Recap / Star Wars: The Clone Wars S5E15 "Shades of Reason"

Alliances can stall true intentions.

Maul's criminal alliance allows Death Watch to conquer Mandalore and imprison the Duchess, but Pre Vizsla turns on Maul.

This episode provide examples of:

  • The Bad Guy Wins: When you have Villain Protagonists fighting each other, this is the obvious outcome...
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Pre Vizsla earns this trope in this episode. He betrays Darth Maul, but doesn't kill him (despite saying that he would) and sends him to prison instead, Maul breaks out, he has Bo-Katan give Maul his lightsaber back (ouch) to fight a fair fight, and ultimately gets his butt kicked by Maul.
  • Challenging the Chief: Maul preyed on Vizsla's honour, and challenged him to see who's the most worthy of leading Death Watch and Mandalore.
  • The Chessmaster: Maul plays Vizsla like a fiddle the entire story arc, plotting first to unite the syndicates to form an underworld under his control, with Vizsla providing the muscle in exchange for the throne of Mandalore (considering Mandalore led 2000 neutral systems, handing one over was chump change to Maul); then when Vizsla betrays him and imprisoned him, he saw it coming a mile off and incorporated it into his plans, requiring a visit to prison to break out Almec. Lastly, fighting Viszla directly in single combat, using Mandalorian culture against him, so that Vizsla was screwed no matter what.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Pre Vizsla rivals Cad Bane in this regard: during his fight with Maul, Vizsla uses every weapon available to him: the Darksaber, blasters, flamethrowers, jetpacks, grenades, rope, and all manner of projectiles. It still doesn't help him...
  • Downer Ending: Duchess Satine's government has fallen, Darth Maul kills Pre Vizsla, Bo-Katan is forced to retreat with some of her comrades who don't side with Darth Maul, and Darth Maul becomes the new ruler of Mandalore, with Prime Minister Almec reinstated as Prime Minister of Mandalore.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Bo-Katan refuses to side with Darth Maul after he kills Pre Vizsla, claiming she does not see an outsider as the ruler of Mandalore.
  • Honour Before Reason: Maul preys on this aspect of Mandalorian culture to force Vizsla into a duel for the crown. Should Vizsla refuse, he would be seen as weak by his underlings, and unfit to be their leader. If he accepts and loses, trying to double-cross Maul would be seen as dishonorable, and would suffer an even worse fate than refusing outright.
  • Killed Off for Real: Pre Vizsla is executed by Maul after losing the duel.
  • Master Swordsman: Darth Maul, obviously, but Vizsla's prowess with the Darksaber is considerable. Note that he fought Obi-Wan Kenobi (a Master of Form 3) and won only due to having his soldiers as backup, and fought Ahsoka (a Padawan half his age with Jar'Kai training) to a stalemate in a one-on-one duel. Vizsla is good, but he was nowhere near Maul's calibre, even with pragmatism on his side.
  • Off with His Head!: Following the climactic fight, Maul takes the Darksaber and exceutes Pre Vizsla in this fashion.
  • Vertigo Effect: On Bo-Katan when she sees Darth Maul right before he executes Pre Vizsla.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Maul has a truly epic one pulled on Vizsla. First he challenges him in front of his inner circle; and Mandalorian culture states they must honour the challenge, even if it would not benefit them. Second, he knows that should Vizsla decide not to and just execute him on the spot, he defies culture and loses the respect of his soldiers, while Maul is safe due to having Savage as backup. Third, during the fight proper he knows that Vizsla will do anything it took to take him out, potentially even resorting to "non-warrior" methods such as his rockets and flamethrower, while Maul just continually fights with his saber and agility. Fourth and finally, when the pair lose their swords, he opts to beat him senseless with martial arts rather than the force, as it would mean he "honoured" the fight by fighting as a warrior right to the end. For the Mandos, that honor is a major contributing factor to their loyalty. By doing so, he ensures they will accept him, as he won the challenge and followed all the resulting rules. The one thing that didn't go his way was Bo-Katan's loyalty to Vizsla, not Death Watch as a whole.