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SPOILER REVIEW: Season 2, Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian: The Jedi

The Mandalorian Season 2 Chapter 13 Review

I'M WARNING YOU RIGHT NOW, SPOILERS FOR THE LATEST OF THE MANDALORIAN ARE BELOW. I SHIELD YOU FROM NOTHING! 

OK, YOU'RE WARNED!

IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE EPISODE YET, STOP HERE, GO WATCH IT AND COME BACK FOR MY REVIEW.

WE GOOD?

OK, those are the formalities officially out of the way. Each week, I'll be posting a quick recap/review of each new episode of The Mandalorian. I'll give a basic play-by-play with some thoughts and speculation about how each episode could figure into the larger picture of this season, and Star Wars as a whole.

So let's get after it.

SEASON 2: CHAPTER 13: "THE JEDI"
EPISODE PREMIERS ON NOVEMBER 27, 2020
DIRECTOR: DAVE FILONI
EPISODE LENGTH: 47 MINUTES

Best episode of The Mandalorian yet.

That was the only thought in my head in the time after I finished watching the first episode of the second half of season two. There's so much to get to in this episode, which in my opinion, saw a new high point reached on many levels.
A couple episodes back, Bo-Katan told Din Djarin to seek out Ahsoka Tano to deliver The Child. At that point, I thought Ahsoka might be a single reveal, perhaps at the end of her episode.

Not the case.

Director Dave Filoni, who along with George Lucas came up with the character of Ahsoka back in 2008, was revealed early and fully in this episode. We open with Ahsoka taking out alien guards in a leaf-less forest on Corvus. It's unclear initially what her objective is, but she is here in live-action form for the very first time, played by Rosario Dawson. Ahsoka is still brandishing her white lightsabers, last seen in Star Wars: Rebels. She has a verbal showdown with city magistrate Morgan Elsbeth, after which Ahsoka vows to return the next day.

Djarin and The Child arrive at Corvus, where they inquire as to Ahsoka's whereabouts. They locate her in this same forest after a brief confrontation. Djarin tells Ahsoka that he's been sent to her by Bo-Katan. At that point, hostilities cease as she notices The Child.
We then enter an extended quiet period of the episode, a testament to Filoni's directorial skill. As seen in the Rebels episode Twin Suns, Filoni knows when to let an episode breathe, and allows the viewer to read into what the characters are doing and thinking on-screen. I saw a lot of similarities here in this sequence.

Ahsoka is able to Force communicate with The Child, whose name is revealed to be Grogu. We also learn much more of Grogu's past, that he was trained at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant before the Clone Wars. He was taken from the temple when the Republic morphed into the Empire. His memories then "go dark" according to Ahsoka, which is a frightening prospect for this baby we've all grown so attached to.
Grogu's Force powers are tested by both Ahsoka and Djarin. When Grogu successfully summons the Razor Crest's control knob from Djarin's grip, he is excited, but Ahsoka less-than. She says she cannot train Grogu because of his attachment to Djarin. She then, without naming him, references Anakin Skywalker and how his training betrayed him because of his attachments. 

Djarin and Ahsoka return to the city, which is liberated from the rule of Elsbeth and her lieutenant, played by Michael Biehn. Biehn played Kyle Reece in the very first Terminator movie, which, to make all of you feel older than dirt, came out 36 years ago.

Djarin wins a shootout with Lang, while Ahsoka and Elsbeth have a battle of lightsabers versus Beskar spear. Despite losing one of her sabers in a pond, Ahsoka appears to win the battle against Elsbeth, though Elsbeth's ultimate fate is left undetermined.
At the end of the duel, Ahsoka demands to know the whereabouts of Elsbeth's master, none other than Grand Admiral Thrawn. That answer isn't given on-screen, but the mention of Thrawn's name opens up many new story possibilities for the season's final three episodes.

The episode concludes with Ahsoka instructing Djarin to take Grogu to the planet Tython, where an ancient Jedi Temple is located. There, Grogu will decide his fate. 

OK, so there is so much to cover here. A tip of the black cowboy hat to Filoni, who again shows he is the Jedi Grand Master of Star Wars storytelling in modern times (since 2005). There's a heavy dose of Japanese film influence in the atmosphere and environments within this episode, and he weaves them into the Star Wars universe effortlessly. Ahsoka's home in the forest in particular, has some of the best live action atmosphere seen outside the films. 

The music of Ludwig Göransson is another high point for me. There are several points where the music "screams" out, particularly during scenes where Ahsoka is engaged in battle. These sounds are very reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti's work in Twin Peaks (1990-91, 2017). There's a "screaming music" motif sprinkled in the second season of that show, which happens to be a favorite of mine.

A couple other musical moments stand out. Ahsoka's theme, most clearly heard at the end of the fifth season when she leaves the Jedi Order, can be heard on a couple occasions, most clearly when she stands alone in the forest against the magistrate's forces. Later on, we hear a brief rendition of Yoda's theme, when Ahsoka gazes upon Grogu and says she has only met one of his kind in the past, referring to Yoda by name. 

An aged, Oriental man can be seen at various parts of the episode, At the end, he is presented with a cape, which I think signifies some kind of authority within the city. I wondered if this was Ezra Bridger, though no reference to him was made with respect to this particular character, who remains unnamed.

Longtime fans of Star Wars EU novels will recognize the planet name Tython, introduced here in canon for the first time. It is said to be the origin planet of The Force and the Jedi Order in pre-2014 literature. Since then, the temple on Ahch-To, seen in the sequel trilogy, is said to be the location of the first Jedi Temple. But Tython's introduction here seems to suggest that planet is also a very early location of the ancient order of the Jedi. It is another example of logically introducing Legends material into canon.

But the biggest former-Legends reference here is Thrawn. He was canonized with his introduction to Rebels in the second season. He continued to be a threat to the Rebel cell led by Kanan Jarus throughout the run of the series. His mention here makes me wonder what connection there is between Thrawn and Moff Gideon. Who reports to who? Is Gideon the underling, seeking out Grogu under the orders of Thrawn? Or is it the other way around, with Gideon pulling the strings? I find it unlikely Gideon is at the top of the Imperial food chain here, given Thrawn's high position within the empire. His mention here also confirms that he survives his fate as seen at the end of Rebels.

Like last week's episode, "The Jedi" touches many parts of the Star Wars universe. Filoni's expertise with that universe is on full display here with 47 minutes of some of the best Star Wars seen in a long time. 


Brad Monastiere
I live in Michigan and have been an unconditional fan of Star Wars and Indiana Jones for decades. Follow me on twitter @bmonastiere

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Comments

  1. Thank you for your review.
    I just wanted to respond that I feel it may be jumping the gun to assume gideon and thrawn are working together.
    After Alexander the great died his empire was split up among is generals. I was under the impression that the same think happened to the galactic empire. Thrawn and Gideon may each control semi opposing factions.

    ReplyDelete

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