The season finale of Star Wars Rebels premiered last night, and we’ve made a list of the five most explosive moments out of that feels-filled episode.
So many things happened on “Twilight of the Apprentice,” the finale of the second season of Star Wars Rebels, we still can’t even. But there are five moments in particular that alternatively blew our minds and made us want to weep.
If you haven’t seen the finale, beware of spoilers; we’re opening the floodgates for this article.
1. The return of Darth Maul.
Did you think he was dead after the Emperor creamed him and his brother in The Clone Wars? Think again. The canon comic miniseries, Son of Dathomir, showed how Maul escaped the Emperor’s clutches, but it didn’t give us a hint as to what he would be doing for the rest of his life. In “Twilight of the Apprentice,” it was revealed that by the time of Star Wars Rebels, anyway, he ends up stuck on Malachor, waiting for an opportunity to enter the Sith Temple there and get the power he seeks.
He gets his chance when he encounters Ezra Bridger, who, along with Kanan Jarrus and Ahsoka Tano, are searching for knowledge of how to defeat their enemies, Darth Vader and his Inquisitors. Maul manages to befriend Ezra; but after tricking the padawan into placing a Sith holocron at the temple’s apex, thereby activating its secret power, he betrays the Jedi and reveals his true plot: To use the Sith Temple as a weapon of destruction against his enemies, the Empire.
After the rebels foil his plan, Maul escapes in one of the fallen Inquisitor’s TIE fighters. Where he will end up after that, we’re not certain; however, the voice actor behind Ezra, Taylor Gray, says he’s interested to see what comes of Maul and Ezra’s onetime alliance in season three (via Rebels Recon). The former Sith apprentice is not finished with the rebels yet.
2. The death of the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother.
At least one good result of Maul’s temporary alliance with the Jedi is that, using his fancy new double-bladed lightsaber, he takes out two of their biggest problems: the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother, the two Inquisitors who have been hounding the rebels all season. Maul urges Ezra to kill the Seventh Sister, but Ezra’s hesitation causes Maul to take matters into his own hands. It’s not completely clear what he does to her, but from the direction his lightsaber hits her, it looks like he may have either beheaded her or split her torso down the middle. (When Maul says the Inquisitors are his enemies, he means it.)
As an added bonus, the Eighth Brother, a new Inquisitor who made his debut (and his exit) on the show in the finale, also met his death, though more by a malfunctioning spinning lightsaber than anyone else’s blade. But just because the herd has been thinned, doesn’t mean there aren’t more Inquisitors waiting to take over the Jedi hunt.
3. Kanan is blinded.
I’ll admit it, I predicted Kanan would die in this episode. I’m glad he didn’t, but what actually happened to him shocked me even more. When Maul finally showshis true colors to Kanan and Ahsoka and the three engage in a duel, he gets a swipe with his lightsaber at Kanan’s eyes. It isn’t just a mere scratch; the wound completely blinds Kanan, and he remains that way through the end of the episode.
It was truly heartbreaking to see Kanan being led around first by Chopper, and then by Ezra, hobbling and sightless. His is a different kind of wound than what we usually see in Star Wars. Usually, someone loses an arm or a leg, and they are quickly given a prosthetic that allows them to be more or less as functional as their real appendage. But no one has ever been blinded by a lightsaber before. Even if cyborg eyes are an option for those whose eyes have been ruined, Kanan’s wound may be such that no amount of surgery will make him his old self again.
Whatever happens, Kanan has a hard path ahead of him in season three. It will either make him stronger or destroy his spirit.
4. Ezra is tempted by the dark side.
We’ve seen Ezra be tempted to use the dark side in the past, but in the finale he truly began to embrace his anger and his hatred. Throughout the course of the episode, Ezra acquires a Sith holocron from the temple on Malachor. At one point, Maul, still pretending to be his friend, tells him that only someone with the potential to be a Sith can open the holocron. At the end of the episode, after all the traumatic experiences he and Kanan have been through and witnessed, we see Ezra sitting in his cabin aboard The Ghost. His eyes are closed in concentration, and the holocron is glowing. Suddenly, the holocron starts to open. Ezra’s eyes open, as well; the red light of the holocron reflects off his irises, turning them crimson.
Ezra has the potential to become a Sith. And Maul, while he clearly doesn’t support the Jedi, seemed sincere in his attempt to make Ezra his apprentice. Season three is likely to address that conflict, and we can only hope Ezra’s better nature wins out in the end.
5. Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader finally battle.
We’ve been waiting for so long to see the outcome of Anakin and Ahsoka’s long awaited reunion. Yes, he’s not so much Anakin anymore…but for a moment, when she partially shredded the Vader mask from his face, and there, underneath the facade was Anakin Skywalker looking out — just for the briefest of moments — my heart stopped beating. Dave Filoni made me believe, even though I knew that Vader is who he is, and that he never took pity on any Jedi or Light Side Force wielder…Filoni gave me a moment’s hope that Anakin would win through and be redeemed.
And then Vader and the Dark Side took over and the real battle began. The musical score, the emotions of Ezra and leading a blind Kanan away from Ahsoka as she pushes him away finally, with the Force. And then, to watch Ezra’s face, as the Sith Temple closes on Vader and Ahsoka and explode with such a vast wealth of Force energy, that you are forced to believe that no one but the chosen one (Darth Vader) could live through such a blast, just rips one’s heart to pieces. Dave Filoni crafted an absolute masterpiece.
Finally, as we see Vader dragging himself from the temple, and then the mysterious form of Lady Tano, walking back into the husk of the Sith Temple, we are left wondering, is that really Ahsoka? Is she really alive? Or, is this some sort of Force Ghost? Filoni had this to say last night, during a screening of this finale — via Comicbook.com:
"“I know what happened for sure. I think that it would be just cruel and rob you of your own independence if I said ‘blah blah blah.’ I didn’t put an image of Vader like dragging her head along – that would be horrible! I couldn’t even get off this lot if that happened. But I also didn’t have a Lothcat come purr at her ankle as she picked it up and said ‘phew, close one.’ Neither of those is an acceptable outcome. So I picked a – for once – nebulous shot, with complete certainty of what happened in my mind.”"
Way to sidestep the question, Filoni. Either way, if you believe Ahsoka lives, or if you believe she is dead, hopefully we will find out something concrete when Star Wars Rebels returns for Season 3, in the fall.