The Clone Wars: “The Phantom Apprentice”

The Clone Wars is back! The show that was cancelled after 5 and a half seasons returns on Disney + to get the ending it deserved. I was a huge fan of the show, so safe to say I’m thrilled that we finally get to see these episodes.

After really enjoying writing my episode reviews for The Mandalorian and Resistance, I couldn’t wait to do the same again for this final season of The Clone Wars. The reviews will take on the same format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole.

And so we continue with the final arc: The Siege of Mandalore. Today, I will be looking at Episode 10: “The Phantom Apprentice”

star wars the clone wars s7e10 the phantom apprentice ahsoka tano

Plot Summary

Picking right up from where the last episode ended, Ahsoka is in the sewers of Sundari, surrounded by Maul’s Mandalorians with Maul advancing towards her. Maul admits that he had been expecting Obi-Wan and possibly even Anakin, but Ahsoka mentions that they had a more important engagement, which leads Maul to wonder if “the moment” is upon them. Ahsoka surreptitiously activates a beacon on her gauntlet, which alerts Rex to her location. Rex leads a squad into the sewers to find her. Ahsoka tries to get Maul to surrender, but he says that it will be pointless as the Republic and Jedi will no longer be the controlling interest in the galaxy. Ahsoka asks if he will be the one to replace them, but Maul states that it will be Darth Sidious. Rex and his squad arrive and take out some of the Mandalorians, but Maul and many of his troops escape.

“Master Kenobi had a more important engagement.”

In the throne room, Ahsoka, Rex and Bo-Katan brief a hologram of Obi-Wan on their progress. Ahsoka tells them that Maul mentioned the name Darth Sidious. Obi-Wan explains the Jedi Council’s Suspicions: Sidious is the Sith Lord who has orchestrated the Clone Wars and manipulated both sides from the beginning. Obi-Wan notes that he first heard the name from Dooku, but explains that they will get no more information from him as Anakin killed him while rescuing the Chancellor, making the capture of Maul even more important. Ahsoka asks for more men, but Obi-Wan can’t help as he is being sent to Utapau to locate General Grievous. Ahsoka suggests Anakin come to help, which leads to Obi-Wan asking to speak to Ahsoka alone.

Once Rex and Bo-Katan have moved away, Obi-Wan explains that Anakin is on a secret mission from the Jedi Council to observe Chancellor Palpatine. Knowing how close Anakin is to Palpatine, Ahsoka guesses that Anakin will not be happy with the assignment and Obi-Wan asks her to speak to him. Ahsoka is hesitant to speak to Anakin on the Council’s behalf, but Obi-Wan agrees that the Council can make mistakes and that is why he needs her help. Before she can make a decision, Rex rushes in to report another attack, which Ahsoka has to attend.

Ahsoka and Rex go to the Undercity, where a number of clones have been killed. One of the wounded troopers, Sterling, tells Ahsoka that Maul took Jesse, recognising him as being older than the rest of the clones present.

“Your mind will speak. Or it will break.”

In the tunnels, Saxon and Kast hold Jesse captive before Maul. Maul makes note of the clones being part of a greater plan, but Jesse does not know what he’s on about. Maul sends Saxon to deal with Almec, before using the Force to probe Jesse’s mind for information on Ahsoka.

Bo-Katan, Rex and Ahsoka go to question Almec in his prison cell about Maul’s plan to escape. Almec says that Maul is not trying to escape because he sees no point in doing so. He explains that Maul has been consumed by a sense of dread for weeks. When asked why Maul wanted Obi-Wan here, Almec reveals that he wanted someone else, however he his shot by Saxon before he can continue. As Bo-Katan chases after Saxon, Almec tells Ahsoka with his dying breaths that Maul had a vision and a name came to him: Skywalker. After a fight with Bo-Katan in an elevator shaft, Saxon successfully escapes.

“Maul had a vision. A dream. The name came to him.”

“What name?”

“Skywalker.”

Saxon returns to the sewers, where Maul is telling holograms of the syndicates to go into hiding. Maul thanks Saxon and Kast for liberating him from Sidious and Dooku. Maul explains that the galaxy will be remade soon and that in the chaos, he and the Mandalorians must seize what power they can. In a speech, Maul prepares his warriors to go into battle.

