"Maul is back, kidnapping the crew of the Ghost in order to force Kanan and Ezra to hand over the Sith & Jedi Holocrons to him."
What I thought?
Second episode in and we're already rocking quality. I've not been the biggest fan of Maul's return from being cut in half in the 1st Star Wars film, but this was my personal favourite episode of his in a long time. He's calculating, fierce, mystic and dominating as he captures the crew of the Ghost (off screen) and demands Ezra and Kanan (who were elsewhere) to hand over both holocrons in return for the crew. Needless to say this is a ruthless Maul, who we find out has little to no sentiment for being nice, as he tries to kill Kanan as soon as the opportunity arrives and gives the order to his droids to kill the crew a little later. This is great stuff and everything I wanted to see from Maul as he strides about looking a considerable foe. Despite being ready to kill everyone, he still sees Ezra as his apprentice, as they both join together the two holocrons. This particular bit was a little of let down. Supposedly, so Bendu tells us earlier in the episode, when such holocrons are joined together, they will tell you whatever you want to know. Ezra wants to destroy the Sith (not totally sure why that's his crusade entirely but hey ho) and Maul wants to know ... well, he doesn't tell us. Kanan stops the unification just as both are getting answers, in order to save Ezra's soul I guess. Ezra ends up knowing only random things that are no use at all, and Maul dashes off muttering "He lives" as if he had seen that scene from last season with Ashoka finding out about Anakin. I'd guess Maul refers to Kenobi here. And given that's likely the case, they wouldn't start such as storyline without seeing it through, so I'm pretty sure we'll see Obi-Wan sometime in the near future! How cool is that? Or did he mean Anakin? Nah, Maul hated Kenobi so one would think it was about him.
As with all cartoons, it's hard to get over some oddities, such as how the pathetic droids in Maul's possession could keep the crew at bay, especially as Chopper seems very easily subdued on multiple occasions. Doesn't quite make much sense how Chopper manages very little in this episode when he doesn't appear to be that injured/chained up. The first escape that the crew attempt sees them destroy 3 droids in less than 3 seconds, yet they are at their mercy most of episode? Seems daft to have us believe that, but then this episode was all about Maul and the holocrons so let's not worry about technicalities too much huh? And, after wondering what on earth Kanan was thinking when he gave a sith holocron to a total stranger last week, we see that nothing bad came of it, as Bendu tells them where he stored it, using the opportunity to reunite Kanan and Ezra as a partnership in order to retrieve the device. Very nicely played. A bit much to see the hug between them though. Is this the end of Ezra's dark path? I certainly hope not. It's been toyed with for so long that I'd really not want it to be over that soon. Did anyone see where the holocrons were at the end of the episode? Hmm.
Good = Maul's portrayal is top-notch, Master/Apprentice reunion for Kanan/Ezra and Kanan kicking some ass again. Strong hint of Obi-Wan returning.
Not so good = Ghost crew's easy incarceration, Bendu turning out to be as he seems (i.e. neutral and pleasant) and not much found out from holocrons combining.
Rating 8/10 (Excellent)