Star Wars Rebels “Twilight of the Apprentice” Review by Justin Hayman
*SPOILER ALERT* – DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN TWILIGHT OF THE APPRENTICE
Dave Filoni and company just delivered what may be the darkest episode of animated Star Wars yet in ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’. When a tip from Master Yoda leads the force-sensitive crew members of The Ghost to an ancient Sith temple on the seemingly lifeless world of Malachor, the gang is in for their biggest test yet. Ezra’s curiosity leads him to touch a mysterious obelisk on the planet’s surface causing the group to fall underground into a giant cave containing the temple. The relationship between Kanan and Ezra is tested by the arrival of the “Old Master”, later revealed to be Darth Maul, when he begins to lure Ezra to the Dark Side. Maul’s seduction tactics mirror Palpatine’s own to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. In an Easter egg for fans of the old Expanded Universe, Maul even recites the old Sith Code once taught by Darth Bane to his students centuries before. Ezra tells Maul he is seeking the knowledge needed to defeat Darth Vader and his inquisitors. As expected, Maul promises him the knowledge he seeks but “needs” Ezra’s help descending deep into the temple in search of the tome of all Sith knowledge and history – a Sith Holocron.
We are starting to see the Lucasfilm Story Group begin to pull elements from the old novels, comic books, and even Bioware’s seminal Knights of the Old Republic video game in piecing together the gaps between the three film trilogies. Ahsoka tells Kanan and Ezra, “There is always a bit of truth to legends!” – a direct quote from Clone Wars and Rebels creator Dave Filoni – when asked recently if we would see Rebels or the new films begin to re-introduce any of the old Star Wars canon. It looks like he is beginning to deliver on that and it is certainly a treat for die-hards who felt shunned by Disney’s decision to jettison the old Expanded Universe back in 2013. It will be interesting to see what else comes of this.
It was also fun to see the “Great Scourge of Malachor” briefly mentioned in the Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, referenced in the episode when the group comes across a battlefield of apparently deceased Jedi and Sith. Ezra finds a cross-blade lightsaber very similar to the one used by Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. This tells us that Kylo Ren is very aware of what came before him and may have even visited Malachor himself at one point. I’m sure we will re-visit this subject in many future articles tying the old canon to the new but for now – back to the episode.
Maul begins to convince Ezra that he sees the potential in Ezra and that Kanan is holding him back as the group faces off against several inquisitors and even Darth Vader himself. Maul easily dispatches the Inquisitors that have been chasing the Rebels for the entire season on his climb to the holocron chamber at the temple’s peak.
The long-awaited meeting between former Jedi’s Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker does NOT disappoint. In an emotionally-charged scene, Ahsoka is able to slice away half of Vader’s helmet revealing her former master. For a brief moment, he looks upon her with his own eyes and calls for her by name. She promises to not leave him again and the two exchange a brief connection before the hate begins to swell within Vader’s eyes and Anakin is lost inside of him again.
Kanan and Ezra succeed in removing the holocron from the top of the temple and delay Maul’s plan of claiming whatever ultimate power the object held. As Ezra attempts to run towards Ahsoka as the obelisk chamber seals itself, she force-pushes him away and urges him to escape with Kanan. Ezra and Kanan escape in time with the help of Chopper, but leave Ahsoka in the temple with Vader. We see Maul escape Malachor via Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter and back into deep space to plot his comeback. We see Darth Vader emerge from the wreckage of the temple alone…with his body badly damaged from the battle and the fate of his former apprentice left hanging in the balance.
Back on the ship, we see Ezra clutching the Sith Holocron tightly. As the camera pans up to his eyes, they flash the same fire-orange that Anakin Skywalker’s did moments before he lost himself to the Dark Side.
Overall, the season premieres and finales continue to be Rebels’ strongest stories. This episode dove deeper into the Star Wars mythos than possibly any episode this season, and has started to tie events near the original trilogy to the new sequel trilogy. We expect for Rebels to kick back off in mid-summer with a one hour premiere followed by the rest of the season in the fall and can’t wait to see where Ezra, Kanan, Ahsoka, and Vader emerge.
Justin is a dad and husband who is still as obsessed with Star Wars as his wide-eyed six year old self was. IT project manager by day, family man by night – Justin often spends what little time inbetween as a Jedi with the Rebel Legion. He enjoys helping kids in any way he can through various charity events with which the costuming organization is affiliated. When he isn’t trooping with the Legion or tied up with mundane adult responsibilities, he is playing video games, reading, or brainstorming the next great Star Wars Reporter article.