Dave Filoni delivers Star Wars greatness in an astonishing episode of The Mandalorian that brings epic reveals. Chapter Thirteen, “The Jedi”, gives us the answers to many questions and vastly expands the scope of the show. Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Baby Yoda arrive at the forest planet of Corvus. They do indeed encounter Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), but in an unexpected way. Calodan has been captured by an evil magistrate (Diana Lee Inosanto) and her ex-military gunfighter, Lang (Michael Biehn). Mando will learn Baby Yoda’s true name, where he came from, and the child’s possible future. Another major villain was also named as the events of Star Wars Rebels cross Mando’s path.
“The Jedi” opens in the city of Calodan. Guards ring the village’s bell as the oppressed residents flee to their homes. Ash and clumps of debris rain down from burnt trees. Lang stands on the wall surveying laser fire in the misty brown forest below. A hooded Ahsoka Tano shreds the guards with her two gleaming white lightsabers. The baddies hide behind trees, but Ahsoka cuts them down.
The guards flee toward the wall and regroup. The Magistrate joins Lang to survey the action. Ahsoka vanishes into the dusty mist. Her lightsabers appear out of nowhere to slice the guards. The last one standing backpedals while firing his rifle. Ahsoka deflects the blasts and then finishes him off.
“Show yourself…Jedi,” the Magistrate beckons. Ahsoka ignites her blades and walks to the closed gate entrance, “You know what I want.” The Magistrate replies, “You will learn nothing from me.” She has a prisoner brought forward, “How many lives are worth the knowledge I possess?” The citizens mean nothing to her. Ahsoka gives her one day to surrender, then disappears again.
The Razor Crest drops out of hyperspace in view of the planet Corvus. Mando starts the landing cycle. He tells Baby Yoda to get in his seat. The child gurgles and eyes his favorite toy, the round knob of the throttle. Mando chastises him for not getting in his seat. The child obeys, but uses the force to unscrew the knob.
The Razor Crest lands beside Calodan. Huge beasts lumber nearby, trying to eat the burnt timber. Mando and Baby Yoda walk down the landing platform. Mando takes the knob from the child, “This needs to stay on the ship.” He carries Baby Yoda in a side satchel. Lang watches as they reach the gate.
Mando states he’s looking for a layover. Lang calls him a “hunter.” He admires Mando’s armor, then confirms his guild status. Lang opens the gate. Mando walks through the fearful village. No one will talk to him. He sees the former governor, Wing (Wing Tao Chao), helping two children. Wing pleads with Mando not to speak to them. A guard approaches Mando, the Magistrate wants to see him.
Mando is led past a row of villagers imprisoned on poles. If they move, they are electrocuted. The guards open the inner compound gate. In stark contrast, it is a lush and beautiful Japanese inspired palace with a pond. The Magistrate feeds her fish. She has a proposition for Mando. He responds that his price is high.
“A Jedi plagues me. I want you to kill her,” says the Magistrate. The Jedi are the ancient enemy of Mandalore. She takes a silvery spear from an assassin droid, and hands it to Mando. He taps it against his armor. It is pure Beskar. “Kill the Jedi…and it’s yours,” the Magistrate promises. Baby Yoda peers from his satchel.
Lang opens the gate to let Mando outside. He wonders what’s that “thing” in the satchel. Mando replies he keeps it for luck. Mando enters the misty forest. Ahsoka’s owlish Convor, Morai, looks at him from a branch. Mando puts Baby Yoda on a rock. He uses his scope to scout the area.
Suddenly, Ahsoka attacks him from behind. He uses his Beskar arm guards to block her lightsabers. Mando shoots his flamethrower. She cartwheels away from the fire. He wraps her up with his wrist wire, but she flips over a branch. He releases the wire as she cuts it off. She turns around to confront him, but Mando grabs his blaster and yells, “Ahsoka Tano! Bo-Katan sent me. We need to talk.”
Ahsoka sees the child on the rock. “I hope it’s about him,” as she turns off her weapons. That night, Mando watches as Ahsoka sits in front of the child silently. He gurgles as she reaches out using the force. The child raises his hands. She picks him up and takes him to Mando. Everyone sits around a camp beacon.
Mando asks if she understands him. Drumroll please. “Grogu and I can feel each other’s thoughts,” Ahsoka states. Mando is stunned to learn the child’s name. Ahsoka continues, “He was raised in the Jedi temple on Coruscant. Many masters trained him. At the end of the Clone Wars, when the Empire rose to power, he was hidden.” Someone took him from the temple. His memory became “dark” after that. He was lost and alone.
Ahsoka tells Mando she has “only known one being like this, a wise Jedi master named Yoda.” She asks if he can still wield the force. Mando responds he has powers. Ahsoka explains the force and the training to use it. Mando was tasked to bring the child to the Jedi. The Empire is still hunting him. He needs Ahsoka’s help. Grogu begins to snooze. Ahsoka will test him in the morning.
Ahsoka takes them to a clearing. She floats a pebble to Grogu’s hand, then asks him to return it with the force. Grogu is fearful, he throws the stone down. Ahsoka holds his little hand, “I sense much fear in you.” Grogu has hidden his abilities to survive. She asks Mando to try the exercise. She wants to see if Grogu will listen to him.
Mando tries the pebble, but then has a different idea. He holds out the throttle knob. Grogu grabs it with the force. “Great job kid!” Mando exclaims. Ahsoka informs Mando she cannot train the child. Grogu’s attachment to Mando has made him afraid and angry. Ahsoka has seen what such feelings “can do to a fully trained Jedi Knight.” She will not start the child down that path. Ahsoka must “get back to the village.”
