Reacting to a vision of Maul, Ezra defies Hera and Kanan to travel to a remote planet in hopes of stopping the former Sith lord from carrying out his plans. (S3 Ep20).
What I thought
Since Obi-Wans name was mentioned earlier on in this season, the anticipation of more Kenobi has been palatable. We have known it was coming now for a while, our juice buds salivating over seeing everyone’s favourite master Jedi once more. Would the Maul/Ezra confrontation with old Ben live up to everyone’s nostalgic and expected beliefs?
Largely it succeeded. Sure, everyone would want as much Kenobi as possible and thus it would be hard to deliver something that would appease everyone in this episode yet somehow almost every tick-box was well and firmly checked in terms of A New Hope tie-ins and Obi-Wan, as well as putting an end well and firmly to the Maul arc. It’s with sadness in some respects that Maul delivered so much in his Rebel’s appearances but ultimately, we never really saw a lot of pay-off as we’d hoped in terms of Ezra’s development. Yes, there were changes aplenty for Kanan from meeting Maul, but Ezra? I’m still not convinced and I’m disappointed we didn’t see him cross the threshold into the dark side more than we did. However, this is a show about Rebels and not about another person subcuming to darkness so perhaps it’s just as well in the end that that arc went as far as it did before having a line drawn under it.
There’s a tremendous amount to love about this episode right from the beginning. Seeing the twin suns, the masses of sand and Maul trekking aimlessly about, lost, as he searches for Obi-Wan. We all know where he is. We feel the excitement of knowing right from the word go. Maul’s conversations with himself are entertaining, emotional and revealing. I find myself strangely mesmerised by almost everything he’s ever said in Rebels. It’s a shame therefore that the next 5 or so minutes of the show take us away from Tatooine as Ezra hears the two holcroms calling him out a message from Maul to lure him to the planet and lure Kenobi out of hiding. It’s odd that Kanan appears remotely disinterested in following up on the possibility of Kenobi being alive. I see in Rebels recon that he was originally involved and although I understand why they left him out, it still comes across as odd in this episode that Kanan stands so far back from the opportunity to find Kenobi. It’s left for Ezra to steal a ship (something he seems to get into no trouble for ultimately) and head to Tatooine. Chopper humorously hides aboard the ship, and interacts with Ezra in a very caring and loving way throughout this episode. We get a short but enjoyable meeting with Sand people who destroy Ezra’s ship. Whilst Ezra is knocked out from the blast (surely Chopper wasn’t though?) Maul deals with the attackers in a way you imagine Anakin might have approved of.
So, Ezra and Chopper set off to find Obi_wan across the desert, finally succumbing to exhaustion, heat and lots of sand as they both collapse in a heap. This leads to Obi-Wan’s introduction as he brings them both back to health, cleaning up Chopper off-screen, but seemingly rejuvenating Ezra just by his prescience. I’d think some water would have been needed personally. Obi-wan’s voice is brilliantly portrayed, as is his appearance and dialogue. No funny looking Yoda version here. The conversation between them is brilliantly done and ultimately short as Maul arrives bang on cue. Unsurprisingly, Obi-wan despatches Ezra to safety. Surprisingly though, Ezra just goes along with it. Sure, I get he might be convinced but he was far too easily convinced to just go after all that searching he’d done to be there to help Obi-Wan. Anyhow, he’s gone and it's Maul vs Obi-Wan at last. They stalk each other with dialogue, somewhat taunting each other, before Maul finally works out why Obi-Wan is lurking on the planet, which helps illuminate Ben’s lightsabre. They parade their weapons decoratively, wielding them around themselves, poised to attack, before Maul launches himself in, their blades rattle against each other in several quick moves. Then, it’s over. Obi-Wan cuts through Maul’s double-blade and seemingly through the flesh as well. It’s so hard to see. Even after many views I’m still unsure how Maul died. I have just managed to notice some smoke on Maul’s chest at the umpteenth watch, so my first thoughts that his heart gave out are replaced with he must have been cut open. It’s not obvious by any means and does detract somewhat from the end of the battle as I spent more time wondering what happened than listening to what they said next. It was touching though that there was some genuine connection between the two, despite the rivalry, as Maul realises Obi-Wan is protecting the chosen one and believes that he will avenge them all, where they could not. He is thankfully, quite correct.
So, Ezra does arrive home at the end and ends up getting a group hug, rather than much conversations of Obi-Wan, Maul or the fact that he stole a ship at a very delicate time and risked them being detected. Yeah, none of that! Well, there is only so much time I guess! The very last scene of Obi-Wan watching Luke from a distance was a nice tie-in once more but felt a little unnecessary in some ways when it means little in the context of this actual show but ultimately a lot though in the grand scale of Star Wars.
What we ended up with was a lot of Star Wars heaven and nostalgic nods and a conclusion to a long rivalry.
Rating 7/10 – Nostalgia rules the day.
What I liked
- Visuals on Tatooine were amongst the best and most richly detailed in ages on this show.
- Tick-list of nods to A New Hope, with Sand people and Chopper ridge/sand, plus Luke ending.
- Obi-Wan! Everything about him was out of the top-draw in this episode.
- Maul’s dialogue and conversations with himself were mesmerising,
- Story didn’t do too much to wreck continuity with A New Hope.
- A conclusion to Maul versus Obi-Wan.
- Ezra and Chopper’s genuine connection.
What I didn’t like
- Totally took us away from the season-arc of Thrawn just before the finale. Yet more start/stop stuttering to any build-up for Thrawn.
- Ezra’s “ok” over leaving Obi-Wan to face Maul after just heading that way and going through all that drama just to get there and help him.
- You’d think Ezra would first say “He’s alive!” when he gets back at end but no.
- Why wouldn’t Kanan show more concern and interest in Obi-Wan?
- Obi-Wan Versus Maul was too short. Didn’t need to be long, but a tad longer would have been better.
|Maul is lost of Tatooine.|
|Nice PJs Ezra!|
|Maul reaches out to Ezra.|
|Typical teen. Parents say no but he does it anyway.|
|Holcrons are like GPS.|
|Sandpeople briefly enjoy themselves before Maul arrives.|
|Sand, it gets everywhere.|
|Chopper and Ezra are both totally lost and exhausted.|
|Obi-Wan! He cleans up Chopper but doesn't even give Ezra a drink.|
|Enter Maul ...|
|... exit Ezra.|
|Obi-Wan and Maul have a little reunion chat.|
|Blink and you miss it, much like Maul did.|
|"I loved you", Maul DIDN'T say.|
|Ezra is congratulated for stealing a ship at a very crucial and critical moment for the rebellion.|