Ezra is plagued by visions of Maul in the mid-season finale of Star Wars Rebels. “Visions and Voices” picks up where we left off in the previous episode, with the Ghost crew devising a plan to attack the Imperial factory on Lothal. Things quickly start to fall apart, however, when Ezra starts to see glimpses of Maul at every turn. He’s overwhelmed by the intensity of the situation and the experience renders him unconscious. Turns out, his connection with Maul is more complicated than originally thought. The joining of the holocrons and the subsequent disruption of the process left behind an invisible thread between the two. Not only that, but as a result of the experience, Maul learned the location of Chopper Base, forcing Ezra to follow Maul into unknown and dangerous territory.
For whatever reason, not a lot of people have warmed up to Ezra even after three seasons of character development. That said, no one can deny the fact that his actions in this episode were done selflessly and with good intentions. Once again, we see that he’s willing to sacrifice himself for his friends and the rebel cause—that kind of loyalty goes a long way in my book. I also love that he’s intentionally written to be different from Anakin, even though people hope to see him follow a similar path. Maul keeps tempting him, but Ezra’s inherent values and strong support system keep him in line. Besides the piece of information Maul possesses, Ezra has no interest in working with Maul. He was even willing to kill him when he had the chance. Friends, brothers, master/apprentice, whatever Maul is seeking from Ezra, there is no doubt in my mind that he’ll continue to have a difficult time finding it with Ezra until the day he dies.
As for Maul’s intentions, there are times when he’s downright evil and I wish the worst upon him, and other times, when I feel sorry for him. I find it fascinating how the writers, animators, and Sam Witwer continue to find ways to play with the audience’s perception of him. I look forward to seeing what he does with the information he’s learned and whether it’ll continue to play a part in the series. With Ezra and Kanan knowing the existence of Obi-Wan Kenobi as well, I wonder if they’ll stop Maul in his tracks, forcing Ezra to strike him down once and for all.
I was also very pleased to see Kanan and Sabine working together again, especially since we haven’t seen that pairing since “The Protector of Concord Dawn.” Sabine’s thoughts regarding Ezra and his willingness to trust Maul sort of mirror what the audience thinks of Ezra, while Kanan fully grasps what’s going on and explains that Ezra isn’t as foolish as some think him to be. Kanan, like a true Master, recognizes and trusts that his Padawan needs to take this risk on his own (to a certain extent, before he and Sabine step in). You can almost liken the situation to a parent trusting their child to do the right thing, but still hiding in the bushes to make sure things are going well. The funny thing is, instead of Kanan and Sabine moving in to save Ezra, Ezra ends up having to save them.
The highlight of the episode, however, is Sabine coming in contact with the darksaber and taking it with her at the end of the episode. Unlike the vision, which can go so many ways, the presence of the darksaber in Sabine’s hands has one clear meaning and that, to me, is beyond exhilarating. Like Pablo Hidalgo said in Rebels Recon, that weapon is a symbol of authority and something that can be used to lead the other Mandalorian clans. While others have their attention on Maul and Obi-Wan, my mind is focused on Sabine and her future with Mandalore. The thought alone gives me chills!
As for the implications behind the vision that Ezra and Maul shared, I’m really curious to find out where that will take Ezra, Kanan, and the rest of the Ghost crew and how that knowledge will affect them moving forward. We know for a fact that a fourth season is on its way, so the writers definitely have something up their sleeves that will undoubtedly blow our minds. Additionally, I’m extremely excited to find out what connections exist between the series and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In this episode, we saw Hera take off with Zeb and Chopper to handle the recon mission on Lothal, while Ezra, Kanan, and Sabine traveled elsewhere to handle a more personal issue. Is that the kind of setup that might pop up in the movie, especially since it takes place a bit further into the future? Like everything else, only time will tell.
For right now, all I know is that “Visions and Voices” is a superb episode that flows really well from beginning to end. It touched on threads first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and spun a story that is equally great. I’m also thankful that the episode didn’t leave us with a massive cliffhanger, but it definitely gave us enough to think about before the series returns in January. In the meantime, keep an eye open for a mid-season premiere trailer and be prepared to re-watch the first half of the third season (which also gave us great stories to look back on) because I have a feeling elements from those “filler” episodes will pop up in the second half of the season.
Make sure to tune into the next all-new episode on Saturday, January 7, 2017, at 8:30PM EST on Disney XD.