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Darker, the Coming Storm Grows

Ashoka and Maul duel in "The Phantom Apprentice" Star Wars The Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7 Episode 10 Review

We’re only halfway through the final arc of The Clone Wars, and I have to agree with Ashley Eckstein, Ashoka’s voice actor. The Siege of Mandalore is already one of the best stories in Star Wars history! Last week saw the start of the fabled Siege of Mandalore start with a fight worthy of being on the big screen. Ashoka, Rex and the Clones, and the Mandalorians all worked to free Mandalore from ex-Sith Lord Darth Maul, and we got to see how far the former Padawan’s come. However, as epic as it was, we cannot overlook the coming storm gathering in the distance. And in this episode, Maul makes things clear: it’s time to be afraid. 

Hide from the Coming Storm

The Coming Storm Brews on Mandalore in The Phantom Apprentice Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 10

When I was a kid, I thought that Darth Maul was one of the scariest guys you could meet. Ergo, if there’s something out there that’s enough to scare him, then everyone should be afraid. As the episode establishes in its opening minutes, the ex-Sith knows what’s happening in the background. He may be the only one in the show that’s aware of the coming storm that is Revenge of the Sith. And he doesn’t want to be around when that happens. 

As a result, Maul spends the episode focused on getting off the grid. He kills anyone who could rat him, orders the Shadow Collective to go into hiding, and throws the Mandalorians out as decoys while he gets off-planet. But before he does, he can’t resist trying to make one last jab at Kenobi and Darth Sidious. He was hoping that not only Kenobi would come after him, but also Skywalker, so he could kill both.

Skywalker is the Key 

At first, I was confused as to why Maul would want Anakin dead. Then it all clicked. In the episode’s climax, Maul tells Ashoka the cold truth: Anakin Skywalker is the key to all of Darth Sidious’ plans. Maul figured out that Sidious has been grooming Anakin to become his apprentice since day one. So he decided to rob his former master of that satisfaction by killing him.

This moment was the lynchpin to the whole episode for me. The events of Revenge of the Sith were hanging over the entire episode like a sword about to fall. We know what’s coming, but can’t do anything to stop the coming storm, and it gives the episode a sense of genuine dread. What’s the worst part, though? Ashoka doesn’t believe Maul. 

This moment only makes Anakin’s fall even more tragic. Had Ashoka believed Maul, she could have warned Anakin or Obi-Wan of Sidious’ plans. It could have stopped everything before it started. Tragically, it’s Ashoka’s faith in her master that costs her this one chance to save him before its too late. 

A New Duel of the Fates

The New Duel of the Fates in The Phantom Apprentice Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 10

I’ve always thought that if the Jedi never fell, Ashoka would be sitting on the Jedi Council by the time of Rebels. So far, the Siege of Mandalore has vindicated these thoughts for me, with Ashoka facing off against Maul in the Sundari Royal Palace. 

The duel between the former apprentices strikes a perfect balance with all the duels in the films. It blends the emotional intensity of the original films with the speed and acrobatics of the prequels. There’s even a hint of the desperation found in the sequel duels. This is peak lightsaber dueling in Star Wars, and we get to see Ashoka largely in control of the fight. Thanks to some help from Rex and the Clones, Maul’s finally captured. It’s small comfort, though.

Day of Reckoning Almost Here

We’re only halfway through the Siege of Mandalore, and I’m already counting it as one of the best arcs in the show’s history. It’s also going to be one of the most tragic stories in Star Wars history. Early in the episode, Ashoka talks to Obi-Wan, who informs her that Anakin killed Dooku and his departure for Utapau. Judging by the film’s timeline, there’s only a few hours left before Order 66 begins and the birth of the Empire. 

In my opinion, this episode hammered home how pointless the Clone Wars really are. An entire galaxy devastated and divided by war, courtesy of Darth Sidious. We hate how he’s going to win, and aside from Maul, no one else realizes it. While we know that Ashoka, Bo-Katan, and Rex live to see another day, this isn’t going to make what’s to come any less heartbreaking.

I love it when shows end with a bang, and it looks like Star Wars: The Clone Wars is going to end on the biggest bang possible. As the coming storm prepares to engulf the galaxy, I’m going to keep a box of tissues handy for the next two Fridays. Tears will be shed.

I Give “The Phantom Apprentice” a 5/5

Stray Observations

  • During the whole episode, it felt like Maul was acting like the only one who’s in on the big joke. If it weren’t so tragic, seeing Darth Sidious play an entire galaxy would be hilarious. 
  • Maul wouldn’t last five seconds if Anakin had shown up. 
  • I got the title for this post from Tartakovsky’s series Star Wars: Clone Wars. Watch it on YouTube.

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