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Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Season 5 Episode 15: Shades of Reason

What is it ? : Darth Mauls new alliance has gathered and is ready to seize control of Mandalore, but Pre Vizsla is concerned that they won't be able to hold control of the planet without the support of the people. Maul reveals this is part of the plan, the criminal groups he has gathered will terrorise the planet, murdering the people and stealing the cash reserves, and the Death Watch will be able to come in as heroes, and save the day.
The plan goes almost flawlessly, and as Pre-Vizsla and the Death Watch march into the throne room, they do so to the cheers of the population, who have seen them fight off the criminals, and seen Pre-Vizsla himself defeat Savage Opress in single combat and arrest him.
As Maul reveals the next step of the plan, to use Mandalore's influence to seize control of the 2000 worlds allied with it, Pre Vizsla turns on him, informing Maul that he has no interest in anything beyond restoring his people to their rightful place as warriors. He throws Maul and his brother in the same prison as Duchess Satine has now been placed, and Maul asks his brother for a tour of the facility, as it contains political prisoners, and he can choose the next leader of Mandalore from them.
They smash out of the cells with ease, and defeat the guards, pausing to speak to Duchess Satine and reveal he has a later plan for he, Maul meets ex-Prime Minister Almec, and decides he is going to be restored to his position.
Maul, Almec and Opress confront Pre-Vizsla, and Maul challenges him by combat for leadership of the Death Watch, and the two duel. Using the full capabilities of his Mandalorian Armour, Pre-Vizsla makes a good showing of himself, but is ultimately defeated by the powerful Sith Lord and beheaded. Some of the Death Watch refuse to accept a non-mandalorian as their leader, and escape under fire from Maul loyalists.
Almec gives a speech, informing the people that Satine killed Pre-Vizsla the hero of Mandalore, and that while he made mistakes in the past, he will bring back Mandalores warrior past, to cheers from the crowd.

High Points : Mandalore as always looks great, the open spaces, with buildings not only below and to all sides, hang down from the cities ceiling, creating a unique setting for the story, and hugely interesting and visually impressive.

A small touch, but one I have to mention is the robes worn by the Faleen from Black Sun. The Faleen were always lizard men, but in this incarnation they have a ridged spine of scaled plates. The robes they wear in this have an opening at the back to display their spines, a small touch but one which looks great and makes a whole load of sense.

Maul is seen here as we never saw him in The Phantom Menace, he's intelligent and devious, capable of making long term plans and not just reacting angrily to all situations. Savage Opress is far more like Maul was in Episode One, with Maul acting far more as an heir to Palpatine than Vader will. I really like the character in this mode, but I do have to admit it does seem a total change from the movie.

The fight between Pre-Vizsla and Maul is the highlight of this episode, with the Dark Saber vs Mauls Saber, along with every trick Pre-Vizsla can pull out of his armour, flamethrowers, blasters, missiles, grenades, rope, all deployed to slow the Sith Lord down. Although Maul is far more dangerous in combat, all these tricks do slow him down, and this is no easy fight for Maul, however the end is inevitable and Pre-Vizslas story ends here.

Low Points : There's only one very nitpicky complaint I have about this episode, and it's with the animation. For some reason, Pre-Vizslas legs look too skinny and awkward, during a number of scenes his movement reminded me of Megamind, and it seemed far too comical for someone who is supposed to be menacing.

So what do you really think ? : I really enjoyed this episode, seeing Mauls plan come to fruition, and then Pre-Vizslas inevitable but doomed betrayal of Maul, right through to the fight at the end. A very interesting episode, with the only hero in the episode, Duchess Satine being fairly ineffective and ending up imprisoned for much of the episode, with everything else being between various levels of villains.

Final Words : I'm definitely looking forward to the next episode, and although it's been spoiled, I'm fairly desperate to see how everything actually plays out.

Score : 9/10

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