Mando tells her the Magistrate sent him to kill her. He will help Ahsoka liberate the village, “If she sees that Grogu is properly trained.” They journey back to the gate. Mando breaks down the Magistrate’s contingent of guards, two assassin droids, and the hired gun. Ahsoka reminds him not to underestimate the Magistrate herself. She explains that the Magistrate is Morgan Elspa, a world plunderer for the Empire. Ahsoka needs to free the prisoners first. Mando responds, “A Mandalorian and a Jedi, they’ll never see it coming.”
Ahsoka vaults to the top of the wall. The guards sound the alarm. She cuts the bell in half while shredding the guards. Ahsoka confronts Morgan Elspa, Lang, and her guards outside the inner compound. She walks calmly toward them. Governor Wing watches from his window. Ahsoka throws Mando’s shoulder guard to the ground, “Your bounty hunter failed. Tell me what I want to know. Where is your master?”
Morgan Elspa retreats inside as her guards open fire. Ahsoka leaps to the rooftops. Morgan orders her guards to kill the prisoners, and then “go door to door.” Mando lands beside them. He guns down the guards and releases the captives with Wing. Meanwhile, Ahsoka jumps from roof to alleyways to kill the remaining guards. Lang sees their bodies. She attacks from above. The assassination droids have her in a crossfire. She slices one in half. Lang orders the remaining droid to follow her unto the roof.
Mando tells the villagers to get inside. Lang confronts Mando in front of the inner compound gate. It’s a classic standoff as both men hold their weapons. Inside the gate, Ahsoka prepares to duel Morgan Elspa. Both women drop their cloaks. Ahsoka ignites her lightsabers. Morgan approaches with her Beskar spear.
The first blows are like samurai, attack and parry. Outside the gate, the clashing sounds of laser swords against Beskar echo. “Who do you think is gonna win?” Lang chuckles. Mando continues to stare him down. Morgan Elspa is no joke. She goes toe to toe with Ahsoka. She ferociously attacks as Ahsoka deflects her spear. Lang slowly inches towards Mando.
Ahsoka flips over. Meanwhile, Mando tells Lang he’s walked “far enough.” Morgan Elspa swings her spear and knocks a lightsaber out of Ahsoka’s hand into the water. Ahsoka fights with one blade. She advances, and yanks the spear from Morgan. Ahsoka throws the spear down, then puts her blade to Morgan’s throat.
Lang hears the metal clang. The Magistrate has been defeated. He puts down his rifle in front of Mando, but then grabs his sidearm. Mando shoots him in the chest. He flips his blaster back into the holster. “Behind you,” Wing shouts. Mando turns around and shoots the last assassin droid in the head. In the garden, Ahsoka pulls Morgan towards her gleaming lightsaber, “Where is your master? Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn?”
Outside the gates, Mando and Ahsoka look back as the villagers celebrate Governor Wing. Ahsoka presents Mando the Beskar spear. He turns it down initially, but Ahsoka reminds him that it belongs with a Mandalorian. Mando goes to his ship to get Grogu.
Mando watches as Grogu sleeps, “Wake up buddy, it’s time to say goodbye.” He takes Grogu outside, but Ahsoka is there waiting. “You are like a father to him. Unfortunately, I cannot train him,” she says. Mando held up his end of the bargain. Ahsoka has another possibility. “Go to the planet Tython. There you will find an ancient temple with a strong connection to the force. Place Grogu on the Seeing Stone on top of the mountain. There Grogu will choose his path. If he reaches out with the force, a Jedi may come searching for him.” Mando thanks Ahsoka for her advice. She watches as the Razor Crest lifts off. Then walks smiling back into the forest.
“The Jedi” was the best episode of The Mandalorian since the pilot. Showrunner/director/writer Dave Filoni masterfully weaves forty-four minutes of spellbinding Star Wars lore. Elements from all of the animated series and Star Wars: The Old Republic were used to build a thrilling live-action narrative. The episode looked fantastic. Filoni’s Kurosawa inspired setting and samurai style duels were artistically done; the two gunfighters on one hand, the expert swordswomen on the other. I cannot imagine any Star Wars fan not being blown away.
Grogu! Baby Yoda’s real name was a bombshell revelation. Raised in the Jedi temple, stolen during The Clone Wars, but filled with fear and anger. It never even occurred to me that the child could possibly embrace the dark side of the force. Ahsoka saw her master, Anakin Skywalker, twisted into a monster. Her refusal to train Grogu makes perfect sense. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Grogu in the Jedi temple on Tython.
Rosario Dawson surpassed expectations as the adult Ahsoka Tano. Ashley Eckstein had been the only voice of the beloved character through The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Dawson plays her as mature. She’s no longer the cute “Snips” or a lost Jedi. She and Sabine Wren went searching for Ezra Bridger at the conclusion of Star Wars Rebels. Grand Admiral Thrawn was the primary villain for that series. Cold, supremely calculating, and utterly ruthless, I cannot wait to see him as a live action character.
Another huge development is the acquisition of the Beskar spear. The metal is strong enough to deflect lightsaber blades. This means that Mando could use the weapon to fight Moff Gideon’s Darksaber; which is key to Bo-Katan reclaiming power on Mandalore. The Mandalorian’s plot has thickened gloriously into batter. Tune in next Friday for a thrilling new episode on the official Disney+ app.
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