X-Geeks

The Mandalorian – S2,E5: The Jedi Review

By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

This review contains spoilers.

The Mandalorian – Season 2, Episode 5, Chapter 13: The Jedi

Going into the latest episode of The Mandalorian, you felt the excitement and anticipation online. Did it live up the expectations? Thats down to the individual, but as far as I’m concerned, this episode was a roaring success from start to finish.

While I was fully expecting to finally see Ahsoka in live-action, there were other incidents that occurred that surpassed Ahsoka which completely blind-sided me. I did not expect a lot of the key story elements to transpire as they did and the revelations were mind-blowing. This episode of The Mandalorian hit me hard on an emotional level, so much so that at one point I had to stop watching, pause, and go make a drink and distract myself for 20 minutes. I never thought that I would have that kind of reaction, and it might be because, at time of writing this, I am extremely tired having been awake since 5am. But still, I was taken aback at how a simple use of dialogue and music could invoke such a reaction. I love that even now, Star Wars is still able to affect me on such an emotional level.

Episode Breakdown:

At the village of Calodan on the forest planet of Corvus, an alarm bell begins to clang. As the citizens run for cover, armed guards take to the wall, under the command of a mercenary named Lang (Oh, hello there Michael Biehn!). In the thread-bare forest, more guards patrol the woodland, almost as if they are hunting something? Or someone? All of a sudden, the sound of lightsabers igniting fills the air and two bright beams of white cuts through the brown, murky fog. The former Jedi, Ahsoka Tano begins to take out the soldiers and charges towards the village wall. The Magistrate appears alongside Lang, threatening the lives of the villagers if Ahsoka does not hand herself over. Ahsoka gives the Magistrate one day to surrender and she disappears into the fog. Talk about an opening!

The Razor Crest appears above the planet, but while Mando is prepping the ship for landing, Baby Yoda has his eyes on an old friend, the ball on top of the lever. Mando puts a quick stop to any idea of Baby Yoda taking it, again, and tells him to get into his seat. With Mando making his final checks, Baby Yoda reaches out with the force and the ball begins to unscrew. This was a fun little scene.

Now on the planet, Mando heads towards the village to find the Jedi he seeks. Once inside he realises that something isn’t right, the villagers are oppressed. Lang arrives and informs Mando that the Magistrate wants to speak to him. Inside the inner wall, the Magistrate offers up a Beskar Spear as payment for the capture of a rogue Jedi, how fortunate for Mando! He now thas the coordinates to finally  complete his mission.
Inside the forest, Mando arrives at Ahsoka’s last known location. In the far corner of the screen, a Convor sits upon a branch. That HAS to be Morai! In The Clone Wars and Rebels, Morai was a creature that watched over Ahsoka and a creature with a strong connection to the force. This was a propper Easter Egg as it was never touched upon again! Well played Mr Firloni!

Ahsoka reveals herself, and after a quick scuffle caused by a misunderstanding, Mando explains the situation and Ahsoka soon draws her attention to Baby Yoda. Later that night, Ahsoka and Baby Yoda communicated through the force to each other. And here comes the first major revelation! Ahsoka informs Mando that the child’s name is Grogu! I think this is a fantastic name and everyone should get on board with it and move away from Baby Yoda now. We learn that Grogu was raised in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and trained by multiple Jedi Masters and, at the end of the Clone Wars, he was hidden away and someone took him from the temple. Despite surviving the purge and Order 66, his memory became dark, lost and he was alone. Ahsoka tells Mando that she has only ever known one being like this before, a powerful Jedi called Yoda. Yoda’s theme begins to play and at this point i’m in tears. I have full on Star Wars goosebumps! Ahsoka smiles as she recounts all of this, a warm smile, thinking of better days. It was a great facial performance from Rosario, I bought it completely.

