Rebels, Season 3, Episode 17: Twin Suns
[Author’s Note: As always, spoilers abound. Read on only if you’re ready to know about what happens in this episode.]
Hello, dear readers. How is everyone? Everyone have a nice weekend? Great.
Oh, me? Yeah I’m fine. Absolutely fine.
What’s that about the most recent episode of Rebels? Oh, THAT whole thing. The whole thing with the Dramatic Last Words and the Mirroring and the KENOBI FEELINGS? THAT?! YOU THINK I MIGHT HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT IT??!! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT I WOULD?! *eye twitch*
Hmm, well, I suppose, if pressed, I might have some thoughts to share. Let’s start with a quick look backwards…
Picture it — a movie theater in American Suburbia, May 1999: your then-teenage author was witness to the time that Obi-Wan Kenobi, Adorable and Sass-Filled Jedi Trainee With a Very Regrettable Haircut went to Naboo with his Space Dad, Force Hippie Qui-Gon Jinn. While there, they encountered this guy named Darth Maul, who was at the time the Junior Vice President of Super Secret SithCo. The three of them proceeded to engage in what I can only describe as easily one of the most flamboyant fight sequences that Star Wars has ever indulged in — and keep in mind that several of them have involved things such as Secret Family Revelations, limb loss, backflips, lava, and people shooting lighting out of their hands.
During this battle, Qui-Gon met his untimely and Seriously Universe-Impacting End, Obi-Wan got put on Anakin Duty, and Maul, sliced clear in half, fell into an abyss as required by Star Wars Law. And that was the end of that! Darth Sidious recruited a new #2, first in the form of Count Dooku, and then in Anakin, and we all moved on with our lives as much as anyone in this fandom can ever truly move on.
But, as all of us know, there is no extreme to which Star Wars will not go to throw us for a loop. And so there we were, a whole bunch of years after The Phantom Menace was released, when Dave Filoni, Ultranerd/Cowboy Fashion Devotee/Kenobi Pain Enthusiast, was tasked by George Lucas, Senior Ultranerd/Flannel Devotee/Original Kenobi Pain Enthusiast, with being like: hey but LOL what if Maul used Space Magic to stay alive and then had robot spider legs? And then he got different robot legs, and then he fought Obi-Wan again?
Yes, our behorned frenemy Maul, IN CANON, survived his BISECTION AND SUBSEQUENT PLUMMET INTO NOTHINGNESS and lived to obsess about Obi-Wan for another, oh…35ish years? In that time, he managed to reconnect with his brother, get captured by Sidious, take over Mandalore and murder Obi-Wan’s only non-Anakin True Love, among other things. He’s spent the last couple of years gunning for Ezra to be his new apprentice while periodically doing things like fighting Ahsoka and trying to kill Kanan, AND maintaining his Kenobi-Kryze Murder-Themed storage locker on Dathomir.
And now, we come to The Big Moment. The thing that I said could never happen, only because I didn’t think Filoni had it in him. (LET’S HOPE IT STICKS THIS TIME, DAVE.)
So: you guys ready? Let’s see the writers throw our beloved Obi-Wan a bone for the absolute first time ever.
Recurring Theme: Kenobi Derangement Syndrome
Today’s episode opens with a shot of the twin suns of Tatooine. This place! Who would ever believe we’d end up back HERE? That totally never happens in Star Wars.
As mandated by the Rules of Galaxy, of course, there are only a handful of reasons to ever go to this Sandy Nightmare Planet: 1. To pick up a Skywalker, 2. To find Obi-Wan Kenobi and/or rifle through his stuff, or 3. Because your shirtless nightmare told you to. In this go-round, we’re entering through Door Number 2.
The camera pans down to a cloaked Maul, who is struggling through his Final Destiny Quest: he can’t seem to find who he’s looking for anywhere! But he can see him…in his mind’s eye. And on that blog he obviously maintains about him.
I have to tell you all: Maul is all-in with the dramatics here, and for that I am appreciative. Who can Maul see in his brain at all times?
