Well, at long last the D Squad arc is behind us. I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
Now, I’m a couple of weeks behind with these reviews, but I’ll tell you what: this new Darth Maul arc, while feeling like a bit of fan service for including so many elements the fanboys like, is exactly what I was starting to need at this point in the season.
So, after the season opener, Maul and Savage have been floating around in space. They are picked up by Pre Vizsla and Death Watch. Vizsla realizes they aren’t Jedi, and after finding out that they are Sith, makes a deal with them to retake Mandalore. Maul has other plans and uses Death Watch’s muscle to form his own criminal empire by taking over Black Sun, allying with the Pyke Sydicate, and then forcing the Hutts into their alliance through force of arms. By the end, it’s clear that Vizsla plans on double-crossing Maul as soon as Mandalore is theirs.
All in all, there’s not much to the episode. The entire thing plays like a “Meanwhile…” to the rest of the season, showing exactly what Maul and Savage have been up to while the main characters have been doing other things. As such, it’s more like a loosely connected series of events than an actual story, but in this case, it’s okay. The sequences are outstanding, particularly the assault on Nal Hutta with the fight between the Mandalorians and the bounty hunters (including recognizable favorites Embo, Sugi, Dengar, and Latts Razzi) and also the showdown at Jabba’s Palace. And again, after the drudgery that was D Squad, it’s just the kind of excitement I was needing in the show.
Upon a second viewing, I have to say, I’m really impressed with Sam Witwer’s portrayal as Maul. Between his performances as Starkiller in The Force Unleashed, the Son in Season Three’s “Mortis Trilogy,” and Maul in all of his episodes, Witwer’s shown a real range, with each character being well-delivered and nuanced. I’m hoping to see some more work from him as this series continues into Season Six, and maybe even some face time in the next Star Wars trilogy.