The Mandalorian-Maul arc concludes in last weekend’s episode of Clone Wars.
I’ve waited nearly eighteen years for this episode, ever since a fourteen-year-old version of myself read about Boba Fett wearing the armor of a group of warriors defeated by Jedi during the Clone Wars in the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back. Since that day, I always wanted to see a huge Mandalorian battle, and at long last, I finally got it.
What I also got was the promise delivered by the first glimpses of Darth Maul before the release of The Phantom Menace. At the time, I assumed he’d be a major character in the Prequel Trilogy, more or less like the series’ Vader. But that didn’t come to pass. Which was disappointing, because I’d been hoping to see more involvement with the Sith before getting to Episode III, but that wasn’t the case (from a certain point of view — I realize Dooku is a Sith and a major player in Attack of the Clones, but I was expecting something more akin to Episode I on a bigger scale).
Apart from two half-lifelong dreams realized, there was so much greatness in this episode, I’m still having a hard time processing it after multiple viewings.
Basically, Satine’s nephew Korkie (whose name I can’t hear without thinking of Life Goes On) rescues her with the aid of Bo-Katan and the Death Watch deserters, and she manages to get a message to Obi-Wan before she is recaptured. Obi-Wan arrives on Mandalore, disguises himself as one of Maul’s new, red Mandalorian warriors, and rescues Satine again. But the rescue ends up like the previous attempt, and they are promptly taken to the throne room where Maul, after taunting Kenobi, executes Satine, who dies in Obi-Wan’s arms. Maul plans on keeping Kenobi alive so that he can stew over Satine’s death, but Bo-Katan and her troops rescue Obi-Wan, starting an all-out Mandalorian versus Mandalorian battle in the process. They succeed in getting Kenobi off planet, and Obi-Wan realizes that Bo-Katan was Satine’s sister. Also, Darth Sidious detects a disturbance in the Force and shows up on Mandalore in the flesh. He confronts Maul and Savage, and they have a massive lightsaber battle, during which Sidious kills Savage, and decimates Maul before telling his former apprentice that he has further plans for him…
There was so much good in the episode that I can’t believe they crammed it all into 22 minutes. Obi-Wan showing up on Mandalore in Anakin’s The Twilight while wearing his Rako Hardeen armor was nice, as was him luring the lone Mandalorian guard onboard the ship ala A New Hope. I loved seeing Obi-Wan sneaking around on Mandalore in Mandalorian armor, and I’m wondering why I don’t have an action figure of this yet (in addition to his Rako Hardeen costume and about a hundred other figures from this show).
Bo-Katan being Satine’s sister actually wasn’t nearly as forced as it sounds. The Clone Wars team handled it in an organic manner, and it seemed natural. It also added some nice depth to both her’s and Satine’s characters. I’m also wondering why I still don’t have a Bo-Katan or female Death Watch figure. Or figures of Maul’s red Mandalorians (I realize this episode just came out, but still. C’mon, Hasbro).
The Maul and Savage versus Sidious lightsaber match was intense. I uttered so many expletives during the fight that it really is a good thing that I don’t have children yet. There were things done with the Force in this one battle that had never occurred to me before, and it’s a shame there is no equivalent of this kind of throw down in the live action Star Wars realm. They really upped the bar for these fights, and I’m not entirely sure that they will be able to top it.
After all was said and done, there were a number of questions that this episode raised that I can’t wait to find out the answer to. Did Korkie survive his ordeal? Is there going to be an all out Mandalorian Civil War? Will we get to see the Republic invasion of Mandalore? And what are Sidious’ plans for Maul? Is he going to be Sidious’ puppet in control of the underworld? Will he be pitted against Dooku so that Sidious can have the strongest apprentice? Or as Swank-mo-tron suggests, will he be an element in the Sequel Trilogy? (Swank jokes, but I was wondering about that before I read his review. Palpatine said in Jedi “Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.” What if he had foreseen his demise? Wouldn’t he have had a contingency plan? Could Maul be that plan, returning to plague our heroes later on?)
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is what I wanted the prequel trilogy to be but never was. In fact, I think that the existence of this cartoon improves The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, giving them added layers and fleshing out ideas that are touched upon briefly in the films. At this point, I cannot separate the cartoon versions of the characters from their live-action counterparts, and I honestly believe that watching this series is vital to an understanding of the films and it is a key component of the saga as a whole (not necessarily the show in its entirety, but definitely certain major episodes).