Oh, Maul. After all this time, I’m actually gonna be a little sad to see you go, buddy. You and I understood each other on a few fundamental levels.
He sighs: so this is how it ends? With me losing whatever tiny bits of my shit I have left out here in a sandbox?
He’s gotta find this guy. But wandering aimlessly doesn’t seem to be getting him anywhere…but maybe, just maybe…
TEMPT HIS NOBLE HEART. A) This is A+ Star Wars Drama Dialogue, and B) OH LORD IT’S TRUE. Given what Maul ultimately opts for here, I love how even he’s like “well fine; I’ll just appeal to the fact that he’s the best person who’s ever lived by tempting him to RESCUE SOME STUPID KID.”
So, Maul’s got himself a Scheme once again. He produces a teeny tiny baby holocron, and gives it a Meaningful Look as the title screen inserts itself.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Ridiculously Composed Mayday Message
We cut now to the Ghost, where it’s bedtime in the sad, pathetic dorm room of Ezra Bridger, who is having a little trouble sleeping.
Oh hey! So Ezra and Zeb are bunkmates? All right! Hopefully this means that Kanan is indeed allowing himself to have nice things and he’s camped out with his Space Wife. (I JUST WANT ONE JEDI TO BE HAPPY OK???)
Ezra’s experiencing a sexy ginger disturbance in the Force: he can hear the pompous nerd voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi even when he’s trying to sleep! Man, Ezra and Maul are two of the most relatable characters in Star Wars.
Ezra walks over to where the gang keeps those holocrons they had left over from when Ezra and Maul fried their brains in search of Important Information, and as it turns out one of them appears to be malfunctioning: it just keeps auto-playing a frazzled snippet of Obi-Wan’s “Funny Story: The Republic Is Over and Everyone’s Dead So Maybe Don’t Come Back If You Get This Message Anyways I’m Just Going to Go Watch This Security Camera Footage of Anakin I’m Sure This Day Won’t Get Any Worse” message.
As he watches it with curiosity, suddenly one of the holocrons starts glowing red, and Ezra hears a reprise of that gloriously angry exclamation of Maul’s from earlier:
Ezra gets thrown backwards, and at this, Kanan appears in the doorway, and Ezra announces:
…was he ever GONE? (And moreover, will he ever STAY gone?!) I mean, is this supposed to be news at this point? LOL.
Recurring Theme: I Didn’t Ask For This Suffering
The family’s assembled to discuss Ezra’s latest Maul-related psychosis. Hera asks Kanan and Ezra what they think this whole thing could mean:
At this, Rex pipes up looking SUPER DUPER SAD and is like “Hey kid, trust: no one wishes Obi-Wan was alive more than I do” AND HE SIGHS THE SADDEST SIGH AND I was like WHO AMONG US ASKED FOR THIS? Why, Star Wars? YOU DIDN’T NEED TO MAKE ME THINK ABOUT REX MISSING OBI-WAN. BUT THEN YOU DID.
OH WHY STAR WARS. So basically we learn that Bail’s told the gang that Obi-Wan is dead, which I presume is the writers’ attempt to explain to me why the entire Ghost crew all just stopped caring about looking for him a few weeks back and allowed themselves to be thrown full-tilt into Mandalore’s insanity instead.
Recurring Theme: Did I Miss Something?
Ezra announces that there’s a chance that Obi-Wan is out there after all, and Maul could be closing in on him! Hera counters: sure, or maybe you just have a busted holocron. Ezra insists: it has to mean something! Why else would I have heard Maul? Kanan explains that, well, he’s heard Maul before…so he could just be remembering a previous episode of this show, or maybe Maul’s just fucking with Ezra’s brain again for funs.
Ezra ain’t buying what the Space Parents are selling here, though, and declares that he wants to go to Tatooine to pursue this further. Um…I hate to be one of Those People, Star Wars, but…wasn’t part of the reason they didn’t go after Maul in the first place that they didn’t know which planet he was headed for? All Ezra knew was that it had two suns, and that didn’t narrow it down enough for them to guess. When did he learn this information? (Whatever, it doesn’t matter, I’m just nitpicking because I can.)
