The Mandalorian: Chapter 23

Hello there!

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 23: The Spies.

Plot Summary

Elia Kane makes her way through the alleys of Coruscant, eventually rendezvousing in secret with an Imperial probe droid. After her identity is verified, she is put in contact with a hologram of Moff Gideon, who is displeased as she had informed him that the New Republic would not be getting involved on Nevarro. Kane explains the reason that she had been in contact so urgently is that the pirates had been dealt with by a group of Mandalorians led by both Bo-Katan Kryze and Din Djarin, with evidence that 2 Mandalorian clans who it would assumed would never ally themselves are doing just that.

Moff Gideon orders Kane to continue with her mission, before going to attend a holographic meeting between a number of Imperial Warlords, who are all working together but attempting to look like separate forces who are weaker than they actually are. One of the officers, Captain Pellaeon, is preparing for the return of Thrawn, which he notes will also give Commandant Hux time to deliver on Project Necromancer. Moff Gideon pushes back that there is no word relating to Thrawn’s intended return, and suggests alternative leadership is needed. Hux queries the status of Pershing’s research and is informed that his capture by the New Republic means that his work is lost for now. Moff Gideon reiterates a previous request for extra TIE Interceptors and Bombers as well as 3 Praetorian Guards, and justifies this by informing the warlords that he believes Mandalorians are uniting to attempt to retake Mandalore. Agreeing that a resurgent Mandalore would hamper their efforts, Hux and Pellaeon agree to Moff Gideon’s request.

Din and Bo-Katan return to Nevarro with the forces they have gathered, who are welcomed by the Armorer. Greef comes to welcome Din back and invites him into the city, where he has arranged a gift. The gift is IG-12: the Anzellans have restored IG-11’s motor functions but removed his memory, istead making him into an exoskeleton-like vehicle for Grogu to use. Though Din argues that he is too young, Grogu tries it out and immediately gets used to using it, especially a button that allows him to vocalise “yes” or “no”. That night as all of the Mandalorians feast together, Bo-Katan explains her plan to them: as magnetic interference in the atmosphere stops the planet being scanned from orbit, she plans to put the fleet in orbit above the planet and led a recon party to the surface to find the Great Forge, from where they can create a defensible position before bringing down the rest. The Mandalorians agree to the plan and a number volunteer to join Bo-Katan in the recon party, including Axe Woves, Koska Reeves, Din, Grogu, Paz Vizsla and The Armorer.

“It is time to retake our homeworld”

The Mandalorians make their way to Mandalore and the recon party goes to the surface. As they begin their search, they come across another group of Mandalorian survivors who are traversing the surface. Sitting down as a group to eat that night, the survivors tell of the Imperial bombing campaign that the Imperials began because Mandalore would not surrender, but Bo-Katan reveals that she surrendered and gave the Darksaber to Moff Gideon following the Night of a Thousand Tears as he promised to spare the remaining cities and people, only for him to break his word. Later, Din and Bo-Katan talk in private, and she confides in him that she doesn’t know if she can keep everyone together with just the Darksaber to unify the people, to which Din notes that to him her weapon, bloodline and station mean nothing, but her honor, loyalty and character are what is important, before pledging to serve her.

The next morning, The Armorer returns to the fleet in Bo-Katan’s Gauntlet starfighter, taking with her the sick and wounded from the survivors’ group, while the rest of the survivors lead the recon group to the Great Forge. During the journey, a disagreement over the rules of a game they are playing leads to a fight between Axe and Paz, but Grogu takes advantage of IG-12 to break them up. As the group nears their destination, they are attacked by a giant creature on the surface and are forced into caves that lead them underground.

