The Clone Wars, Season 7, Episode 10: The Phantom Apprentice
Ahem. Look, there’s this quirk I have, where the more I enjoy a Star War that is TRYING to upset me, the more I tend to laugh at it. Not like, in a mocking way, but it’s like the overflow of feelings must manifest itself somehow, and so while Star Wars will be like “…and that’s when Beloved Character learned that they had been lied to this whole time“, I’m over here bouncing in my seat all OH GOD THAT’S TERRIBLE WHY HAHAHA OH NO IT’S BAD WHY AM I LAUGHING. This is why Revenge of the Sith, for example, is a baffling ordeal of delight and pain for me.
With this in mind, I suppose it’s no surprise that today’s second quarter of TCW’s Siege of Mandalore arc brought out many of those same feelings, BECAUSE REVENGE OF THE SITH IS HAPPENING AT THE SAME FUCKING TIME AS THIS SHOW. All these years I’d been thinking of them as two consecutive stories, when in fact as it turns out it’s really just that I’d only SEEN ABOUT 50-75% of ONE SINGLE STORY. If you had told me 15 years ago when I left the theater after watching Episode III that I HADN’T EVEN SEEN ALL OF THE PAINFUL THINGS ABOUT THIS PART OF THE TIMELINE YET, I would never have been able to comprehend it. (Especially the part where MAUL was going to play a SIGNIFICANT PART HERE.)
In the last installment of Dear God Filoni This is Pathological At This Point, Ahsoka had reached out to 1-800-DWEEBS in an effort to recruit Obi-Wan and Anakin to join her and Bo-Katan in dousing Mandalore with a few thousand gallons of MAUL-B-GON once and for all. As always, this immediately turned into A) a chance to blather on about whether or not anyone should help Mandalore considering that they haven’t historically exactly wanted the Republic there AND the Republic isn’t technically authorized to intervene there without it being, you know, like an actual invasion of a neutral system while they are currently already in the middle of a gigantic war, and B) a chance for Obi-Wan and Anakin and Ahsoka to have Feelings all over the place about Ahsoka’s Complicated Jedi Feels, Obi-Wan’s Complicated Mandalore Feels, and Anakin’s Complicated Everything Feels.
Before we came to a conclusion on How to Solve a Problem Like Mandalore, the gang was thrown a new hurdle: Coruscant is under attack! The capital of the Republic! MY GOD SHEEV COULD BE IN DANGER. Team Handsome was being called upon to help out and also protect the Chancellor and for Anakin to finish hurling himself over to the Dark Side. (And also give us that Tender Moment in the Revenge of the Sith novelization on General Grievous’ ship where Obi-Wan and Anakin basically recite (b)romantic wedding vows to each other and the book goes on at length about how Obi-Wan tells Anakin he’d want “no other man” by his side and the Force fills with so much “pure, uncomplicated love” that it feels to Anakin like “a promise from the Force itself” and honestly that book is a masterpiece.)
…but we’re not here to discuss Obi-Wan and Anakin’s Tragic Love (again), are we? No, regrettably, we are not. SO: with the knowledge that he and Obes would HAVE to go to Coruscant, Anakin had decided — big fucking surprise — that they should be allowed to have it both ways! He split the 501st in half, sending Rex and one portion of the brothers with Ahsoka to Mandalore, and he and Obi-Wan went off with the rest of the 501st and 212th to go Spring the Trap. Ahsoka had just managed to track down Maul in this series’ 4-millionth Dark Foreboding Sewer when the episode concluded. And so that, my friends, is where we pick up today! (Stop crying, everyone, and no: none of us are allowed off this bus ride to Hell now, SO SETTLE IN.)
Recurring Theme: Darth Maul, Paid Attention
Things kick off yet again by reminding us that only pain will we find from here on out:
Yes, without even a Voiceover Recap Guy Appearance to console us, we’re dropped right back into the sewer with Ahsoka and Maul, and Ahsoka still at the ready to kick ass:
Maul is like heeeeey Ahsoka — Tano, is it? He then makes the ridiculous claim that her name isn’t familiar to him, which has to be ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT because AS IF Maul wouldn’t know that OBI-WAN has a space daughter. As if MAUL hasn’t been stalking every Jedi Order Message Board for years. AS IF MAUL WOULD NOT KNOW THIS. Sure, Maul. Whatever you say.
