Star Wars Rebels: “The Holocrons of Fate” Season 3 Episode 2 Review

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Once just an iconic image that would end up having a severely small part in the deeply disappointing Phantom Menace, Darth Maul’s role in the Star Wars universe has become as far-reaching as the most beloved characters. It’s crazy to hear Sabine confirm to her fellow crew that what Maul claimed is true. He did at one time, albeit briefly, rule the planet Mandalore. Now, just a few years before A New Hope, he’s a part of some seriously fascinating world building. Of course, however, Maul hasn’t forgotten his chief goal since returning on Clone Wars. Revenge on the man who ended his Sith apprenticeship and took away his legs. And now, he knows he’s alive.

Let’s backtrack before we dissect the insane final moments of the episode and what they could mean for Rebels. “The Holocrons of Fate” hit the ground running, with Kanan and Ezra finding a nearly destroyed Rebel ship and learning from a barely living crew member that a “red blade” attacked and is heading for the Ghost. Next thing we know, Darth Maul is igniting his lightsaber over Hera, Zeb, and Sabine over hologram, demanding the Sith holocron. It’s a messy start that made me wish for a little more knowledge on exactly how Maul executed this coup. It probably isn’t enough material to justify an entire extra 22-minute episode, but enough that this one feels a little tight.

But once the setup is hastily pushed aside, the meat and potatoes of season three’s second entry is just plain great Star Wars. Kanan and Ezra pay a visit to Bendu where this new Force being must imbed his wisdom onto Ezra as he leans closer and closer to the Dark Side. Ezra’s arc here worked, as he seemingly realigned himself with the light and started listening to his master again. It’s also great to see Kanan’s wisdom growing beyond that of a normal Jedi. The now blind warrior is on a similar path to Obi Wan, though with fewer gaps in his teachings and with just one apprentice. Obi Wan only truly got to learn from his mistakes as a master to Anakin when he started training Luke. Kanan, on the other hand, is able to see Ezra’s path more clearly, growing into the master role as Ezra shifts from light to dark. The question becomes, has Maul grown into as effective a surrogate for the Dark Side as Kanan has for the Light?

Upon meeting Maul with the regained Sith holocron, it’s eery to hear Maul refer to Ezra is “our apprentice,” as if Kanan and he share him like a set of divorced parents. Kanan is taking steps to right Ezra’s path, but maybe the secrets Maul can provide him are too tempting.

We learned from Bendu this week that when Jedi and Sith holocrons come together, the Force can show answers to the users’ questions. Ezra searches for a way to destroy the Sith while Maul cryptically searches for “hope.” But as the light from the holocrons consumes them, it becomes clear what answers the Force has provided. Ironically, two different answers come from the same planet. “Twin suns,” Ezra says, shortly before Maul rushes out of the base saying “He’s alive,” as if he’s been struck with a whole new purpose. Luke, who re-initiates the destruction of the Sith, and Obi Wan, the man who took everything away from Maul, both reside on Tatooine. With Kanan’s promise to Ezra that they’ll find the answers together, it looks like Rebels will at some point be heading to Tatooine. That’s an exciting prospect for the series, but also one that sort of dooms Kanan and Ezra before A New Hope. Can they really co-exist with Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi?

How Rebels digs into these questions as the season goes on will surely be fascinating. Aside from Thrawn, this is a big place for the series to go. With no Ahsoka and Vader, season three really had to prove it could sustain itself without the build to their confrontation looming in the background. Maybe it just replaced that prospect with an Obi Wan vs. Darth Maul rematch, but at least it’s doing so by putting the chief Rebels cast first. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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