Ever since Darth Maul took center stage in the most recent Clone Wars arc, we've been waiting for Chancellor Palpatine to step out of the shadows and school Maul as Darth Sidious. Finally, Palpatine has arrived to enforce the Rule of Two, while Obi-Wan Kenobi decides to take a page from Anakin's playbook. S
As always, spoilers ahead.
Now that Darth Maul has killed Pre Vizsla and installed his own puppet prime minister for Mandalore, Bo-Katan decides it's time ally herself with Duchess Satine, helping Satine's loyalist spring the duchess from prison. At first, Satine is suspicious, but softens when Bo-Katan notes that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
"We weren't always enemies," Satine says cryptically. "Perhaps that time has come again."
But when the loyalists try to move Satine from the prison, they're set upon by the soldiers who are now pledged to Darth Maul and Prime Minister Almec. Before she's recaptured, Satine sends a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi (and comes just shy of saying, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."), outlining the broad strokes of the situation on Mandalore, but she makes no mention of Darth Maul. The Jedi agree that since Mandalore is a neutral system and Death Watch is no longer affiliated with the Separatists, there can be no official action from the Jedi. Maul for his part, understands this, telling Almec that if Kenobi comes, it will be alone.
And Kenobi does come alone. He's a bit in love with Satine, and asks himself, "What would Anakin do?" He disguises himself as a Mandalorian guard and reenacts (preenacts?) Luke Skywalker's rescue of Leia, albeit with less snark.
Their escape does not go smoothly, however. They are shot at by the Mandalorian guards (these must not be Death Watch members; their aim is as terrible as a Stormtrooper's), and they are eventually forced to evacuate their ship, which explodes as they flee. Maul and Savage appear on the scene and capture both Kenobi and Satine.
Although Kenobi did hightail it to Mandalore all by himself with a half-baked plan, the next scene reveals just how unlike Anakin Kenobi ultimately is. Maul taunts Kenobi, Force-choking Satine and encouraging him to feel the fear and hate that would turn him to the Dark Side. Where Anakin would be angry and impulsive, Obi-Wan remains calm, instead attempting to sympathize with Maul, reminding Maul that he had no choice in joining the Dark Side. Maul, enraged by by Kenobi's pity, fatally
tightens his Force grip on Satine's windpipe stabs Satine with Pre Vizsla's darksaber. She dies in Kenobi's arms, telling him that she has always loved him and always will. Obi-Wan takes Maul's legs, Maul takes his love.
Savage wants to kill Kenobi, but Maul wants him to stew in his grief and has him imprisoned instead.
Cut to Palpatine, who does not look like a happy man.
During Kenobi's transfer from the prison, Bo-Katan and her crew rescue Kenobi. While they're battling their way to the escape ship, Obi-Wan realizes why Bo-Katan allied herself with Satine; she's Satine's sister. That's one family dinner I'd love to see.
Meanwhile, Palpatine arrives on Mandalore, and Maul gets to paraphrase the original trilogy line, "I sense a presence...a presence I haven't felt since..." He raises his head in shock and fear, "Master!" Suddenly, the Mandalorian guards find themselves pulled into the air and stuck against the walls, and Palpatine strolls in, hooded in full Darth Sidious mode. Maul, despite all of his words about being the master of the Sith, immediately kneels. "I'm impressed to see you've survived your injuries," Palpatine tells him coolly. Maul tells him that he built all this, took control of Mandalore and the Shadow Collective, in hopes of returning to Palpatine's side. But Palpatine isn't stupid. Eying Savage, he tells Maul, "You have become a rival!" And with a single gesture, he throws both brothers against the throne room windows and laughs. Thus begins the grand battle pitting Savage and Maul against Darth Sidious.
The brothers put up a valiant fight, but of course, they can't match Palpatine, who disables Maul and kills Savage. As Savage dies (no one dies quickly in this episode; everyone gets last words), he tells Maul that he was an unworthy apprentice. "There can be only two," Palpatine reminds Maul, "and you are no longer my apprentice. You have been replaced!" And they duel, Palpatine's two lightsabers to Maul's single blade and Pre Vizsla's sword. But it is with his Force powers that Palpatine finally defeats Maul, tossing him around before blasting him with Force lightning. Maul begs for mercy. "Don't worry," Palpatine laughs. "I'm not going to kill you. I have other uses for you." And then continues with the Force lightning. That, kids, is why you don't cross Darth Sidious.
Also, following yesterday's episode, the Clone Wars cast and crew held a panel in Google Hangouts. They debrief a bit on the last arc and tease what's ahead, and Sam Witwer talks a great deal about his experience playing Darth Maul.