Rebels Review: The Holocrons of Fate

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What did you think of the Plot?
Oky: Now this is more like it! This episode was a lot closer to what I wanted to see in the season opener as we finally get some answers. Right from the start the topic of the Sith holocron is brought up, and Ezra rightfully suggests to use it to find a way to destroy the Sith (which is the whole reason why they went to retrieve it in the first place), but Kanan also makes a good point saying that it almost destroyed him. With this brief conversation they address the cliffhanger from the Season Two Finale and quickly establish the conflict for the episode. It was almost too convenient how the solution presented itself a moment later when they find out that Maul has kidnapped their friends and wants to use the holocron as well, but it made for an intriguing opening scene. Later we finally find out from Bendu what the holocron can actually be used for. I like the idea that the Sith and Jedi holocrons combined give you great insight as it plays into the idea that in order to fully master the force, one must have knowledge of both the dark and light side. I also like that we didn’t get to see what Maul and Ezra saw as that leaves some mystery for the rest of the season, although they drop enough hints for the viewers to draw their own conclusions. The fact that they saw twin suns implies that they saw Tatooine which would suggest that the key to destroying the Sith is Luke and that the person Maul is looking for is Obi Wan Kenobi! That’s my interpretation anyway.
BEAVeR: Star Wars Rebels is a show that constantly challenges your expectations. I expected this episode to be a bit more relaxed than the season opener. Instead, we got an episode that could have perfectly served as a mid-season finale or something like that. From frame one we’re discussing o so important Sith holocron and then you have that ruined ship with the wounded crew that mentions a red blade and then there’s already Maul on the line. Things move quickly yet logically, perfectly conveying a sense of crisis to the viewer by allowing no time for reflection, putting him in the same mindset as the characters. Sure, there are some quieter moments on Atollon, but scenes with Maul where he shows you don’t mess with him make him a menacing phantom in the entire episode. He never became much of a physical threat though, which ultimately made the danger seem way less than it actually was so that I didn’t quite get the “season finale feeling”. Still, it came pretty close at the moment where the two holocrons were united, leading to sweet visuals and awesome teasing. I think the story was really well constructed, with the plot naturally leading to the events we want to see and character moments we need.

What are your thoughts on the Characters?
Oky: I liked Maul better in this episode than in Twilight of the Apprentice. While it was interesting to see him being more deceptive, he seemed kind of weak in that epiosde. Here he felt more in-character as he was more ruthless and used his strength and violence rather than his wit to achieve his goals, something that Ezra learned not to rely on during his bonding exercise with Kanan in the krykna spider tunnels. Maul was also a lot more intimidating, especially when he reveals his ability to read people’s minds, plus this time he actually got what he wanted. This whole time I assumed that he simply wanted revenge on the Sith for what they did to him just like Ezra, but he got some unexpected character depth when he said that he seeks “hope”. This could just be another one of his lies, but it sounded genuine and suggests that he seeks more than just revenge. Perhaps now that he has lost everything, he is looking for a new purpose in life, and seeing that the person he hates most in the whole galaxy, Kenobi, is still alive gives him hope to finish what he started? There are many ways to interpret it. As for Ezra, he admitted to blaming himself for Ahsoka’s death which explains how he had enough anger to open the Sith holocron, and with the help of Kanan he learned to accept that he wasn’t responsible for it. Oh, and it was nice that Hera, Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper weren’t simply damsels in distress and actually attempted to escape, even if they still got overpowered by Maul in the end.
BEAVeR: As I said, I absolutely love how this episode has a very basic premise of bringing the holocron back to Maul and that a lot of the things that happen are driven by the motivations of the characters. You have the decision of immediately complying to Darth Maul’s wishes, for example. I love it how Ezra’s fear comes through, that is very understandable in this episode, but at the same time alerts you of the looming danger of the dark side. It makes you understand the tragedy of Ezra, who lost everything but still found a caring family which made him who he is but at the same time may prove to be his undoing. The fact that he already lost Ashoka and that it is that loss that drove him to the holocron seem to lead to this tragic path. Still we have hope. Kanan is still there to help him if he can, making sure Ezra literally doesn’t get consumed by his fear. The fact that he could see while everyone else was blinded by the possibilities of infinite knowledge indicate how much he has grown himself. So moments like the one in the A-wing or the cave were great to further Ezra’s and Kanan’s relationship, although I feel that in the cave deep conflicts might have been solved a bit too quickly…
Maul was nice in this episode. It was a shame to see his more subtle tactics go, but he still had some great ambiguity over him with him still calling Ezra his apprentice and his statement about hope. I love how he sometimes managed to send shivers across my spine. There’s something very unsettling of him standing in the rooms of our heroes, coldly looking around for information and taking the information he can’t find with brute force. Him getting out of the Ghost’ crew’s trap in such a formidable way made him a force to be feared as well. But still, he lacked a bit of physicality, rarely using physical force: he could’ve easily severely injured one of the crew for instance. His biggest moment of anger is off screen. Maybe it has to do with his more meditative moment, although they promise a lot of violence still to come…

What is your opinion of the vehicles and locations?
640?cb=20161003223943Oky: The only new location was Maul’s Mandalorian asteroid outpost and what we see of it looked like a pretty generic base. We also get to see his ship, the Nightbrother, which is basically just a Gauntlet starfighter repainted in Maul’s color scheme, both of which have appeared in novels before. The only truly new thing was the RZ-1T, a training model of the A-Wing with two seats, which was kind of neat, but it didn’t look much different from a regular A-Wing.
BEAVeR: There wasn’t really anything special about the vehicles in this episode. The asteroid base looked quite spectacular though and was the perfect excuse to have Kanan flying in space for a bit in a tolerably scientifically accurate manner. Asteroids being broken pieces bound for collision definitely makes you think about the potential impact of the knowledge.

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Oky’s Rating: 5/5 – What’s not to like in this episode? We finally get the answers we were waiting for since the Season Two finale while getting a new mystery to look forward to in future episodes. Ezra, Kanan, and Maul got some nice character development and the other Rebels had some good moments too. There was a sense of tension throughout the episode as well as some neat references to the comics, The Clone Wars TV show, and even Dune. I’m curious to see where they will go from here and if this series will eventually connect to A New Hope!
BEAVeR’s rating: 4,5/5 – The plot is simple in premise, but allows for some very natural events and character development, which were almost always great. Seeing Bendu again made sense and allowed for most of the character growth. There were some really great moments like Maul besting the crew or Ezra’s fear coming more subtly through. The lack of Maul’s physical threat and Ezra’s quick turnaround (once again) were really the only small dents in this quick, tense and meaningful episode I predicted to be pretty laid back.

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