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Review – The Clone Wars: The Final Season – “The Phantom Apprentice”

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' started by SWNN Probe, Apr 24, 2020.

  1. SWNN Probe

    SWNN Probe Seeker

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    [​IMG]

    After last week’s incredible episode raised the bar for what The Clone Wars could be, my expectations going into this week were pretty darn high. I’m always hesitant to set my expectations at such a high level as I usually end up disappointed more often than not, but after “Old Friends Not Forgotten”, Filoni and company more than earned my unfettered excitement.



    I’m happy to say that my excitement going into this week was rewarded and my lofty expectations were simultaneously met and blown away in the same moment. And just like that, all doubt – like all the voices of Alderaan crying in terror – was suddenly silenced, and I’ve never been more excited for this show. It seems that Lucasfilm has managed to capture Force lightning in a bottle with the “Siege of Mandalore” story arc, and I’m filled with an equal measure of excitement and dread as I await the second half, because let’s face it…we know what’s coming.



    While I’m not going to recap the entire plot of the episode in this review, there are some things that I just have to talk about, so if you haven’t watched the episode, stop now. If you want, you can scroll down to the bottom and check out my score, but I strongly recommend that you just stop reading and watch the show if you haven’t as there are some things I’m going to mention that you’ll probably want to experience for yourself. But if you’ve seen the episode and you’re still with us, here’s where the fun begins…





    Spoilers ahead…





    The Siege of Mandalore arc runs alongside Revenge of the Sith.

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    So, we got a pretty good sense of this last week when we saw several Jedi in some very familiar locations from the movie and again when Obi-Wan and Anakin set off to rescue the Chancellor from Grievous, but this week, it’s really starting to set in.

    After Maul evades Ahsoka, she gives an update to Obi-Wan via hologram. Obi-Wan reveals to her that Anakin had just killed Dooku during their mission to rescue the Chancellor and that with the Count dead, capturing Maul would be vital to learning more about the mysterious Darth Sidious.

    He also tells her that he is going to find General Grievous on Utapau and then privately reveals to her that Anakin is on a special assignment to spy on the Chancellor. I sort of imagined that we’d be getting some of this in the finale, but the way this whole arc is playing alongside the movie like Revenge of the Sith 1 ½ is both fascinating and incredibly satisfying.



    Maul goes all Kylo Ren on some clones.

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    Wanting to learn more about the young Jedi woman that was sent to stop him instead of Kenobi, Maul uses the Force to break into the mind of clone trooper Jesse, much like how we see Kylo Ren doing to Poe Dameron and then later attempting to do with Rey in The Force Awakens. And like Kylo Ren, he may never be as strong as Darth Vader, but that doesn’t make his mind flaying any less terrifying.



    Ahsoka almost joins Maul.

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    Maul tells Ahsoka that his surrender to her would mean nothing because the current powers that be, the Republic and the Separatists, were on borrowed time. As a viewer, we learn that Maul was pretty knowledgeable about Sidious’ overall plan to overthrow the Republic and the Jedi, but the sheer scope of it all was surprising, even to him. He says he used to hate Dooku, but he now realizes that they were the same in the end, just tools for Sidious to use in his plan. He asks Ahsoka to help him in stopping the Sith lord, and she very nearly accepts his offer.

    Side Note: I really enjoyed the way Maul reacted when saying Sidious’ name. His breath catching in his throat really conveyed how scared he was of his old master. Sam Witwer killed it in this episode. It’s his best performance as Maul to date.



    Maul warns Ahsoka about Anakin.

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    Initially, Ahsoka agrees to join Maul, until he reveals that his plan had been to lure Kenobi to Mandalore in hopes that his friend Skywalker would come as well. He had dreamed about Anakin and had seen that he was the ultimate key in Sidious’ plan to destroy the Jedi. Maul’s plan was to kill Skywalker and rob Sidious of the most essential piece to his puzzle. However, at this revelation, Ahsoka retracted her offer to help Maul. She just couldn’t believe that Anakin would have any part in such a thing and so she accuses Maul of just wanting her to help him take Sidious’ place.



    Maul prepares for Sidious’ inevitable rise to galactic power and we get a cool Solo: A Star Wars Story cameo.

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    We already know that Maul is the leader of the Shadow Collective, a group of rival crime syndicates working under him as their leader. There is a scene in this episode where he contacts the leaders of the various syndicates via hologram to order them into hiding. The Collective includes some heavy hitters like Black Sun, the Hutts, the Pykes, and now (if you were paying attention a couple of episodes back) Crimson Dawn has joined that list as well. In the hologram scene, we get a glimpse of Crimson Dawn’s leader, Dryden Vos, the main villain from Solo. It’s a blink and you’ll miss moment, but as a big fan of that movie, I was thrilled at seeing him in this episode.



