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STAR WARS REBELS Recap: Maul Returns and Tempts Fate

STAR WARS REBELS Recap: Maul Returns and Tempts Fate

Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “The Holocrons of Fate.” Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.

We’re barely into the third season of Star Wars Rebels, but the series isn’t screwing around. The premiere introduced the newest threat from the Empire with Grand Admiral Thrawn, and “The Holocrons of Fate” revisited an enemy we met in season two: Maul. The former Sith made a grand entrance by taking the crew of the Ghost hostage in order to use Kanan and Ezra to get the Sith holocron back.

Again, I understand where Ezra is coming from regarding the holocron. Before Maul sprang his trap, Ezra explained to Kanan he wanted the holocron back because they could use it to learn how to defeat the Sith. Because of Maul threatening to kill Hera and co., Ezra got his wish. He and Kanan traveled to Atollon to pay a visit to the Bendu and regain possession of the holocron.

Before we get to the positive developments on that front, let’s stop to look at Maul. He doesn’t seem shaken by what occurred on Malachor. He’s confident and moves with decisiveness. He still calls Ezra his apprentice, and you got an idea of his standards when he told Ezra he didn’t betray the youth, only his friends. He knows how to split hairs. And the Rebels Maul has a trait I particularly like: a sense of humor. It’s dry and mean-spirited, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch this powerful dark-side user do things like turn up his nose at the smell in Zeb’s room or crack jokes about Kanan’s sight.

None of that diminishes how fierce and deadly Maul is. He wanted the Sith holocron, but he also wanted the Jedi holocron (Ezra told him about it; oops!) and used Hera to locate the item in Kanan’s quarters. Maul revealed he knew Kanan’s actual name, Caleb Dume, and went into Hera’s mind with the Force to search her memories. That ability is one we’ve barely seen: most recently we watched Kylo Ren use it in The Force Awakens. It’s an interesting connection that I can’t see as being more than coincidence right now, but it is neat to see that power used by another dark side user. Also another trait Maul shared with Ren: he had a bit of a temper tantrum. He was enraged when he couldn’t open the Jedi holocron.

While Maul worked on the Ghost, Kanan introduced Ezra to Bendu. I’m fascinated by the being. I’ve heard some fans ask how Bendu, a being that’s in a sort of neutral territory with the Force, can teach Kanan anything, but that’s just it. Bendu offers a fresh perspective. He’s not tied to either the light or dark side, and because he’s in between, he can see outside restrictions Kanan might have because of his Jedi beliefs. Plus, Bendu doesn’t coddle. Kanan and Ezra both need tough love, and Bendu is providing that. I think they’re learning more precisely because Bendu isn’t fully light-side like Yoda.

Bendu’s lighthearted manner is fun, too. It doesn’t hurt that every time he speaks I picture the Fourth Doctor because of Tom Baker’s distinct voice, but his playfulness was there in moments like him stealing Ezra’s thumper when the kid wasn’t looking. Bendu also didn’t stop them from taking back the Sith holocron with proclamations about how dangerous it was. He told them about the consequences without making it seems like the worst thing ever, if you know what I mean. The Jedi would have gone the latter route. Yoda tried to stop Luke from acting on a desire to protect his friends. Bendu was all, “Getting this isn’t the best idea, but eh, go ahead and do what you have to do.”

What the Sith and Jedi holocrons are capable of when they’re put together was a new discovery. Bendu said their united knowledge grants a clarity of vision. The holocrons create a vergence. But Bendu’s description sounded very much like a “you get what you wish for” situation. I imagine looking into the holocrons is akin to Force visions–there’s plenty of room for misinterpretations and therefore danger.

Ezra and Kanan proceeded anyway, and it involved Kanan guiding Ezra through a cave with many twists and turns to fetch the holocron from where Bendu stashed it. Ezra’s fear of the crawlers weighed upon him and distracted him from the mission. When Kanan couldn’t calm his apprentice, he stepped into the dark cave and used the Force to see. I like Kanan’s habit of taking off his mask when he does that. It’s a small but significant touch.

Kanan’s actions impressed Ezra, and with that, Ezra finally opened his eyes. He saw the way Kanan’s been changed by losing his sight and opened up. He apologized for his role in the incident, and they literally hugged it out. It was a sweet moment and a turning point for the master and apprentice–as evidenced by Ezra turning to Kanan for advice about the Sith holocron as they made their way to the Ghost. The actions in the cave restored balance between the duo, according to Bendu, and he warned them that “Once a secret is known, it cannot be unknown.”

Once they got back to the Ghost, Kanan and Ezra gave Maul a little too much credit and Maul underestimated Kanan. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they trusted Maul, but they did seem to believe Maul would stick to his word and release their friends after he had the holocron. Instead, as soon as Ezra was out of sight, he tried to kill Kanan again. He was so matter of fact and almost casual about it; if anything, the action emphasized his deadliness. And hey, being thrown out an airlock gave Kanan the opportunity to show off serious badassery as he fought his way back to safety inside the ship. He followed that up by saving the Ghost crew when surprise, surprise Maul ordered his droid posse to execute them. Being blinded has made Kanan step up and look inward to find a peace that wasn’t there before, and it shows in his actions.

Meanwhile, Maul and Ezra worked together to join the holocrons. Ezra was looking for the answer to defeat the Sith, and Maul was looking for hope. Say what? Hope for Maul doesn’t have the same definition as hope for our rebels, so what he and Ezra saw (and the audience didn’t see) is open to translation. After Kanan leaped to pull Ezra out of the intense explosion of the light the joined holocrons caused, Ezra uttered, “Twin suns!” and Maul stumbled out hysterically repeating, “He lives.”

Ezra told Kanan he saw fragments of places with some familiar and unknown planets, and he didn’t know what it meant. He also realized what Maul wanted to see could have affected the vision. Let’s consider the options. Twin suns has to be a reference to Tatooine. Think about who’s on that planet right now: Luke, the only hope for the Jedi and the person who ultimately defeats the Sith, and Obi-Wan, the person Maul wants to exact revenge upon. I can’t imagine Maul getting so excited about anyone else being alive, and his desire for revenge was a key part of his story when he appeared in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

So, Ezra could be seeing the Twin Suns because of Luke or Obi-Wan. Or, Maul could have been looking for hope and seen Tatooine because of what Ezra wanted from the holocrons and then as a bonus realized Obi-Wan was there. If Maul heard the twin suns comment, he has to suspect Obi-Wan is on Tatooine. Oh boy, this is exciting.

What do you think Ezra and Maul saw? Share your theories in the comments.

Images: Disney XD/Lucasfilm

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