Star Wars: The Clone Wars Episode Review: “The Phantom Apprentice”
A 14-year-old’s perspective on Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ “The Phantom Apprentice.”
The Phantom Apprentice – Part II (with Spoilers)
The Lucasfilm Limited Production title card in lightsaber green fades in like in last week’s episode. Eerie music plays in the background, and the blood-red words Star Wars: The Clone Wars fades in…
The episode, ‘The Phantom Apprentice,’ begins where last week’s episode, ‘Old Friends Not Forgotten,’ left off, with Ahsoka in the sewers below the capital of Mandalore, surrounded by Maul’s Mandalorian troopers. Maul asks why she was here and not Kenobi. Ahsoka replies by asking that if he wishes to surrender then he can ask Obi-Wan himself. Maul then hints that a new power will soon overthrow both the Republic and the Jedi. Before he can say anymore, the clone troopers arrive and Maul escapes with a few of his troops to another section of the sewers. I like how the episode progressively hints that there’s something Maul knows that the others don’t, until it’s finally fully revealed in one of the last sequences, which I’ll talk about later.
Next, Bo-Katan, Commander Rex, Ahsoka, and a hologram of Obi-Wan discuss the progression of the siege. Ahsoka brings up the name, Sidious, who Maul mentioned earlier. Obi-Wan shares what the Council suspects, which is that Sidious is a Dark Lord, “who orchestrated the Clone Wars and played both sides of it from the beginning”. I really like this because in Revenge of The Sith the Council refers to the Dark Lord of the Sith, and earlier episodes of The Clone Wars slowly provide Obi-Wan with the information he needs to realize, though Anakin is the one to realize the Dark Lord’s identity.
Obi-Wan says he first learned of Sidious from Count Dooku, but that he can no longer learn anything from Dooku, as Anakin killed him while rescuing the Chancellor, as seen in Revenge of The Sith. He then says that Maul may be the vital piece to unravelling the veil of secrecy surrounding Sidious. Ahsoka then asks for more troops to capture Maul, but Obi-Wan says that he is about to capture General Grievous on Utapau. After asking for a word alone with Ahsoka, Obi-Wan reveals that Anakin has been sent to spy on the Chancellor, and asks Ahsoka to speak with him and justify the Council’s actions. They’re interrupted by Rex, who says that there’s been an attack. Ahsoka tells Obi-Wan to tell Anakin…, but before she can finish whatever she was going to say, Obi-Wan says “I will.” In this episode Obi-Wan is essentially giving us a key element: timeline. We can see exactly what is happening in Revenge of The Sith while the events of the episode take place. Obi-Wan mentions Anakin having already killed Dooku, Anakin being on special assignment, and he himself is about to depart for Utapau.
Back below Mandalore, a dying clone trooper tells Ahsoka he has to talk to her. He said Maul went through the clones one by one, and then somehow realized that one of the clone troopers was older than the others, and took him prisoner. The action then switches back to Maul, who probes the older clone’s mind searching for any information he can find about Ahsoka. Maul most likely saw a difference in the clone’s mindset, as he’s seen more combat than many newer clones, and fought alongside
Ahsoka, Bo-Katan, and Commander Rex pay a visit to the Prime Minister Almec in the Sundari Prison, seeking to know how Maul plans to escape. This is far from the Prime Minister’s first stint in prison, as he dealt in the black market to maintain Mandalore’s struggling economy during the reign of Duchess Satine Kryze in a previous episode. His dealings led to countless Mandalorian youths being poisoned after a drug that is nutritious when used in small amounts was added in school drink supplies in too high quantities. Bo-Katan asks Almec how Maul planned to escape. The Minister says Maul has no reason to escape. Bo-Katan then asks why Maul wanted Obi-Wan.
To us Star Wars fans, of course, the answer seemed obvious, he wanted to exact revenge on the man who had sliced off his lower half and left him for dead in a garbage pit. Obvious, right? Nope. There’s another reason! Almec says that Maul also wanted another Jedi. Ahsoka asks who that other Jedi is, Almec smirks and says if only he could remember. Bo-Katan prepares to help him remember, and then a pair of shots rip through Almec’s chest area. I was so surprised at first, because I thought Bo-Katan had shot him, and my brain was yelling ‘Bo-Katan?! What in the lower East Side of Corellia do you think you’re doing!?’ Then I realized it was Maul’s commander, Gar Saxon, and the balance of my inner Force was restored. In his dying breaths, Almec says Maul had a vision, and the name came to him; Skywalker. Then he dies.
Meanwhile, Bo-Katan chases Gar Saxon down what we Earth-dwellers would call an elevator shaft, and an epic display of Mandalorian combat takes place. Saxon escapes by shoving Bo-Katan under a lowering lift, and she barely manages to use her jetpack to slow it down, and stop it in time to crawl out from underneath it, and see Saxon fly off into the distance.