    The Ahsoka vs. Maul fight was choreographed with real people and it shows.

    [​IMG]



    Let’s talk about that lightsaber fight. Although the Sidious vs. Maul and Savage fight might still be my favorite lightsaber battle of the series, there’s no doubt this was the best-looking one hands down. Many fans already know that the original Darth Maul actor, Ray Park, was asked to provide motion capture for Maul’s fight scenes with Ahsoka in this episode, and man did it show.

    The Force-powered characters in The Clone Wars usually move with a birdlike grace and a total lack of gravitational awareness that belies the show’s nature as a cartoon, and I’m totally fine with that. But the way they handled the Maul and Ahsoka fight was really special. It still looked like Clone Wars, but there was a weightiness and physicality there that we haven’t really seen before on the show. I feel like this technique could have easily felt out of place, but to me, it felt just right.

    Though we can usually accept a lack of genuine realism in animation (it hasn’t been a problem so far in the series), the human eye generally knows when something’s real and when it isn’t, especially when it comes to the human body (which is why CGI humans have been notoriously difficult to animate convincingly through the years). But even with the show’s unique animation style, the ferocity and finesse of Park’s performance shines through, and I found myself uttering the same words as Director Krennic when he watched the destruction of Jedha from the comfort of the Death Star – “Oh, it’s beautiful…”



    We’ve already seen everything from the trailers.

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    Perhaps what surprised me the most about this episode was that everything that I remember from the trailers and TV spots has pretty much already been shown in the first half. To me, this is really exciting. I sort of know where we’re going, but I have no idea what’s going to happen on the way there, and I think that is a truly great thing.



    Things are about to get really dark.

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    There’s no other way to say this. Things are about to go down. It’s about to turn really dark, really fast, and even though I know it’s coming, I can’t say I’m prepared for it. I’m excited. I’m sad. I’m terrified. And I’m here for it.



    While “The Phantom Apprentice” may not have pulled as hard on the heart strings as the last episode, the progression of the narrative never let off the gas and the action was just as spectacular. While last week left me with a sense of wonder and excitement, this week I’m left with a sense of dread as I know what lies ahead for Ahsoka. I had assumed going in that everything that happened with Maul in this episode was going to be saved for the series finale, so now that it’s already happened, there can be only one story left to tell. We know Ahsoka survives Sidious’ infamous “Order 66”, but what will be lost in the process and how much of herself will she lose along the way? I guess we’ll find out starting next week in the penultimate episode of The Clone Wars series.


    <p style='text-align: center;']Score: 9.5/10</p>


    The Phantom Apprentice is available to stream now on Disney Plus.





    Click HERE to check out and comment on this topic on our main site
     
    #1 SWNN Probe, Apr 24, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
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  2. ObiWanKnowsMe

    ObiWanKnowsMe Rebel Official

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    Great review! What an amazing episode!! The time of the Empire is upon us....
     
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  3. Rogues1138

    Rogues1138 Crazy Old Wizard

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    JUst let Filoni run LFL already get rid of that old hag... Phantom Apprentice speechless... gonna watch last week's episode and this one back to back like a real Star Wars nerd. Stay healthy and safe fellow Star Wars fans!!! I can't wait till fall for Mando season 2 NOW!!!
     
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  4. cawatrooper

    cawatrooper Dungeon Master

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    WOW, what an episode!

    I love how this one tied in so closely to Episode III. The timeline of that movie is kinda funky, so it's nice to have more canon anchor points that, even if they don't give us hard dates, at least serve as further points of reference.

    This might be the prettiest episode of the show ever. Everything just looked so good- the battle outside looking more like a gritty realistic video game cutscene than a TCW scene, the tracking shots of the lightsaber fight, the explosions outside as seen from the inner Throne Room. SO GOOD.

    And the big twist- Maul would've worked with Ahsoka to take down the Empire. And the logical conclusion we can draw from that- he was expecting Kenobi.

    Would Maul have really worked with Kenobi to overthrow Sidious? Would Kenobi have sensed the danger as well and accepted? What on earth would the galaxy have looked like if that was the case?

    And perhaps most pressing of all- how much (if at all) is Ahsoka guilty of Order 66? She isn't explicitly told about it, but she came really close to unraveling the truth from Maul. Not that she's "guilty" in a traditional sense, but does she feel that guilt?

    Dang... I expected this episode to be good, but not so thought provoking!
     
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  5. Grand Master Galen Marek

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    Great review & great episode indeed, I'm watching my 6th viewing & my favorite gif upload is
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Andrew Waples

    Andrew Waples Jedi General

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    [​IMG]

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    Same energy, best moment in the series!

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    This Maclunkey shot! A lot of TLJ vibes here.
     
