We’re back at it again with that Star Wars: Rebels goodness! The move to the new timeslot on Saturdays is taking a bit for me to get used to because I spent all weekend livetweeting Luke Cage on Twitter, but we’re here to talk about those wars in the stars! This episode sees the return of Maul and a setting up for what is sure to be a major storyline this season!
Now, let’s dive into our Five Thoughts on Star Wars: Rebels‘ ‘Steps Into Shadow’! Though, I should warn you: there will be spoilers ahead.
1. Maul Returns
Last time we saw Maul, we was running away from Malachor in one of the Inquisitors’ TIE Fighters and it seems like he’s been busy since. Sure, we pretty much knew he’d be biding his time before going after the Sith holocron in Kanan and Ezra’s possession, but I’m impressed by how much he’s built in the interim. He has his own base in what looks like an asteroid ring with an army of charmingly creepy robots and was able to seemingly take down a cruiser and the Ghost singlehandedly.
We didn’t see much of this happening, only the aftermaths, but this episode showed that Maul is able to run rings around the Rebels essentially by himself and that’s scary. His unassuming almost aloof presence he puts on in the presence of Ezra, that subtle temptation, makes a very dangerous person that the Ghost crew were only barely able to escape from. Of all the villains the Ghost crew have faced, Maul was able to cut them down to size and not only get in their mind, but invade their very home.
This is going to be a very interesting season with Maul as a recurring villain and I can’t wait to see where it takes us.
2. The Balance Of The Master And The Apprentice
Last week saw Kanan attempt to heal the broken bond between himself and Ezra with the help of Bendu realigning Kanan’s balance. It wasn’t an automatic fix, though, more like a push that made Kanan realise how much Ezra had drifted from him in the time since Malachor. This episode sees the two return to Bendu in order to retrieve the Sith holocron from his care and the trial they must face to acquire it. As much as the spiders freak me out, I appreciate how they were used to illustrate the differences in how Kanan and Ezra approach situations.
This episode highlighted how protective Ezra is of Kanan, feeling responsible for his being blinded on Malachor and now reacting brashly against any possible threat to Kanan. It’s something of a reversal of their roles and the juxtaposition also highlights Kanan’s calm and collected nature, focusing more on the choice not to fight rather than reacting with haste. It’s pushing these characters more to the extreme ends of the Jedi spectrum and while we did get a nice reconsolidating of their relationship, there’s still a divide there that’s going to be interesting to explore.
3. Visions Of The Force
The idea of holocrons is always something that fascinated me because they are an item that is so prolific in Star Wars media without ever actually making an appearance in any of the films. Here, Kanan’s holocron that has been a part of the show since episode one finally becomes important again as Maul attempts to pair it with the Sith holocron to achieve unprecedented knowledge. This is something I found fascinating as it extends the exploration of balance from the last episode. This idea that the Jedi holocron and the Sith holocron each only have a piece of the puzzle, a fraction of knowledge, because they each only focus on the light and the dark, respectively, and that bringing them together allows you to stare directly into the Force is powerful.
It also allowed for one of the more artistic moments in the show, direction-wise, as the light of the holocrons spill into the command centre and the character models are only visible by their details. It’s a really fascinatingly visual scene that pushes the boundary of what Star Wars looks like while providing a look into an aspect of the Force that we have never seen before. That’s a lot to take in from just one episode, but then Rebels goes ahead and drops a bomb on us.Continued below
4. Twins Suns; He Lives
When staring into the heart of the Force, looking for both “hope” and a way to destroy the Sith, it seems that Ezra and Maul saw the same thing: Tattooine, Luke Skywalker and a living Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is a major revelation for the series because it was pretty much assumed (by me, at least) that the show would shy away from touching on what Kenobi and Skywalker are up to on Tattooine. The possibility, however, that Maul will go after Obi-Wan to settle his unfinished business or even that Kanan and Ezra might seek out to connect with the Jedi Master is… almost inconceivable to me.
This is the moment that has made me realise that I have no idea where this season is going to go and that has made me more excited about this show than even the reveal of Thrawn could make me.
5. Setting Up To Move Forward
Last episode was largely about picking up from where season two left off. We explored where our heroes where in the interim between seasons as well as the state of the galaxy and the Empire’s hunt for the Rebels. This episode was about pushing the momentum of the series forward and setting up the pieces for where the season is about to go next. Now both Ezra and Maul are searching for the same thing, that elusive planet with the twin suns, and the source of their hope and while there’s certainly going to be other stories being told over the course of the season, I can imagine that being a major one that plays out over a long game.
This was a fantastic episode for this season because it told its own story that drew from the events of past episodes while focusing its conclusion on setting up a story to come. It is a middle chapter in a larger story and that’s something Rebels has tended to shy away from. The show has tried its damndest to tell complete stories in 22 minutes that have ramifications in other episodes later on, but this is an episode that ends with what is essentially a ‘To Be Continued…’
It was a very different kind of episode than I’m used to with this show and that’s something I definitely appreciate.