Following the cave tunnels, they find themselves emerging at the Great Forge. However not long after their arrival, they are attacked by a large unit of Imperial troopers wearing jetpacks and unfamiliar armour, which the Mandalorians soon deduce to be made of beskar. Seeing a split in the cave ceiling, Axe flies away to get the fleet and reinforcements while the rest of the group fight on with both sides taking losses. Eventually the troopers begin to retreat down a tunnel that the Mandalorians had not yet reached. The Mandalorians chase them, but it eventually leads to what appears to be an Imperial base. A pair of blast door suddenly seal in the hallway, trapping most of the group between them, while of those who were beyond the second set of doors, Din is captured and the other few killed by the returning troops, ho had clearly set up an ambush. A cloaked figure in dark armour jetpacks down and makes off his helmet to reveal himself as Moff Gideon, who explains that he has utilised beskar for the armour of his phase-4 dark troopers. Moff Gideon orders the Interceptors and Bombers to be activated to take out the mandalorian fleet while the still have the element of surprise, while he also orders Din be taken to the debriefing room. Moff Gideon demands the Darksaber be surrendered to him once again, but she instead has her soldiers open fire as the blast door between them is opened, while she uses the Darksaber to cut a hole through the other door. With an escape route opened, Paz Vizsla holds off the dark troopers while the rest escape and chooses to sacrifice his own chance of escape by sealing the intact blast door to gain the rest of the group time in their escape. Paz successfully deals with the remaining dark troopers, but his heavy blaster cannon broke from overheating. 3 Praetorian Guards arrive and engage him, and with only a vibroblade left to fight with, Paz is quickly overpowered and killed.


Wow! So after maybe my least favorite episode of The Mandalorian last week, we’ve made up for it with arguably one of the best! And with just one episode left in this season, I can’t wait to see how this continues!

This was such a great episode and I loved how everything progressed. Of course we should have guessed that the pirates were in league with the Imperials, as it is a way to continue to cause issues and discontent within the New Republic, which then allows the Empire to look like a good alternative when it inevitably returns with a show of force, and of course the joining of Bo-Katan’s followers with the Children of the Watch is a legitimate threat given their clear strength.

And now with the reveals at Celebration of Thrawn being in Ahsoka and Dave Filoni’s “Mandoverse” movie to draw all these series together, it was great to show the wider threat to the galaxy: Not just Moff Gideon, but a number of Warlords all working together in secret until Thrawn’s return, while I also note that Hux mentions Project Necromancer as an option for a alternative leader—a tease of Palpatine or something else?

Moving on to the meeting of the 2 Mandalorian factions, I loved how tense things felt (probably not helped by all of Axe’s mercenaries removing their helmets), and how to a degree that tenseness remained throughout the episode and came to a height with Paz and Axe’s fight, but I loved how they would then immediately come together to work as a unit when required, such as securing the landing spot on Mandalore and the dark trooper attack. And finally, it needs to be mentioned just how amazing the Mandalorian fleet looked, with its mix of Imperial and Mandalorian ships, while I really appreciated the dedication to paint a giant Mythosaur skull onto the bottom of the light cruiser to make it very clear to those on the ground just who is in control.

While I certainly wasn’t expecting any survivors, it makes sense that even just a handful may survive, and I loved how he vehicle they had created to quickly traverse the crystalline surface looked like a ship sailing the sea. Both the vehicle and its Mando’s wouldn’t have looked too out of place in Mad Max! And what I also liked was a way that the narrative got all of our familiar Mandalorians to have a moment on the surface of the planet, before giving The Armorer a chance to return to the fleet, so that we have a character we care about there as we hear Moff Gideon order the fleet be wiped out,while knowing that there are wounded and sick (and likely even children like Ragnar) on the fleet as well as just makes us even more worried about the impending attack they will face, though I assume Axe’s earlier escape will give them just enough warning to see the fleet ready for trouble.