Ahsoka replies that SHE knows HIM, which is making me feel SOME KIND OF WAYS because of COURSE she knows all about Maul because YOU KNOW that Anakin bragged to Ahsoka from the first day of her training about how YOUR OTHER MASTER KENOBI IS AMAZING ONE TIME HE KILLED* A SITH LORD also have you seen his hair I mean seriously maybe we should buy him a present, for starters.
Maul calmly acknowledges:
Heh. Please prepare yourself for near-Sidious-grade Villainous Proclamations in this one, folks. He learned from the Master, indeed. Ahsoka scoffs at this, and Maul starts in with his TORTUOUSLY SLOW BACKSTORY REVEAL HERE, teasing that Ahsoka’s “way of thinking is behind the times”. While he blahblahblahs, Ahsoka sends a signal to Rex to help him find her.
Recurring Theme: Everybody Knows
Maul keeps circling Ahsoka like he’s half-bored, and muses:
Maul, honey, look: I get it. I do! Sometimes I’ve been watching something, and I’m like “I just don’t understand why Obi-Wan wouldn’t be in this when Star Wars knows how much I love him, why wouldn’t his ghost have shown up for this, HOW CAN YOU MAKE AN ENTIRE SEQUEL TRILOGY AND HAVE HIM REMAIN A BARELY-THERE DISEMBODIED VOICE WHILE ANAKIN’S GRANDSON BURNS THE UNIVERSE DOWN”. Like, just as a made-up example with no basis in truth, of course.
Ah, but unlike me, Maul doesn’t just want Obi-Wan here to swoon at him, you see…he’d assumed, of course, that Obes would show up because of his Emotional Feely Feels about Mandalore, and that furthermore, when he did, he wouldn’t be alone:
Hahahahahaha. LOYAL FOAL. Yep, he’s got their number. EVERYONE IN THE GALAXY DOES. You order one Kenobi, and an Anakin is gonna be trailing in his wake, complaining and yet refusing to leave. Also, this bit is additionally hilarious because Maul will later admit out loud that having Anakin here was kind of the point, which makes his whole “what’s that guy’s name again? Sky…something? I don’t even know, I barely even pay attention to Jedi stuff” AS IF, AGAIN, MAUL WOULD NOT KNOW EVERY LAST THING ABOUT OBI-WAN’S APPRENTICE TO WHOM HE IS VERY ATTACHED.
Darth Maul, Got to See Part of the Playbook
Ahsoka kind of bitterly says that Obi-Wan had a “more important engagement”, and at this Maul is like OH DAMN:
…and here he thought he might have time to stop for some drive-thru first! Nope: The End is Nigh! At this, Ahsoka looks confused and concerned, but holds her defensive pose.
As Rex and a few more clones make their way towards them, Maul asks: so why you, then? Why would Obi-Wan have sent her?
Yeah, Maul’s not interested in that offer, if you can imagine. He says that his “surrender would be pointless”, because Maul now, at this point, is better-informed here than BASICALLY ANYBODY EVER WILL BE until the very last note of this tragic opera. Maul goes on: y’see, ‘Soka, if Maul’s not mistaken, there’s about to be a little bit of a…restructuring, shall we say:
Ahsoka is unimpressed: oh, right, and who will be? You? Some pointed-headed weirdo who ONCE HAD ROBOT SPIDER LEGS and no I will not ever stop bringing this up?
Maul goes Maximum Drama here and is like oh no…not me…
I’m as shocked as you all are.
The boys show up now to help Ahsoka, and she and Maul start dueling:
But before they can really get into it, Maul declares:
With that, he Force-throws Rex into Ahsoka, knocking them both back into the wall, and hightails it outta there. Yeah, why have a showdown if it’s not the MOST dramatic possible time, right? I admire your dedication to the craft, Maul.
