*** Be warned that FULL SPOILERS ARE AHEAD, so if you haven’t watched this episode, don’t read this article. Trust me, you want to go into this one without spoilers. ***
In the most recent episode of The Mandalorian, directed by Dave Filoni, threads from earlier this season and casting rumors from earlier this year were realized, as a fan-favorite Star Wars character made a series debut here.
It was an incredible episode that contained some pretty significant and surprising name-drops, too!
Let’s dive in to Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian – subtitled, fittingly, “The Jedi.”
On the forest planet of Calodan, the forces of the cruel magistrate, Morgan Elsbeth, fight at night against the former Jedi padawan, Ahsoka Tano. She makes quick work of them, and then tells Elsbeth that she has one day to give her what she wants.
The next day, Din Djarin and the Child arrive, searching for Tano, and they approach the city. Djarin is let in under the assumption that he is a bounty hunter, and Elsbeth then meets with him and offers him a pure beskar spear if he kills the Jedi, the ancient enemy of Mandalorians. He agrees, and they give him the location of the Jedi. Djarin and the Child head out in search of Ahsoka, and they soon find her. Djarin and Tano duel briefly, before Djarin explains why he’s really there.
Ahsoka spends time getting to know the Child through the Force, and she reveals who he really is: his name is Grogu, and he was raised in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. He had many masters who trained him, but was taken from the Temple sometime after the fall of the Jedi, and has since lived in fear. She tests Grogu in the Force, but finds that Djarin has a much stronger connection with him. She refuses to train the Child, frustrating Djarin.
They come up with a plan, where Djarin will help Tano take the city – as they would never expect a Jedi and Mandalorian to work together. Ahsoka easily takes the city gate/wall, and throws a piece of Djarin’s armor at the magistrate’s feet, saying she killed her hunter. The magistrate then sends all her forces after Ahsoka, and orders her guards to kill the prisoners before retreating to her palace. But right before the guards can kill them, Djarin arrives, kills the guards, and rescues the prisoners.
Ahsoka, meanwhile, methodically takes out the guards. The head guard, however, spots Djarin and confronts him. He realizes that Djarin has teamed up with the Jedi, and Ahsoka heads into the palace to confront the magistrate. The two of them duel (the magistrate using her beskar spear to counter the lightsabers), while Mando and the guard have a duel. Both Djarin and Tano win their duels, and Tano questions the magistrate about the information she wants: she asks where the magistrate’s master is… in other words, she asks where is Grand Admiral Thrawn?
With the city liberated, Djarin heads back to the ship to get Grogu to give him to Tano, but Ahsoka shows up and explains that the two have a father/son relationship and that she can’t train him. There aren’t too many Jedi left, but she points the two of them to an old Jedi Temple on Tython, where Grogu can see through the Force and decide his own future.
So, yeah, IT HAPPENED!!!!!!! Ahsoka Tano has now made her live-action Star Wars debut, and it was incredible. I’ve got to be honest that I was a bit nervous about it, because whereas Katee Sackhoff reprised the role of Bo-Katan, Rosario Dawson plays Ahsoka here. And Dawson was PHENOMENAL in this role. She had the mannerisms and all the little things down so well. It was great. I really thought that it would throw me off, but she really sold me on Ahsoka.
I’ll be honest that the voice threw me off early on (Dawson has the pacing and rhythm down, but it’s hard to hear someone besides Ashley Eckstein voicing the character), but I got used to it rather quickly. Probably the biggest thing that threw me off, actually, was seeing how quick and aggressive Ahsoka was to kill here. She’s not ruthlessly bloodthirsty, but nor is she actively trying to save lives. To me, that felt like a bit strange for her character, but I suppose that’s where it’s important that Dave Filoni set up the enemy as cruel and ruthless and oppressive, because it made Ahsoka’s cause a noble one easy to root for.
But anyway, there was so much here about Ahsoka that really worked. Her alluding to Anakin’s fall to the dark side. Her referencing Yoda. Her training the Child briefly, only to decline training him any further. Like I mentioned previously, the mannerisms and facial expressions were absolutely perfect. And the white lightsabers looked INCREDIBLE in this setting.
Obviously one of the key moments in the episode came when Ahsoka used the Force to tell who this Child is, which seems like a monumental moment for a show that has made the Child a cultural phenomenon. He is Grogu, and he actually was trained at the Jedi Temple until the Purge. That means he would have been at the Temple at the same time as Yoda, Obi-Wan, Anakin, Ahsoka, and the others. But given how species age differently, he very likely would have had very minimal, if any, interaction with them. But it adds a brand new layer – and a name! – to the Child that we previously didn’t know.
But what we did already know was that the Child and Mando have a father/son relationship. Ahsoka can see it too. And the moment where she has Djarin try to connect with Grogu during the training sequence was beautiful and brilliant. The two of them have grown really close, and this Child who is so fearful has come to trust Djarin like a father.
Along those lines, I did think it was nice that Ahsoka opted not to take the Child and train him, as she doesn’t really consider herself to be a Jedi and it doesn’t really make sense for her to be actively training new Jedi during this time period. So that’s good and makes sense – but the reasoning given also makes tons of sense in-universe. Here she actually tells Grogu the same thing Yoda told Anakin so many years earlier: “I sense much fear in you.” She saw what that can do, still haunted by what happened to Anakin, and so there’s no chance she would take on an apprentice with such fear.
So where does that leave Grogu? Well, Ahsoka sends them to Tython, to sit on a beacon and use the Force. She says that then a Jedi may come for him, but that there aren’t many left. In fact, as far as we know, at this time period there is only one active Jedi: Luke Skywalker. Could this show be building to a potential cameo from the last Jedi? Maybe even a tease at the end of this season that someone may answer the Child’s call? Or perhaps Grogu will choose to stay with Djarin instead.
But let me just say this too: there might be another Jedi out there. For toward the end of the episode, Ahsoka name-dropped a massive figure in Star Wars lore, one that shocked me and made me go crazy: Grand Admiral Thrawn. The blue-skinned Imperial was a brilliant military tactician (maybe the best in the Empire) and led the 7th Fleet, fighting against the Phoenix Squadron and other Rebel cells before being taken to the Unknown Regions with the Jedi Ezra Bridger. Bridger knew Ahsoka and had many interactions with her, and at the end of Rebels, sometime after the fall of the Empire, Ahsoka and the Mandalorian Sabine Wren went looking for him.
So now, Ahsoka is looking for Thrawn. As an aside, that makes me absolutely THRILLED as a fan, to hear this. But what could it mean? Well, presumably, it means that Ahsoka has not found Ezra yet. But is Thrawn still missing, or has he re-emerged? I’m guessing that Ahsoka thinks that if she can find Thrawn, she can find Ezra – or at least get a lead as to his whereabouts. I doubt that this thread will be picked up on too much in this show (as instead I’m assuming it’s setting up the Rebels sequel series), however it is also possible (and I think would be really cool) to have Thrawn be actually in command of Moff Gideon and his forces.
Anyway, though, this episode was absolutely fantastic. This was my most highly-anticipated episode, and it exceeded my expectations.
My grade: 10/10