Twins Suns: Rebels Season 3 Episode 18 Review

Twin Suns:

Maul is on Tatooine, carrying out a futile search for Obi-Wan Kenobi. To draw out Kenobi, Maul lures Ezra to the desolate planet. With Chopper riding shotgun, can Ezra help Obi-Wan against Maul, or will Maul succeed in his vengeance and add Ezra as his new apprentice?

What Worked

Obi-Wan Kenobi

If you’ve read my synopsis of what I would put in the Han Solo stand alone movie, you know that while Obi-Wan is not my favorite character, the rest of the Unmistakably Star Wars gang love him. That being said, I got a chill when we first see the boot and bottom of the robe of Master Kenobi.

Obi-Wan is only physically present in the last third of the episode. Yet in that short amount of time, we see so much. The most noticeable thing about him is how much he has changed since we saw him in the Prequels and The Clone Wars. In the Prequels, we saw his first encounter with Maul and his epic showdown with newly transformed Darth Vader. In both instances, he is struggling to control his emotions.

In The Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan is anxious as he tries to assist his master in the fight against Maul. He is lagging behind the action and cannot catch up. As he gets closer, he sees Maul kill Qui-Gon Jinn. Maul is quite a challenge for him at that time.

In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan is emotionally conflicted, having to hold nothing back as he tries to stop his former apprentice. The stress in his voice as he yells, “You were the chosen one!” shows how hard it was to keep his emotions in check.

In The Clone Wars, Maul killed Obi-Wan’s love, Satine Kryze, in front of him. Although Obi-Wan was in more control then than when he was younger, his fear and anger were still evident. His strength was used to resist the dark side of the Force.

But now, in this episode, Obi-Wan shows the culmination of all his training. He has overcome the tragedies from his youth. He has no desire for retribution or even to fight Maul. He is different from the Maul he first encountered, pacing like a caged lion. He is not even like his younger self, chasing after the fight in an exasperated manner. He most closely resembles his Master, Qui-Gon, who meditated during that first fight with Maul. He appeared calm and in control during a hectic moment in his life.

Obi-Wan calmly waits for Maul.

We now know he has been trained by his Force ghost master, as alluded to at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Now that Obi-Wan has become like Qui-Gon, Maul is no match for him.

The end made me nostalgic and a little sad. To see Obi-Wan watching Luke from afar. To hear Aunt Beru call him home. To know the loss ahead for Luke. The heartbreak. The triumph. As far as I have traveled through the Star Wars galaxy, I am now being brought back to the door through which I entered. I feel like that six-year old boy who is about to join new heroes inspiring hope to a new generation.

Maul

We see many sides of Maul. Frustrated. Desperate. Cunning. Dangerous. In the end, he cannot quell his desire to kill Obi-Wan. However, his last statement of the episode exposes his feeling that Obi-Wan and he are both victims of the Emperor. He almost seems to realize that they should be brothers in arms and not archenemies. The sadness is that even at that moment, Maul believes he can only be made whole by the Chosen One exacting vengeance on the Emperor for him. This is in contrast to the peace Obi-Wan has found in his desire to avoid conflict.

Ezra on his Own

It is good to see Ezra venturing forth on his own. He matured in his powers between seasons two and three, although he was not in total control of himself. As this season has progressed, Ezra has seemed to resist the pull of the dark side. He is in a stage of his life where he is formidable and can take care of himself.

Ezra ventures forth in a desolate landscape to help Obi-Wan face Maul.

Pacing

This is a slow episode. There is very little action. I can imagine the target audience of TVY7 being bored. As Amy Wishman pointed out, not everything is for everybody. The good thing about that is it allows everybody to share Star Wars. I can share Star Wars with my ten-year old son even if I enjoy some parts more than him or vice versa.

I thought the pacing of the episode was beautifully done. Maul has been a great driving force in the series. He has put Ezra in a position of facing real temptation. Ezra has shown much growth through the choices he made in response to Maul’s temptations.

That being said, it is time for these story lines to begin to wrap up. Maul had to face Obi-Wan so we could set up what we know is coming in A New Hope. This could be a harbinger of what must happen in the arcs other characters. These powerful characters must be handled in a way that allows the audience to understand why we never saw them in the original trilogy.

The Music

The music. Oh! The music. It was subtle. It was beautiful. The cello’s struck an ominous tone as Ezra struggled to do what he felt was right. They continued as Obi-Wan faced Maul. Then as the closing credits began to roll, we get the original John Williams score which played as Luke gazed longingly at the twin suns in A New Hope. Once again, I was six years old.

Attention to Detail

I am continuously amazed about the little things the animators do that make the world they create seem real. Just one in particular I noticed was near the end. Ezra returns to Chopper base in a ship with which he is unfamiliar. There is a landing pad slightly higher than the planet’s surface by just a few inches. As Ezra lands and lowers the boarding ramp, we realize his aim was not perfect. The bottom of the ramp is half on the pad and half hanging over the edge of it. It just makes sense that Ezra might not perfectly land a ship he has never flown before. Little touches like these make the galaxy feel lived in.

What Didn’t Work

Wanting More

From the beginning of the season, we were aware that both Ezra and Maul would end up on Tatooine, both probably encountering Obi-Wan. After waiting for most of the season, the foreshadowing finally pays off. It is done simply but elegantly, as I have described earlier in this piece.

The brevity of the time Obi-Wan spends on screen is the right choice. It keeps the story tight but conveys so much. Being mortal, however, when I experience something so good, I can’t help but want more. I am from the Frasier Crane school of thought regarding the concept of, “less is more.”

Verdict

Just a great episode. It brought together two great characters of the animated series and closed their arc. It was very satisfying. My trust in the story group’s ability to eventually end this show in a manner that gratifies and rewards the audience’s investment is bolstered.

5 Death Stars out of 5.