The gang all tear off after him, but he gives them the slip and eventually all their running-around-in-dark-tunnels results only in Rex and Ahsoka running back into each other. Oops.
Recurring Theme: I Did Not Ask For This
SO YEAH, remember how Obi-Wan was totally not going to help with this basically-illegal invasion of a neutral planet even though he didn’t NOT tell them to go do it anyways and use Republic forces to help? And then everyone was like GEE OBI-WAN WHY WON’T YOU HELP AHSOKA AND BO GOSH COME ON?
Yeah, so, guess who’s on the holo-Skype over in the Throne Church Main Conference Room, helping with the Siege of Mandalore?
I WOULD LIKE YOU ALL TO KNOW that Obi-Wan is not only helping with all of this mess, he is doing so RIGHT IN THE FUCKING MIDDLE OF REVENGE OF THE SITH. Obi-Wan. TOOK TIME OUT. OF REVENGE OF THE SITH. To HELP WITH YET ANOTHER INSANE ON-FIRE SITUATION. I can’t. I CANNOT.
You know what sucks and hurts a lot more now, now that I think about it (like other than all of it)? This bit:
…you know, “Sith Lords are our speciality”? Like, all this time I thought this was made much FUNNIER with TCW added to the backstory, because A) Maul wasn’t actually dead and Obi-Wan would have known this here, and B) Dooku defeated and/or escaped from Obi-Wan and Anakin like 700 times over the last few years, including and starting with the showdown in Attack of the Clones where they got their asses beat so bad their grandpa had to come rescue them. But now? He is saying this with full awareness that AHSOKA is handling Maul over on Mandalore while he and Anakin end things over here on Grievous’ hilariously-named Invisible Hand. He’s just got so much faith in his family here, guys. AND HE’S SAYING THIS TO THE SITH LORD WHO HAS ALWAYS HAD ALL THREE OF THEM IN HIS CROSSHAIRS. GOD. (“How could it be worse?” I ask. “Ha ha ha, definitely no idea” say George Lucas and Dave Filoni, refusing to make eye contact with me.)
ANYWAYS. Bo says the clones are doing well, but…
Recurring Theme: Anakin Made More Work for Everyone
Bo says it’s imperative that they get ahold of Maul before he gets a chance to escape. Ahsoka turns to Obi-Wan and is like hey so…
Obi-Wan is like HEH YEAH SO FUNNY STORY: I don’t know much myself, but I can tell you what the Council’s theory is, which we all came up with during the moments we had to chat when Anakin wasn’t throwing a tantrum in the Council room and embarrassing me in front of everybody.
This is a wild and outlandish theory! Also imagine how very distressing it would be to be a Jedi and come to these realizations! I am fine!
Obi-Wan explains that he first heard the name from Count Dooku, but, uh, we’ve hit a snag there:
Obi-Wan makes this face like “…and I don’t super know how to feel about that” at this remark, and Ahsoka is perplexed:
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, considering that there is virtually no chance of The Team pulling out of this tailspin now so at least it’ll be one less thing for Obi-Wan to be depressed about), Obi-Wan doesn’t know that Anakin didn’t just kill him in battle, he literally beheaded him while he was an unarmed prisoner WHILE THE CHANCELLOR EGGED HIM ON.
Ahsoka’s eyes widen at this revelation, and Obi-Wan says that with Dooku gone now…
IT’S PALPATINE YOU GUYS. IT’S. PALPATINE. *cries and storms out of this recap*
…nope. Sorry, not recapping any more of this. What else do you guys wanna talk about? Hmm? Maybe we should just look at some pictures of Ewan McGregor being handsome.
What are you guys having for lunch? Here’s a recipe I made the other day:
It’s Lemon-Garlic Kale Salad from the New York Times cooking section.
