[Review] Star Wars Rebels: Twilight of the Apprentice

Yesterday Disney X.D. aired the season 2 finale of Star Wars Rebels ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’ (Part 1 and 2) written by Simon Kinberg, Steven Melching and Dave Filoni. It was a powerful and amazing finale, a lot of huge things happened including the return of Darth Maul and the long awaited Ahsoka Tano vs Darth Vader lightsaber duel.

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So let’s start with the beginning, right from the start we were treated with heavy feels from The Clone Wars as Rex said goodbye to Ahsoka echoing to what he told her the first time they met during the TCW movie “In my book, experience outranks everything.” It was a beautiful scene all the more knowing that in the end of the episode Ahsoka didn’t come back to the rebels base. If the two were never to see each other again, it was a nice and emotional farewell.

The entire episode (except one scene at the end) took place on Malachor, a Sith planet very reminiscent of Moraband seen in TCW, Moraband was in the orange tones while Malachor is in the black tones. The two planets had different events happening. On Malachor a battle took place with no side winning, we saw a jedi lightsaber with cross-guards like Kylo Ren has in The Force Awakens. This temple was a clear reference to The Clone Wars and it actually contained one of the mass destruction weapons that Yoda mentioned in the TCW Story Reel Crystal Crisis arc. The atmosphere of Malachor temple felt very much like it came from the Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. The place where Ezra met Maul was totally similar to Peter Jackson’s version of the Moria in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – something very ancient, very dark and very huge. It was also reminiscent of Minas Morgul, very dark place. And when the weapon of the temple is activated, it was echoing to when Minas Morgul’s fortress illuminates with this green column. It felt like Star Wars meets Middle-Earth, even in the atmosphere of the episode, not just the place. When Ahsoka read the ancient inscriptions, it felt like Gandalf or Elrond reading some old Elven or Dwarf text so definitely a lot of feels from the Middle-Earth which I loved very much! When Ahsoka also says she will avenge Anakin’s, Vader tells her revenge is not the jedi way like if he told her, it’s not the jedi way so you can’t beat and she answers “I’m no jedi” echoing to what Eowyn says to the Witch king, leader of the Nazgul when he tells her no man can defeat him, she says “I’m no man.” I could go on with examples but I will stop here to talk about the rest of the episode.

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The last time we saw Maul was in The Clone Wars then in his comics based on TCW. Untold stories of TCW had him in the siege of Mandalore in which he would have encountered Ahsoka hence why in Rebels, they already knew each other. It was Sam Witwer voicing Maul again and he delivered an exceptional performance! Maul entrance was very mysterious and manipulative so very much in the style of the character. He hasn’t changed from how he was in TCW, he’s still the same but older and with new clothes or less clothes should I say. I don’t know what they have in canon and legends, they love having shirtless Maul, we had a shirtless Maul in Legends comic books but also in canon with TCW and Maul’s comics. He must feel cold being shirtless all the time all the more in dark place like Malachor! Maul was still so badass, he killed the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother plus most likely the Eighth Brother even if for this last one there was no body. In one sentence he did a REAL MASSACRE BOOM! That’s how I like my Maul (see what I did here, an X-Files reference to what Scully said to Mulder 😉 ). And as always with Maul he can’t be trusted, he is always acting for himself, for his own revenge. He certainly acted as an ally for Ahsoka, Kanan and Ezra for the time to defeat the inquisitors but it didn’t last long. Maul is manipulative and he was totally that in this episode right from the start when he met Ezra and Ezra fell into the trap. It just showed again how Ezra is a weak character. From the moment he met Maul he became his apprentice without really knowing it but he did. Ezra trusted Maul and Maul told him the right things to make this trust work and the pull to the darkside made the rest. Maul needed Ezra to get to the Temple as this Temple needed two people, the rule of the Sith only two and Maul was alone so he needed an apprentice. Ezra slowly but very quickly turned to a darkside path in this episode, sure he didn’t kill the seventh sister when Maul asked him to but all he did lead him to the darkside without really realizing it. The end of the episode clearly showed that Ezra turned to the darkside by opening the holocron, he’s not a jedi anymore (Ahsoka said it a jedi can’t open a Sith holocron), he is Maul apprentice now and thus it means that Maul will come back for season 3! It makes sense what the vision of the Grand Inquisitor said to Kanan in the episode ‘Shroud of Darkness’ the dark side was indeed pulling at Ezra, it was calling at him and Ezra answered the call.