And so we come to that final 10 minutes. The Imperial troopers were recognisable from the earlier Moff Gideon scene, but considering he had anticipated an attempt to retake Mandalore, I just assumed that he had sent them in expectation of Bo-Katan’s plans. I really enjoyed the fight, as the beskar armour led to each Mando finding their own way to deal with the troopers, and though I wish we had seen a bit more utilisation of Mercedes Varnado’s pro wrestling experience, I did enjoy Koska’s knife skills here, while taking a larger group than just our heroes allowed some to be killed off here to help show the danger of these troopers. And then they started the chase down hallways that alternated between being hewn out of the rock and a very Imperial design, and suddenly I got nervous thinking back to the wider surroundings of Moff Gideon and realising that this was the base just before the Mandos realised themselves. Din’s capture felt well-earned as he was separated from most of the others by the blast door ambush and his few fellows killed to leave all of these beskar-wearing troopers against him. While Moff Gideon’s arrival in an awesome looking set of armour (I can’t wait to see that cosplayed) is incredible. And then finally we see that Bo has learned how to cut her way out of trouble from her Jedi friends, while I loved Paz’s sacrifice. This season has featured him heavily and helped turn him from an antagonistic figure back into a kick-ass and reliable ally, and there were a few moments where it really felt that he was feeling something special about being there on Mandalore, so to sacrifice himself holding off the Imperials so that his allies could escape is huge, while (like Kuill in season 1) the death of such an established ally at the end of the penultimate episode really leaves us with the danger our heroes are in highlighted, so that we can’t feel comfortable in believing everyone we care about will survive.

Bring on next week!

“Go. There are too many.”

A few final thoughts on the episode:

  • Armitage Hux’s appearance here leaves us in an interesting position canonically. The Aftermath Trilogy sees Hux escaping the Battle of Jakku with Rae Sloane and the other “deserving” Imperials to create what becomes the First Order. So are we now implying that the Imperial Remnant becomes the First Order? If that is the case, where were key officers like Enric Pryde and Rae Sloane in this episode? Or is this another case of an existing story being retconned, and if so in what way?
  • Seeing Paz’s success in holding off the troopers only to be despatched with ease by the Praetorian Guard will now make them feel much more dangerous when watching The Last Jedi
  • I loved the Blade Runner feel of the opening scene seeing Elia Kane make her way through the Coruscant alleys. While we joke about the number of desert planets, Star Wars has always done a great job of varying the environments and making them all feel unique
  • I love just how uneasy all the Imperial warlords appeared as soon as they heard of trouble with Mandalorians. If you want an illustration of how dangerous they are, that’s the perfect way to do it!
  • I must admit that “The Spies” seems to be a bit of an odd title considering the only real spy (so far as we can tell in this episode) is Elia Kane, who appears in only the one scene. I would have thought “The Return” would have been more apt, as it could relate to the Mandalorian return home, Moff Gideon’s return or even the impending return of Thrawn
  • I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking Bo’s Mythosaur was making an appearance as the surface gave way to a creature, so I must admit that it being another creature which just forced them into the cave that the recon party had to enter anyway just seemed a little pointless… unless it is a setup to something next week
  • I love how the IG-12 exoskeleton will now allow Grogu to be more involved in things, while the scene of Grogu using it to steal food and Din having to pay the vendor just felt so in-character. Some may moan about the humour in those early Grogu scenes, but I think it did a great job providing some early levity after a serious start to lull us into a false sense of security after we saw Moff Gideon being promised reinforcements to face the Mandos

Moments in Canon

  • Pellaeon was one of the Imperials present in the finale of Rebels when Thrawn went missing, as part of the fleet that the Purrgil break through to reach Thrawn and Ezra
  • Brendol Hux is the father of General Armitage Hux from the Sequel Trilogy. As mentioned above, he has himself appeared in a handful of canon stories and was responsible for the behavioural conditioning of the First Order stormtroopers and the introduction of Phasma to the First Order

What did you think of the episode?

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2 thoughts on “The Mandalorian: Chapter 23

  1. Great episode! I’ve heard some speculation that the Armorer is one of the “spies” of the title, because she got off Mandalore with the injured just before they were attacked by the Imperials. I don’t know how I feel about that, or if I believe it, but I guess we’ll see. Can’t wait for next week’s episode!

    Liked by 1 person

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