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The title of the third-to-last episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is as insanely satisfying as the episode itself. "The Phantom Apprentice" is loaded with symbolism — it obviously conjures the first of the Star Wars prequel films, and once the episode actually begins most viewers will assume that the title is referring to Ahsoka Tano.
They wouldn't be wrong, either, but it also is applicable to Maul. The two of them have way more in common than we realized — they are both on paths very different from what was originally laid out for them, and the powers that be have shunned them both. The Jedi treated Ahsoka so badly that she ended up walking out on them (Anakin being the only supportive one among them), and Maul royally got the shaft from Darth Sidious. Maul makes Ahsoka an offer in this episode, for the two of them to join together and defeat Sidious. It's another big offer in the proud history of Star Wars offers.
This one has some merit, however. It's an offer to take out the biggest bad in the galaxy, which is good. No mention is made by Maul of "ruling the galaxy" either, something the Skywalker offers excel at. Ahsoka briefly considers the offer, before it is clear that Maul has bad intentions for Anakin. As we've already said, Anakin is the one person who has never let Ahsoka down. Maul loses her right there.
Maul wants Anakin gone because Anakin is also a phantom apprentice, and has been for the entire prequel trilogy. Sidious has been secretly and slyly training him on the back burner while Dooku punched his temp apprentice cards, and the time has almost come for this phantom apprentice to lose the "phantom" part of that title completely. Both the menace and the apprentice will not need to be phantoms anymore, because they will be ruling a "safe and... secure... society."
There are two more episodes of this series to go. How they'll manage to top this masterpiece of writing, animation, pathos, and just flat-out feelings... we have no idea.
Watch as our heroes over on Jabba the Pod (Brian, Caitlin, and Matt) break down the new episode in the latest installment of the Jabba the Pod video series.