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  7. Rogues1138

    Rogues1138 Crazy Old Wizard

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    It's all coming together nicely... hehe...(emperor) After watching TROS, it would have been cool if Palpy healed Anakin a bit on Mustafar when he found him after OB1 defeated him.
     
  8. Embo and His Pet Anooba

    Embo and His Pet Anooba Force Sensitive

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    Holy holy holy holy holy S H I T THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!! AND THAT DUEL! HAHAHA! IM PSYCHED FOR ANOTHER EPISODE!
     
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  9. Jayardia

    Jayardia Rebel Official

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    Yep!!!

    Ok, — so, ...I’m pretty much *vomiting with joy overload* from this episode. ...This isn’t “kind of” what I was hoping for from this series finale—- it is/was EXACTLY what I’ve hoping for...

    I’ll leave it at that for now, but... I have so much I want to talk about with you folks... (but I’m working atm)... later!!!
     
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  10. Mando LXXXV

    Mando LXXXV Rebel General

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    Maul is so awesome and Ray Park still have moves!
     
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  11. Stu Rocket

    Stu Rocket Rebel General

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    Loved the whole episode.
    But the lightsaber duel was just awesome. In my top 5 duels on film and tv.
     
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  12. Apprentice of the Wills

    Apprentice of the Wills Rebel Commander

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    Beautiful episode. I love how they write Maul. He has become very much a Shakespearean character resembling Hamlet with his moody monologues, and wily schemes. You can tell this arc is where they put everything they had. If they had the time, resources, and passion to do this quality of work for more of the series, I think we'd all welcome that wholeheartedly.

    We have one more thing from the trailers to see. We haven't seen Order 66 and Maul's escape on the Venator yet. If that is in episode 3 of 4, 4 will be about Rex and Ahsoka watching everything they have fought for burn to the ground.
     
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  13. The dinh

    The dinh Rebelscum

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    I will miss this show.
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. The Last Jorgny

    The Last Jorgny Rebel Official

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    I literally can't believe how great these last two episodes have been. I have never been much of a Clone Wars-fan, but always had respect for what they were trying to do with Anakin, Obi Wan and Ashoka in the years between AoTC and RoTS, and fleshing out the actual war in the time period. I rewatched some of the highlights of the previous seasons last week, and now I am all caught up on season 7. Episodes 9 and 10 were way more engaging than I expected. Happy to see the show get a good final season. I see now that the show really deserved it. Can't wait to see the rest.
     
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  15. Jayardia

    Jayardia Rebel Official

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    It was extremely satisfying to watch two of my favourite characters become more and more thoroughly “fleshed out” on screen— especially in conjunction with one another, contrasted and compared... it’s utterly bringing out goosebumps of joy.

    These last episodes... They’re absolutely beautiful. This is precisely the writing I’ve been hoping for from Filoni— and it’s absolutely firing on all cylinders.

    The notion that Maul draws out Ahsoka’s base story from Jesse’s mind... that he so fervently wants to know who she is, -what drives her, -especially why she has become his unexpected, fated adversary at this foreseen, peak culminating moment... (The delivery of that: “Why are you here?” -line from the previous episode was pure, deliciously-acidic “Witwer/Maul”. —LOVED that! ...It’s good. ...Just SO very good.

    -
    By the way, -I have a vague thought/question that I wonder if you folks can help me with: The significance of the Ahsoka’s newly gifted lightsabers— Anakin made them for her, they’re blue, not green... because (?) -that’s the colour of Khyber(so?) crystal that Anakin draws out. Thus, (retrospectively) -those lightsabers hold a fair amount of “the good Anakin” ...before he begins a quick, steep slide into “Sith-ery”. And if Ahsoka ends up burying them as we expect her to at the end of all this, that’s going to add EVEN MORE pathos to what promises to be a fairly heavy emotional ending of this series. ...Would you say that is accurate? — If so, it also adds (more) weight to the massive shift ahead for Ahsoka’s new life...

    I’m so... impressed -that I can feel so much for this character, and how exquisitely she has been developed. So much appreciation to all those many folks who brought her to “life”, (and continue to do so), and to the other fans whose same appreciation has inspired those involved to do it all so incredibly well.

    Really great stuff!

    (ahsoka)

    :rolleyes:
     
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  16. Xeven

    Xeven Rebel Official

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    We need to petition Disney. Total ridiculous this has not happened.
     
  17. deadmanwalkin009

    deadmanwalkin009 Rebel Official

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    He needs to produce a major block buster first before giving him the keys to a 4 billion dollar IP. There's a reason why George didn't make him in charge of LucasFilm.
     
  18. Oliver Hodges

    Oliver Hodges Clone Trooper

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    I loved this episode. I appreciate the loving detail the characters have been recreated in. Also those helmets are dope.
     
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