Bo-Katan, Ahsoka and Rex discuss how the siege is going as they make their way to the throne room,where they find Maul sat on the throne with Jesse next to him. Bo-Katan attempts to attack Maul, but he easily deals with her. Maul releases Jesse to the group as a show of good faith. Jesse apologises to Ahsoka for telling Maul everything and Rex escorts Jesse away. Maul’s Mandalorians attack the clones outside the palace and Bo-Katan leaves to join the fight, leaving Ahsoka alone with Maul.

“Every choice you have made has led you to this moment.”

Maul reminds Ahsoka that she left the Jedi Order due to the hypocrisy of the Council. Ahsoka talks about taking him back to justice, but Maul notes that justice is the construct of the current power base, which is about to change, confirming to Ahsoka that Darth Sidious is behind it. Maul tries to convince Ahsoka to join him and that the two of them together could defeat Sidious, something that it is too late for the Jedi to do. Ahsoka agrees, on the condition that he tells her what he wants with Anakin. Maul explains that Skywalker is the key to everything and has been groomed for his role as Darth Sidious’ apprentice. Maul is so certain, he orchestrated the conflict on Mandalore to lure Kenobi and Skywalker so that Maul could kill him. Refusing to believe that Anakin could become Sidious’ apprentice, Ahsoka fights Maul. During the fight, Maul is thrown out of the throne room through a window.

After gaining her breath back, Ahsoka makes her way through the window after Maul, seeing Bo-Katan and her forces arrive to give the clones the upper hand against Saxon and his forces. Ahsoka notices Maul climbing a building and chases after him. As Saxon’s forces begin to be overwhelmed, Saxon calls Maul for reinforcements, only to find that he has been abandoned.

“We could have destroyed Sidious!”

“Only for you to take his place.”

Maul makes his way into the support beams of Sundari’s dome, well above the city, where Ahsoka catches up with him. The pair begin to fight on the beams and Ahsoka stops Maul from getting to the starship that has arrived to help him escape. As the fight goes on, Rex notices from below where he has captured Saxon and orders for gunships to reach her. During the battle, Maul manages to disarm Ahsoka, with both of her lightsabers falling away. Maul advances towards her and she manages to trip him and make him fall off the beam, though she uses the Force to catch him in the air.

Maul begs Ahoka to let go and let him die, but she holds on while the gunships fly up to them. While Maul continues to cry out that they are all going to die, 2 of Bo-Katan’s Mandalorians secure him with grappling cables, before Rex stuns him. As the gunships fly away with Maul, Ahsoka looks up at the crack in the dome through which Maul had intended to escape.

star wars the clone wars s7e10 the phantom apprentice maul ahsoka tano

Review

So it’s safe to say that last week’s episode wasn’t a one-off, as this one may have been even better! Let me get the usual points out of the way as I feel like I say them every time, but the animation was incredible – really highlighted by the slow motion explosion in the throne room where the individual embers and glass shards were visible – and the score from Kevin Kiner was brilliant, with some beautiful moments including use of Palpatine’s Throne Room music, the Imperial March and music reminiscent of (but clearly different to) Duel of the Fates during Ahsoka and Maul’s fight.

“Ahsoka, the Council isn’t always right. That’s why I’m asking for your help.”

What I have realised is that I don’t praise the voice actors enough for what they do, and they were all brilliant as always, but Sam Witwer was a standout for me as Maul, really bringing in the sharp mind, the fury and even the fear. Add in Ray Park’s motion capture for the fighting and they really do combine to make Maul an amazing character!

All of the characters feel fantastic. I would love a little more from characters like Jesse, Ursa and Rook, but I completely understand that they are not the focus of this story and we have a limited number of episodes to complete the story. What was great to me was seeing how Maul is afraid of Sidious (which makes complete sense given everything he’s been through) and wants him stopped. You realise that Maul could have helped save the galaxy, but everything that had happened before had left him with so much hate that he couldn’t just surrender to the Jedi and tell them the truth. Ahsoka’s willingness to join Maul shocked me, but I think the argument from Maul was convincing enough that I could understand it, while I liked it that she quickly turned back against Maul as she could not believe his statements that Anakin was about to become Sidious’ new apprentice. WARNING: SPOILER FOR REBELS INCOMING This also adds even more weight to Ahsoka finding out Vader’s identity in Rebels season 2 as not only is she finding out that someone who was like a brother to her has become Darth Vader, but she also realises that Maul was right and that if she had believed him, she may have been able to change things.

