Welcome to my latest episode review for The Mandalorian. The reviews will follow my usual format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at Chapter 13: The Jedi.
Outside the walled city of Calodan on the planet Corvus, a group of Mercenaries retreat through the dead forest towards the city, but are killed by Ahsoka Tano. reaching the city’s gates, she confronts “The Magistrate” Morgan Elsbeth, who threatens the lives of the city’s inhabitants unless Ahsoka surrenders. Ahsoka retreats back into the forest through the mists.
The Razor Crest arrives on Corvus and sets down in the forest outside Calodan. Carrying The Child in a pouch to avoid attention, Din reaches the City, where the head of Elsbeth’s forces – a man named Lang – allows him into the city after learning that he is supposedly a bounty hunter with the Guild. Making his way through the city, Din sees that all the inhabitants are afraid to speak to him, and he sees a number of inhabitants being held in electrocution cages on the main street as he is led to the Magistrate. Elsbeth tells him that she has a problem with a Jedi and wants to hire him, with her payment coming in the form of a spear made from pure beskar. Din “accepts” the bounty and Lang sends him off in the direction they believe the Jedi can be found.
“A Jedi plagues me. I want you to kill her.”
Making his way through the forest, Din is ambushed by Ahsoka Tano. He blocks off her initial attacks and she stops when he tells her that he was sent by Bo-Katan. Ahsoka sees The Child and they appear to communicate for a while. Sat around the fire, she reveals what information she got from The Child: his name is Grogu, and he was raised in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant before the Clone Wars, but when the Republic fell he was hidden from the Empire and taken from the Temple.
The next morning, Ahsoka begins to test Grogu to see how strong he is with the Force. In doing so, she discovers that he is hiding his powers for survival, but has developed a strong attachment to Din. Ahsoka decides that she can’t train Grogu as she has seen the danger that such strong attachments can cause. Din reveals that he was sent by Elsbeth to kill Ahsoka and the pair agree that if Din helps Ahsoka with Elsbeth, she will train Grogu.
“I’ve seen what such feelings can do to a fully trained Jedi Knight. To the best of us. I will not start this child down that path.”
Ahsoka fights her way into Cadolan alone, revealing to Lang and his men that she killed Din. Lang and his men chase her through the city – being taken out in small groups – and Din uses the distraction to free the captives from the cages. Having taken out all but Lang and one HK-87 assassin droid, Ahsoka makes her way into Elsbeth’s compound and the pair duel with Ahsoka winning. Listening outside the compound, Lang appears to surrender to Din, but pulls out a hidden blaster, however Din has the quicker draw and shoots him, along with the remaining assassin droid. Having bested Elsbeth, Ahsoka demands information on the whereabouts of her master, Grand Admiral Thrawn.
While the people of Calodan celebrate heir liberation, Ahsoka gives Din the spear in thanks for his help. Din returns to the Razor Crest to collect Grogu – who he had left in the ship for safety, but Ahsoka arrives to say again that she cannot train Grogu. She instructs Din to take Grogu to the planet Tython, where they will find the ancient ruins of a temple that has a strong connection to the Force. She tells Din to place Grogu on the seeing stone at the top of the mountain, at which point Grogu may choose his path and potentially have his presence sensed by a Jedi if he reaches out with the Force. Ahsoka watches as Din and Grogu leave in the Razor Crest.
As much as I trust Dave Filoni, I must admit that I was very nervous about this episode. Knowing in advance that it was titled “The Jedi” and written and directed by Dave Filoni, it was clear to me that this was going to heavily involve Ahsoka. And with leaks in the media having all-but confirmed that Rosario Dawson was playing the role, I couldn’t help be nervous that the arrival of one of my favourite characters in Star Wars arriving in live action would leave me feeling disappointed. Safe to say, my fears were proved to be wholly unfounded and there may have been some sweet glorious nerd tears as I watched this before work.
Where else to start this week but Ahsoka! I was nervous that Rosario Dawson would struggle to live up to the incredible character that we have seen voiced by Ashley Eckstein in the animated shows. Well, she did a fantastic job, so much so that I already feel comfortable that I can overlook any slight differences in voice and look – I would have expected her montrals to be longer, but imagine they were designed with comfort and ease of movement in mind – and can feel comfortable in calling Rosario Ahsoka in a similar way to how I can call Sir Alec Guinness, Ewan McGregor, James Arnold Taylor and Stephen Stanton Obi-Wan Kenobi. Dawson looked fantastic and her performance ticked all the boxes for me, showing someone who has become wise through her experiences and is also a deadly but graceful warrior. And as if that wasn’t enough to solidify me on the character, the use of Ahsoka’s theme was perfection and I’m pretty certain we even saw a shot of Morai!
