Check out Our Review [WITH SPOILERS] of Star Wars Rebels Episode 16: “Shroud of Darkness.”
There is a darkness brewing in Star Wars Rebels and only one thing can stop it… lightsaber battles. Like… a whole bunch of them. I mean, if you didn’t watch last night’s episode, you missed a plethora of pretty amazing lightsaber fights on top of what could have been the best episode of season 2.
“Shroud Of Darkness” was a Force-heavy episode following the continuing Jedi adventures of Kanan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger and (don’t call her a Jedi) Ahsoka Tano. Kanan and Ezra kicked off the episode with a tag team lightsaber duel against a pair of Inquisitors (a heavy presence in this episode); they were only able to escape when Ezra tapped into the Force and had giant flying manta-rays come to the rescue (Rebels has had quite the aquatic feel this season… first Space Whales and now soaring Mantarays). When they met up with Ashoka, the trio made a return visit to Lothal to enter the Jedi temple we first saw in season one.
Once we finally get inside the temple, things begin to pick up; each Force-wielder finding their own path… and all coming to the same conclusion. A darkness is coming.
No one had a better vision than Kanan. Entering a Jedi dojo, Kanan encounters a Temple Guard (or just a Sentinel) who gives him a warning (that seems very familiar): his Padawan (Ezra) is flirting with the Dark Side. It has a very Anakin Skywaker vibe going on here. When the Sentinel says Ezra needs to be destroyed, Kanan does what any master would do… and fights to protect his protégé. That’s right… ANOTHER LIGHTSABER BATTLE!!!
The action in “Shroud of Darkness” was non-stop. The entire episode had a blink-and-miss-it feel, and the action scene between Kanan and The Temple Guard was no different. We had yellow lightsabers (they exist?) clashing with blue ones… with red ones making appearances. Multiple Temple Guards emerged to stack the deck against Kanan, who refused to back down and would fight to the death to protect Ezra. That sacrifice meant he passed this apparent test, and was granted the level of Jedi Knight by the lead Guard, who unveiled himself to be… The Grand Inquisitor!
Learning the Grand Inquisitor was once a Jedi was a startling reveal. Ahsoka learning Darth Vader’s true identity was just as monumental for her character.
Anakin Skywalker’s fingerprints were all over “Shroud of Darkness”. We saw Ahsoka and Ezra watch a holovid of Anakin Skywalker before he became more machine than man. Ezra even talked about how amazing he was (uh, oh… he’s a fanboy. Is this the beginning of the Knights of Ren?). When Ahsoka’s vision came to light, he was talking with her former master… who fully revealed himself to have been corrupted and transformed into Darth Vader. You could see the terror of the former Jedi-in-training, who clearly feared she let down her master.
And how we move to Ezra. For his vision, he encountered a familiar face… Yoda. Yoda actually appeared this season (as opposed to just being a voice previously), meaning the Master Jedi may just be getting a grip on what it takes to become a Force ghost. Sitting on a log… probably in Dagobah (his appearance had a real Rainbow Connection feel to it)… Yoda warned young Ezra of the obstacles he’ll face on his path to becoming a Jedi. He also gave him advice to what to search for next: Malachor.
All three visions are interrupted by the two Inquisitors, but our trio of heroes are able to escape when the Temple Guards – led by the reformed Grand Inquisitor – create a distraction. At least I think that’s what they did. If you watch it again, it looks like the guards combine to create a beam of light destroying the Inquisitors. Only once did Darth Vader make an appearance to inspect the temple, and what he found were two Inquisitors looking as healthy as could be. I guess the power of Force ghosts/temple guard ghosts needs to be better defined. Or I need to stop questioning moments in what is supposed to be a show for kids.
So where do we go from here? Ahsoka realized Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader. Will she try to kill him? Kanan is officially a Jedi Knight. Will he embrace his role as the Rebels version of Obi-Wan Kenobi? Will Ezra embrace the Dark Side like so many before him, or is he the founding member of the Knights of Ren? Most importantly… what is Malachor?
We know from Kanan that it is a place, a hellish wasteland according to its Star Wars wikipedia page. A “Great Scourge of Malachor” was mentioned in The Force Awakens, meaning this could be the first definitive storyline that Star Wars Rebels has which leads directly into the new trilogy. If that’s the case, then make sure you are tuned in next week to see how Malachor plays into the Star Wars Universe.