This week, we had the chance to see the continuation of the story of the holocron from Malachor. A certain “old master” did not leave us nor Ezra waiting too long for his return.
The episode did not waste time from the beginning – hard thing to do when you have limited time anyway, but here we literally jumped into the middle of the mess. Those who have watched the trailers (and that is probably the majority) knew beforehand what this was going to be about, but I still liked the “false trail” in the beginning when Ezra and Kanan learned that their friends have been attacked by a “red blade”, which, by default, they assumed to be another Inquisitor. Inquisitors, however, seem to be a bit of a thing of the past at this moment, and in any case, right here, it was someone with a completely different agenda: Maul himself.
Maul managed to take the crew of the Ghost hostage (I would sometime love to see how this had happened. Among other things, unless the crew were completely caught off-guard – which they probably were – a duel of a Lasat wielding his own double-sided weapon trying to stand against Maul could have also been an interesting sight, even though such a battle would probably not last very long). That gave him leverage to force Ezra and Kanan into giving him the Sith holocron, and also Kanan’s Jedi holocron – which Maul eventually found himself with the “assistance” of Hera. Hera giving a “tour of the ship” to Maul was one of my favourite parts of the episode, and him reading Hera’s mind was even better. I mean, of course it was awful, but there hardly could have been a better way to show how much Hera knows about Kanan, and how large part of her thoughts does he occupy.
I did not much care about the antics of Kanan and Ezra in the spider nest much like I didn’t enjoy the arachnids the first time, but what I liked there very much was that it served as a way for them to make up, or, as Bendu put it, to get rid of the imbalance between them. (But I also liked Bendu’s casual remark that “Perhaps master and apprentice will rediscover their balance, or perhaps they’ll be eaten. Such is the way of things.” It underlines nicely what Bendu is, that his worldview orders priorities differently than other Force-users would.) Also, a parallel to Luke’s failure in his trial in the Dagobah cave was more than apparent – except here Ezra did not take his weapon along, and therefore, he also did not fail. The message that attack is not the option seems to be getting stronger and stronger in Rebels, and it remains the be seen where it will lead to when Ezra’s main concern still remains to destroy the Sith (even though we can see him backing away little by little).
The meeting with Maul went as we might have predicted, with a spectacular attempt at Kanan’s life and his even more spectacular show of surviving being sucked into vacuum (incidentally, if you count for how long he has been outside, given that of course Kanan is a Jedi and thus has probably more endurance than an average human, it still was about as long as a human body should be capable of surviving out there, of course not taking into account specific circumstances). The details like frost forming on him were pretty neat. But as a Jedi, Kanan was also soon back in action, entering spectacularly and being the only one able to intervene when the light from the holocrons blinded everyone else. Makes one wonder what did it feel like to be able to see for one moment, and to return to being blind again after. While it has become clear in the spider cave and when Kanan saved the hostages that he is certainly not helpless, I expect his blindness to still be addressed in the future in some other ways.
I love the way the creators handled the part when the holocrons were opened. What Ezra saw was only a vision (or a part of it), pieces which did not make much sense on their own, and certainly not to him, even though they mean at least something more to us: “twin suns” are clear enough reference to Tatooine. Is Luke the “weapon to destroy the Sith”? Why would such a knowledge be dangerous? Would learning this secret prematurely have doomed the Rebellion? (Exposing Luke, or just making Ezra pick him up and make him into a weapon – a killer with only one purpose, rather than the compassionate young man we knew him as? Would he destroy the Sith, but doom the rest?) Less clear (but much more intriguing) were Maul’s words, as he staggered away in his strange delirium after being exposed to the holocrons’ vision: “He lives! He lives!” What did he see? When Ezra asked him what was it that he desired the most, Maul replied: “Hope,” nicely shattering our expectation of him saying something very evil (and I loved that moment). But what hope was it? Did it have anything to do with his previous life? A wish to restore it? Are we going to still see Maul fulfil his wish in Rebels, or was this a cameo and now he is going to pursue his own course, which we are perhaps going to follow in some future Star Wars story? And if so, did Maul let go of his claim on Ezra as his apprentice? (It was hilarious when he mentioned Ezra to Kanan as “our apprentice”!) It seems like Ezra may not be as eager to listen to Maul any more after this, but let us not discard that option so quickly; we have seen how uneducable Ezra seems to be in case of listening to the notorious cheater Hondo.
Holocrons of Fate was another five-star episode, we can only hope that season three will continue in its promising course.