Max continues his review of The Clone Wars in Season 7.10 – “The Phantom Apprentice”
First off I have to say that I adore the title of this episode, The Phantom Apprentice. Just as The Phantom Menace featured a villain who wasn’t the true source of the threat, Ahsoka is not a true Jedi apprentice and now is just a Togruta girl who happens to swing 2 laser swords. The episode starts out exactly where it left off and it is very cool to see that’s Disney is treating this as a 4 part “movie” finale to the series as a whole.
The Clone Wars logo is appropriately red to celebrate Maul. Maul is an oily, creepy snake and what he reveals to Ahsoka is just as shocking as seeing him as the leader of Crimson Dawn in Solo. Mimicking The Phantom Menace formula, Ahsoka briefly engages Maul in the sewers, but the duel is ended prematurely and will be picked up epically later in the episode. Maul’s motives and revelations are based around his old master, whom he sees in a vision ending the Republic and seizing power. He even namedrops him as Sidious but strangely does not reveal him to be Chancellor Palpatine. Very weird but perhaps he is too afraid? Maul wanted to lure Kenobi and Skywalker to Mandalore so he could kill Skywalker as he also correctly foresees him becoming Sidious’s new apprentice. He shares this news with Ahsoka and wants her to join him so they can stop the impending future from happening. Maul appeals to Ahsoka’s past as he claims they were both cast aside by their respective Orders but Ahsoka refuses to believe Anakin would turn to the dark side.
The battle between Gar Saxon’s Mandalorian army and the Army of the Republic was underwhelming and the second lightsaber duel between Maul and Ahsoka was very interesting in the fact that both combatants are very acrobatic and engage in some impressive moves. Ahsoka has become extremely skilled and even though Maul has a slight edge in ability, Ahsoka is creative in battle and often outfoxes Maul. What really made me love this episode was how their duel moved from the Mandalore throne room, out the freakin’ window, and onto the exceptionally precarious building beams that could only have been balanced on by the use of the Force.
Seriously. As someone terrified of heights, I was on the edge of my seat watching the two teeter on these thin metal rungs high above Sundari as they fought. The only thing I found unsettling about this episode is how quickly it moved through the events of Revenge of the Sith. I always assumed that the start of ROTS to the end was several weeks in length. Unless there is a noted time gap from the end of this episode to the next; it would appear that Order 66 occurred only several days after Anakin killed Count Dooku. I certainly hope this isn’t the case and what I have prepared in the worst-case scenario is a half-baked theory that time moves differently in vastly different parts of a galaxy.
The Clone Wars feels longer than 3 years because it WAS longer – from a Certain Point of view. The backup I have for this temporal theory is the seemingly inordinate amount of time that Han took to limp to Bespin while Luke trained with Yoda in Empire. There is even a reference to time-bending in The Last Jedi where Luke felt he was on Ahch-To much longer than he thought. We don’t know (and may never know) how time behaves in different parts of an enormous space like a galaxy, and all we currently know is that time dilation exists and gravitational spine affects time. This may be a huge deviation from the meat and potatoes of the episode, but I’ve been waiting to crack this but for some time.
Regardless, with the amazing revelations and unorthodox duel, I could not give this episode a higher grade if I tried. Although the battle between the Mandalorians and Republic was a little disappointing, it was just such a good episode and a must-watch for fans of the Skywalker Saga and Star Wars in general. A+
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is streaming now exclusively on Disney+
The Future of the Force. The future of pop culture writing.
Max Nocerino is a new addition to the Future of the Force roster. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter @MaxN2100 where he channels his passion frequently!