature probe-like droid is watching in the shadows. Sabine suspects something, but the only thing that startles her is Ezra popping in. But indeed there is a miniprobe watching… and he makes contact with his master quickly.
So Chopper may have turned on the lights in the base… all the lights. The Empire may have noticed. So might have the Fifth Brother. Fivey insists he’ll be going it solo this time ’round, and the Imps are all “OK… if you say so…” and exchange a look of weirded-out-ness. Hey I know you Imperials don’t get the whole “Force-y” thing but you gotta hand it to them, the Quizzes know what they’re doing. Which is not good for our heroes.
So change of plans, since accessing the files came up dry the kids head out to find the med supplies on their own while Chop continues to man the system. Ezra and Zeb get a little competitive over finding those supplies, which leads to some pretty hilarious moments. Including the fact they literally run right past what they were looking for to start with XD Not to mention the whole thing where Ezra shoves a couple of crates right onto Zeb and shortly thereafter Ezra runs smack into a low-hanging bar *dies laughing* Ohhh delightful! Love that Ezra’s matured a bit since this season started, but I’m glad he’s still got a little cockiness in there X)
So there Chopper was… alone in the dark creepy base, the only light coming from the control screen. And then something indeed goes bump in the night (or the afternoon, or the evening, or the morning… whatever time of day it is). He ventures down a dark hall to investigate. Chopper don’t you know anything about scary movies?! That is absolutely something you don’t want to do! Something skitters across the floor, just out of sight. Then another. And then he turns around AND THERE’S A MINIPROBE!! Cue the screaming. Followed by a solid zapping on miniprobe #1’s part. The clever little skunk does a little electric work and makes Chopper call out for help, driving the Rebels right into his master’s trap. Ezra and Sabine take a shortcut through the air ducts. Zeb… yeah he never made it through the opening. Hope somebody brought some butter…
Ezra and Sabine arrive in the dark hallway, where Chopper’s panicked noises call out, but where also glows the single red eye of a evil little miniprobe, and where stands the shadowy form of his master, the Seventh Sister. She is totally all kinds of cool, but also all kinds of frightening because she has a two-bladed ‘saber and has been searching for our heroes, which can’t be a good thing when you own a two-bladed. Ezra and Sabine make a dash for it, blaster-sabering and blastering their escape. Considering all things they do pretty awesomely at holding their own against this cray ‘quiz, even if all the blaster-sabering and blastering in the world doesn’t knock down Seven and her miniprobe pets. And the next thing they know they turn around and THERE’S ANOTHER INQUISITOR! Fifth Bro wasn’t about to miss the party! It would be awesome right now if they could find Zeb and Chopper. But before they know it Seven’s got ’em cornered, and she doesn’t bat an eyelash at Force-grabbing Ezra and using her miniprobes to hold him down. Ezra insists Sabine make a run for it and bravely lightsabers the door lock. Gahhhhh so so very brave!! Seems like just yesterday when Kanan was doing that! So just like that Seventh Sis has his blaster-saber and one of those pesky Rebs in her clutches. And then Fivey showed up. He’s kinda perturbed that Seven got to ’em first, but she clearly calls the shots and sends him to go find Sabine. Ah yes the ‘Quisitors are a fun bunch aren’t they? Can you imagine the company picnics? Sorry I know that was weird but it popped into my head while I was first watching this and now I’m certain Fifth Bro makes a mean potato salad. Anyway yeah this is very bad… the situation, not my SW gags.
