Ezra did what Anakin couldn’t: resist the Emperor’s lure.
And this despite having a similar family history of loss.
The Emperor’s only principle is power. He wallows in power; but he has no power over the decision of one boy not to restore his parents to life and be with them. The decision of one boy to say “No”.
Isn’t this amazing?
There is so much to learn here. About what to expect from temptations, and how to ultimately resist them.
First, the Emperor holo-displays himself clad in white, with a face younger than in even The Phantom Menace, and more trustworthy-looking than that of a pastor. It’s not that Ezra doesn’t know the Emperor’s real countenance; he’s met it together with Ahsoka in the ‘world beyond worlds’. But he doesn’t at once denounce the Emperor’s masquerade; seemingly, despite his knowing better, the sweet appearance does impress him. Induces irrational trust in the motives of this un-man.
We should expect the tempter to put on his Sunday outfit.
Second, the Emperor offers a seemingly – and perhaps even truly – legitimate prize. And doesn’t “You deserve it!” sound so right? Or did Ezra deserve to be an orphan after all!?
Neither the one nor the other are to be affirmed. Rather, the whole thing is not about desert at all. It is about doing the right thing. And that was to resist the Emperor. Nothing good, however good it may have looked, could come from him.
Third: If Ezra’s decision has only a faint chance of being translated into reality, then “I couldn’t resist” ceases to be an excuse. We are loth to acquit Anakin of his deeds, however much we can feel his pain and fear of loss; but the fact that a young boy, presumably less strong and less trained, can resist a similarly structured offer – life from death – smashes all sophisms to pieces.
No matter how weak we are, we have the power to say “No” to temptations. May we triumph like Ezra.