*taps fingers* …what’s that? “Very funny, get back to the recap”? But it’s done! Obi-Wan found out Sidious was Palpatine, he killed him and then stomped on the tiny bits that were left, then threw Anakin over his shoulder and tossed him onto a cot and mind-tricked him into going to sleep for the next 18 hours. Rex deprogrammed everyone’s chips, Mace Windu got an award for putting up with everyone’s bullshit, Padme went to the OB/GYN, Ahsoka made it back to Coruscant a couple days later and gave her dads a huge group hug, and Yoda got to work planning his epic retirement party now that the galaxy is at peace and he can finally relax after hundreds of years of this crap.
I’m honestly not sure what you people are still doing here. I mean, I could show you more Ewan photos but you could always just Google them yourself, really.
*grumbles* …fine. I liked my version better but if you all wanna be that way, FINE. Obi-Wan says now they’ve lost Dooku as a possible source of info on the Big Bad, but if they can capture Maul, he could help illuminate things:
Ahsoka is like “got it, Dad, then send me more guys and let’s do this”, but Obi-Wan’s not exactly at leisure at this moment to do so:
Oh God, we are likely mere moments away from THIS:
OR Obi-Wan has already JUST had this conversation, which would be A LOT MORE PAINFUL considering how this discussion with Ahsoka goes.
Ahsoka Tano, Might Have Misjudged That Guy
Ahsoka asks if Anakin could come help instead, and at this Obi-Wan nervously asks to speak to Ahsoka alone.
Oh good. She’s told the Very Scandalous News that Anakin has to stay behind and babysit Space Satan, because — call them crazy — they just don’t trust that guy. Ahsoka is shocked: SPY?! On the Chancellor?! WHY? I love that we’ve just established that a Sith Lord has been playing both sides of the war AND that Ahsoka is well aware that Palpatine is shifty because she has not been in, say, a coma for the last 4 years, and yet she’s still all gasp! I know, I know: we’re not to think that anyone’s put all the pieces together, yet, but STILL. SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS, GIRL.
Obi-Wan reuses the same thing he said to Anakin earlier about Sheev overstaying his welcome, and that the Senate has allowed him to stay in power…
Ahsoka isn’t so sure about this:
…has he, though? Like, I guess if “being a creeper around him when he was a teenager and then constantly boosting his ego and telling him he’s better than everyone else” counts, sure, he’s been a straight-up bro. Too bad Anakin didn’t have anyone else in his life that I could count as a “great mentor and friend” to him OH WAIT EXCEPT FOR THAT ONE GUY WHO WOULD HAVE DONE PRACTICALLY ANYTHING FOR HIM, HAHAHA, OW.
Ahsoka says that she can’t imagine Anakin’s super thrilled about his latest assignment, and Obi-Wan understates it:
And he’s hoping that maybe Ahsoka can help:
Ahsoka is like OH REALLY: so I can pressure him into doing what they want him to do? HMMM??
Obi-Wan, wearily, is like “cut me some damn slack here kiddo”:
…you know what I want? I want a flowchart of every possible choice any of these people could have made post-, say, Phantom Menace, so we can all wallow in the fact that PRACTICALLY EVERY OPTION would have resulted in some version of “the universe is hopelessly screwed and all the Jedi are dead”. Like, here for example: let us say that Maul, offscreen, dies choking on a pizza roll right now. And then Ahsoka calls up Anakin and is like “hey I’m all set here, by the way definitely don’t spy on the Chancellor because I think it’s wrong”. So Anakin doesn’t, nothing else really changes except that he gets even closer to Sidious even faster, and Ahsoka either gets killed in Order 66 or ends up on the run or gets killed by Anakin or becomes evil herself. Or maybe Ahsoka tells Anakin to just hang in there and get through this assignment until she’s done with Maul, Anakin gets pissy because now even AHSOKA is telling him to spy on the poor old Chancellor, and nothing else changes. Hell, if the boys hadn’t gone to save Sidious in the first episode of this arc, maybe Padme’s apartment building on Coruscant would have been bombed and she’d have died, taking Luke and Leia with her, and then we’d REALLY be up a creek AND Anakin would have blamed himself for her death.
