The second season finale of "Star Wars: Rebels" recently aired and it was probably some of the best episodes, it was a two parter, of the series. It might also rank highly on some of the best pieces of Star Wars entertainment, I have indulged. The finale draws not only the history of the show itself but also its predecessor "Star Wars: Clone Wars". There are also some unique instances of foreshadowing with hints of things to come such as a tri-blade lightsaber, which Kylo Ren will use in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens". That being said, it is a highly emotional episode that will have heavy consequences going forward.
The main characters of Ezra and Kanan are on a mission to obtain more knowledge on the Sith planet, Malachor. They are joined by former Jedi, Ahsoka Tano, who was the apprentice of fallen Jedi Anakin Skywalker who is now Darth Vader. The group is soon separated but Ezra is soon met with someone calling himself, Old Master. The show makes no secret that this is Darth Maul who was a frequent presence in The Clone Wars television show and was last seen escaping to parts unknown in his own self titled comic book mini series. However, like the prequel movies treated Palpatine where the audience knew who he was from the get go, the show does the same. So there is an air of menace as we the audience are just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It eventually does but Maul proves his worth by helping the heroes take on the Inquisitors that have been a pain throughout the season. He actually proves most efficient as he helps kill three of them in one episode. However, the alliance was not due to last as it became clear that Maul saw Ezra as a tool and Kanan stood in the way. Kanan has his eyes burned by Maul's lightsaber and is blind throughout the rest of the episode. It is a question if he will remain that way when the series picks up in the third season. Kanan proves that he has embraced his Jedi heritage and takes out Maul but the end of the episode shows Maul is still out there.
Maul continually pushes Ezra towards the dark side which has been hinted at throughout the entire season. The bond between Kanan and Ezra is meant to draw parallels to Obi-Wan and Anakin. Both relationships were formed on shaky grounds but both eventually develop well but Anakin ultimately fell to the Dark Side. Will Ezra fall to it as well? This episode shows that he won't...at least not yet. There is strong indications that with the trauma he endured in this episode, Ezra is still not out of the woods when it comes to figuring out where he lies on the spectrum.
The issue of the apprenticeship reaches it boil when Ahsoka finally confronts Darth Vader. She had figured out his true identity earlier in the season but kept it to herself. Though Ahsoka is no longer a Jedi and left the organization not under the best circumstances, she still believes in their ideals. Darth Vader was considered to be one of the best Jedi but is now fully enveloped in the Sith ideals. There are hints towards their former relationship as Vader gives Ahsoka a chance to live while Ahsoka begs him to change his ways. Neither budges and ultimately ends in a duel between them. The duel leads to a moment where Tano destroys a part of Vader's mask and you can see the human inside. His eyes are yellow, which indicates Sith but one can see the pain and ultimately anger in his eye. There is a unique twist here as part of Vader's voice modulator is destroyed so one can hear Matt Lanter, who voiced Anakin Skywalker in The Clone Wars, mixed in with James Earl Jones' iconic voice. The duel continues and it is left in the air. We see Vader limping off and presumably Ahsoka walking deeper into the Sith temple. Is there where Ezra and Kanan's relationship is headed?
The end of the episode shows people at their lowest points. Kanan is blind. Ezra is tapping into the Dark Side. Maul and Vader are still out there. Ahsoka is presumed to be dead. I cannot say that this was a perfect episode for people new to the series or Star Wars. However, for someone who is invested in the Star Wars lore, this episode was a treat. It fired on all cylinder and once again reminds me as to why I love Star Wars.