There are two negative elements in this episode. The first one was the helicopter-double blade sabers, this was just horrible like really ridiculous, seeing the Inquisitors flying with their helicopter-lightsabers was something I want to forget. It was pointless and it felt like they did it to make it cool but it turned out to be just so bad. I really hope we won’t see any of this again! The Inquisitors of season 2 were replaceable villains, it could have been other Inquisitors it wouldn’t have changed a lot, now that both are dead, it would be good to have more challenging villains in season 3. The other negative point of the episode was Kanan turning blind, it wasn’t the best move and it was actually the proof that the crew will unlikely kill any of its main characters during the series. Star Wars Rebels certainly went dark with this episode but not that dark and killing Kanan would have been the right move here but they let him live, his death would have had dramatic consequences on the Ghost crew especially on Ezra so too bad, a missed opportunity.

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The lightsaber fights were epic and there were a lot of them – the eighth brother vs Kanan and Ahsoka, the 3 Inquisitors vs Ahsoka and Kanan, the 3 Inquisitors vs Ahsoka, Kanan, Maul and Ezra, Darth Vader vs Ahsoka, Maul vs Kanan … this episode had heavy action sequences, amazing choreography for the duels. The 3 Inquisitors fight vs Ahsoka, Kanan, Maul and Ezra was amazing, we could clearly see that Maul fought them like the Inquisitors were younglings, they were no match for him, just look at how easy he killed them. Even in his fight with Kanan things went quickly, he blinded him. Though, Kanan beating him in the second part of the duel felt unexpected but maybe Maul wanted it to because he knew he had won – Ezra turned to the darkside even if he is not realizing it yet fully.

So now let’s talk about that BIG HUGE DUEL everyone was waiting for – Darth Vader vs. Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka’s entrance was excellent – interrupting Vader. Their talk before the duel was intense. As we thought, Ahsoka had doubts that Vader was indeed Anakin but seeing how evil he was she couldn’t believe it and Ahsoka saying that she would avenge Anakin and “I’m no jedi” was just awesome! The duel was pretty mind-blowing with no winner in sight. They were both too strong. Ahsoka even cut a part of Vader’s helmet and that’s when she truly realized it was Anakin, as she heard his voice. Matt Lanter was there again voicing Anakin and did a great job. I really loved the connection to The Clone Wars when she said that she won’t leave him this time, referencing to when she left the Jedi Order but unfortunately Vader wanted to kill her. It was a sad but right decision for her to stay fight him instead of leaving with Ezra and Kanan. We never saw how the duel ended but we saw its dramatic outcome. Just to go back to the “I’m no Jedi”, it clearly states here that she is no jedi right and then when Yoda says he is the last jedi in Return of the Jedi, it excludes Ahsoka from it so she doesn’t have to die, she can survive and be alive during ROTJ as she is not a jedi so Yoda’s sentence doesn’t affect her fate. She is just a Force user from the Light side which is different.

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Ezra and Kanan returned to the rebel base announcing that Ahsoka didn’t come back, it was so sad to see Rex’s reaction. The last shot we saw of Ahsoka was her going back to the Sith Temple. We saw Darth Vader leaving on the surface of Malachor limping, wounded with a convor observing him and then this convor flies into the smoke (created by the explosion of the Sith weapon) to descend to the temple revealing Ahsoka going back inside this temple. Convors were first seen in The Clone Wars, we also saw a convor in the episode before ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’. This convor observing Vader and Ahsoka going into opposite ways felt like he was an observer. So Ahsoka is alive for sure, we do see her going back inside the temple and the episode guide on official site confirms that this person we see is indeed her, “An image of the back of Ahsoka is seen walking back down into the temple.” This scene is very interesting as we see Vader and her going opposite ways, it’s strong of symbolism. It’s as if they were parting for the last time – Vader going to the surface of the planet on the light of day meaning that he is going to do his job of Darth Vader serving the Empire, while Ahsoka going back to the Temple in the darkness meaning that she has to go into exile and that her story in Star Wars Rebels ends here, she has served her purpose in the story and now she continues in her own story, on her own.

Since we were first introduced to Ahsoka in 2008 during The Clone Wars movie, I immediately loved the character. She had seen a lot of things since her first appearance, a lot of battles have happened, a lot of events and she has been through a lot. She has had the best character development in the Star Wars television and Ashley Eckstein did an amazing work voicing Ahsoka all these years!

10/10 Star Wars Rebels’s best episode with no doubt. Epic, awesome, intense and breath-taking. A lot of emotions, a lot of things happening and amazing music by Kevin Kiner!

After watching the episode, I felt like listening to these two songs – ‘The Cold’ by Exitmusic and ‘The Funeral’ by Band of Horses, I felt it just fit so well with the episode, enjoy!

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