I also really appreciated seeing Ahsoka struggling against Maul before defeating him, with her breathing heavy after the fight in the throne room  (where she lost one lightsaber) and losing both of her weapons on the beams, as it shows that she is a highly skilled fighter but does not take away from Maul’s fearsomeness.

“Who is this Sidious?”

Last week I commented how this felt like the first part of a movie, and the way that this opened with no narration (the only episode to not have this – even the 2008 movie did) really made it feel like the second part of a movie that we were returning to following an intermission. I really hope that this arc gets shown in cinemas as a movie once the pandemic has passed –  I would go multiple times!

I was really surprised to see Obi-Wan feature again in the series, but I think the scene with him was really well done and did a god job of giving a lot of exposition – giving an update on the siege, explaining who Sidious is to Ahsoka, explaining the importance of capturing Maul and helping us keep an idea of the time frame relative to Revenge of the Sith as the 2 stories are proceeding alongside each other. It was also really nice to see the moment alone between Ahsoka and Obi-Wan as I was a little disappointed at how antagonistic they were last week, whereas here we got a rare moment of just the two of them that I really appreciated, especially as it was nice to see Obi-Wan admitting that the Council makes mistakes and he is trusting her over them.

“We were both tools for greater powers.”

While it was a great episode, I did have a few issues, though again they were minor. First off is another potential contradiction, as (unless Maul is going to escape and be recaptured) the way that Maul is captured is very different from the flashback in the Ahsoka novel – I won’t go into details in case that is still to come! I also felt that it seemed odd Saxon was able to get into position to kill Almec so easily without being noticed by anyone. Also, while Bo-Katan’s fight with Saxon in the elevator shaft was amazing, it lacked stakes for anyone who had seen Rebels as they both appear in that. I wonder if both of these issues could have been improved by having Saxon and Kast go in, with Bo-Katan and Ursa Wren or Rex chasing after them and Kast being killed in the escape.

One final point I wanted to look at before I wrap up is that of Jesse’s capture and release. I was so tense as Maul let him return to Ahsoka and Rex and was expecting something to happen to him. I was therefore surprised to see him get out alive, but think that he is in fact being spared for a darker fate in the coming episodes. Given where we find ourselves in relation to Revenge of the Sith, it seems clear now that we will be seeing Order 66 from Ahoska’s point of view. A lot was made in this episode of Jesse being one of the older clones so knowing Ahsoka better, which gives him a more meaningful connection to her and Rex. It seems clear to me that Jess will be taking on the Cody role as the clone we know and love who we see changed by Order 66, with the emotional climax being his death at the hands of Ahsoka or Rex as they look to escape.

“The dark side has never been stronger.”

A few final thoughts on the episode:

  • Like with Caleb Dume’s cameo last week, I like how we saw the hologram of Dryden Vos in this episode but did not have any undue attention paid to it or winks to the camera (think Boba Fett in A New Hope or Artoo and Threepio in Rogue One)
  • Where is the Darksaber?
  • These last 2 episodes have felt undeniably like Star Wars, with great battles, emotion and even the classic verbal sparring during battles

star wars the clone wars s7e10 the phantom apprentice crimson dawn maul dryden vos marg krim rook kast

Moments in Canon

“I see the Padawan needs one last lesson.”

  • There are a number of events from Revenge of the Sith that get referenced during this episode:
    • Anakin killing Dooku
    • Obi-Wan being sent to Utapau
    • Anakin being set the task of spying on Palpatine
  • Obi-Wan also refers back to the events of Attack of the Clones, when Dooku first told him about Darth Sidious
  • Dryden Vos appears in a hologram
  • Maul references the events of the comic Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, when stating that Rook Kast and Gar Saxon rescued him from Sidious and Dooku

star wars the clone wars s7e10 the phantom apprentice ahsoka rex obi-wan bo-katan

What did you think of the episode?

Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you.

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