“The Phantom Apprentice” Reveals More Surprises Than Expected — ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ Episode 10 Review
Order 66 is gaining closer and closer, and more aspects are clicking into place in connection to Revenge of the Sith. All of the prequels had to deal with the fact that the audience knew what was going to happen in the end. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is in that same situation but it’s still delivering surprise after surprise. New information was expected since fans don’t exactly know how this ends for Ahsoka and Rex, but Episode 10 also revealed more about Anakin’s destiny. And Ahsoka almost makes a decision that fans never even knew was on the table. It’s safe to say that “The Phantom Apprentice” is raising the bar, yet again, on The Clone Wars Season 7. [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for The Clone Wars Season 7, Episode 10].
Ahsoka gets some answers out of Maul, but nothing that makes sense to her yet
Just like Episode 9, “The Phantom Apprentice” opens without a title card and lesson, but with the “Lucasfilm Limited Production” logo intro and more somber music. It picks up right where “Old Friends Not Forgotten” left off, with Ahsoka standing off against Maul. He doesn’t attack her, though she’s outnumbered.
Instead, he sheds some light on his current thought process. He mentions that they have “mutual friends,” although that’s very much a stretch. Maul sort of reveals why he wanted Kenobi and Skywalker to come instead of Ahsoka and also alludes to Order 66. The audience knows that’s what he’s referring to, however, she doesn’t.
Regardless, he gets away and they’re back to square one. In this meeting, Obi-Wan Kenobi comes through via hologram to listen to their update. Ahsoka relays that Maul mentioned Darth Sidious. Maul said he would be the new galactic power in charge of the Republic, however, she doesn’t know who that is. Kenobi does, to an extent, because Count Dooku told him so in Attack of the Clones. However, all hope of getting more information out of Dooku is gone because Anakin killed him when they were saving Palpatine.
Ahsoka is reminded of how unfair the Jedi Council can be when she learns of Anakin’s special assignment
This is interesting because Obi-Wan sounds disappointed Count Dooku is dead. In Revenge of the Sith, he seemed proud of Anakin and said it was something that needed to happen. The audience knows Anakin killed an unarmed man, but Kenobi and the Council thought it was in battle. Now, though, Kenobi doesn’t portray that same energy. It could just be disappointment at the loss of information, though. Not in his former Padawan killing him.
Kenobi reveals that he’s going to Utapau to find Grievous, and this is why he can’t spare any more troops for Mandalore. When Ahsoka asks for Anakin to come, Obi-Wan explains that he’s on a special mission. Of course, it’s no surprise that once he tells Ahsoka about how Anakin was sent to spy on Palpatine, she has the same reaction Anakin did.
Ahsoka is so much like her former master in both personality and mentality that she gives the same reasons to Obi-Wan why that’s a bad idea. The audience also knows that making Anakin “keep an eye” on Palpatine just makes them spend more time together, and reinforces Palpatine’s hold on Skywalker. Anakin’s disillusionment with the Jedi is only strengthened by this abuse of trust to one of his mentors, and Palpatine doesn’t have to do much to weasel his way and seduce him with more Dark Side powers.
Ahsoka is reminded why she doesn’t trust the Jedi Council, thanks to their banishment of her and refusal to help her out when she was framed. They nearly put her on death row, if Anakin hadn’t cleared her name. Now, Anakin is being forced to spy on Palpatine, and Ahsoka is disgusted. Obi-Wan hopes she can give Anakin a call to talk to him about this, maybe ease his mind. However, she doesn’t get the chance.
Maul’s dread and plan gather form as the episode goes on
As Almec explains, Maul has been filled with dread recently. He even had a vision about Skywalker, although he doesn’t reveal what it was until later. Maul tells his Mandalorian army that something is brewing. He “can thrive in the chaos that is to come” and he rallies his troops to kill Almec.
Maul kidnaps Clone trooper Jesse, and even though he fights him off from going into his mind, Maul succeeds and finds out more about Ahsoka. Jesse is one of the oldest Clones with them and would know the most.
While Maul is talking to the Syndicate, viewers can see other members including Dryden Vos from Crimson Dawn. He’s played by Paul Bettany in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Maul tells them to go into hiding, and then proceeds to hype his Mandalorians up. He tells them that they’re a people who don’t do well in hiding and therefore need to fight. If they die, they’ll do so as warriors. This is interesting when you take into context where the Mandalorians are by the time The Mandalorian happens. This is decades later and they lay low in the tunnels. A lot of bad things go down in the meantime, it seems. Starting here, because Maul leaves his team of Mandalorians in the dust at the end.
Ahsoka’s duel with Maul is everything you’d expect it to be, but surprising at the same time
When Ahsoka, Rex, and Bo-Katan walk into the throne room and find Maul just casually sitting there, of course, Bo wants to attack. He easily swats her aside and returns Jesse. He’s blasé because his Mauldalorians strike a massive attack. This leaves Ahsoka alone with Maul, which is what he wanted.
He now knows she left the Order and tries to turn her to his side. He points out the hypocrisy of the Jedi Council and how they can’t be trusted. Nor do they stand a chance since this big change is coming soon.
One of the most revealing things in this conversation, though, is the fact that Maul asks Ahsoka to join him. She does the same, but again, he’s not about to join a dying breed, aka the Jedi. Ahsoka has to make a decision; does she join Maul to potentially overthrow Darth Sidious or does she defeat him? She’s not really debating joining the Dark Side, but more so making an alliance to put an end to the fighting below them and possibly saving the Republic.
However, it’s not Ahsoka’s morals that stop her from joining Maul. Instead, she asks him what he saw in his vision as the only thing standing in her way, and he confesses that Anakin “is key to everything.” He says that Sidious has been grooming him, and he won’t bring balance to the Force, but destroy the Jedi. He tells Ahsoka that he’s the apprentice. The whole reason he even went back to Mandalore was to lure Kenobi and Skywalker there so Maul could kill Skywalker himself.
Ahsoka loses it, because she has all the faith in her master, and their epic duel follows. Unfortunately, those at home know that Maul’s vision is true, but Ahsoka doesn’t.
Anakin is the “Phantom Apprentice,” which brings new light to “Twilight of the Apprentice”
Ahsoka’s duel with Maul is one of the best things to ever come out of Star Wars. The fluidity and effects show how far the series has come, and every moment is meaningful. Their banter is still great, which we saw in Star Wars Rebels which comes more than a decade after this in the timeline.
The Phantom Menace‘s title referred to the Sith, specifically Maul, because that’s who Kenobi came face to face with. At that point, the Jedi thought the Sith had been extinct for a thousand years, so Maul was a phantom to them. Going into this episode, Maul might have been a good guess for the Phantom Apprentice. However, it’s Anakin, who at this point is mere hours away from turning to the Dark Side. This brings a whole new dimension to the Star Wars Rebels Season 2 finale title, “Twilight of the Apprentice.”
While Ahsoka beats Maul, he screams, “We’re all going to die, you don’t know what you’re doing!” He is scared out of his mind, now that he’s going to be stuck in captivity when Order 66 goes down. But poor Ahsoka, Rex, and the others have no idea what’s to come.
Next episode is Order 66. Will Ahsoka have one last talk with Anakin before he fully turns to the Dark Side? The trailer shows a scene that looks like she’s feeling it happen through the Force while in hyperdrive. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for; make sure to emotionally prepare yourself, if you can.