Hera takes Ezra aside: look, we’re looking to liberate Lothal — we need you. You can’t just piss off to the desert because of a stupid Jedi Dream! Ezra is like BUT OBI-WAN:
Hera replies: honestly, Ezra, if he WERE alive, don’t you think he’d…be HERE? Helping US? And not setting up camp in the shittiest place ever?
Ezra, solemnly, says that OF COURSE no one wants to help the Rebellion save Lothal more than he does. He’s got the most Tragic Backstory there! But, but…OK. I’ll listen to you, Mom.
Recurring Theme: Parental Defiance
…naturally, this is a lie, because Jedi Teens never listen to their Space Parents, so in the next scene Ezra swipes an A-wing and tears off on his Kenobi Quest, pretending he can’t hear the protestations of one of the workers as he flees:
Recurring Theme: Force-Fueled GPS
Ezra approaches Tatooine, and as he gets closer he realizes he has a stowaway:
Annoyed but resigned to having a copilot, he tells Chopper to bring them in, and admits…he doesn’t really, like, KNOW-know where they’re going. But he has an idea on how to narrow it down. He produces the Teeny Holocrons he had back at home, and holds them out: OK, Obes Kenobes…
The holocrons respond by glowing, and Ezra directs Chopper on how to position them:
Recurring Theme: It’s a Trap!
Once they’ve landed, Ezra starts feeling his way around, still using the holocrons for guidance. It’s then that he runs across the Sith holocron and shouts out: It’s A Trap!
Suddenly they are beseiged with Tuskens and there’s a big chaotic mess of a fight sequence that culminates in Maul showing up and causing an explosion before slipping back into the shadows:
Recurring Theme: Fine I’ll Just Trudge Through The Desert Without You
It’s the following morning now, and Ezra, lured by increasing Maul Attacks, wants to head off into the gritty horizon to find what he’s looking for. Chopper, for his part, is not interested.
Ezra is like “fine, you stay behind then…”
Chopper does this cute little nervous dance of “oh GOD he’s going to go alone”, “Well FINE see if I care”, “oh no he might need me…”, and eventually relents and the two set off together:
Recurring Theme: OK FINE WE GET IT STAR WARS
Their journey is a difficult one, and Ezra continues to be pulled along by Echoes of Maul. And Maul throws some lines in here that HONESTLY, STAR WARS, we did not need:
Drawing Obi-Wan out with PAIN AND SORROW. Come on, guys. Not cool. Sigh. I mean, obviously it’s going to WORK because of course it is, but still. Unnecessary.
Ezra Bridger, Didn’t Think This Through
Eventually it becomes obvious that our friend Ezra was not prepared for the onslaught of rough, coarse, irritating sand that was going to be involved here, and as this continues, he and his droid pal are running out of steam.
Ultimately Chopper — worn out and weather-beaten — becomes unresponsive, and Ezra, dismayed, blames himself for getting them into this mess, wrapping Chopper in his arms:
He sits there, motionless, waiting with Chopper for…the inevitable, I guess, when he hears Maul’s voice taunting him again: you failed your friends! Obi-Wan’s dead now because of you! Ezra sees a vision of Maul coming at him to kill him, and he slashes at what turns out to be empty space with his lightsaber, before collapsing to the ground.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Here To Save Your Ass
Just then, someone comes sidling up next to Chopper. Oh, I’d know those boots anywhere:
Ezra manages to open his eyes slightly as a shadow looms over him, the identity of its owner obscured by his cloudy vision and the bright, horrible Sandy Suns:
Recurring Theme: Depressing Camping Trip
Ezra comes to what must be hours later, because now it’s nighttime. He’s laying next to a campfire, and he sits up and squints at the figure across from him:
You guys you guys you guyyyyyyyyss look my cartoon boyfriend is back!! Yes, it’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Galaxy’s Saddest, Bravest Flirt/Bodyguard Uncle. Ezra looks befuddled, but starts to piece things together as he looks over at the guy making s’mores for him:
Obi-Wan confirms his identity, and then is like WELP now that you’re not dying anymore, let’s get you all packed up and on your merry way, son, no time to waste. Ezra is frantic: no! You don’t understand! I came here for you! To WARN you!