The next morning, Ahsoka begins to test Grogu. She starts by using the force to move a rock towards him. Unfortunately, Grogu isn’t interested in returning it, so Ahsoka decides to try another tactic! She tells Mando to try to convince him. While he has no interest in the rock, he does have an interest in the ball from the lever. Without hesitation, Grogu force pulls the ball out of Mando’s hand. Ahsoka senses much fear in him. She tells Mando that he has hidden his abilities to survive over the years and that because of the strong bond that has formed between the pair, Grogu is holding onto a lot of fear and anger, and that she cannot teach him. She hints at Anakin turning to the dark side, and she is not prepared to see it happen again. Mando tells her that he was sent to kill her, but instead he will help her free the village if she agrees to train him. It won’t be an easy task, along with powerful weaponry the Magistrate also has two HK-87 assassin droids, all this on top of the hired gunfighter Lang. We learn that the Magistrate’s name is Morgan Elsbeth and that her people were massacred during the Clone Wars, she also played a key role in helping to build the Imperial Starfleet. She is not a woman to be messed with! Mando however, has a cunning plan!

Ahsoka arrives at the village, and after scaling the outer wall, she stands off against Morgan and her men. Ahsoka throws the shoulder plate of Mando’s armour down at Morgan, proclaiming that her Bounty Hunter had failed. Lang, the HK Droids and the guards chase after her, leaving Morgan to head back into the inner sanctum. Ahsoka begins to take out the guards in a Batman-like fashion before leaving only Lang and HK Droids left. Lang escapes and heads back to the inner wall but is cut off by Mando. Lang understands what’s happened and watches Ahsoka scale the inner wall. Lang is not prepared to make a move until Ahsoka  and Morgan finish their impending fight. Inside the garden, Morgan and Ahsoka duel, with the balance of the fight going back and forth between the warriors. Ahsoka loses one of her lightsabers to the pond, but finds her resolve to disarm Morgan and threatens her with the blade of her lightsaber to her throat. Outside the wall, Lang accepts defeat and lays down his arms, but not before reaching for his sidearm, but Mando is too quick for him and Lang is shot and killed in the blink of an eye. Back inside the garden, Ahsoka demands the location of Morgan’s master, at this point I am convinced she is referring to Moth Gideon, then out came a name I did not expect, GRAND ADMIRAL THRAWN! At this point, my jaw hit the ground, I was completely blindsided, and not for the first time in this episode! 

With the village liberated, Ahsoka offers the Beskar Spear to Mando, who reluctantly accepts. He heads off to the ship to say his goodbye to Grogu. Grogu is fast asleep in his hammock and without saying anything, you could see the sadness in Mando’s body language. It was a very expressive performance. Ahsoka arrives at the ship and tells Mando again that she cannot train him, despite their agreement. She tells him to travel to the planet Tython, where on it lies the ruins of an ancient Jedi temple (the first one in fact) that has a strong connection to the force. She says there, Grogu will choose his own path and that if he reaches out with the force, there is a chance that a Jedi may come looking for him. The Razor Crest flies away and Ahsoka returns to the village.

So off to an ancient Jedi temple we go…

Final Thoughts:

It was a great episode and it did not disappoint in terms of Ahsoka, but I want to start by talking about two moments that really stood out for me. First of all, we finally can stop with The Child or Baby Yoda… we now know his name is Grogu. I think it’s a fitting name and I loved that we got a little more of his history, on Coruscant, and looking towards his future, at the Jedi temple on Tython. Then there was the name drop of Grand Admiral Thrawn! I love Thrawn. He is one of my favourite Star Wars characters, not just in terms of villains, but across the whole spectrum. While I think Thrawn will be a character to appear next season, I am unbelievably excited that we now have the prospect of a live-action Thrawn making his way onto our screens!

Obviously, all eyes were on Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tana and I think she did an incredible job. She nailed the voice, I fully bought that I was listening to an older Ahsoka. The way she carried herself was also very well performed and I can see little fault in her overall performance. This won’t be the last we see of her and I anticipate she will play a major role going forwards, be it after Grogu is eventually kidnapped or if and when the Mandalore or Thrawn storylines begin to surface and take over the main arc.

This episode gave us all the things I love about Dave Firloni and he did an outstanding job both writing and directing this episode. From The Clone Wars imagery to the overall tone, it was just simply breath-taking. I loved the use of ancient Chinese culture, which had a huge influence in not only the set design but also the music, with the focus on traditional drums. I loved every second of it!
This episode felt like a turning point in the show in terms of its tone and flow. This was a mixture of classic Mandalorian and The Clone Wars, and I have said previously that with more name drops and characters making that transition from animation to live-action, I feel this is very much the future direction of the show. I feel like the world will start to become much larger in the seasons yet to come!

What are your thoughts about this episode of The Mandalorian? Let us know in the comments below! After all, this is the way…

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