And guess where Zeb was? Yep still stuck in that vent. “I DON’T WANNA DIE LIKE THIS I’M THE LAST OF MY KIND!” XD At least we didn’t have to use butter! But yeah it’s all up to these two now…
Meanwhile Sev was having a nice chat with Young Bridger. She flawlessly weaves in backhanded compliments with genuine no-frills threats. If Ventress was still in the dark side of things they’d probably be besties (at least up until one of them was threatened by the other’s power or prestige and they turn on each other). Yeah I’m thinking that at this point, if she’s still alive, Ventress is probably working a desk job somewhere and doesn’t swing red ‘sabers anymore. Sorry back to this era. But even though Sis does well with her side of the convo Ezra gets major props for combatting her sarc with some sarc of his own and never once alluding he knows anything she wants to know. The scary thing is she never once is flustered. I wish I had that kind of confidence. Elsewhere Fifth Bro stalks the halls, searching for the rest of the Rebs. Zeb and Sabine thought they’d lure him into a detonator-filled trap, but he’s a little too good at being bad, ’cause Fivey just picks up all of them and throws them back at our heroes. And just like that he hauls Sabine’s unconscious form onto his back and walks away, leaving Zeb for the miniprobes’ taking. Poooooor Zeb… you’d think these tiny little things would be easy for a guy like him to take out but they cause all kinds of trouble with their clingy-zappiness. Has to use his head a bit, like literally smashing the one on his head against a box. And lo and behold the box is full of those medical supplies they were looking for. Much irony. And then le gasp he finds Sabine’s helmet without Sabine!
So the nice conversation Sev and Ezra were having downgraded into her throwing darksidery mind torture his way. She seems a bit irked that she had to do this when things had been going so nice, but hey whatcha gon’ do boy’s not talking. Also zinger of the day: “…Because unlike you, I know how to shut up. You’re like a broken protocol droid!” well played, young Bridger 🙂 But soon her real purpose shows itself… she’s looking for Ahsoka. Ooh… o_o And then Fifth brings in Sabine, hoping to up the ante a bit. Ezra still refuses to say anything, but with Zeb unaccounted for, he and Sabine fear the worst. But it is not so, because Zeb found Chopper and is back at the Phantom, trying to conjure up a plan. Poor guy… feels a little inadequate right now, not sure how it is he can save his “younger sibs”. But this Zeb is not the same Zeb from back in the first episode, no matter what he faces, he’s not about to leave anyone behind! Whoops that made him sound like a terrible person didn’t it? I hope not ’cause that’s absolutely not what I meant. Anyway all right Zeb! *cheers*
And that’s about when Ezra and Sabine get a call from a Rebel who goes by Commander Meillorun. Hehe we know who that is 🙂 Sabine turns down his assistance, but when Fivey sticks his red blade a bit too close to her neck, Ezra decides it wouldn’t hurt to have some sort of help. Ah the feels right now these guys are so tight they’re all in some way willing to risk their lives for each other! Sabine to Zeb, Ezra to Sabine, and Zeb to both! Does that make sense? I think so… but yeah I’m both proud of our heroes and terrified of these Inquisitors. Now all Ezra and Sabine can do is trust that Zeb knows what he’s doing…
The ‘Quizzes are pretty happy though. They’re getting the info they came for and they’ll still get to kill the others! Win-win! Or so they think, because what they can’t see is that the Phantom‘s parked on the ceiling. Before they know it there’s blasterfire all over the place. Zeb’s at the guns, Ezra’s got his ‘saber back, and our heroes are about to make their escape! Anddd thennn Five and Seven Force-grab the ship. Dang they’re good. And not just that but then Sev starts using the Force to shut the door! It’s when Fifth Bro pulls out his ‘saber again to deflect Sabine’s blaster that she loses her grip and the Phantom jets on outta there. Heck hath no fury like a ‘Quisitor sister scorned. I’m sure Fivey ran outta there pretty fast too. He is not about to have any “nice conversations” with her… but whatever hooray for Zeb! He done saved the day! 😀
So back on the Ghost it seems the boys settled things without killing each other in a friendly game of dejarik. Kanan won. Hera looks pleased with herself… perhaps she was the one who got them to chill out and play a quiet game? Hehe she’s most definitely the mom 🙂 By the time the kids got back, Ezra didn’t give Kanan a second to chew him out for going along on the mission, because he had to bear the bad news that they’ve got two new problems and they wear black, have double-bladed red lightsabers, and know something about Ahsoka. He doesn’t let in on it to the kids, but Kanan had no idea there were more. Though, yes, everything went OK, they got more medical supplies and they all survived thanks to Zeb, things have just taken a truly terrifying turn. And where it will all end, we do not know…
Wow. Just wow. So many great moments, but also so much frightening uncertainty. We can only sit and wait to find out what will happen next. I wish you all a very Happy Halloween… and all the patience in the world until the next episode!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

Raid On Coruscant: A Closer Look

So with months off before Rebels comes back, no new really big SW news, and my next Star Wars Summer Read still on its way to my library, it seems like a good time to talk some more about the Lego Star Wars specials! Plus, with Droid Tales on the way it’d probably be a good idea to get back in on this. So I bring you my Closer Look on Raid On Coruscant. Enjoyyyyy.
