Star Wars Rebels – Season 2, Episode 16 – “Shroud of Darkness” – Mysteries Revealed

     “Shroud of Darkness” is more great quality from “Star Wars Rebels.” In this questions are answered and we learn just how amazing the Grand Inquisitor was and is. I like that he hasn’t been forgotten as he was one of the characters who got me into the show in the first place. We also see the Inquisitors acting somewhat effective, which is always good.

     The episode was directed by Saul Ruiz and written by Henry Gilroy.

      The story involves Ahsoka, Ezra and Kanan returning to the Lothal Jedi Temple as the Inquisitors continue to find them wherever they go and they want to find out why by reaching out to Yoda. From here the story unfolds as a new layer to the Temple is revealed.

The Pros: The Action – The action is great in this episode! From Ezra and Kanan fighting the Inquisitors, from Kanan against the Temple Guards and the Inquisitors rising the Jedi Temple from the ground. This episode is great at showing just how powerful the force is.

The Jedi Temple – The Jedi Temple is really fascinating, as this time it revealed another room and with it more secrets. Curious to see how Sidious and Vader use it to their advantage given all the history within it.

Yoda – Yoda appears in this episode and offers great advice as we get an idea that he sensed but didn’t understand what was coming and from that warns Ezra of how fear can be healthy but that can corrupt when it turns to anger. He also reaches out to Ahsoka to show he’s proud, which is a sweet moment.

The Inquisitors – The Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister are great in this episode. The Seventh Sister finds the Temple and together they do a great job in their fights. Their will only breaks when the Grand Inquisitor appears in his uncorrupted form with the other Guards to face them. It’s a powerful scene.

Ahsoka – Ahsoka is dealing with her anxiety over leaving the order and missing her Master Anakin. In this episode she learns what happened as Anakin’s spirit is angry at her for leaving him and that now he is greater and stronger as a vision of Darth Vader appears. It’s really well done and I like that she still has his training videos. She also doesn’t see herself as a Jedi, which is powerful in it’s own right.

Ezra – Ezra’s drive is to protect his friends (hello Luke) and Yoda cautions him against letting fear for his friends control his actions. He may have understood but Ezra is such a cipher sometimes that it is hard to tell. I’m glad he got to see Yoda at least.

Kanan – Kanan’s journey is letting go of Ezra and letting him make his own choices and from this he earns the respect of the light within the Grand Inquisitor, who appears in his uncorrupted form showing the Temple Guard fell to the Dark Side and that is the reason the Inquisitors have double bladed light sabers. This was one of my favorite parts of the episode and my respect for the Grand Inquisitor grew. What a great character.

The Grand Inquisitor – The Grand Inquisitor was once a Temple Guard and the light side within him counsels Kanan that he has to let go of Ezra and let him make his own choices, even if he turns. It’s powerful and he makes Kanan a Jedi Knight. Seeing the good that he was once was before becoming the Grand Inquisitor is powerful, especially since his spirit and those of the other Guards turn on his apprentices the other Inquisitors, stalling them for our heroes escape.

Hints at Things to Come – Vader arrives to visit the Inquisitors and he mentions his Master will be greatly interested in the Temple, and when the Inquisitors give their warning he voices that he plans to use the growing power of the Jedi to turn them to destruction and their end. Please don’t mess up Vader writers…do this right, let him win.

   This was a great episode and is easily one of the best this far. The fact that we get the Grand Inquisitors story and Ahsoka learns the fate of Anakin are powerful scenes and I do hope we see Ezra turn, though I don’t know how it will be tun…he’s too good, though I do hope he turns. The Empire and Dark Side need some wins, Season 2 has been a lot of neutral fights or Rebel Wins.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

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Star Wars Rebels – Season 2, Episode 2 – “Relics of the Old Republic” – Clones and Jedi Together Again

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  “Relics of the Old Republic” is another solid episode of “Star Wars Rebels.” There hasn’t been a great episode so far but I think that’s mostly due to the writers developing the feel and characters of this season as we have a much more expansive cast thanks to the addition of the Clones and Ahsoka. How their arcs will all play out remains to be seen though.

    The story involves Agent Kallus’s assault on the Clones and Rebels as Kanan continues to deal with his distrust of them while Hera works on an escape.