Recurring Theme: Understatement of the Goddamn Century
Obi-Wan looks placid: you mean, warn me…
(I want you to know that not only did Obi-Wan also save Chopper, he walks over and pats him on the head like a dog. Awwww, Anakin would have eaten this up.)
Ezra is stunned: you already KNOW that Maul’s coming for you? Ezra, please — the man knew your name without ever speaking to you before this, he’s obviously got some serious perceptive abilities here.
Obi-Wan is like yeah, you don’t get to become an actual living god without picking up a thing or two:
He then says this, which got big laughs in my household because THAT’S PUTTING IT LIGHTLY, KENOBES:
Recurring Theme: Young Jedi Wants To Fight Something
Ezra is like “OK fine, so you know about Maul — well, let’s kick his ass together! We can do it!”
Obi-Wan. I just…he is so mellow and together in this episode, and I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS, AND HIM. But you all already knew that. Obi-Wan is like well, I’m not really into just wailing on people, but if I have to I guess I will.
He caps this off, though, with insisting that Ezra won’t be joining him. Ezra is like WAIT WAIT HOLD UP: you still don’t get it! I wanted to warn you about Maul, sure, but I was also sent here to FIND YOU. You’re the answer to the Holocron Magic 8-Ball question about who will destroy the Sith!!!
Obi-Wan looks…well, he has that look he makes when he knows something important that someone else doesn’t, but he can’t say what it is. So he keeps it nice and enigmatic:
Ezra persists: we need you ! The Rebellion needs you! At this, Obi-Wan tells him that no, actually, you already have everything you need.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Knows a Thing Or Two About This
Ezra is basically just like BUT BUT BUT then WHY THE HELL DID THE HOLOCRONS SEND ME TO YOU?!
Ah, yes: turns out Maul used someone’s desire to do good for their own warped, eeeeeevil purposes. This old song and dance again.
Ezra sighs: but the Holocrons only speak the truth! I don’t understand, Old Ben!
Obi-Wan decides to head back to his FAVORITE place for his reply here:
He then expands on this by telling Ezra that he basically just saw what he wanted to see. So…Ezra just wanted to see Obi-Wan in the holocron when he asked how to destroy the Sith? I mean, no judgments here, Bridger, since God knows I wanted to see him, too, but…OK, Star Wars. We’ll go with this, I guess.
Obi-Wan tells Ezra that because he allowed this Dark Lord to twist his mind, things have happened that shouldn’t have, and now the only person who stands to gain from it is…
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN!
Recurring Theme: This Party’s Over
OK, I love how this next part plays out. So Maul shows up and he’s looking like he’s ready to EAT Obi-Wan alive:
…and despite this, no one even gets close to actually fighting yet at all. In fact, Obi-Wan more or less goes into Hostess Mode, like Ezra is a party guest who’s overstayed his welcome and Obi-Wan is gently trying to kick him out of his house:
HE IS SO CHILL I CAN’T TAKE IT. Ezra is like NO WAIT this is all my fault! Let me help you kick this guy’s ass PLEASE!!! I love that Obi-Wan is like “yep, another day, another hotheaded teenage Jedi trying to run off and kill something…SIGH.”
Obi-Wan all but physically kicks Ezra onto his ride outta here while being like NOPE KID THAT’S OK IT’S REALLY TIME FOR YOU TO GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE, NOW HERE HAVE A CALLBACK TO OLD STAR WARS MATERIAL ON YOUR WAY OUT, and really: I’m dying at Ezra thinking Obi-Wan fucking Kenobi, in his Supreme Space God years no less, needs HIS HELP kicking someone’s ass.