Saxon walks into Maul’s temporary headquarters in the sewers, and asks Rook, an elite squad leader, what’s going on, and she replies that Maul just told the syndicate leaders to go into hiding. In holographic form, we can see Ziton Moj (a Falleen male similar in appearance to Prince Xizor from the book, ‘Shadows of the Empire’); a representative of the Pyke Syndicate; and a young Dryden Vos, who is the second-in-command to Maul in the criminal organization Crimson Dawn as seen in the movie ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’. Maul ends the transmission, and addresses his faithful followers gathered around him. He says he once thought Dooku was a fool, but now he realizes they’re the same, always one step behind Sidious. Maul prophesied that soon the galaxy will be remade, and that the Mandalorians will be able to seize power in the ensuing chaos and the Mandalorians cheer for their cherished ruler.
Focusing back on Ahsoka, Rex, and Bo-Katan, we find them observing the clones forced to herd Mandalorian refugees to shelter. Bo-Katan comments gravely that neither she or her people will stand for the occupation much longer. They walk into the throne room, and find Maul making himself at home on the throne that once belonged to the late Satine Kryze, sister of Bo-Katan. Bo-Katan fires at Maul, and he easily deflects the laser bolts with the Force. Then, “as a show of good faith,” he returns the older clone trooper to them. Explosions rock the building and light up the darkening sky outside, and Maul suggests amusingly “Um, one of you might want to deal with that.” Maul’s dialogue is just hilarious in this scene to me. Ahsoka sends Bo-Katan to fend off the attack, but Bo-Katan hesitates, looking at Maul. Upon seeing her hesitation, Maul gives a sigh and says sarcastically, “Don’t stay on my account. We’ll be fine.”
Alone, Maul and Ahsoka observe the battle outside. Maul attempts to sway Ahsoka to his beliefs, saying that they were both tools of greater powers. He says Sidious has been controlling everything since the very beginning, and will soon reveal himself. Ahsoka gently pleads that with his help, the Jedi can destroy Sidious. Maul tells Ahsoka that the Republic has already fallen, the Jedi are just too blind to see it. Maul says the Jedi can’t defeat Sidious, but together, he and Ahsoka can. In a shot reminiscent of the scene in The Last Jedi when Kylo Ren offers Rey his hand for the first time, Maul holds out his hand dramatically. The battle rages on outside, and Maul’s forces are losing. Ahsoka says she will help him– wait, wait, wait, what!?–, but first he must tell her what he wants with her previous Master, Anakin Skywalker. He says Anakin is the key, not to bring balance, but to destroy it, as he has been groomed for a long time to become Maul’s ex-Master’s new apprentice. We of course know that Maul’s master and Darth Sidious are one in the same, but it doesn’t sound like Maul knew that.
Ahsoka refuses to believe him, and whips out her lightsabers once more. They duel, leaping and whirling their sabers. Ahsoka comments that he never would’ve lasted long against Anakin, to which Maul responds that she has Obi-Wan’s arrogance. Personally, I think Ahsoka had more of Anakin’s arrogance.
Outside, Republic reinforcements arrive, and Gar Saxon begs for Maul’s assistance. Maul, having just been kicked out the throne room window by Ahsoka, refuses him, and wishes him an honorable death. Maul climbs into the highest level of the support beams that hold up the dome surrounding Sundari, and Ahsoka follows. One after the other, Maul knocks her lightsabers out of her hands, and he yells that they would have destroyed Sidious together.
Captain Rex sees Ahsoka battling Maul, and arrives with gunships. Maul lunges at Ahsoka, and she moves out of the way, allowing him to fall, then suspends him with the Force. Troopers in the gunships snare Maul with their cables, and Maul screams in anger that they’re all going to die, to be destroyed! Rex stuns him, and the renegade Sith Lord Maul is captured at last.
Wow! Most emotional 20 cinematic minutes of my life. Maul knew! Maul knew about Sidious, about Anakin, he knew what was going to happen! If Ahsoka had confronted Sidious alongside Maul once Palpatine had revealed himself, The Sith may never have had their Revenge! This is absolutely unbelievable. Next week will hold even more surprises, I’m sure. Until then, May The Force Be With You, Always!
Author Bio – Jonathan Marroquin
Hi, my name is Jonathan Marroquin and I am 14 years old. My first memory of Star Wars is seeing a VHS tape and my grandpa explaining that it was a sci-fi movie. I fell in love with it immediately. In the next few days, I watched Star Wars: A New Hope more times than I could count. I like to say Star Wars was my first love, and it’s stayed true to me ever since. A LEGO enthusiast and stop-motion animator, I enjoy writing fan fiction in the Star Wars and Harry Potter universes. I also design LEGO starships both Canonical and Star Wars-inspired in my spare time. May The Force Be With You, Always!