NOTE: Contains spoilers from The Empire Strikes Out, The Phantom Clone, Race For The Holocrons, Raid On Coruscant

When we last left our heroes, things… didn’t go that well. Guess who has two thumbs and all the holocrons? THIS GUYYY! Er… Darth Vader, not me… I guess that joke doesn’t technically work in this context. Never mind. So yeah that’s a problem. Now the Empire has a full list of every planet sympathetic to the Rebel Alliance. Naboo is next on this list. “I can’t figure out how our sign didn’t throw them off!”, yesss because they’d totally buy the “Not a Rebel Base” sign XD I figure Vader had fun laying waste to this planet… on the list of planets associated with his past he’d like to destroy, Naboo’s probably tops on the list. Yeah this does not look good. Yoda and Obi-Wan know that for sure, that’s why they called up their old buddy JEK-14 to lend a Force-enriched hand. But it seems someone didn’t get the memo on that… Qui-Gon Jinn showed up, ready and rarin’ to go to help his comrades! Well, this is awkward. So Obi-Wan and Yoda give their other old buddy a job opening a pickle jar. Qui-Gon’s totally into it “You remembered how good I am at opening things! Let me at it! I have a very particular set of skills.” XD (OMG I just realized they dropped a Taken reference *dies laughing*)
So Vader was going to give his master an update, but it took a bit longer than he would’ve preferred, having to get past his secretary and being put on hold. Makes sense, though. I mean, if you’re Emperor of the entire galaxy you’ve got to be a busy dude. So Darth takes a tea break, only to have Sidious come on the line a minute later. Palpatine’s glad to see his progress, and now offers up the next planet to mess with — Tatooine. Otherwise known as #1 on Vader’s “planets associated with my past that I’d like to destroy” list. It’s funny I wouldn’tve pegged Tatooine for having too many Rebel sympathizers, but apparently any at all is too many as far as the Empire’s concerned. Looks like Threepio’s interview is over…
In the back of the Mos Eisley cantina, Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie discuss their situation and what their next move should be. Luke believes their best move would be to head on over to Coruscant itself and take the holocrons back. Han’s response is hilarious “Kid! You’ve been sleeping with that flashlight-thing too close to your brain!” 😛 Leia’s actually resorted to considering hiding as a good plan, but regardless of the risky nature of the plan, Luke believes that’s their best move. And then in comes a AT-AT… right in the middle of the cantina. Like clockwork, the Empire has arrived. But so also has one JEK-14…
The Falcon crew finds themselves facing down Imperial resistance from both ends, including but not limited to Lord Vader in an AT-AT. Thankfully for our heroes, those things, while impressive and super-cool, take a little work to turn around and that gives them an opportunity to make a run for it. They try for the Falcon‘s docking bay only to be met by Jabba and every bounty hunter he could ever hope to hire to capture Captain Solo. And Luke’s doesn’t work much better… those fangirls of his are back. So things just got more chaotic that it already was. As they were running for their lives, JEK runs up alongside them, introducing himself as a friend of Obi-Wan’s and offering them a lift out of this mess. Luke is a tad skeptical, at least up until JEK uses that arm of his to build a wall between them and their pursuers. But just when they thought they’d gotten out of the soup, they’re met by blasterfire from