Recurring Theme: I Meant To Tell You Something, and Then I Never Did
Rex busts in and interrupts, saying there’s been an attack. Obi-Wan solemnly tells Ahsoka she’d better go. She heads for the door, and turns around:
*bawls* Oh, he’ll be telling Anakin stuff all right. WHAT IF HE ALREADY SAID GOODBYE TO HIM. IS HE THINKING THEY’LL TALK WHEN HE GETS BACK FROM UTAPAU?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THOSE TWO TALK ABOUT WHEN HE GETS BACK? THEY TALK ABOUT HOW ANAKIN WENT ON A MURDEROUS RAMPAGE AND KILLED CHILDREN AND CHOKED HIS OWN PREGNANT WIFE. This entire situation is so unfair TO ME PERSONALLY and I am looking into my legal recourse.
At this, Ahsoka momentarily makes this sort of “we’re having a Force Moment” face, and then with resolve, leaves. Obi-Wan watches his daughter leave, and in all likelihood this is the last time he ever sees her, unless this show has some more tricks up its ridiculously long sleeves, or Star Wars decides to punish me further in the Obi-Wan series.
Recurring Theme: The Clones Deserved Better
Ahsoka and Rex go to inspect the aftermath of this most recent Maul Attack. A gravely injured trooper tells Ahsoka that Maul was looking for information about her! He discovered that one of the clones was older; knew more Tragic Backstory: and he’s been taken! Alive!
…every so often I’ll be like “nooo Star Wars don’t you hurt/kill [one of the clones]” and then I remember that save for three of them, as far as I can recall, every last one of them who survives the war is gonna become a Rigged Team Sheev Killbot. So like. Even surviving basically still means you’re kind of gonna die. That’s fun.
We cut to where Maul does, indeed, have Jesse in custody. Jesse spits that he won’t tell Maul anything:
…you can tell that Maul, unlike Sidious, initially had evil thrust upon him instead of just being evil for the love it of. When Sidious says these kinds of lines he always looks like he’s about to explode with glee. Maul just sort of says them like he KNOWS he has to because OBVIOUSLY a Bad Guy like him should, but he’s also very tired.
Tired, and, in case we’d forgotten, also more than a bit unstable and staunchly in favor of talking to himself. He muses: the clones. Bred for combat…
Jesse struggles to free himself, demanding to know: what plan?
Ah yes: Darth Sidious’ Labyrinthine Plan to Destroy Democracy, Kill Everyone, and Make Obi-Wan Cry. Turns out that that one had a few more folds than we thought it did, too, none of which I am even slightly closer to understanding these many months after the release of The Rise of Skywalker, but that is neither here nor there. Also I would just like to point out as a person living in the real world, Sidious worked entirely too hard on his plan to destroy everything. Turns out fucking up civilization is actually super easy and you don’t even have to try to look smart about it, or even know what you’re doing a little bit.
Recurring Theme: Darth Maul, Jaded Ex
Maul elaborates that not even he knows ALL of the Plan’s twist and turns — but he played his part.
It’s time once again for Maul to whine about being left in the lurch — forgotten, abandoned! Except now…now it’s ALL coming together. For one thing, he survived:
*slams fist on table* I WANT MORE UNDERWORLD MAUL CONTENT, DAMN IT. HE WAS FUN IN THE HAN SOLO MOVIE. I was about the last person in this fandom who would have agreed with the statement “we need a Young Han Solo movie” going into it but DAMN IT IF I WASN’T ENTERTAINED AND MADE TO EAT MY WORDS.
Moving on: Maul tells Gar Saxon to make sure Prime Minister/Puppet Almec doesn’t become a source of information for the good guys. Saxon leaves to go ensure this, and Maul turns back to Jesse: he needs some info off of him, and, well, it’s not really up to Jesse to comply or not, busting out Ye Old Mind Invasion Maneuver:
You know, Maul, she had a trial and everything. It might have even made the news. If you’d kept up with your Jedi Order homework, you wouldn’t have to cram like this at the last minute.
Recurring Theme: Dramatic Last Words
Almec’s back in the slammer again, and Bo, Ahsoka, and Rex pay a visit now. Bo asks Almec what Maul’s plan is to escape Mandalore. Almec tut-tuts: oh, he’s not planning on leaving; he said that would be pointless!
