Star Wars Rebels: “Twin Suns” Season 3 Episode 18 Review

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I’m conflicted. On one hand, “Twin Suns” is a beautifully made episode that wraps up a long running subplot of this saga in an emotional way. On the other hand, why did it happen on Rebels at all? The last thing I wanted to be coming out of this episode wondering was whether Maul’s presence on this show served any purpose at all. So let me try to justify that for a moment.

Ezra’s inching toward the Dark Side was happening long before Maul revealed himself on Malachor, but the former Sith Lord personified that pull from the Dark Side. It’s important to note that Ezra’s struggle for balance doesn’t just fade away now that Maul is dead, but he was an integral part in showing Ezra another path. A path he may very well still go down.

You wouldn’t know it from “Twin Suns,” or any other episode from season three after the first couple. This episode sadly fails Ezra when it needed to solidify this pivotal moment in his arc. It would be more forgivable had the episode spent more time with Maul and Obi Wan, but there’s a sizable chunk of this thing devoted to Ezra wandering around Tatooine, which could have helped serve his arc had it not been written so plainly.

“You’re in the wrong place,” are Obi Wan’s first words to the young padawan, and the disappointing double meaning to that is frustrating. If Ezra isn’t going on a journey of self discovery or something here, then what is he really doing here? The point might be to teach Ezra about the manipulative nature of the Dark Side, but that’s not really explored at all beyond the surface level. In a season that so beautifully dissected Sabine in “Trials of the Darksaber,” the lack of strong character work in “Twin Suns” is supremely disappointing, especially when you consider Dave Filoni himself wrote and directed it.

But when you take Ezra out of the equation, the episode becomes a lovely portrait of this long-running rivalry. Using Ezra’s failure in the desert, Maul trusts in Obi Wan’s compassion to draw him out. It works, and within moments of Ezra and Obi Wan meeting, Maul shows up for a fight.

Obi Wan’s characterization here is outstanding. Stephen Stanton does a wonderful job emulating Alec Guinness, showing a version of the character so at one with the Force and full of wisdom. With just two years to go until A New Hope, this is Old Ben. Interestingly, he seems more annoyed by Ezra than willing to help. Here is a young Rebel with the power of the Force fighting to overthrow the Sith, but he also poses a threat to Obi Wan’s cover, as well as Luke’s. He’s also led Maul right to his doorstep.

Reminiscent of the ending of Kill Bill, the fight is appropriately short. Obi Wan manages to strike down his old adversary with just a few blows, and on clean one that splits his double-sided lightsaber along with him. But their final moment together is one of unity. Maul dies in Obi Wan’s arms asking about the Chosen One. “He’ll avenge both of us,” Maul says. The forces that caused Obi Wan and Maul to go into hiding are one in the same. Their rivalry matters little at this point, but that’s Maul’s great character flaw. So consumed by rage and the desire for revenge, this fallen warrior can’t take down his true oppressors, Palpatine and Vader, so he goes for something he thinks he can manage. He know his life is forfeit at this point, so he goes to die by the same hand that all but killed him on Naboo decades ago. Maul gets exactly what he needs, to be put out of his self-imposed misery. Obi Wan receives a similar gift when Vader kills him on the Death Star. But they will both be avenged.

The shot of Obi Wan looking on at Luke from a distance is gorgeous and brought a tear to my eye. This old soul just laid to rest one of the great conflicts of his life, so he just goes back to preparing for what’s to come. Ezra does the same, returning to his family to prepare for the Rebellion’s first major military operation against the Empire, the attack on Lothal. Maul’s place in Star Wars has never been clear cut, but his existence also made the saga that much cooler. I’m glad the story “Twin Suns” tells was told, even though it has nothing to do with Rebels. That’s a major problem for an episode that should have stood next to the best this series has to offer. But even with its shortcomings, this monumental event is still powerful and emotional. Grade: B

Some Other Notes:

  • Tatooine looked absolutely beautiful. It had a mystical quality to it that felt justified given how significant this little Outer Rim planet is to the very long story that is Star Wars.
  • With no more Maul and no more inquisitors, Rebels may be severely lacking in lightsaber duels for a while. It makes sense as we head closer to A New Hope to dial down all the Force using, but it’s still a sad fact, especially considering how great it’s done them in the past.
  • The music over the end credits was heavenly. It made me feel all the Star Wars feels.

By Matt Dougherty

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