Alright Star Wars fans, we have seen the final episode of the first half of season three, and Vision and Voices delivers mightily! We get Maul, we get the Bendu, we get Kanan, Ezra, and Sabine like we’ve never seen them, and we get some AWESOME Easter eggs! Let’s get to it. As always, SPOILERS abound, so proceed after the image below for the rest of my opinions and rundown of Visions and Voices!
So we start out on Chopper Base on the planet of Atollon, where the Phoenix cell of the Rebellion set up shop in season two. Hera is going over a mission to take down the Imperial factories on Lothal when Ezra begins having visions of who else, Maul! It is obvious their connection is strong, so strong Ezra actually mistakes a Rebel soldier for him and almost strikes him down until Kanan intervenes.
Kanan and Ezra decide the visit the Bendu, but before they leave Kanan instructs Sabine to put a tracker on Ezra just in case. This proves fruitful, of course, later in the episode… After talking to the Bendu (and pretty much getting nothing out of him….) Maul reveals himself to the two Jedi and is indeed on the planet. It is revealed that when Maul and Ezra combined the Jedi and Sith holocrons what they saw was scrambled and each has a piece of what the other needs – Maul needs what Ezra saw in regards to the location of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ezra needs what Maul saw in regards to destroying the Sith. Turns out these things are the same, but more on that in a bit. It’s also revealed that Maul was able to ascertain the location of Ezra and the Ghost crew because of this. After threatening to reveal the location of the Rebel’s base to the Empire via a homing beacon he planted, Ezra agrees to leave with Maul in order to get the answers they both seek. Kanan returns to Chopper Base and he and Sabine head out on their trail. Turns out Maul is taking Ezra to his home planet – Dathomir!
There he explains to Ezra about the Nightsisters and their connection to the Force, and tells him that they will be using ancient Nightsister magic to complete the process and retrieve the information they both need. While in Maul’s cave, there are a TON of great Easter eggs, by the way, the coolest of which is a haunting picture of Duchess Satine Kryze and the Darksaber (more on both of these below).
After proceeding with the ritual Maul and Ezra both see what they think they need, and again, it happens to the the same person – Obi-Wan Kenobi. There’s also a nice line from Maul where he says “it ends where it began, a desert planet with twin suns”, in reference to his duel with Qui-Gon Jinn which was the first Jedi/Sith conflict in 1000 years. I thought that was rad.
Of course there has to be a complication, and after the magic ritual the Nightsister’s spirits rise from the altar and demand payment in the form of flesh and bodies. Maul seems genuinely concerned for Ezra and instructs him to avoid touching them. I personally thought this was a pretty big deal in regards to Maul’s character and intentions…. Well, of course Kanan and Sabine show up and immediately engage the Nightsister’s spirits, subsequently becoming possessed by them. Kanan ends up dueling Maul and then Ezra, and Sabine duels Ezra with you guessed it, the Darksaber. Maul explains that the the spirits can’t leave the cave and instructs Ezra to run for the exit. When the pair reach the edge of the cave, Maul urges Ezra to leave with him and embrace his destiny. Again, I saw this as major character development for Maul, as I genuinely think he wants Ezra as his apprentice, and not entirely for selfish reasons. I guess time will tell on this as the season progresses.
Of course Ezra refuses and turns back into the cave, using both his Lightsaber and the Darksaber to destroy the altar and break the hold the witches spirits have on Kanan and Sabine. He then explains to Kanan that Obi-Wan is alive and on a planet with twin suns. It’s here you realize Maul knows exactly where Kenobi is but the Rebels will have to do some research to figure it out…. The episode ends with Sabine finding and picking up the Darksaber, fully realizing what it is and what it has meant to the Mandalorian culture in general. In my opinion this will be HUGE moving forward (again, more on that below).
- The entire episode was great, in my opinion. I love Force based episodes and Visions and Voices did not disappoint. The setup, the plot, the pacing all worked very well for me.
- Ezra. For the first time in a while we saw real character growth in Ezra in my opinion. He is finally seeing Maul for what he really is and is firmly aligned with his friends in the Phoenix Squadron. This may seem like a no-brainer, and maybe it is, but it was dealt with nicely here. The way he capably rushed back to save Kanan and Sabine was awesome to me – he is definitely growing up.