BOY DO I KNOW THE FEELING.
Ahsoka asks if Maul’s mentioned Sidious at all, and he says he doesn’t recall that. Bo follows up:
BECAUSE THE MAN IS A BABE, BO. IS THAT NOT REASON ENOUGH? Do we not all want Obi-Wan here? I mean, honestly.
Well, given the name he’s about to Dramatically Reveal, who can blame him, I guess. Who among us has not at least occasionally struggled with trying to decide between the respective members of Team Handsome?
He slyly plays the “now if ONLY I could RECALL the NAME” and Ahsoka sics Bo on him:
She advances on him, but before he can spill the beans, Saxon and his guys show up and shoot Almec. Bo takes off in pursuit of them, and Ahsoka runs to Almec. She sends Rex to get a medic, and Almec, struggling, gives up the deets:
Oh good! Those are ALWAYS super-reliable.
He collapses, and Ahsoka looks Deeply Concerned.
Bo and Saxon have a knock-down drag-out fight that culminates — of course — in an elevator shaft, and Bo makes it out just in time to watch his jetpack soaring off into the distance.
Credit where credit’s due: they’re doing a good job with these fights considering we already know most of the people involved here are definitely not going to die in this arc. Or probably ever, STAR WARS, but I digress.
Just Don’t Send Them to Mustafar
Saxon arrives back at Maul Underground HQ and is informed that:
Yes, in these troubled times we must be looking out for our underworld crime bosses. Who will sell our spice and enslave people and KILL OBI-WAN’S BANTHA FAMILY without them?
After hanging up his holo-Skype call, Maul turns to them and reminds them but mostly the audience who maybe didn’t read all the EU materials that they once saved him from Sidious and Dooku:
I feel like Dooku’s gonna rise himself from the dead just to take offense to this. He wouldn’t be caught dead, alive, or otherwise with a gauche double-bladed saber, honestly. In the Revenge of the Sith novelization he thought Anakin’s ROBOTIC HAND was tacky.
…but what Maul means, of course, is that they’re the same in that Sidious is playing them both for chumps! They’re both…
He seethes: the Dark Side has never been stronger. Soon, the galaxy will be in shambles…
He rallies the troops here with an over-the-top rant about them DYING AS WARRI-AHHHHS and looks like he’s a split second away from breaking into song:
Naturally since the Mandos live for drama, they are totally sold on this plan.
Recurring Theme: Mandalore’s Fucked Up Again
Back aboveground, the clones are marching Mandalorian citizens into shelter, and everyone’s complaining and upset. Bo is watching with increasing dismay:
GOSH, BO: thank GOODNESS you and your Death Watch pals brought Maul to Mandalore, eh? It takes a lot to stand out as someone who’s made some bad choices in this particular week in Galactic History, so, well done.
The gang does a walk-and-talk and Bo laments that they can’t keep up this occupation much longer: the people will riot. Rex adds that his men don’t exactly relish being here playing Police Force. Ahsoka notes that once they capture Maul, the Republic can leave and Mandalore can go back to definitely absolutely getting its shit together. I wonder if Obi-Wan thought a lot over his years of exile about how “leaving the Order for Satine” would likely have meant he’d have become the Duke of Mandalore, and then laugh-cried to realize that his life probably would STILL have been an utter shitshow no matter which Angry Blonde he’d been stuck with.
The trio head into the Wacky Throne Room, and Maul is already in there waiting for them, HILARIOUSLY POSING:
Bo goes running at him, shooting blaster bolts which he swats away like flies. He grabs her in a Force choke, and says:
Maul drops her, then releases Jesse as a “show of good faith”. Hey, cool! Jesse’s not gonna die in this episode! (But again: nothing good will happen to him regardless. You’re welcome.)
He apologizes to them: he told Maul everything. Ahsoka tells him it’s OK, and Rex leads Jesse out to safety.
Immediately after this, the sky begins to light up with a giant space battle:
IT’S SO DARK AND SAD IN HERE. WERE WE ALL ONCE SO YOUNG AS THIS???
