The moment I have waited this entire season for has finally arrived in the penultimate episode of season three, the appropriately titled “Twin Suns.” Darth Maul once again rears his horned head, but this time it’s his final confrontation with Obi-wan Kenobi.
It’s no secret that Obi-wan Kenobi is my favorite character in Star Wars and his ongoing story with Darth Maul led to some of my favorite episodes of Clone Wars. Now, the two characters are after each other again. Maul has had several episodes this season pointing to his hunt for Kenobi and a final confrontation. What’s funny is how little this episode is about their confrontation. It’s more about the build-up to it and Ezra’s attempts to warn and/or protect Obi-wan from Maul.
Once again, Ezra is having unusual visions about Maul. This time it’s a repeating message through the broken shards of their two holocrons. Obi-wan’s warning about the fall of the Republic loops while a primal scream is heard through the Sith holocron. All signs point to not only Obi-wan still being alive, but also to Maul closing in on him. Since Ezra has had a weird connection with Maul and is the only who witnessed the holocrons, no one believes him.
Most of this episode is Ezra and Maul wandering the deserts of Tatooine, knowing only that Obi-wan is there, but not able to find him. It’s an old cliche of having the heroes wander the desert, collapse, and be rescued by a stranger. It’s pretty standard and it’s no different here. Chopper does get one of my favorite moments in what could be his most caring moment of the show, proof that there is a heart under that cold droid exterior.
In the desert, Ezra is attacked by Tusken Raiders. I liked the inclusion of them, but it was weird that Ezra seemed to forget he has a blaster and a lightsaber. It’s clearly a trap but it’s unclear if this is a trap laid by Maul or not.
What we’ve really been waiting to see is the final act of the episode. Ezra is saved by Obi-wan and we find that he was already well aware of Maul’s presence and has the situation under control. Obi-wan is voiced this time by Stephen Stanton doing a fantastic Alec Guinness voice. His calm composure balances well against Ezra’s franticness and the hate filled Maul, once again voiced wonderfully by Sam Witwer. The actual fight between the two of them is surprisingly short. Obi-wan dispatches Maul quickly and efficiently, showing not only his growth as a Jedi but his determination to protect Luke, only igniting his saber once Luke could have been in danger.
The episode is beautifully directed, especially in the second half, and constructed with a deliberate care. What struck me most is the surprising lack of fanservice material. They could have easily given us another long, elaborate, wonderfully choreographed duel between the two old enemies. Instead, we see two old nemeses facing off again, much of the battle is fought in their minds before either makes a move. Once it’s done, Obi-wan treats his former enemy with a care and compassion that is just another reason of why I love this character so much. Maul’s final words show his understanding of just what Obi-wan’s purpose is.
Ezra leaves Tatooine and returns to Chopper Base, reluctantly greeted by the crew of the Ghost. Hopefully, wiser for what has happened. He has shown growth over these three seasons, just not very much and not very quickly. The episode closes with an emotional coda, reminding us exactly why Obi-wan is on Tatooine, with the twin suns setting over the homestead and John Williams’ score playing. I’m surprised that they did not save this episode for the finale due to it’s emotional resonance, instead giving us this as a lead in to the undoubtedly action packed finale.