Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Star Wars Rebels episode “Shroud of Darkness.” Jump into hyperspace and away from this page if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
With Ahsoka Tano in the picture and Darth Vader looming in the background, it was only a matter of time before season two of Star Wars Rebels started to explore the relationship between the two. “Shroud of Darkness” saw Kanan, Ahsoka, and Ezra visit the Jedi Temple on Lothal for answers. They each faced something different while there, and it led to Ahsoka experiencing an inevitable moment of truth.
The trip to the Temple was spurred by desperation. The Ghost crew has been scouting for the right location for a base for the Rebellion, but their every move has been tracked by the Inquisitors, giving the impression it’s been a recurring problem. When they escaped from the latest skirmish with the Seventh Sister and Fifth Brother, Ezra used his connections with animals to get them out. Communing with creatures seems to be his Force specialty, and I like seeing it showcased.
Before leaving for the Temple, Ahsoka got a chance to talk about the past with Ezra. The youth had a hologram recording showing Anakin demonstrating lightsaber skills. It makes sense that the Order would have their version of YouTube how-to videos for Padawans. Having a library of recordings likely made teaching on-the-go easier and was probably especially important during the Clone Wars when so many Jedi were out in the galaxy fighting. The key and heartbreaking part, however, was hearing Ahsoka talk about how kind Anakin was and how he cared deeply about his friends.
She also mentioned the last time she saw Anakin. As far as what we saw, it was when she walked away from the Order at the end of season five of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But it turns out that wasn’t the final time—and rightly so. The two were so close I had a hard time imagining her cutting ties with Anakin in that way so completely. Apparently, she also saw him when he was rushing to save the Chancellor (meaning Palpatine). I’m guessing this was when Mace Windu and co. went to arrest Palpatine and things went awry. Did Anakin talk with Ahsoka about his concerns regarding the Jedi? She’d certainly be an understanding ear. Did she know about his nightmares regarding Padmé? Did they catch up at Dex’s Diner and have Jawa Juice? The possibilities, guys.
And that only scratches the surface. This episode went into deep, mythical territory. Kanan, Ezra, and Ahsoka arrived at the Temple and meditated in hopes of triggering an appearance from Yoda—Ezra being the one who saw him. He could only hear the elderly Jedi Master last time, but this go-around Yoda appeared to him, because Ezra has become stronger (which ties into how much more clear/solid Obi-Wan’s Force ghost became to Luke over time in the original trilogy). Luke only heard Obi-Wan at first in A New Hope, but by the end of Return of the Jedi, when Luke was more powerful, Obi-Wan looked almost like a non-ghost person.
Ezra faced a Yoda who’s weighed down by the scars of the Clone Wars and the Jedi Order’s role in the downfall of the galaxy. When Ezra asked how to destroy Darth Vader, Yoda advised caution. He said the Jedi were consumed by the dark side during the Clone Wars and correlated their fall to them joining the violence rather than stopping it. Ezra couldn’t see another way except fighting, and Yoda seemed disappointed by Ezra’s decision. Still, he told Ezra finding Malachor would help.
Now, Malachor has been mentioned a few times in Star Wars canon. Most recently, it came up in Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary. The book describes how Kylo Ren’s lightsaber is an ancient design, “dating back thousands of years to the Great Scourge of Malachor.” Given how Ezra was seen holding a tri-blade lightsaber in a season two trailer, I’m guessing they’ll eventually make it there.
But for now, they’re still on Lothal. Kanan encountered an unexpected trial in the Temple—a host of Jedi Temple Guards—and one in particular played upon his insecurities. He told Kanan the dark side calls to Ezra and more or less said Kanan couldn’t do anything to stop it. The guard threatened Ezra, so of course Kanan stood up against him, despite the odds. He admitted he couldn’t fight forever—not the guards or for Ezra’s path—but that he could try his best to train Ezra.
When Kanan accepted the possibility of failure, the guard dubbed Kanan a Jedi Knight. Turns out it was an actual trial. And surprise: the guard revealed himself to be the Grand Inquisitor (Jason Isaacs returned to perform the voice)! Dave Filoni mentioned once we’d seen the Inquisitor in The Clone Wars, and now I wonder if we saw him at the Temple on Coruscant at some point, since the Inquisitor said he used to be a knight of the Jedi Order. Yep.
And then there was Ahsoka. While this wasn’t about her encounter with Darth Vader—which has to be coming—it was about her learning the truth about Vader’s identity. Her meditation brought her a vision of Anakin Skywalker (it was so nice to hear Matt Lanter’s voice again, by the way); he laid a guilt trip like none other on Ahsoka for leaving. It was painful. The actual Anakin wouldn’t have said anything like this, but I have often wondered whether Ahsoka could have made a difference in his path if she remained with the Jedi Order.
Though the vision revealed what Anakin had become to Ahsoka, I think she was maybe aware of Vader on a subconscious level after the first episode of season two and carried guilt. The words Anakin spoke to her were rooted in her fears and worries. Now that she knows for sure who he is, she has to act. I’m so not ready for it. At all.
I’m glad Ahsoka’s revelation was a quiet, personal moment. Ashley Eckstein nailed Ahsoka’s guttural scream when the truth hit her—the perfect mix of horror and despair. It’s making me tear up just thinking about it, but I know have stronger Ahsoka feelings than most. I would have liked to see her interact with Yoda, but that nod at the end along with “Ahsoka’s Theme” was enough.
Oh! I nearly forgot. Ahsoka told Ezra and Kanan she was no longer a Jedi. I took it as a given since she seems to follow her own path, but I liked hearing it spelled out.
One more quick, silly thing: In the beginning of the episode when Kanan and Ezra were in trouble, they called for Chopper. The droid didn’t respond, and Ezra casually mentioned Chopper could be ignoring them. That’s so Chopper (PS: how about a spinoff called “That’s So Chopper!”?), and I like being reminded of the droid’s unpredictable and usually taciturn personality.
- “I don’t go for crazy… anymore.” – Kanan
- “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t do anything you would do.” – Kanan
- “How Jedi choose to win, the question is.” – Yoda
IMAGES: Disney XD