Review: Star Wars Rebels S02E18 – “Shroud of Darkness”

By March 3, 2016

On this week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels, the Inquisitors continue to be a pain in the neck, the team seeks the help of a familiar ally, and Force quests for everyone! Let’s take a look back at “Shroud of Darkness!”

Now this is what I’m talking about! Look, I’ve enjoyed most of the episodes in this second half of season two. We got to see Leia. We learned a little bit more about Hera and her backstory. We even got a Zeb and Kallus episode that gave us more than I was expecting. But this, is what I’ve been waiting for. This is episode brought everything back together. Ahsoka was made her return as did the Inquisitors. There was the return to the Jedi temple on Lothal which primed with three visions for Kanan, Ezra and Ahsoka. Not to mention appearances from two classic Star Wars characters!

This episode jumps right into the action with Kanan and Ezra locked into battle with Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister (I want to know the history of those names). And what a battle it was! Ezra was going toe-to-toe with both of them. He even was able to help Kanan out when Seventh Sister sent one of her little pet droids after him. We also saw once again Ezra’s connection with animals. He was able to summon those massive creatures to come and help them out when they needed an escape.

My only complaint about that opening (and probably of the whole episode) was that it opened mid-battle with no build up to it. We learned that Kanan and Ezra were scouting planets for new Rebel bases and that they kept running into those two Inquisitors at every turn. The only thing is that we haven’t seen them run into the Inquisitors for a while so to just have Kanan and Ezra be in mid-battle with them was a little surprising. I would like to have seen more of a lead in into that confrontation. However, that would have taken precious episode time and we wouldn’t have gotten as much of the awesomeness that we did later in the episode.

Kanan and Ezra are looking for ways to effectively combat the Inquisitors and avoid their detection because it appears that are being tracked in some way. Kanan’s solution, ask Ahsoka Tano for some assistance. Yes, please! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Ahsoka grew to become my favorite character of The Clone Wars so anytime that she shows up in Rebels I am overjoyed. With Ahsoka onboard and going on a Jedi quest with Kanan and Ezra, I knew that this episode was going to be very light on Zeb, Sabine and Hera but I was okay with that. I love when we see them all together as a team but I’ve been craving some Jedi goodness for a while so if some characters had to sacrifice some screen time this episode then fine by me.

Ahsoka, Ezra and Kanan are often to visit the hidden Jedi temple on Lothal that we discovered way back in season one (I totally forgot about that!). But before we arrive, I’ve got to talk about that scene between Ahoska and Ezra where they discussed Anakin. It was so good to hear Matt Lanter’s Anakin Skywalker again! That characterization of Anakin that we were given in The Clone Wars was the best pre-Darth Vader Anakin that we have ever gotten so seeing and hearing him one more time was more than welcome. Ahsoka was in deep mediation either remembering the past or trying to make sense of what she had felt earlier in the season when Vader was present. We also learn that Ezra has been watching this teaching hologram to assist with his lightsaber training. Ahoska remises about her master and how kind and strong he was. They even discuss Master Yoda and great weight that she believed that he felt with each passing moment of The Clone Wars.

Once the three of them reach Lothal, Kanan and Ezra open the temple revealing a completely new entrance to the one that they had used before. Upon entering they decided to meditate together in hopes of finding the answers that they seek. Each of them experience something completely different that puts them on the necessary path.

A door is revealed to Kanan where enters what appears to be a Jedi training room that is very reminiscent of a dojo where he comes face to face with Jedi temple guard. The guard warns him that the Empire is growing stronger and that his rebellion will fail and arguably more importantly that Ezra will fall to the Dark Side as it has begun calling to him. The guard demand that Kanan step aside to allow him to take care of Ezra before it is too late. Kanan, refusing, engages in combat with the guard.

