Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Star Wars Rebels S2E17 Shroud of Darkness Recap/Review (Spoilers!): Three Paths Extended

Tone is everything. Shroud of Darkness was still a setup episode, but it completely shifted the tone of the entire series and prepares us for the conclusion of the season. This is probably my favorite episode of the season for all of the question’s it raised and doors it opened. Ahsoka truly knows Vader is Anakin. It seems she suspected as much, but her vision at the temple confirmed her fears. Kanan is now officially a Jedi Knight.  The most pressing mystery of the episode is where is Malachor and what mysteries does it hold?
Shroud of Darkness started off with a great battle between the Inquisitors, Kanan and Ezra. The only small gripe I had was how slowly the Inquisitors walked to our heroes when Ezra was hanging off the cliff. They could have ran quickly over instead of walking ominously to make a quick end of them. I just thought they could have found another way for them to be farther away, and make Ezra and Kanan’s escape more plausible. It’s a small nitpick, but I’m stretching for anything negative to say about the episode. I loved the exchange between Kannan and the Seventh Sister, just because it seemed a small nod to Freddie Prince and Sarah Michelle being married.  The fight did highlight again how strong Ezra is becoming in the force. His ability to control the flying creatures so quickly from a distance was interesting. Overall it was a fun fight and great way to start the episode.
Kanan is worried about how the Inquisitors continue to locate them. He wants to consult another source and decides to go back to the Jedi temple on Lothal with Ezra and Ahsoka. Most of the episodes leave me wanting more, and while Shroud of Darkness did this it also was perfectly paced. The opening fight scene followed by the three reveals at the temple was laid out perfectly. Kanan’s battle with the Temple Guards showed us how much he has grown as a character. He tried to fight to protect his Padawan, but in the end he accepted he had done his best and Ezra must choose his own path. It is very similar to Luke’s confrontation in the cave on Dagobah, but were Luke fails, Kanan succeeds. He is able to accept he cannot protect Ezra from falling to the darkside, but only do his best to show him the correct path and encourage him to follow it. The big question the fight raised is who the old Inquisitor was before he fell to the darkside, and why he was now at the temple? Also does the fight mean Ezra is doomed to fall or was this just Kanan facing his fear? I am leaning towards Kanan facing his fear and conquering it, and becoming a true Jedi Knight.
I don’t think Yoda would be talking to Ezra the way he was if he was going to fall to the dark side quickly. He seemed disappointed in the choice Ezra made to fight, but accepting of it as well, and dropped the hint to find Malachor. According to Wookieepedia it was first introduced in the Legends game Star Wars Knights of Old Republic. The big question for me is if Revan is getting reading to become actual canon. Since we know Ezra finds a lightsaber with a hilt like Kylo Renn and Kylo has a mask like Revan…. I could very well be reading into the signs, but I’m hoping they find some evidence of a Darth Revan on Malachor and lock him into cannon.  What does it mean for Ezra and the Rebels? I’m not sure, but I’m guessing it is where Darth Maul will be lurking.
The last vison or reveal with Ahsoka is the most powerful. We see her during the first part of the episode watching old holo’s of Anakin. She is trying hard not to believe that he turned to Darth Vader. Her vision and final acceptance was potent. In the end she decides to try and turn Vader back to the light. She thinks there is still good in him. While they are escaping the temple she gives Yoda a nod as if she knows what she has to do. Even if this is retconning, this could be the reason why Obi-Wan is so sure Vader cannot be turned back to the light. Yoda and him attempted it with Ahsoka, and failed. This is the most heartbreaking realization of the show, Ahsoka eventual failure.
The ending with Vader is perfect and setups for a fantastic conclusion. One other thing to mention about the episode was how it used the Star Wars score. It was understated, but perfectly pitched and helped shift the tone of the entire series. It was a fantastic decision to not use any music as the episode closes, and only hear Vader’s breathing. The episode feels like a shroud of darkness is starting to engulf the Rebels.  They did narrowly escape again, but a noose is slowly being slipped around their neck.

Did you enjoy tonight’s episode as much as I did? Do you think Revan could be locked in as canon in the next few weeks? Do you think it fits story wise for Ahsoka’ s death to be the reason why Obi-Wan and Yoda do not think Vader can be turned back to the light in Return of the Jedi? Comment and let me know. 

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