Star Wars Rebels Hits an Incredibly High Note with “Twilight of the Apprentice”

Ezra, Kanan, and Ahsoka travel to a hidden Sith temple seeking the knowledge of how to defeat their enemy, only to discover the Inquisitors there waiting for them and an even older enemy who also seeks an end to the Sith.

All right, let’s get down to this, but first…

Spoiler Alert

So, where to begin? This episode was just bursting with goodness whether you’re a fan of the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy, or even The Force Awakens. The only fans it didn’t seem to be giving service to was fans of The Holiday Special, but forget those guys. There’s something wrong with them.

Maul’s reappearance was something that was expecting, but I found the whole “mystery” of who the Old Master was to be a little annoying. I can’t imagine anyone honestly saying, “Wow, I never would have guessed that the Old Master was Darth Maul all along!”

To see Maul join forces with Team Jedi was undeniably cool. Let’s face it, from the moment he said, “Trust me,” I started a mental countdown to that inevitable moment he was going to screw everyone over, but the partnership between him and the good guys, not to mention having some of the blanks filled it about what he had been up to since we last saw him get his black and red butt handed to him in the The Clone Wars was gratifying and neat as can be.

Ezra’s interaction with Maul was sketchy and a little too convenient that he would be tempted by the dark side in such an obvious manner, but Rebels has rarely been subtle so I guess they just parred the hole on this one too. Personally, though, I would have loved to have seen a more defined arch for Ezra… a little more anger, a little more despair… something that would have made his transition to the darker side of the Force a little more organic and believable.

The Inquisitors met rather brutal ends in this episode as well. You can tell it’s a season finale by the number of Inquisitors that die, I guess. If this trend keep up on this exponential scale, the body count for the season three finale could wipe out all life in the galaxy.

Can we talk about the Inquisitor helicopter sabers? Folks, Star Wars Rebels isn’t the greatest show on TV, but it’s good at what it does and rarely does it delve into moments of unbridled stupidity, but seeing the Inquisitors fly around like Inspector Gadget was probably the most stupid thing I’ve seen since Jar Jar Binks first ruined everything. I physically slapped my forehead and that’s something that I don’t think I’ve ever actually done in my life.

It stung.

That moment of crap writing actually caused me real pain!

Looking back, it’s a minor thing and, as I’ve said before, I know this is a kids show and most kid shows are inherently dumb at heart, but it was stupid… really really stupid.

Go-Go Gadget Saber-Copter!!!

Like I said, though… minor quibble.

Most of the episode was non-stop fights with actual consequences. As I said, the deaths and injuries were brutal and the scars are definitely going to run deep. Kanan losing his eyes, for example… great move. Shocking. We didn’t see it coming and, then again… neither did Kanan!

The fight between Ahsoka and Vader, a moment that The Clone Wars and Rebels has been building to for years was almost perfect. Yes, it’s incredibly annoying that it ended ambiguously because, as we all know, no body = no death, but the beats in the fight were amazing. From Ahsoka holding onto that last hope that Vader couldn’t possibly be Anakin to Vader’s helmet getting sliced and Ahsoka seeing the destroyed shell of her former master staring back at her.

This was how you do a boss fight… leaving it without an ending is how to almost ruin it.

I so say almost.

It just seems to me that after years of building up this confrontation, something was owed… a death, a dismemberment, or even just some psychological damage after a daring escape. None of that was had and, unless they’ve got some special plans for Ahsoka down the road, this was a battle that should have been as heavy as death, but now seems strangely consequence free.

Disney, we can sit through the death of Bambi’s mom and Mufasa, we could’ve handled Ahsoka.

Still, through all of that — through the shortcomings and missed opportunities, “Twilight of the Apprentice” was an incredible episode. It was sad, it was exciting, it was surprising, and it was moving. The coda at the end hints at more to come and troubles ahead for the crew of the Ghost and season three cannot get here soon enough.

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