Directed by: Saul Ruiz
Written by: Henry Gilroy

Phoenix Squadron is continuing their hunt for a new base.  They have begun to explore uninhabited planets and Kanan and Ezra have been sent to investigate one.  Unfortunately for them, they encountered two Inquisitors and had to fight their way off the planet.  The Inquisitors are showing up more often now and Kanan fears that their increased Jedi abilities are putting the rest of the fleet in danger.

shroud-of-darkness-episode-gallery22_92972329The episode opens on the planet Oosalon, but that name is never mentioned in the dialogue only in StarWars.com’s trivia guide.  The name is interesting because the planet looks a lot like the planet Malachor V from the Knights of the Old Republic video game series, and Yoda sends Ezra and Kanan to that planet at the end of the episode.  We get a great fight between the Inquisitors and Kanan and Ezra.  I really like the teamwork they have given Kanan and Ezra in the last few episodes.  They really know how to work together and use their abilities, it reminded me a lot of Anakin and Obi-wan.

Kanan meets with Ahsoka to discuss the Inquisitor threat.  They agree to head off on a secret mission back to the Jedi Temple on Lothal where they first heard from Yoda.  At this point, the episode begins to raise some questions surrounding the Jedi and Ahsoka.  Ezra asks Kanan and Ahsoka to open the Temple door, but she refuses, stating she is no longer a Jedi.  Is this just in how she sees herself?  She is still following the path of the light, working for freedom in the galaxy, however, she is no longer holding to the strict Jedi dogma.  We don’t know much about what Ahoska has been doing since she left the Order and joined the Rebellion, in fact, we aren’t even completely sure what her daily role in the Rebellion is.  It’s clear that she has not fallen to the dark side, but being a Jedi can be a deeply personal thing and could have a lot to do with how you identify yourself.

Ahsoka does still join them inside the temple as they meditate and each gets their own vision in the Force.  Kanan sees a Jedi Temple guard in a training dojo, Ezra speaks with Yoda, and Ahsoka gets a vision of Anakin.  Ahsoka’s vision seems to confirm that she knows who Darth Vader is, and I think she has known since they first encountered him.  She may not have wanted to believe it, but it’s clear she is now fully aware.  Kanan’s vision has him fighting the Temple Guard, who we later discover is the Grand Inquisitor and a possible former Jedi Knight.  Ezra’s vision has Yoda leading them to Malachor.  Both Kanan and Ezra’s visions have them questioning their idea of fighting to conquer Vader and the Inquisitors.  Much like Luke discovered at the end of Return of the Jedi, there are other ways to conquer the darkness.

Ahsoka’s vision is just the beginning of something I have wanted to see since the character was introduced.  It’s a powerful moment as we see her face in close up and hear Matt Lanter’s Anakin voice talking to her only to be replaced by only the breathing of Darth Vader.  The animation and acting have risen to a new level.

Hearing both Matt Lanter’s Anakin and James Earl Jones’ Darth Vader along with the return of Frank Oz as Yoda is simply amazing.  The character models of Anakin and Yoda may not be the greatest, but in looking at them we know exactly who they are and they match with the animation style of the show.

The plot of this episode is fairly simplistic, but it delves deep into the spiritual side of the saga.  All three of our heroes confront a hard truth and need to re-evaluate how they have been working.  We get a lot of lightsaber action as Kanan fights Inquisitors and then the Temple Guards.  I’m not sure how much of the Force visions are 100% concrete truth, like the Grand Inquisitor being a former Jedi Knight and Temple Guard, or if they are merely representations of what was.  It’s possible the Grand Inquisitor was a former Jedi, but we don’t know how far into his training he had gotten before the Order was destroyed.  This is one episode that I know we will continue to be talking about and questioning for a while.

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