The Pros: Agent Kallus – The guy should have done an orbital bombardment but I got to give him props for coming down in AT-AT’s and he did destroy the Clones’ Tank, even if all his Walkers were destroyed in the process. It was kind of out of his control since Constantine got recalled to pick up an Inquisitor

The Clones and Rex – I really like them, especially Rex who has adopted Ezra as a Ahsoka or Anakin type of partner. It was great seeing them in action against Kallus’s AT-AT Walkers and them having to work with the Jedi to survive. It was like “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” again.

Kanan – Kanan’s distrust is still just as strong but he begins coming around, especially when Rex tells him that the Jedi are the only ways they will survive the battle and that he always trusts his General. After the battle Kanan begins to warm towards them.

Ezra – Ezra is the one who has to guide them above when they are in the sandstorm and we see him step up to the challenge. It is awesome seeing that it is Rex’s belief in him that gives him the courage to do it too.

Okay: Sabine, Zeb, Hera and Chopper – All of them are just kind of there and we don’t get any real character time with any of them. They are just surviving and none of them had standout moments this episode.

  This was a good ending to the arc that started last episode. We meet the Fifth Brother Inquisitor at the end of the episode and the Clones join the Rebellion so there are lots of stories that could be made. Part of me is hoping that the Clones go out in a blaze of glory or get back in touch with their Mandalorian heritage. Either way, there is so much that can be done thanks to this episode.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 3, Episodes 21-22 – “The Hunter Arc” – Ahsoka Alone

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    This was a good two part episode arc that explores Ahsoka and gives her the chance to face a challenge on her own, without Obi-Wan or Anakin or another Jedi Master as an out. We see her grow so much from this, and the villains are decent too, though it feels like very sci. fi. invents a reptilian alien species that has a culture built around hunting humanoids.

   “Padawan Lost” and “Wookie Hunt” were directed by Dave Filoni and written by Bonnie Mark.

    The episodes involves Ahsoka being captured by a Trandoshan hunting party who transport her to their moon for their traditional hunt. It is there her and the remaining survivor Padawans must band to together to beat them, which becomes easier when they help rescue a Wookie named Chewbacca.

The Pros: The Trandoshans – These guys were derpy and none them stood out as memorable, but as a species I have always like the Alien Hunters who Hunter other aliens tropes, be it how the Klingons sometimes are, the Hirogen, Krogans and others. Their style was very rough too and they knew their limit which is why they didn’t hunt Knights or Masters.

The Padawans – The Padawans are great in this episode and we see them band together, though they lose their leader Kalifa who inspires Ahsoka to lead and bring the battle to them. Their arc is going from victims to survivors and more.

Anakin Skywalker – We see Anakin’s fear in this given that even him doing everything in his power to find Ahsoka isn’t enough to find her and he feels like he failed her in the process. After she frees herself she thanks him for his training and we see that he may understand it a little, though it obviously isn’t enough as his fear that makes him human is still a major driving factor in his personality.

Ahsoka Tano – Ahsoka shows that she is ready to become a Knight and is on her way to Master in this episode. She helps the Padawans fight back and helps them get off the planet, as well as fighting honorably against the Tradoshan who threatened her. She stays good even though the situation should make her bad. In this way she is the opposite of Anakin, who would have become bad under similar circumstances.

Okay: Chewbacca –  I get why they put him in this and he is a connection to Star Wars, but it felt kind of contrived too. I had no idea how he got caught or why a General would rescue him. he felt like fanservice, though I did enjoy his dynamic with the Padawans.

The Cons: The Tradoshan Leader – He had the same problem as his son where he would talk about everything he was going to do rather than just doing it. His species was cool and though I liked his design, he was not a good antagonist.

Plo Koon – This guy is a blank slate and we have never got to know anything about him. Another stand in Master whose connection to Ahsoka meant nothing.

This is a good arc and one I’d recommend for Anakin and Ahsoka. Chewy is fanservice but isn’t bad…the only bad one is Plo Koon who after all this time is unknown as an individual whose motivations are blank. I’d watch this mostly for Anakin and Ahsoka and seeing how they face trials as that is what made this good.

Final Score: 8 / 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 3, Episodes 12-14 – “Witches of Dathomir Arc” – Factions of the Dark Side

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    “The Witches of Dathomir Arc” is a really great arc in how it shows just how many people use the Dark Side and how by it’s nature it is easy to turn the different users on one another. The one issue I had was one of my issues with “The Force Unleashed” videogame that I will go into deeper into the review. Suffice to say, there are a lot great characters introduced in this arc and it’s exploration of the Dark Side is something that we have yet to see done in regards to the Light Side.

