The Clone Wars Rewatch: Corruption and the “Shades of Reason”

The attack on Mandalore begins.

To celebrate the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us for the weekly #CloneWarsRewatch — you can watch this week’s episode on Disney+ now — and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

103: “Shades of Reason” (Season Five, Episode 15)

“Alliances can stall true intentions.”

A scene from "Shades of Reason."

Synopsis:

Backed by the criminal underworld, the Sith and Death Watch launch an attack on Mandalore.

A scene from "Shades of Reason."

Analysis:

Oh, benevolent Maul. A phrase that sounds about as trustworthy as this one: “We’re Death Watch and we’re here to rescue you.”

At the outset, Maul seems ready to sow chaos and allow Death Watch to arrest him and his thugs, turning the splinter group into saviors of Mandalore. That’s the plan, but when does anything go according to plan in Star Wars?

A scene from "Shades of Reason."

The full depth of Maul’s betrayal snaps into focus as Bo-Katan watches Pre Vizsla fall to the darksaber after a demoralizing duel with the Sith Lord. In her eyes, we see the shock, the pain, the suffering.

But he’s lost the fight as soon as Maul forces him to drop his weapon, the two warriors reduced to using their fists. From the ground, as he crawls back toward the throne, the men and women who have followed him down this path look down upon him with a mix of pity and disdain.

A scene from "Shades of Reason."

It’s hard to mourn Pre Vizsla when he was as corrupt as Maul, ready to slaughter the Zabraks as soon as Death Watch was finished with them. In bring the people of Mandalore to the brink of ruin, then leading them to a performative and orchestrated salvation, Maul and Vizsla are not unlike Palpatine himself, playing every side to win.

Yet Vizsla overplays his hand, underestimates his opponent, and is overly confident in his own abilities. At the end, beaten down and on his hands and knees, is he resigned to his fate.

A scene from "Shades of Reason."

“Only the strongest shall rule,” Vizsla says with his last breath. But wars not make one great. And Maul’s quest for power in the underworld is about to attract the attention of one very powerful and unhappy Sith master.

Minister Almec on podium

Intel:

  • Prime Minister Almec addresses a crowd from a podium perched over a mural depicting Mandalorian crusaders locked in battle with the Jedi.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Maul lures Obi-Wan Kenobi to Mandalore in “The Lawless.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer, host of This Week! In Star Wars, and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

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