“A Mandalorian and a Jedi? They’ll never see it coming.”
Moving beyond Ahsoka, we had 2 other new characters of note in Lang and Morgan Elsbeth, who both did great with limited time. Elsbeth exuded power, while Michael Biehn felt like the perfect actor for Lang as someone with military experience leading a rough group of mercenaries that were in well over their heads taking on a Mandalorian and a Jedi. I certainly wouldn’t be averse to seeing the characters appear in another story, and can see this happening in Elsbeth’s case at least due to her having Thrawn as a previous master.
And here we come to the fun stuff. While the name Grand Admiral Thrawn may not mean anything to the casual observer, for people who have dived into the wider Star Wars media, there was so much to get excited about. The fact that Ahsoka is looking for Thrawn certainly adds to the feeling that this is setting up Rosario Dawson for a live action sequel to Rebels that will see her (and I would assume Sabine Wren) looking for Ezra Bridger and Mitth’raw’nuruodo (to give him his full name) following the events of the Rebels finale. Beyond that, though there were plenty of other references to watch out for, with Ahsoka mentioning Yoda by name and also heavily referencing Anakin when explaining why she couldn’t train Gorgu – a comparison I hadn’t even thought of until she mentioned it! Fans of the Legends video games Knights of the Old Republic and The Old Republic surely noticed the inclusion of HK-87 assassin droids, which is a clever nod to the Legends character HK-47, who was a HK-series assassin droid about three and a half thousand years before the events of the Original Trilogy. We saw the ability of beskar to block lightsabers and references to the wars between Mandalorians and the Jedi. And then right at the end, Ahsoka drops the name of Tython, which has now had 3 mentions in canon after appearing in Legends as the original homeworld of what eventually became, the Jedi Order. It’s safe to say that Filoni was not holding back with the references, and I loved it!
“I’ve seen him do things I can’t explain. My task was to bring him to a Jedi.”
“The Jedi Order fell a long time ago.”
“So did the Empire, yet it still hunts him. He needs your help.”
There was one other name dropped though, that certainly deserves a mention. Goodbye to Baby Yoda or The Child and hello to Grogu! Personally, I loved it and the way it was just said so simply by Ahsoka and then led to a reaction from Din, with us all being caught off guard as much as our favourite Mando. I’m already loving how much easier it is to type than “The Child” and I can also imagine that knowing Grogu’s name and a little more about his past will also just make the bond between him and Din even stronger.
The last point I just want to make before I move on is the visuals, with much of this episode utilising a very polluted colour palette, which combined so well with the mercenaries’ gas masks and the dead forest to show the impact of industrialisation. It’s easy to imagine that this planet would have looked like Sorgan from Chapter 4 before the impact of Elsbeth’s industrialisation, while the greenery in Elsbeth’s own compound then presents a great contrast to show how she lives the life of luxury while the commonfolk struggle.
“Ahsoka Tano! Bo-Katan sent me. We need to talk.”
“I hope it’s about him.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- The sight of Ahsoka’s cloaked silhouette and two white lightsaber blades in the fog was incredible.
- While it does feel like there were some repetitive story points – eg another side mission helping Ahsoka and another redirect on the course to finding a Jedi to train Grogu, I can be a little more accepting in episodes like this and “The Heiress” that are also action-heavy and bringing back much-loved characters
- Where was Sabine? It seems that the search for Ezra and Thrawn is still ongoing, so why have the searchers split?
Moments in Canon
- Ahsoka only knows of one other of Grogu’s species: Yoda. A female of their species, Yaddle, can be seen on the Jedi Council in The Phantom Menace, but she had stepped down and taken a less visible role in the Order by the time of Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars, so Ahsoka was probably too young to remember her
- The story of how Ahsoka created her white lightsabers is included in E. K. Johnston’s novel Ahsoka
- It would appear that Ezra Bridger and Thrawn are still missing following the events of the Rebels finale, approximately 9 years earlier
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you….