Vader’s AT-AT. Just when they thought they were back in the soup, Artoo and Threepio take aim at the transport with the Falcon! Vader’s not too happy to see that old thing pwning his weaponry again… and I bet he’d be even less happy to know that two familiar droids were the ones at the controls. So he decides to ditch the AT-AT and meet them full-on with his lightsaber. JEK was about to work his Force-arm magic and turn the Falcon invisible, but his Force-control don’t work as well as it used to. Though it does make an interesting point; obviously age doesn’t impact one’s use of the Force (see: everything Yoda’s ever done), so does that mean JEK’s arm is robotic and not physical? My only problem with that theory is that he was a normal clone who was enhanced by a kyber crystal, so that shouldn’t have turned his arm robotic out of the gate. But technically, JEK isn’t actually Force-sensitive in the traditional sense, he gained some unique abilities via the kyber crystal, but it’s not the same as actual Force sensitivity. He has just as many midichlorians as the rest of the clones (well, maybe a couple more?). So I think my theory of his arm being overcharged by pure Force still stands. Sorry if that made no sense at all, but it’s definitely interesting looking at this concept from a realistic standpoint. So it finally takes Han giving the old guy’s arm a whack to get it back to fully functioning, and with that, the ship disappears from Vader’s sight and flies off to the Kashyyk base. Also yay Qui-Gon got that pickle jar open! “So awkward, this is…” XD
So Vader kinda had to go and explain what happened to Sidious. Sidious isn’t pleased, but there are still plenty of other planets to crush out there. While hunting through the holocrons for a fresh planet, he happens to find one loaded with footage of a young Anakin Skywalker. Consider Darth Vader’s interest piqued. As the master and the apprentice head off to the screening room to find out what their next target is, Vader happens to quietly take the past-self holocron with him. Of course, that “screening room” is technically the senate building (no one told Senator Yawn this, though… poor dude), and in there they find that the planet in question is “Wookiee World”. Vader points out its actual name and location, and to that Sidious drops one of the greatest lines uttered in Lego SW history “Well, you’re a real Star Wars nerd, aren’t you?” SO META! XD XD Though in all seriousness, Rebels, you’re in trouble… but it turns out the Rebels are pretty aware of that. So Luke’s come back to his raid plan again, with help from Mon Mothma and Admiral Ackbar (and of course JEK, who helps polish off the Falcon in a marvelous way), they might stand a chance.
Meanwhile, Vader was taking a moment to watch that holocron he confiscated. It shows an early Clone Wars battle with a younger, nicer him along with Obi-Wan and Mace Windu, all cracking very future-foretelling quips (“When you guys joke around like that it makes me want to get tossed out a high-rise window with my arm cut off!” Seriously? That’s kinda scary…). Vader’s had enough of it and kicks the ‘cron away. It does make you wonder what all Darth’s feeling right now. This is between Episodes IV and V so he knows who Luke is and it’s starting to chip away at his outer shell. He likely still harbors hate for the Jedi and probably still refers to his old self as someone else, but at this juncture I could see him starting to slowly question his allegiances. Face it bro you’ve still got good in ya! But no time to think about that he’s got Rebels to crush!