I am going to CRY. I had no IDEA how much George and Dave were gonna COME FOR MY LIFE here. I thought it was bad enough that I was going to have to cope with Obi-Wan having a Tragic Romantic Backstory. WHEN WE FIRST MET SATINE WE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW MAUL WAS STILL ALIVE.
…help. All right, so Maul’s like “either of you ladies gonna deal with that?”, and Ahsoka sends Bo on her way:
Recurring Theme: Don’t Think About It
So: Mandalore! A siege of it, even!
Clones and Mandos and fire! Maul is moved:
I cannot believe that Obi-Wan could be tap-dancing on Grievous’ corpse right about now. I AM NOT READY FOR ANY OF THE THINGS TO BE HAPPENING.
Ahsoka is like “do you have something you’d like to share with me, or should we just wait til we get to the Jedi Council?” and oh, of course, Maul was hoping for that in:
Ahsoka retorts: they didn’t fire me, I quit!
Yeah! It was definitely entirely that the Jedi were cruel and wrong and not LITERALLY ALL OF THE OTHER BULLSHIT IN THAT ARC THAT WAS HAPPENING, ALL OF WHICH CAN BE TIED BACK TO SIDIOUS. AGAIN. Agggggggggghhhhh.
Ahsoka looks mildly conflicted, but holds her ground:
Maul is bored with this: justice is just a made-up thing defined by whoever’s in power! And the people in power? Won’t be for long. Ahsoka asks if Darth Sidious is behind this, and he replies:
Hey! Someone said a true thing in Star Wars! Mark down this day.
He rants: Sidious has been hiding in the shadows, always, but he’ll be revealing himself soon. Ahsoka offers an Olive Branch:
Maul practically bursts into hysterical laughter at this:
He’s like HONEY, the Republic has BEEN fallen. It fell. It is lying on the ground! Hell, it is UNDER the ground! It’s fallen, it’s dead! It’s passed on! This Republic is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! Its metabolic processes are now history! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, it’s shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible! THIS IS AN EX-REPUBLIC!!
Recurring Theme: Not This Shit Again
Maul is like “there is zero chance that the Jedi can defeat this guy”…
LOL. OK, aside from me groaning that we’re doing THIS ONE, AGAIN, I love how Maul possibly believes he and Ahsoka can pull this off but literally thousands of Jedi banded together WITH them can’t. I know it was supposed to be some kind of dig about how they’ve been corrupted by the rotten dead Republic or whatever and so now they’re useless, but still. Ahsoka gives this consideration, and Maul tells her that every choice she has made…
He holds out his hand, and the battle outside rages on, blowing out the window next to them for added drama. Ahsoka responds:
But there’s a catch: she has one question. Anything!, says Maul.
I like how Maul seems disappointed. I, too, find the all-powerful Son of the Force to be hilariously underwhelming sometimes, despite my unending adoration of him. Like, sure: he’s amazing and beautiful, but also probably cries when Obi-Wan beats him at a video game, and has absolutely cartoonishly slipped on a banana peel at least once in his life.
Ahsoka wonders if he’s referring to Anakin bringing balance to the Force, and Maul’s like NO, not that: he’s gonna be the one to burn it all down!
Yes, Maul explains, the Dark Side’s been cooking this one up for a WHILE:
Ahsoka is taken aback: you lie! Maul insists:
…you KNOW the universe is really spinning off its axis when Obi-Wan ISN’T the main person Maul wants to murder.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Skywalker, Beloved
Ahsoka isn’t buying it. Not Anakin! He would never do something bad like that! God, everyone loved him a lot and it makes me really, really sad.
This marks a tipping point, and Ahsoka ignites her sabers THAT ANAKIN GAVE HER.
Maul declares that “the padawan needs one last lesson”, and strikes a pose:
…and the battle begins!
The animation here is outrageously cool (and was built in part off of motion capture of Ray Park himself, which is fun!) and I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE WE GET TO SEE THIS ALL OH HAPPY AND YET HORRIBLE DAY.
