I predict we will hear James Arnold Taylor’s voice in the show before the end of the season.
The tenth episode for Star Wars Rebels season three, Visions and Voices, is a continuation of the story from second, The Holocrons of Fate. Ezra starts to see and hear Maul and passes out during a briefing about an attack on the Lothal Weapons plant. Ezra and Kanan go in search of Bendu where Maul appears. He asks Ezra to come with him to finish the ceremony they started with the Holocrons. Ezra agrees so he can gain the information to defeat the Sith. Kanan manages to slip a tracker on Ezra so he can follow them. Visions and Voices was a solid mid-season finale episode which continued a major story thread introduced early in the season, and opened more questions needing to be answered.
The star of the episode is Darth Maul, and a tip of the hat has to go to Sam Witwer performance. He did a phenomenal job in conveying Maul’s different emotions through the episode. The character genially seemed to feel disappointed in Ezra’s choice to stay behind and not join him. Maul is undoubtedly a villain, but he is also a tragic figure. At every turn he comes close to succeeding in his goal only to be thwarted. He witnessed his home planet destroyed, and all his people wiped out. While Maul brought much of the tragedy on himself he was also pressed into service by Sidious and the Witches of Dathomir. He is not wholly unsympathetic figure, but still not someone who can be trusted. All of these aspects are represented in Visions and Voices, and it’s understandable that Maul’s one remaining goal is to seek revenge against Obi-Wan Kenobi.
While Maul is the main highlight of the episode, he is also the problem. Why did he not go to the Rebel base as soon as he knew where it was if he knew Ezra held the answer to his question? He could have shown up in the next third episode to continue this story line. Instead he waits and randomly shows up just before a big mission. The show could have shown glimpses in the other episodes of Ezra having visions of Maul. Ezra could have been struggling with this knowledge throughout the first part of the season, and trying to hide it from the rest of the crew. Then when the visions finally become so extreme he passes out, it wouldn’t have felt so sudden for the story overall. This would have also provided some connective tissue through the entire first half of the season building to this episode. Not every episode would have had to include a vision of Maul, but just enough to keep this story in the forefront. They could have also shown Maul deducing he needed Ezra, and show Maul reaching out to him and trying to influence him.
This complaint aside the episode was stunning and adds to the lore of Star War by showcasing the Witches of Dathomir and their different take on the force. The ending with Ezra and how he was able to destroy the alter and their power was well done. It was a good climax for the episode, and highlighted how clever Ezra can be. While his character has taken a step back from the first part of the season when he was dabbling with the dark side he took more of a step forward in this episode. Ezra wasn’t tempted by Maul at all in this episode and this makes me think he won’t end up turning to the dark side. It was good see the story focus more on Ezra again, and the different aspects of the force.
The episode also opens up the possibility of Obi-Wan Kenobi making an appearance in the show. My guess is part of the second half of the season will build to a fight between Maul and Kenobi. Does this mean Maul will travel to Tatooine or will Kenobi seek out Maul? It might be the latter if Kenobi has felt Maul searching for him. He wouldn’t want Maul coming to Tatooine and discovering Luke. This again brings up the question of continuity and Ob-Wan not hearing his name in a long time, and not going by it in a long time. It will be an interesting issue to get around, but one I’m willing to forgive if we get more stories about the old hermit beyond the dune sea.
Visions and Voices was a strong ending for the mid-season. I hope the second half of the season continues to build a more cohesive story and there aren’t as many side missions which seem unrelated. The second half could have more connected stories, just by the first half coming back around and impacting stories in the second half of the season. Sabine and Mandalore could still play a major role, especially with her picking up the dark saber at the end of the episode.
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