As a television show, The Clone Wars was strong in so many aspects. Yet one of its greatest attributes was how much more information it gave us about the Force, be it through Mortis, the Jedi, or the Nightsisters. In universe, it seemed that the shifting of power from Jedi to Sith opened up avenues for different groups to reassert themselves.
In the same manner, Maul is currently trying to reassert himself in Star Wars: Rebels. In the most recent episode, “Visions and Voices,” we see that Maul has gone back to his roots on Dathomir in order to refocus his life’s mission. But, as is often the case in our lives, it takes a human connection in order to do so. This episode focuses largely on said connections, from Maul to Ezra and beyond.
It begins with the connection between Maul and Ezra. We see a new facet of that relationship as Maul calls out to Ezra via the Force, much like Vader to Luke. When Vader did this, Luke was first starting to feel the darkness in himself. Ergo, Mail’s ability to call out to Ezra show us that, despite the last few episodes, Ezra is still having an internal battle with his own darkness.
This connection between Maul and Ezra is the epitome of a toxic relationship. A toxic relationship, as defined by Healthscope Magazine, is “a relationship characterized by behaviors on the part of the toxic partner that are emotionally and, not infrequently, physically damaging to their partner.” Maul is definitely this way toward Ezra in that he tries to manipulate “his apprentice” to his own gain, not truly caring what happens to Ezra or the people he cares for.
Juxtaposed to that is Ezra’s relationship with Kanan. At the same time Maul is trying harder and harder to hold on to Ezra and shape him in a very particular way, Kanan is letting go and trusting Kanan. Certainly he has not let go completely (he does attach a tracking device to him), but it seems that Kanan is more willing to let Ezra make his own mistakes and deal with the consequences as they come.
Often in life, the relationships we invest in are the ones that shape us. Studies have shown that we are most like the five people we spend the most time with; the Ghost crew has been those people so far for Ezra. But as Maul has creep ed more and more into his life, we have seen his poison toxify Ezra’s mind and heart. What will come of this, as with most things, time will only tell. The fate of the Force, the Rebellion, and most personally the Ghost family, may be on the line.