As for the Rebels, the plan is set, JEK’s knows the lay of the Coruscant land, and Artoo’s got the floor plans! At least, he will once Leia finds the right compact disc to load. Han breaks the awkward silence with “Ever wonder how come we don’t have digital downloads yet?” Pffff XD Luke senses the Empire’s approach, so it’s time for the Rebels to make their move! But by the time they get to Coruscant… the Imperials are gone. That’s because the Imperials already left for Kashyyk! You can imagine how much Vader liked this surprise. Yeahh I had never thought two enemies could miss each other like that, but it’s working in the Rebels’ favor so they have more time to grab those holocrons without opposition. And then enter in the Imperial Guards. OK so the plan’s not entirely without opposition. But duh that’s why JEK-14’s here. #ForceEnhancedBenefits JEK takes a look in the old Holocron Vault and Han and Luke enter into Palpatine’s office. JEK doesn’t find any ‘crons, though he does find himself fighting that old vault droid who doesn’t play fair. But Han knows just how to make their entrance — making one in the Emperor’s office window. And the dark dude hasn’t yet left the building. Then he doesn’t play fair and hides in the closet until he throws all Force lightning on the two young heroes, and that turns into a ‘saber battle between Luke and Sidious. Man, Luke is really doing awesome, standing his ground against such a formidable foe. I mean, Luke’s practically just started his training and Palpatine brought down Jedi masters! Either the Force is really really really with young Skywalker or Palpatine’s just getting old. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Oh yeah, and with Artoo’s help, JEK managed to get out of that mess with the vault droid. Artoo grabbed a single ‘cron and whacked him over the head with it (the vault droid, not JEK-14). Back at the battle in Palpatine’s office, the smacktalk had begun. “YOU ARE A WEAK PATHETIC FARM BOY!” “Oh yeah? Well, your teeth are yellow!” “*GASP* WORDS CAN HURT YOU KNOW!” Another one of the best lines ever! 😆 XD Though seriously have we seen one honest-to-goodness Sith without bad teeth? Even most second-rate Sithy-sorts have bad teeth! I guess we can cut Ventress and Savage from this ranking but still! Luke finally knocks the ‘saber from Sidious’ hands, but that only frees him up to Force-grab the boy and throw him out the window. Thankfully, a tour bus full of Jawas was at the right place in the right time. Palpatine thought he could get away scot-free, but didn’t expect to be surrounded at all ends by Han, Chewie, and alllll those Wookiees in the senate building. Luke finally rejoins the party, but the Emperor’s not going to make it easy for our heroes — he threatens to destroy the holocrons! But Skywalker knows how to play his cards right; “Go ahead! Destroy them!” and literally everybody be like “WHUT?“. Luke knows there’s no way Palpatine would really want to destroy all his precious intel. And that’s where JEK comes in, for the good of the galaxy, Luke gives him the command to destroy the holocrons. It’s sad to see all these years worth of documented Jedi history blown to pieces, but if it allows the Rebels to fight another day, then it’s a necessary sacrifice. And with that, the Alliance is heading back to Kashyyk on a good note.
As for Vader, he finally showed up after managing the space battle. And he happened to find Palpatine trapped on top of the senate building, cape caught on its spike, and his heart-print boxers for all the world to see. Yes this was not one of the Darths’ better days.
Obi-Wan and Yoda reflect on Luke’s daring decision. Good news is they can’t be used for evil ever again, bad news is now Luke can’t use the holocrons for Jedi training. It’s Master Jinn who suggests Yoda be the one to train him. And he finally outs them for not being honest with him to start with XD “I would expect more from the guys I taught the ways of immortality to!”
Back on Kashyyk, we’re getting to hang around for the Wookiee party! Sure Ewoks know how to throw an epic soiree but the hairy beasts could give them a run for their money! While the Rebels get down, Luke and JEK talk for a moment, as Luke does regret not being able to at least get ahold of one holocron. But JEK reveals that Artoo did managed to keep one… the one with a young Anakin Skywalker 🙂 Awwwz! “Whoever this Jedi is, he’s amazing! I hope someday I turn out just like him!” Well, I wouldn’t really want you to do that, but still, if one thing tugs at my heartstrings, it’s that image of Luke watching his father as the great man he once was :3
So there you go some random Legoness for your Saturday. Hope all my American readers have a Fourth Of July that’s as much fun as an Ewok-and-Wookiee party! 😀

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight