This review contains spoilers.
Whenever I think about the Star Wars Rebels season two finale, one word keeps popping up in my head: epic. It was the kind of season finale that had me sitting on the edge of my seat and pulling me up to stand in front of my television with my hands covering either my mouth or head. Others may not agree or didn’t have similar reactions, but given how emotionally attached and invested I am in these characters, it makes sense that my reaction involved a back-and-forth dance between the couch and television. The finale was everything I wanted and more, and most importantly, it showed that there are other creative ways to capture an audience’s attention. People assume characters have to die to make an impact, but it’s up to the writers to prove that there are other ways to make a compelling story, and the Star Wars Rebels team truly outdid themselves.
Kanan was a character nearly everyone thought was going to die because he’s the mentor figure to Ezra. To me, that’s not a good enough reason to kill someone, especially when that character has a lot more story to tell. Instead, Kanan was blinded! Did anyone see that coming? Exactly, and neither did Kanan. Not only was it unexpected, but now, it opens up a whole new can of worms. It also, in a way, makes him more in tune with the Force, since he has to rely on it more. So Kanan went from someone who loved being a Jedi Padawan to someone who didn’t want anything to do with the Force after Order 66 to someone who has to fully embrace it like never before. That’s genius storytelling! Granted, it broke a lot of hearts, but the fact that people had that reaction towards Kanan really shows how far that character has come with the audience.
Ezra, my Ezra. Although I felt like he took a few steps back in “The Mystery of Chopper Base” (as expressed in my portion of the review), I’m glad we see him being his regular self in this episode. I think most people forget that he’s growing, that he’s allowed to think for himself, and that he’ll make mistakes (even if some are more detrimental than others), so when he makes decisions that we know we wouldn’t do because of our own experiences, he gets criticized for it. I am someone who understands that because it’s part of his growth, but the audience seems to forget that a lot of the time, so I’m here to remind whoever’s reading this that Ezra is allowed to make these mistakes because it’s part of his development as a person and as a Force user. And what’s also part of growth? Experimenting. At this point in his life, Ezra is like a sponge. He wants to absorb any and every piece of information he gets his hands on, including the secrets of a Sith Holocron. We don’t know what this means for his future, but here’s hoping the writers give us something just as unexpected as Kanan’s blindness (especially since he’s currently on a predictable path).
One of the best things that Star Wars: The Clone Wars did while it was still on air was resurrect Maul. The character was taken off the screen too quickly in The Phantom Menace, but since then, he’s shown to be so much more complex and just as manipulative as Darth Sidious. Although I consider him now to be the roach that just won’t die, he does represent the little devil that sits on Ezra’s shoulder. Ezra also came to realize that Maul wasn’t all that he made himself to be, so he could also be a potential nemesis of sorts in the future for having used Ezra’s trust for his own advantage.
And of course, the confrontation between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Vader was both intense and emotional, surpassing my expectations. Although some fans were unhappy with the result, I am quite pleased because it didn’t follow the common theory that Ahsoka was going to die. From the day she was introduced, fans immediately said, “She’s going to die because she doesn’t exist in the old trilogy.” The end result broke expectations in a bold way, and for that, I am thankful. To be honest, though, I don’t know what’s Ahsoka’s condition, since there are some things in the Force that can’t be readily explained (sort of like our own mysteries here in our own galaxy). Is she alive? Is she dead? It’s sort of like the short story “The Lady or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton. The audience is left to interpret and make the choice on their own. To me, that’s refreshing.
It’s a week later and the events of the season finale are still running around in my head and tugging at my heartstrings. When a television show has the power to do that, it just reinforces the fact that you’re watching good television. Given how season two had double the action, the fun, and character backstories, I look forward to season three and the challenges the Ghost crew will face together.
- His trust in Maul felt very organic and similar to the natural progression of him trusting Hondo and Vizago. Ezra wanted information, and while he listened to Maul and maybe even began to be open to what he was learning from him and going so far as to successfully help in entering the Sith temple, nothing Ezra did in that regard felt dumb or misguided. I believe part of him did want to believe in Maul because up until that point, he had no real reason to distrust him. And neither Kanan nor Ahsoka actually offered anything to argue Ezra’s point of view besides saying he simply shouldn’t be trusted.
- As for what ultimately happened at the end of the finale, I am both excited and anxious to see how what has transpired will affect Ezra. Maul took Kanan’s sight and for all he knows they lost Ahsoka forever, and right at the end, he was able to open the holocron. What this means for Ezra specifically is uncertain, but I can’t wait to see how it pans out.
- Also, if the presence is part of the Holocron itself, then I really look forward to seeing what kind of “relationship” Ezra may form with her while learning what secrets he can from his new holocron.
- It was a pleasant surprise that Chopper was in the finale. Starting off, I just have to say I love how he dodged the Eighth Brother’s lightsaber when it was thrown at him. I don’t believe many non-Jedi would have the reflexes to avoid such a strike coming at them, but he did, and for that, I am forever grateful.
- The major and very important thing Chopper did besides getting Ezra and Kanan away to safety before the explosion happened was guide a blinded Kanan to Ezra. Without Chopper being there, Kanan would have very likely not gotten to Ezra, Vader would have gotten the Sith Holocron, and the enemies of the Emperor would be suffering the same fate as the dead that surround the temple.
- Before his blinding, Kanan was fulfilling the role that you’d think he’d be doing, having awesome lightsaber fights alongside Ahsoka–some of the best I’ve seen in the series, I might add. They were beautiful. He was also the voice of reason when it came to Ezra not trusting Maul, even if his attempts at doing that made Ezra more frustrated than anything else. One moment that is easily missed that I absolutely love is after Maul said his line about Ezra being his apprentice, Kanan and Ahsoka shared a look. In that moment, his hand movements and expression had a clear “WTF?” about them.
- And then, it happens, something fairly new to Star Wars. The only other two (canon) characters to have lost sight would be Wolffe (in one eye) and Zaluna from A New Dawn. After the initial shock had worn off a bit, I am very excited to see how this will play out in the future. It is a devastating injury, but one that people can adapt to and one I’m sure Kanan eventually will as well, especially considering he has the Force on his side. Using the Force to see is a fundamental skill of the Jedi. We see the younglings do it in the prequel movies, and we see Obi-Wan teaching Luke to do it in A New Hope. So despite being horrified by what Kanan has lost, what he could potentially gain from it is going to be incredible to see, I’m sure.
- Having been brought into Star Wars as Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan, there was always an inevitability that one day she’d have to fight him. As a fan of her since the beginning, I was entering this finale fearing that she might die and thinking about all the things that would come with that. Saying that, I do very like how the ending played out and feel that it is respectful to both her and Vader. Even if we never see her in Rebels again, which sounds like the case, I am okay with that because her door hasn’t been closed completely.
- Personally, I loved the call back with the line she said to Kanan about how he should trust Ezra because he taught him. It’s similar to what she’d said to Anakin after she’d returned home safely from her time of being hunted by Trandoshans. From her initial refusal to believe that he was in fact what Anakin had turned into to her shocked acceptance when she finally was faced with the truth, her battle with Vader was quite amazing as well as heartbreaking. The final dark shot of her walking into the Sith Temple makes me hope that one day she may pop up again in the Star Wars timeline.
- Without getting into anything personal about my thoughts regarding how this character never goes away, I really enjoyed his character in this episode. I loved how he played being an old decrepit man when he first met Ezra, and how that slowly melted away as their short time together went on. His rant about hating the Sith was also interesting to hear. So often, this is the point where we as the viewers come to accept that the villain is fairly delusional and coating what their existence has been in a bias favouring themselves. What he says, though, is completely true, and I liked that.
- Him calling Ahsoka “Lady Tano” was another thing that stood out to me and made me think of Cad Bane and how he used to call Ahsoka “little lady”. And while it was clear that he had his sights set on Ezra and how his line about him being his apprentice was not unexpected, what he did immediately after saying that was the opposite. Even thinking about it, I am still shocked, but in a good way.
- Ultimately, Maul escapes Malachor and I am actually excited to see what’ll happen in the future when (because it is a matter of when) he runs into Kanan and/or Ezra again.
- Even if he was a massive part of Ahsoka’s storyline, I really don’t have much to say about him. He’s very much a force of nature. I loved the lightsaber battle he had against Ahsoka, and I once again loved hearing James Earl Jones voicing this character. His entrance was dramatic, and then he went on to destroy Ezra’s lightsaber. My favourite moment of his has to be when he says Ahsoka’s name, and it’s both Matt Lanter and James Earl Jones speaking. It is a powerful moment. And just like Ahsoka in the series, he played the role he had to play, and he did it well.
- Also, the animation on his cape was amazing, and I can see why it cost so much money.
- Before the episode aired, I stumbled upon a spoiler that quite noticeably brought up the word “deaths”. While going into the finale I figured the Inquisitors would die, especially with what Dave had said at an earlier point about how the story line with them would be coming to an end, the spoiler fairly confirmed my suspicions. Saying that, I was surprised at how two thirds of the Inquisitors were killed by Maul and only one, the Eighth, due to the damage caused to his weapon.
- Starting with the first Inquisitor we see in the finale, the Eighth Brother had grabbed my attention since the first clip that featured him. His design, his voice, which amazingly enough is the man who voices Darien in the original English dub of Sailor Moon, was everything that I most love. Sadly, he is apparently gone, though, he will live on in my heart because I’m like that.
- The Seventh Sister was the first death we see in the episode, held up in the air by Maul while he pushes Ezra on to deliver the finishing blow. While I knew from interviews that the Seventh Sister would not die due to Kanan, I was still wholly surprised not only by Maul being the one to kill her but how he did it. From what little we see, which I am thankful for, she got a lightsaber straight to the face.
- Of the three of them, the Fifth Brother had the quickest death. He also had the least “story” given to him in these final episodes. Whereas, the Eighth was used as a means of drawing the Seventh Sister and the Fifth Brother to Malachor as well as Darth Vader. The Seventh Sister was also used as a potential target for Ezra to take a big step that he may not have come back from had he taken it, and I can’t help but wonder if Maul’s warning to Ezra about killing a foe is some kind of foreshadowing we’ll see in season three.
This finale was amazing. It’s beautiful work, and many thanks and praise should be given to the team for bringing this story together and making it what it is. They all have done such phenomenal work. I am eagerly waiting for season three to start because if the jump in quality from the start of season one to the end of season two is any indication, I cannot wait to see how the series will be by the end of season three.