Ezra does as he’s told, and heads off in the direction Obi-Wan tells him to go without further protest. With that taken care of, Obi-Wan’s freed up to focus on the task at hand.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Fucking Glorious Space Wizard
YOU GUYS: Obi-Wan is the most zen being in the fucking galaxy. I love, love how they made him so composed. He’s spent all this time meditating and saving Luke’s ass and writing in that Sad Diary he has and COMMUNING WITH THE FORCE and now just…he’s SO CALM AND COLLECTED. He’s ascended to a higher plane of existence already. HE IS THE BEST AND I LOVE HIM.
Maul takes in the sight of him: Oh my GOD, Kenobes, look at you.
Obi-Wan, not without a slight hint of pride, counters:
Did…did Obi-Wan just pay himself a compliment? OH MY GOD. He really HAS become more powerful. I didn’t think he had it in him! Aaaaaand now I’m just thinking about how the last exchange these two ever had was this little spiel and I just…I NEED A MINUTE THERE IS TOO MUCH EMOTION IN THIS RECAP.
I’m just so proud of my little space peanut. He really has survived so much and resisted so many terrible things.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Will Not Let You Fuck With the Skywalkers
Maul backs up, snottily speculating: why the fuck would you even be ON this shithole planet? You wouldn’t just come here for no reason, would you?
And that’s when Maul starts using his Sithly Spidey Senses to feel his way through the rest of the story here: oh. Oh! You’re here because you have a Purpose. You’re…protecting something? No — wait. Not something…
And OH HOLY HELL, Obes Kenobes? He might be willing to chill out about a LOT of things these days, but he is not about to let Maul’s grizzled, crazy ass get anywhere NEAR Luke. His FACE. His FACE!
With a new determination in his eyes, he gets down to business:
The briefest of exchanges occurs, and Maul takes a diagonal slicing right across the abdomen.
Recurring Theme: No One Has Any Real Clue What The Hell To Think About This Stupid Prophecy
OH MY GOD. Having been mortally wounded (DO YOU HEAR ME, FILONI? I SAID MORTALLY. DO NOT BETRAY ME), Maul staggers a bit before collapsing into Obi-Wan’s arms.
Yes, the sinister Purveyors of Angst that write this show decided that they’d treat us to a Mirroring Extravaganza in honor of Maul’s demise. That was thoughtful of them! I don’t know where they got the impression that any Star Wars fans would be into that sort of thing.
Maul, struggling to breathe, looks up at Obi-Wan: this person you’re protecting…is it the Chosen One?
Obi-Wan confirms that it is (OMG):
So, this is interesting. Of course there’s the obvious fact that this is the reverse of the Qui-Gon Jinn Farewell Address, in that instead of being told that someone is the Chosen One, here Obi-Wan is being asked if someone is the Chosen One.
But also of interest: in the canon comics, Obi-Wan’s kind of been hesitant to fully strip Anakin of the Chosen One title during his time here in the desert, but only because he thinks Luke is their last best chance:
He’s correct, of course, since we’re gonna need BOTH Skywalkers in order to save the universe and send Sheev into the void LIKE HE SORELY DESERVES. Anyways. I just thought this little extra background info might be worth noting here.
Recurring Theme: You And I Are Of A Kind
I need to pause here to acknowledge that the dialogue here is perfect, and chock-full of both Extreme Sads AND heavy on the Nerdy Callbackery.
Maul looks…almost hopeful here, at hearing Obi-Wan’s disclosure that he is, in fact, protecting the Chosen One. And with his last breath, he looks up at Obi-Wan, and says, with conviction, that this person — The Chosen One — will “avenge us”.
