This week’s The Clone Wars episode title, “Together Again,” is less about Ahsoka Tano reuniting with the Martez sisters after a harrowing battle with the Pyke Crime Syndicate and more about Tano’s mounting dread regarding the possibility that she could fall back in line with the Jedi. After all, Tano and the Martezes have barely been apart during their four-episode arc, struggling to free themselves from shackles and incessantly reevaluating their antagonistic friendship. In a cold galaxy where scraps of food, let alone spendable credits, are hard to come by, the three only have each other. Is that enough?
It’s taken a few stops and starts, but the gang finally manages to bust themselves loose. What’s different in this episode compared to the previous three? Tano has no choice but to reveal her connection with the Force. She convinces the Pyke crime boss Marg Krim to release Trace and Raffa from their bonds so that they can retrieve the spice he so desperately craves (even though we know Trace dumped the cargo in hyperspace). While the sisters attempt their own rescue operation for Tano, the exiled Jedi uses her skills to sneak out of her cell and slink about the Pyke base of operations.
As she plants explosive charges throughout the compound, Tano stumbles upon Krim communicating with his boss. Yep, in Star Wars, everyone has to answer to someone, and the scary figure pulling the Pykes’ strings is the creep we postulated last week: Darth Maul…or just Maul, these days. The one-time Sith apprentice to Darth Sidious struck out on his own after he plummeted in pieces at the end of The Phantom Menace, and he’s built an empire with a small “e” called the Shadow Collective, and as we learned in Solo: A Star Wars Story (which takes place nearly a decade after The Clone Wars), the Crimson Dawn is a splinter cell offshoot.
Cast aside by the Emperor and replaced by Count Dooku, Maul is having his revenge by way of the Shadow Collective. Along with the Pyke Crime Syndicate, he’s also rallied the Hutt clans, the Nightbrothers, Black Sun, and the Mandalorian Death Watch under his criminal organization. The end goal being a horde of scum and villainy to rival that of Sidious’ group and bring about the destruction of the Galactic Republic on his terms.
The last time we saw Maul in The Clone Wars (Season 5’s “The Lawless”), he and his brother, Savage Opress, attempted to duel Sidious two-on-one. They failed, and Opress lost his life. Maul begged Sidious for mercy, but the jackal cackled, taking immense pleasure in torturing him with Force lightning. He told Maul he was a loser, but he still had plans for him.
What happened between then and now? You need to read the Marvel Comics series Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir to get all the details, but basically, Maul escaped Sidious’ clutches through the aid of his Mandalorian loyalists. He sought guidance from the spirit of Mother Talzin, revealed to be Maul’s biological mother, who encouraged him to raise an army using his Shadow Collective.
At the end of “Together Again,” Tano is approached by Bo-Katan Kryze, seen sneaking around in last week’s episode, and she requests the former Jedi’s aid in dethroning Maul from his seat on Mandalore. Tano expresses concern in joining their holy war. Maul is evil and needs to meet justice, but Tano worries that taking this path will lead her back to the warrior monks she was trying to flee after the events of Season 5.
While the Martez sisters are incredibly forgiving of Tano’s deception, which is odd considering how they rightfully blamed the Jedi for the death of their parents, Tano herself has contracted their disgust for the Jedi. Understandable. They turned their backs on her, so she returned the favor. Also, we have the added knowledge that they’re a bunch of punks unknowingly operating for the Emperor with every Clone Wars victory. Tano no longer trusts the Jedi Order, nor should she.
Yet, Darth Maul cannot stand supreme on Mandalore. As Tano could not stand idly by while the Martez sisters fumbled their way into dealings with the Pykes, Tano cannot allow Bo-Katan to wage war against Maul alone. She agrees to join forces with her Mandalorian shock troops, and they leave Coruscant to begin their siege as well as the final four episodes of the final season of The Clone Wars. Tano may want to keep her distance from Anakin Skywalker, but she will most certainly cross his path during these next four weeks.
Maul’s end is coming, but not until Rebels, when he meets oblivion on the tip of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s blade. So, the tension surrounding his victory on Mandalore is minimal. The goon has got to go. The final tension of The Clone Wars rests with Tano and her relationship with Anakin, and the coming of Darth Vader. They, too, will have their duel in Rebels, but the ultimate question of The Clone Wars circles around how Tano will resolve her feelings toward the Order that raised her, and the Jedi she called Master.