      “Nightsisters” was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Katie Lucas. “Monster” was directed by Kyle Dunlevy and written by Katie Lucas and “Witches of the Mist”was directed by Giancarlo Volpe and written by Katie Lucas.

    The story involves Dooku’s attempt to kill Ventress after Sidious orders him too and how she returns home to the Nightsisters who with Mother Talzin work towards Dooku’s fall. First with an attempt using 2 sisters Ventress being cloaked and second with choosing a Zabrak of the blood of Darth Maul so that he can be shaped into a weapon to destroy Dooku. From here things fall apart as the only one coming out on top with plans still unknown is Mother Talzin.

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The Pros: The Action – There are some great fights this episode, with the ones that stood out the most being the three-way fight between Opress, Dooku and Ventress and also the one on one fights between them too where their styles really came out…the 3 on 1 fight against Dooku was also really good too when the Nightsisters attempted to kill him, and of course Opress against Anakin and Obi-Wan where it was a callback to Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan against Maul.

The Nightsisters – This organization is cool. They rule over the Zabrak’s and are a matriarchal society with Mother Talzin at their head who has her own mysterious agenda that is unknown. They are force users but stick to themselves and the only ones they really use are those who come to them or those they owe a debt too. This makes them not evil, but certainly not good as they deal primarily in dark side force magics.

Ventress – Ventress is a survivor and survivors multiple attempts on her life. From Anakin and Obi-Wan, to Dooku’s betrayal and to every fight she loses with Dooku and the only one she loses against Opress. She is left empty at the end of it all, showing that their is hope for her redemption given anger and hatred has not got her revenge and she’s only made more enemies. Her tragic story is revealed too as she was given away to protect the Witches from outsiders and she lost the bounty hunters to a Jedi attack and lost the Jedi Master who was raising her to another assault by pirates…she was alone until Dooku who was her knew father until her betrayal. Ventress is forever alone and it makes her tragic and compelling.

Count Dooku – Dooku is a true Sith Lord. From his willingness to kill Ventress for Sidious to prove his loyalty, to his using his very elegant form of fighting to beat enemies who outnumber him and try to take away his senses. He is the only character who manages to turn every loss into a win besides Mother Talzin showing why he is the leader of the Separatists and why he is a threat to Sidious.

Obi-Wan Kenobi – Obi-Wan gets Mother Talzin to speak about Opress, which is something she didn’t have to do. He also shows how much he values life when the Zabraks attack and he only defends himself and never strikes to kill. Anakin is Anakin and on the edge always but Obi-Wan demonstrates the other side and how in many ways he is if Dooku hadn’t gone bad as he can deal with anyone no matter where they are in regards to the force.

Opress – Opress is a tool of Mother Talzin who loses his brother when he is pumped full of Dark Side magics to make him a weapon and was made to be a slave. Even being a slave he still manages to fight though as he turns against both Dooku and Ventress who had tried to use him and finds the only person who he might be able to trust in Talzin who reveals to him that Darth Maul is still alive and that he can still grow as a powerful force user and Sith. His story is one of anger and regret and his fighting style is heavy and brutal.

Mother Talzin – Mother Talzin’s agenda rules everything and it is still and unknown. She sees the future though as she talks of Opress’s destiny with his brother Darth Maul and we know that Ventress is still a Nightsister with a purpose too. What these purposes are remains to be seen and how the Jedi fall into it.

The Chaos of the Dark Side – The Dark Side by it’s nature of revenge doesn’t leave much room for forgiveness and diplomacy and we see that when the episode ends with Opress going his own way, Ventress still seeking revenge and Dooku still alive. There are now 3 Dark Side users who serve no agenda but their own and that is the nature of the Dark Side as each of them will grow more powerful in the fight against one another, but they may all die in the process.

The Cons: Retconning Maul’s Death – Maul is apparently in exile in the Outer Rim? This makes no sense, no one could survive that fall and it’s as stupid as having Shaak Ti continually being brought back to life only to be killed in “The Force Unleashed.” I get Maul is popular but just leave his blood and lead Savage Opress stand on his own as he is compelling enough with his relationship to Ventress, Talzin and Dooku.

  I really dislike the retcon of Darth Maul’s death as a character should stay dead if it’s in canon as each time they are brought back cheapens how they were defeated prior and usually it means lack of ideas on whoever is writing the retcon. Besides that retcon this is a really strong arc and I highly recommend it, especially for the characters of Talzin, Dooku, Opress and Ventress who are shown to be highly complex and who I am glad are still around to fight another day.

Final Score: 9 / 10

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