“Twin Suns” featured the long-awaited rematch between Obi-Wan Kenobi, now a hermit on Tatooine, and Maul, once a Sith, now a wanderer bent on getting his revenge. Ezra is also along for (most of) the ride, because this is Rebels so of course he is. Whether or not this episode lived up to the hype will depend on your certain point of view. As for me? Well, I was…whelmed.
Here at Tosche Station, we review Rebels episodes in a round-robin style. I was scheduled to review the previous episode, “Double Agent Droid”, but convinced Brian to switch with me because I wanted the hype episode of “Twin Suns” instead. Plus I previously reviewed “Holocrons of Fate” and figured this would be a good bookend. (Plus I was hoping that this episode would mark Maul’s end.) Switching episodes proved to be futile because I liked “Double Agent Droid” a lot more than “Twin Suns.” Foiled again!
That’s not to say I hated this episode, or even disliked it. Mostly, I found it frustrating. I know we can’t follow Obi-Wan and Maul by themselves, that we need an anchor from the Ghost crew – in this case, Ezra. It’s not that I dislike Ezra, either. I dislike when he gets shoehorned into episodes with no reason to be there. I dislike when he regresses. I dislike when he acts arrogant, despite having been taught the same lessons over and over again. All those things happen in spades in this episode. He gets thrown into the plot because tempting Ezra with the holocron is the only way Maul can figure out how to lure Kenobi out of hiding. This makes sense considering the earlier interactions in “Holocrons of Fate,” but falls flat for me because that plotline seemed to be resolved earlier in the season. Perhaps if Ezra brought up the holocrons more often, or we saw him struggling with the dark side, or we heard more about Maul, it wouldn’t have seemed so abrupt or out of place. Basically, I feel like this plotline could have been built up more throughout the season. (Or perhaps I’m totally off-base and it would come off fine after binging the season. Those week-long hiatuses are rough for story structure.)
Ezra gets thrown into the plot due to Maul’s machinations, and despite both Kanan and Hera telling him not to go to Tatooine, he steals a ship and goes anyway. Yes, Ezra is impetuous, and yes, this is completely in character. Perhaps that’s why I find him so frustrating? He seems to learn a lesson, and then…doesn’t. I hope that his interaction with Kenobi marks a shift, and that his place is truly with the Rebellion from now on. And that he actually listens to people who know what they’re talking about. This wouldn’t be so frustrating if Ezra faced consequences for his actions, but Hera doesn’t even give him a stern look. Lots of people point out this could have happened off-screen, but for a kids’ show, I feel that’s something we needed to see. At least an “I told you so,” or something along those lines.
After wandering around the desert with Ezra, we finally meet up with Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was absolutely perfect, from the animation to the dialogue to Stephen Stanton’s performance. I love that he’s hesitant to fight Maul, and in fact wants nothing to do with it until Maul threatens whatever — no, whoever — it is Obi-Wan’s protecting on Tatooine. We know who Maul is referring to, of course, and seeing Obi-Wan’s resolve kick in and get all Papa Bear over Luke gave me super warm fuzzies.
The fight is short. On Rebels Recon, the creators explain that this is purposeful, that they wanted a samurai style duel. It all makes sense, and yet…it was one of the most anticlimactic things in Star Wars. Maybe if Maul hadn’t survived being LITERALLY SLICED IN HALF, I would have accepted his quick and easy death with a lightsaber hit to the chest. (I didn’t even realize he’d been injured at first, just that his lightsaber had been cut in half, and when he dropped to the ground I was so confused.) Apparently the dark side can help you survive a bisection but not a chest wound? I’m willing to put my belief at the door for a lot of Star Wars plots, but this one will always require me to squint and tilt my head and say “don’t think about logic, don’t think about logic.”
Despite all that, I’m very happy Maul is dead. I’ve actually enjoyed his turn on Rebels (and most of The Clone Wars, for that matter), but it was definitely time for him to go. After Ahsoka’s questionable fate from the end of Season 2, I had a hard time believing they’d actually give Maul a definitive ending, and I’m glad to be proven wrong. I’m also very glad Obi-Wan got to do the honors (as he should have done a long time ago. Remember all those George Lucas interviews from around the time of The Phantom Menace saying that Maul was cut in half so there was no way he could ever come back? Hahahaha). The exchange between Obi-Wan and Maul as Maul was dying, followed by Obi-Wan looking over the Lars homestead, were the best parts of the episode. Seeing Luke running across the homestead was the best reference to him this show could have given us. Because this isn’t his show, nor should it be, but it reminds us, both old and new fans alike, of what’s to come.
Obi-Wan’s place is on Tatooine, watching over Luke. He tells Ezra this, and that Ezra’s place is in the Rebellion. If that’s the case, why isn’t Luke’s? Will this episode mark a shift into Ezra being more of a military character with less interest in the Force? If so, what will happen with his relationship with Kanan (who has been woefully underused this season, to the point that I’m expecting his death soon)?
“Twin Suns” might have been a frustrating episode of Rebels, and one that was not “for me,” but it definitely raised a lot of questions for the future of Rebels. I’m eager to see what “Zero Hour” and then Season 4 have in store.