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

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Alliances can stall true intentions.
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Maul's criminal alliance allows Death Watch to conquer Mandalore and imprison the Duchess Satine, but Pre Vizsla turns on Maul.


Tropes:

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: In accordance with Mandalorian tradition, Darth Maul's victory over Pre Vizsla gives him the right to assume leadership of Death Watch.
    Maul: [raising the Darksaber] I take this sword, and with it, claim my rightful place as leader of Death Watch!
  • The Bad Guy Wins: When you have Villain Protagonists fighting each other, this is the obvious outcome; Maul defeats and kills Vizsla, seizing leadership of Death Watch and control over Mandalore, maintaining a front of legitimacy through Almec, with only Bo-Katan in opposition to him.
  • Blood Knight: After Vizsla manages to land a hit (scratching Maul's face with projectile saws), Maul lets out an amused chuckle, clearly enjoying the fight.
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  • 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 to Bo-Katan) and sends him to prison instead. Maul predictably breaks out, challenges Vizsla to a duel, and kills him.
  • Cardboard Prison: While effective at holding powerless humans like Satine and Almec, the Mandalorian prison is laughably ineffective at containing Maul and Savage, who treat the imprisonment as a minor inconvenience and escape with casual ease.
  • Challenging the Chief: Maul preys on Vizsla's honor, challenging him to see who's the most worthy of leading Death Watch and Mandalore.
  • The Chessmaster: Maul plays Vizsla like a fiddle throughout this 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 leads 2000 neutral systems, handing one over is chump change to Maul). When Vizsla betrays him and imprisons him, he sees it coming a mile off and incorporates it into his plans, requiring a visit to prison to break out Almec. Lastly, Maul fights Viszla directly in single combat and uses Mandalorian culture against him so that Vizsla is screwed no matter what.
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  • 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.
  • Demonisation: Vizsla's new regime wastes no time smearing Satine's good name, publicly criticising her philosophies and claiming that she "fled in cowardice" (Vizsla had her thrown in prison). Maul, through Almec, keeps it going, framing Satine for Vizsla's death to cover up Maul's involvement.
  • 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 Almec reinstated as a puppet 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.
  • Evil Is Petty: After overthrowing her, Vizsla imprisons Satine and demonizes her, claiming that she fled in cowardice.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Other than Duchess Satine, who is quickly deposed and imprisoned without much of a fight, the main characters in this episode are Villain Protagonists who betray each other and battle for control of their underlings. Maul comes out on top.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Maul outplays and kills Pre Vizsla, proving himself the superior of the two villains.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Vizsla calmly embraces his fate, having accepted Maul as his superior by his own social Darwinist philosophy.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Maul's plan to get the people of Mandalore on Vizsla's side: the criminals under Maul's command attack Mandalore and are then "defeated" by Death Watch, who can then claim credit as heroes of Mandalore.
  • Famous Last Words:
    Pre Vizsla: As you said, only the strongest shall rule.
  • Fights Like a Normal: Despite being a Force user, Maul demonstrates that he doesn't need to use the Force against Pre Vizsla, despite Vizsla using Combat Pragmatism throughout the duel.note 
  • Gory Discretion Shot: As Maul beheads Vizsla, the camera pans behind Bo-Katan so that the act is hidden from view. There is a brief shot of Vizsla's headless body, with the neck hidden by his armor.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Vizsla falls victim to his own warrior culture, and, adding insult to injury, is executed with his own sword.
  • 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 he would suffer an even worse fate than refusing outright.
  • Insult Backfire: Satine's comparing of Almec's moral bankruptcy to Maul's ends up handing him just the Puppet King he was searching for.
    Maul: Where are the other leaders of your people?
    Satine: You should already know. They either sided with Vizsla or have been killed. There's no one left but Almec and I, but he's as corrupt and vile as you are.
  • 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 III) and won only due to having his soldiers as backup and later 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's nowhere near Maul's caliber, 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.
  • Pet the Dog: During Death Watch's "defeat" of the Shadow Collective, Bo-Katan takes a moment to comfort two frightened children.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: Maul and Savage. Once they decide that they want to get out, they do it casually with no effort. It's a wonder that the Death Watch didn't even expect that prison doesn't make the brothers helpless.
  • Puppet King: Almec acts as the public face of Maul's new rule of Mandalore.
    Maul: Go. Rule my people.
  • The Scapegoat: Almec covers up Pre Vizsla's death by claiming he was murdered by Satine, which serves the dual purpose of keeping Maul in the shadows and giving him sufficient cause to keep Satine imprisoned until he needs her.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Maul, sitting on Satine's throne at the end of this episode.
  • Vertigo Effect: On Bo-Katan, when she sees Darth Maul right before he executes Pre Vizsla.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Vizsla, courtesy of Maul's manipulations, becomes the renowned hero of the Mandalorian people. After killing Vizsla, Maul exploits this by having Almec claim that Vizsla was murdered by Satine, allowing him to maintain control of Mandalore through Almec while avoiding exposing himself or having questions asked about Vizsla's death.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Maul pulls a truly epic one on Vizsla. First, he challenges him in front of his inner circle; Mandalorian culture states they must honor the challenge, even if it would not benefit them. Second, he knows that should Vizsla decline to fight 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 necessary to take him out, potentially even resorting to "non-warrior" methods such as his rockets and flamethrower, while Maul just continually fights with his lightsaber and agility. Fourth and finally, when the pair lose their swords, Maul opts to beat Vizsla senseless with martial arts rather than using the Force, as it would mean he "honored" the fight by fighting as a warrior right to the end. For the Mandalorians, honor is a major contributing factor to their loyalty. By doing so, he ensures they will accept him, as he wins the challenge and follows all the resulting rules. The one thing that doesn't go his way is Bo-Katan's loyalty to Vizsla, not Death Watch as a whole.


 
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Maul vs Vizla

Maul preys on Vizsla's honor, challenging him to see who's the most worthy of leading Death Watch and Mandalore.

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5 (4 votes)

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Main / ChallengingTheChief

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Main / ChallengingTheChief

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