- Maul. Wow, what a great episode for Maul. He is becoming one of the most complex and fleshed out characters in the entire Star Wars universe. I mean, who woulda thought it, ya know?? His motivations didn’t seem diabolical here, for the first time in the The Clone Wars and Rebels.
- Return to Dathomir. I loved all the arcs of The Clone Wars that were set in Dathomir. I loved the Nighsisters, Mother Talzan, the Nightbrothers – all of it. It was great to go back, even though the planet was decimated. We know that Grievous and Dooku wrecked the witches and their planet, but the fact there is no life left on Dathomir is interesting. I wonder if the Empire sterilized it in similar fashion to Geonosis? Hopefully this gets answered in some form or fashion by the story group in the future.
- The vision as it pertains to Maul. Yes, I’m only listing Maul’s side of the vision as a positive and I’ll explain why. I have always been on the fence about Obi-Wan returning for Rebels, simply because the timeline is so close to A New Hope. I’ve also been vocal about wanting to see an Obi-Wan/Maul showdown in either a standalone film or an episodic television run, but it looks like the crew behind Rebels is getting ready to dash those hopes… However, consider this — what if Maul isn’t hunting Obi-Wan to kill him. What if he’s hunting for him to recruit him to help him end the reign of the Sith? I mean, Maul has more reason to hate Palpatine and the Sith than Obi-Wan if you think about it. Sure, Kenobi sliced him in half but look at what Palpatine did to him. Used him, and then quickly discarded him. Killed his brother, Savage Opress and captured and tortured Maul for months. In my opinion this would be an AMAZING twist, and would lend quite a bit of depth to not only Maul’s character, but also the Rebels series in general. Time will tell…
- The Easter eggs in Maul’s cave. Oh hell yes, these were awesome. I’m sure I missed some, but I did catch a Mandalorian helmet (don’t forget, Maul ruled the Mandalorian’s for a brief period), a very creepy painting of Duchess Satine (see the next entry), Kenobi’s name scrawled on the wall (obsessed much??), and yes, the Darksaber! Why he isn’t still using it, I’m not sure, but it’s so rad to see it again. These were all great call-backs for fans of The Clone Wars, and much appreciated!
- Duchess Satine. I figured she was worth another mention. Through the course of The Clone Wars it was revealed that she (the Duchess of Mandalore, if you didn’t know) and Obi-Wan had a relationship. A serious one at that, as Obi-Wan mentions he almost left the Jedi order for her. Maul kills her in cold blood right in front of Obi-Wan, in one of the best arcs of the series in my opinion. This is kind of a tangent here, but I’ve often wondered how intricate Kenobi’s and Satine’s relationship was. It also makes me wonder with all he RUMORS circulating about Rey’s parentage and possible connection to Kenobi if there may have been a love-child there. Again, wild speculation but I can’t help myself.
- Sabine and the Darksaber. OK, potentially this is HUGE for the series moving forward. The legend of the Darksaber is that it was stolen by the Mandalorians in a raid on the Jedi temple thousands of years ago. The wielder has generally been viewed as the leader of the Mandalorians, at least the ones who still hold onto the old values of Mandalore. Are we seeing Sabine being set up to be Mandalore? It poses and interesting question, and could take her character and the series in an unexpected direction. Can’t wait to see how this plays out!
What didn’t work:
- I’m going to have to nitpick here, but I didn’t like the inclusion of the Bendu. He didn’t do a whole lot, but it was cool to see that he could reveal and conceal himself at will. I’m guessing that was the point, maybe??
- Ezra and Kanan hunting for Obi-Wan in the future. No, please no. For me this sets up some continuity issues with A New Hope and I would prefer Maul finds Kenobi but not our two heroes. I mean, Obi-Wan clearly states when Luke mentions his name that he hasn’t heard that name in a long time….. Obviously either one of these plot devices makes that seem like bullshit, but let’s face it – Obi-Wan does lie a lot, so whatever….
All in all, this was a superb addition to the Rebels season, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us after the winter break. It’s hinted in Rebels Recon that since Rogue One will be released to the public that we will begin to see my tie-in’s to the film with Rebels and I’m all for that! Check the whole video below!