Recurring Theme: That’s Our Girl
After Maul has a near-miss with one of Ahsoka’s sabers, she teases:
At this, Maul DELIGHTFULLY notes with annoyance:
LOL HELL YES SHE DID LEARN TO SMUGLY CONDESCEND TO HER ENEMIES FROM HER SAD DAD, THANK YOU. Ahsoka proclaims that she’s got all KINDS of obnoxious qualities he’ll dislike, and I laugh:
*wipes a tear* Those two assholes really raised one scrappy pain in the ass, didn’t they? I AM SO PROUD OF ALL OF THEM EXCEPT NOT ENTIRELY OF ANAKIN.
Meanwhile, outside, Rex is basically fighting up against a wall of flame:
…and like, THIS IS MAYBE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW, TOO? It’s TOO MUCH I SAY.
Maul makes a leap out the window, and Ahsoka follows him, as the Republic and Mandalorians make some gains down below:
Recurring Theme: …And That’s Why You Don’t Trust the Sith
Saxon places a call to Maul to beg for help:
Maul, up in the rafters and — OF COURSE — walking on what surely must be the LEAST-GUARDED AREA SUSPENDED OVER AN ABYSS yet, is like nah, I’m outta here:
He hangs up on a protesting Saxon, and Ahsoka pops up behind him, saying:
WELL OF COURSE HE WAS. What about?
Hahahahahaha. It’s funny because he won’t die for almost another TWO DECADES. *sobs*
They fight on this RIDICULOUS STRUCTURE, and the music goes Full Ominous Choir as befits the timeline:
Maul bellows: they could have DESTROYED SIDIOUS! Ahsoka yells back that it would only have been for MAUL to take his place. God, a universe run by Maul: just what Obi-Wan needs to make this week better.
Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You
Of course eventually Ahsoka gets knocked off her feet a bit and ends up dangliing:
…and it’s at this time that Maul’s ride comes to pick him up:
He tries to make a break for it, and she catches up to him. After a bit more back-and-forth, she loses both her sabers, watching them tumble into the abyss. Not to worry, Ahsoka! If Star Wars has taught me anything, it’s that they’ll just randomly show up in some guy’s basement in a handful of years with ZERO EXPLANATION.
As Rex carts off Gar Saxon, he takes note of what’s going on:
He directs some of the men to go with him and get the gunships. Maul hands Ahsoka a final ultimatum:
Ahsoka, UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE THIS WEEK, turns him down with a “never!” HOW ABOUT THAT, ANAKIN. Maul loses his footing as he goes after her, slipping off the beam they’re standing on and falling….until Ahsoka Force-catches him:
He is FURIOUS, demanding that she let him die. A gunship arrives now, and he gets pulled in by the clones as he screams and goes Mad Soothsayer on us all:
…I mean, not ALL of you, Maul. I’m pretty sure Ahsoka literally can’t be killed. They did it once and Filoni went back and broke the space-time continuum to save her.
He gets stun-gunned into silence, and the clones take off with him, LEAVING AHSOKA OUT OF BREATH DANGLING ON A BEAM SUSPENDED WAY THE HELL UP IN THE AIR:
She stares up at the sky through a hole in the ceiling, and the music continues to be intense. We fade out — no iris-wipe for us in this arc, to better accomodate watching this as a single film later, I am certain — and as though to remind us that we shouldn’t direct ALL of our anguish at him, Filoni ends it thusly:
…you know, just in case we forgot who had the unmitigated GALL to make us care about all this bullshit in the first place. CURSE YOU GEORGE. (PS: Thanks for inventing Obi-Wan. He’s neat and I really like him a lot.)
OK! Phew! We are…still all in one piece, yeah? (Hey, in Star Wars that’s not always a guarantee!) That’s all for this installment of Ceaseless Pain Theater. Join me next time, as it’s very nearly time for Mace Windu to sense a plot to destroy the Jedi (better late than never…well, I guess at this point it won’t matter much…) and Sidious is gonna get ready to place an order and nothing we do can stop it. Bring your tissues! I’ll see you then, readers.