Visions and Voices: Rebels Season 3, Episode 11 Review

While planning a mission to attack the Empire’s factory on Lothal with the rest of the of the Ghost team, Ezra becomes disoriented. He begins to hear and see Maul, even though he really isn’t there. The visions and voices convince Ezra he must work with with the flesh and blood Maul to finish getting the information they sought in “The Holocrons of Fate.” As always with Maul, the question is whether he will cost Ezra’s friends their lives.

What Worked?

Visuals and Audio

The opening and early portion of the episode has visual and audio cues (hence its title) which show the audience that Ezra is hallucinating the presence of Maul. It is executed well. The scenes are from Ezra’s point of view. The animation displays the confusion Ezra feels as Maul seems to appear in places that were difficult for Ezra to see clearly. He is trying to decide if Maul is really there. Later, it is no surprise that Kanan must stop Ezra from mistakenly hurting a rebel pilot. It is ironic that the blind man sees more clearly in this instance.

Later in the episode, the animators again give us beautiful artwork as Ezra, Maul, Kanan and Sabine have green energy streaming from their eyes at different times. This takes place in a dimly lit cave, which makes the green energy, as well as the glow of lightsabers, a dazzling show on the walls and the floor. The whole final sequence is visually impressive. This section is aided by the music. We feel the energy as our heroes fight to save one another from Maul’s treachery.

Maul

One of the best things of,about the series Rebels and The Clone Wars, much less this episode,  is their use of Maul. I know it takes a lot to get past the fact he was cut in two in The Phantom Menace, but resurrecting him gave him a motivation for revenge on many characters which drove some of the most compelling plots of both series. In the Clone Wars, he was rejected by Darth Sidious because he had become a rival, and he exacted a terrible revenge on Obi-Wan Kenobi. In Rebels, his part in Twilight of the Apprentice helped make it the best episode of the series so far.

We also see the complexity of Maul. He shows genuine concern for Ezra’s well-being as he attempts to keep Ezra out of danger. His anger at Ezra’s rejection is no surprise, but his tone immediately softens, showing Maul’s hurt feelings. He demonstrates his evil desire to manipulate Ezra into becoming his apprentice, yet at the same time exudes loneliness which could be soothed by his wish to have Ezra as a friend. At no one time does he use brute force to make Ezra accompany him. Maul wants him to freely choose.

Hera and Kanan

Another nice touch is the closeness of Hera and Kanan, When it is clear that something is wrong with Ezra, Hera waits until everyone else has left the room before asking Kanan to tell her what he is thinking. Unsurprisingly, he tells her without hesitation or obfuscation. It is a tender moment between two people showing the audience that each is the confidant of the other. They depend on each other for support and frankness in troubled times. There is a touch of sadness knowing what this relationship could be if not for war, yet hope because having someone who is your rock during a storm is a precious gift.

This is echoed later in the episode when Hera considers postponing a mission so she can help watch over Ezra. Kanan tells her not to worry because he has a plan. She reluctantly leaves, softly telling Kanan to be careful.

Remembrance and Foreshadowing

It was good to revisit events and characters from the Clone Wars. Maul takes Ezra to Dathomir. There we see the spirits of the Nightsisters as Maul uses them to get the last bit of Holocron information from Ezra’s mind. From Alabama, I heard Jeremy’s school girl squeal of glee in California when we learned all parties involved would now be searching for Obi-Wan Kenobi.

We were also reintroduced to the Darksaber. It was in Maul’s home, and he used it when he ruled over the Mandalorians in Deathwatch. At the end, Sabine picks up the Darksaber before leaving Maul’s cave. Is she now in charge of Deathwatch?

What Didn’t Work

The Bendu

The Bendu looks and sounds amazing. The description of him before the season started excited me. He is supposed to be somewhere between the dark and the light, but to my disappointment, we have not seen how he is in the middle. He seems to be light.

My expectations rose again as Maul appeared before the Bendu along with Kanan and Ezra. I thought it was a great time to show how the Bendu could appear to be just as helpful or sympathetic to a dark side user as he has been to light side users. At that exact moment, the Bendu just disappeared. Why was he even included in this episode?

Verdict

This was a very good episode. Maul’s story with Ezra was advanced. Obi-Wan seems to be on the horizon, and maybe Luke will be there. After all, Obi-Wan is watching over Luke during this time period. Also, are we about to open up a can with Sabine and other Mandalorians? One can only hope.

 

 

4.5 Death Stars out of 5.