The most highly anticipated episode of the third season came and went, but everything that happened in “Twin Suns,” from Ezra’s journey through the desert to the final moments shared between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Maul, will stay with us for years to come. A portion of the viewers felt that the episode failed to deliver, especially given how marketing advertised the story. Others, like myself, thought “Twin Suns” was one of the most intelligently written episodes of the series, connecting new characters with old, mending old wounds, and giving the younger audience a glimpse at the hope that started it all.
While most conversations in the fan community are focused on the last few minutes of the episode, my favorite parts involved Ezra and his journey. Most believe he was being arrogant, selfish, and foolish. Some even wished that he wasn’t involved in the episode at all, missing the point entirely. Like Luke and R2-D2 escaping the Battle of Hoth and going in search of Master Yoda, Ezra also believed that the best course of action was to find Obi-Wan. He didn’t disobey Hera and Kanan out of the need to have an epic battle by Obi-Wan’s side because he thought he and Kenobi could defeat Maul together. He left and felt sorry (remember his words as he left Atollon, “Hera, I hope you can forgive me”) because he was looking at the larger picture. This entire season Ezra has been seeking one thing: the key to destroying the Sith, and by extension, the Empire. The holocrons presented him with a set of facts, and as Obi-Wan Kenobi told him, the truth is what you make of it. Ezra wanted to believe Obi-Wan was the key because unlike his fellow crew members who are focused on one target (Lothal’s factory), his mind is on how they can defeat the main evil and threat in the entire galaxy. Ezra, in essence, was biting off way more than he could chew. Most people are too proud to admit that what they did was wrong, but Ezra saw his mistake. He saw and felt the consequences of his actions as he sat hopelessly in that desert. His conversation with Obi-Wan finally opened his eyes to the truth he should have believed in all along, the truth that needed to come from the “key” he so desperately wanted to find. His role, responsibility, and focus is not the overall picture. (That’s Luke’s role.) His responsibility is to handle the immediate problem—the attack on Lothal’s factory—as well as the day-to-day goals of the Rebellion. As the audience, we know that because we’re on the outside looking in. He doesn’t know that and he needed to hear it not from Hera and not from Kanan. The truth had to come from Kenobi. That’s why Ezra needed to go on this journey. That’s why he came back with a clearer vision of what he has to do now.
Should he have been reprimanded for his actions and for leaving at such a critical time? Most definitely. Though, I can see why it wasn’t added, since they’re about to go into battle and a punishment would seem unwise. It would have also interrupted the flow of the episode, in my opinion. Additionally, why fans feel Ezra commits the same mistakes over and over again and doesn’t learn from them is beyond me. Let’s briefly look back, shall we?
In season one, Ezra defied Hera once and it was to save Kanan’s life by talking with Cikatro Vizago. She herself had told him at the very beginning of the series, “If all you do is fight for your life, then your life is worth nothing.” In season two, Ezra left with the Phantom and Chopper to answer a distress call. Again, think back to Hera’s words. It wasn’t until the end of season two, that Ezra committed his biggest mistake in the series: he placed his trust in Maul. Notice, however, that that was the only time he ever did that. After Ahsoka’s fall and Kanan’s blindness, he never put his trust in Maul ever again. In fact, the next time he saw Maul was in “Holocrons of Fate” and his first reaction was one of anger. Additionally, he was forced to work with Maul in order to help the crew who had been captured. In season three, he fell prey to the power of the Sith holocron for a total of one episode. During the season premiere, he felt the artifact could help him grow stronger, believing it could help him defeat the Empire in order to save his friends and other innocent people across the galaxy. That led him to stealing the Y-wings, and at the end of the season three opener, he apologized and was reprimanded by Hera. The next time he acted a bit funny was during “The Wynkahthu Job.” He got the team an important lead, and instead of being put in charge, the leadership was given to Zeb. Ezra’s behavior was expected and a natural reaction to the situation. He was trying to make up for what he did at the start of the season, and when he finally did something that was of worth, Hera overlooked it. Not because she didn’t trust Ezra, but it was because of his friendship with Hondo. Ezra, of course, didn’t know that. Instead, he took it as a sign that she didn’t trust him. By the end of that episode, Ezra commended Zeb on a job well done, realizing that Zeb was the right man for the job. Next, Ezra met Maul again, being forced to interact with him because if he didn’t, Maul would reveal the location of the rebel base to the Empire. Skip forward to “Twin Suns,” Ezra believed Obi-Wan Kenobi was in danger. Kanan and Hera dismissed his belief and Hera told him that his focus should be on Lothal. Again, Ezra’s focus was on the bigger picture. He loves his home, but he also wants to protect the galaxy. To him, Obi-Wan was the key to doing that. That’s why he left. And there you have it. Those are all of the moments when Ezra committed a mistake, learned from it, and moved forward. So what’s that about him making mistakes over and over again?
I also get that he has to face the consequences of his actions. The thing is…he has been facing them this entire time. He understands that his interactions with Maul have brought about terrible consequences. That’s why he personally feels responsible and this need to go above and beyond to protect his friends. Again, that’s why he left to find Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan, in a way, was the answer to his prayers, so when Obi-Wan told him that what he saw was what he wanted to see, you can see Ezra’s pain on his face. The pain that what he believed this entire time was wrong.
Moving on, we have the final moments of the episode. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting to see, and if you blinked, you might have missed it. I will admit that my first reaction was, “That’s it? Seriously?” It was a knee-jerk reaction. I had to process it, watch it a second time, and that’s when it hit me. Obi-Wan’s in a different place compared to Maul. Maul never grew and he was always stuck in the past, hence the reason why he used the same moves he had used against Qui-Gon. When Obi-Wan ended it swiftly in true Samurai fashion, the moments shared between them as Maul faded away broke my heart. A man who had been twisted and deceived felt hope that one day he and so many others would be avenged. That said, Maul committed many terrible things to a lot of people and this final moment doesn’t absolve him of his crimes and horrible acts—just like Darth Vader’s final act doesn’t absolve him of his sins. I think the writers did a fantastic job in finding that balance. Yes, he did nefarious things, but in the end, he understood that there’s a greater evil out there that needs to be vanquished.
“Twin Suns” may not have been the story people envisioned, but it’s certainly the story that the writers who worked closely with George Lucas wanted to tell. I’m always blown away at how the Star Wars Rebels team put so much passion, thought, and care into stories of this nature. I hear them talking about it, like in Rebels Recon, and I can’t help but think, “They get it.” This episode had everything a Star Wars fan would want: a struggle to find one’s path, old enemies facing off and finding common ground (albeit briefly), and an homage to the story that started it all. Some don’t feel that way. Not everyone can be satisfied, and they’re entitled to feel that way. I, however, will recognize the sheer amount of work that must have gone into creating an episode like this and the struggle it must have been to edit and find the right path for the story to go. The writers should be proud yet again for putting content out there that truly captures what I love about Star Wars.
Make sure to visit the episode guide and tune into the season three finale, “Zero Hour: Parts 1 and 2,” on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at 8:30PM EST on Disney XD.
Also, stop by later this week for a new podcast episode from Rebels Chat.
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