During the combat Kanan pulls another lightsaber from the wall, a red lightsaber. Wielding both a blue and a red lightsaber he continues his battle with the guard as two others appear. I’m not sure exactly what the symbolism of him wielding the red and blue lightsabers are but you know it has to mean something. Perhaps it’s a representation of the balance of the Light and Dark Side of the force. Maybe it represents the temptation to the Dark Side but I have to think there was some meaning behind that. I wasn’t a coincidence that it was red.

The temple guards were exclaiming that Kanan was never going to be strong enough to protect Ezra and that he must perish for his failure. This was Kanan’s final test. He accepted that he has done all that he can and that he can’t protect Ezra forever. This admittance was the answer the guard sought, so instead of striking Kanan down he ordained Kanan as a Knight of the Jedi Order. Kanan Jarrus is now a Jedi Knight! We also learn that the temple guard was actually the Grand Inquisitor who at one time was also a Jedi Knight! What?! That was quite the reveal. Now, I don’t think that was the actual Grand Inquisitor as it was most likely a physical manifestation of the Force that led Kanan on his journey. But that doesn’t make what happened or what was revealed any less real.

Ezra’s vision brings him face to face with Yoda. Not a Force Ghost Yoda but the actual Yoda as he is still alive in this timeline. It was so good to hear Frank Oz’s voice again and hearing the Yoda theme throughout the episode gave be chills. Yoda shares with Ezra something that we have seen happen throughout the progression of the series, his abilities are growing as is the danger surrounding him and his rebel friends. Yoda conveys his regret that the Jedi joined the Clone War too swiftly and that the Order was consumed by the Dark Side. He admitted his fear during the war and that it was a lifelong challenge to not let that fear bend into anger.  Yoda’s final message to Ezra was that he must locate Malachor, which we learn from Ahsoka later that Malachor is a place not a person.

The final vision, Ahsoka’s vision, was powerful and very emotional. She hears Anakin’s voice and it’s full of disappointment, anger and sadness. We got raw emotion out of Ahsoka as Anakin kept questioning her bring her down, “Why did you leave?…You were selfish… You’ve abandoned me…You’ve failed me.” Then there was the image of Anakin transforming into Vader and standing behind Ahoska. The tears in her eyes as she realized at what Anakin had become and the sadness that she conveyed was an extremely emotional moment. I felt it myself. Ashley Eckstein’s performance was superb. You felt the heartbreak within her. Now, initially I thought that Ahsoka didn’t know up until this point that Darth Vader was Anakin but the more I think about it I wonder if she had been fighting that thought ever since she connected with Vader back in the premier and this was the confirmation that she did not want. Or it could have very well been the moment she learned the truth. One thing I know for sure, I am not ready for that confrontation. I already know I’m going to be an emotional wreck.

Their Force journeys are cut short by the arrival of Fifth Brother and Seventh Sister. With the assistance of the Temple Guards, Ahoska, Kanan and Ezra are able to escape the temple as the Guards distract the two Inquisitors. That was also a nice moment when Ahsoka looked back and saw Yoda.

The final scene of the episode was great. Vader is back and he is pleased with the discovery of this Jedi Temple. I’m curious to what plans he and the Emperor have for it or if they will just destroy it altogether. There’s got to be some valuable information somewhere in that temple.

This was a fantastic episode! I just wish they were a little longer. It’s times like these I miss the 2 to 4 episode story arc format of The Clone Wars. That format really allowed you to get more story and really delve into the characters and explore the world. Granted you then have to wait a few weeks to get the completion of a particular story but I would have loved to have seen a little more. I can’t wait for these final episodes!

Star Wars Rebels airs on Wednesday nights on Disney XD.

Make sure to check back for all you Star Wars Rebels updates – right here at GeekNation!

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Christopher Skalicky
Chris, a film and television junkie, grew up on Star Wars, all things Disney, Stargate SG-1 and a healthy dose of John Wayne. When not thinking about movies he is busy being an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. He will also argue that Surf Ninjas is the greatest movie about surfing ninjas ever made. Tweet him at @Schlick51