OH MY GOD. YOU GUYS. I seriously am not much of an actual crier over this material, for all the emotional impact it’s had on me, but this line legitimately made me tear up. For one thing, this so clearly shows that Maul has literally never been able to let go of being obsessed with getting revenge, while Obi-Wan — who you will all remember was just a LITTLE BIT PISSED OFF the first time they fought…
…didn’t even want to fight Maul this time, and clearly has moved on. He looks at Maul now with some kind of sad combination of pity and forgiveness:
But secondly: Maul is so right, because this is so true! Sidious has utterly ruined BOTH their lives, and directly or indirectly taken nearly everything from them. We all know what a trash heap Obi-Wan’s life has been because of that horrible creep, but let us not forget that Maul’s life started getting destroyed by Palpatine waaaaaaaay back when he was just a little boy:
Yes, not only was Maul just mailed over to Sidious from Mother Talzin, like he was some kind of Evil Harry and David gift basket and not an actual living being with feelings, Sidious didn’t even WANT him and then proceeded to destroy whatever goodness was left in him. THEN he forgot about him, replaced him, showed up again to KILL MAUL’S BROTHER who was like the first friend Maul had basically ever had…
…then electrocuted Maul repeatedly and took him prisoner, and then to top it all off Sidious STILL ended up “winning” and taking over the universe. I mean, you guys get the idea. Maul has a billion reasons to hate Sidious more than he hates Obi-Wan. And hey: you know who ELSE knows that Maul’s had a shitty life not of his own design? THIS GUY:
The fact that Maul sees himself and Obi-Wan as both being deserving of the justice to be delivered by the Chosen One is really touching.
Anyhow, I loved that they wrote this line for Maul in here. The Chosen One(s) is/are totally going to deliver on that promise, too. (Until their shithead nephew/grandson fucks it all up again NO I’M NOT BITTER WHY DO YOU ASK.)
Recurring Theme: I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight
With that, Maul becomes at least the third person in the official canon to pass away while cradled in Obi-Wan’s arms. And yes he is REALLY DEFINITELY DEAD LOOK FILONI EVEN PROMISED US WITH HIS OWN WORDS AND SO HELP ME I WILL HOLD HIM TO THEM.
Anyways as usual Obi-Wan fucking KILLS me here, because he looks so compassionate and caring and he CLOSES MAUL’S EYES AFTER HE DIES. OH MY GOD, OBI-WAN IS THE BEST PERSON EVER. *sigh*
Recurring Theme: You Don’t Need To See His Explanation
Ezra returns to Atollon with Maul’s Mando ship as his ride home. The family approaches him as he disembarks and Zeb asks the all-important question:
I guess Zeb was a Clone Wars fan, too, huh? Ezra confirms:
Um…so is he trying to imply here that HE killed Maul? Because I am going to presume that the fact that Obi-Wan is still alive and on Tatooine for Mysterious Reasons is NOT something Ezra will now proceed to share with the entire Rebellion, right? But, like…if he DID imply here the he’s killed Maul, well, that is a PRETTY BIG FUCKING DEAL, CORRECT? That a relatively green off-brand Padawan, by himself, killed a former Sith Lord who bested and/or escaped from some of the greatest warriors of all time (Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka Frickin’ Tano to name but a few notable examples)? I mean, that’s kind of huge. Wouldn’t at least KANAN be like “holy crap are you serious!?”
But, whatever. It doesn’t appear that Ezra’s going to be dropping many details here, and he shifts quickly to some Warm and Cuddly Space Family Times as he apologizes for leaving in the first place:
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Stalker
The last thing this episode has to share with us is a nice hard punch in the Feels as we watch Obi-Wan, presumably having disposed of Maul in some fashion, riding past the Lars Homestead, as a small boy named Luke gets called in by his aunt:
He watches the boy run inside, and stares in contemplation just before the end title boots us out of the episode:
And that, my nerdy friends, is a wrap for both this installment of Star Wars: Rebels, AND a wrap once and for all for our friend Maul. I feel like I should leave you with some parting thoughts on this momentous occasion that I frankly was not entirely convinced we’d ever see, so I guess I will take this opportunity to:
- Thank the writers for finding a delightful, goofy, deeply angst-filled way to pull off something as completely bananas as “Darth Maul didn’t actually die” and make me not only accept this, but also become deeply invested in it;
- Also thank the writers for finally, FINALLY, coming back to finish what they started. DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN THANK YOU GUYS FOR GIVING ME MAUL CLOSURE AT LAST.
Be sure to join me next time, as we’ll be checking in with the Rebels gang for the last time this season — Thrawn’s going to be making some big moves, and the space family has a lot on the line. I’m sure nothing emotionally traumatic will occur! That never happens on this show.