Greetings from a galaxy far, far away! This week, we continue our journey with Din Djarin (a.k.a., The Mandalorian) and The Child, as I review and analyze The Mandalorian S2E5 “Chapter 13: The Jedi.” We knew coming in that Mando was headed to the planet Corvus to find Ahsoka Tano. Dave Filoni (who wrote and directed the episode) and team delivered in a big way. This episode is filled with action, reveals, lore, plot threads for the future and more great technical details.
The Mandalorian S2 E5 cuts right to the chase. In S2E3, Bo-Katan told us we would see Ahsoka Tano, and we see her from nearly the first shot. The episode opens with a call to battle, as Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka attempts to free the occupied town of Calodan. In the burned-out forest that surrounds the city, we see her cloaked figure wielding her twin white-bladed lightsabers. Ahsoka is a true master warrior. Her fighting skills show, as she easily fights her way through the advanced defenders to get to the city wall.
For those who don’t know much about Ahsoka Tano, let me give you a bit of her background. Ahsoka, created by Dave Filoni, was introduced in the animated movie Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This theatrically-released movie was the first four episodes of the series of the same name, rolled into one. She was one of the central figures of the series. In fact, many view her as the heart of that show. Ahsoka continued on into the sequel series Star Wars Rebels, and played a pivotal role in that series, too. In fact, she has become one of the most popular Star Wars characters ever. Given that she never appeared in live action until The Mandalorian S2E5, her popularity is truly amazing.
Through the two series, Ahsoka grew from a young Padawan (Jedi apprentice) to a powerful, independent Force user who assisted the Rebellion. Starting as the Padawan to Anakin Skywalker, this Togruta female fought many battles with Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, becoming a general in the war. After being framed for murder and eventually cleared, Ahsoka realized the Jedi Order was headed down the wrong path and was no longer following the will of the Force. She made the tough decision to walk away from the Order, and forge her own path. During Rebels, Ahsoka was a spy for the Rebellion and frequently interacted with the crew of the Ghost. She even proved something of a match for Darth Vader.
The final sequence of Rebels shows a bit of what happened to the main characters from the series, following the Battle of Endor. The last time we see Ahsoka, she leaves with Sabine Wren to search the unknown parts of the Galaxy for Ezra Bridger. I’ll talk about him more in a bit.
The Child No More
When Mando finds Ahsoka, Ahsoka spends some time with The Child to try to learn about him and his past. She finds they can communicate with each other telepathically through the Force. The Child is able to tell Ahsoka a lot about his past. Luckily, she shares it with Mando and with us.
The Child was raised in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant—the temple we saw in the Prequel Trilogy. He was trained by several Masters during his time there. When the Clone Wars ended someone took him from there and hid him away. This unknown person seemingly told The Child to hide his powers to stay safe. This is evident as Ahsoka can feel he fears using the Force in front of her. Perhaps most importantly, we learn that The Child has a name—Grogu. While this sequence answered many questions, it raised quite a few more.
The primary question it raised for me is who took Grogu away from the Jedi Temple and hid him? We know Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda were at the temple, but we saw them flee with Bail Organa—The Child was not with them. Did this mysterious person remove Grogu before or after that? Was there another Jedi who foresaw what was coming? Did Darth Sidious hide him as a potential future apprentice? Did Yoda or Obi-Wan come out of hiding long enough to hide young Grogu away, perhaps as a backup plan to Luke and Leia? Could Bail Organa have come back for him?
There are two other Ahsoka lines of interest relating to Grogu. She mentions that after Grogu is in hiding, his memory grows dark. Later, she asks Mando if Grogu can still wield the Force. Why has his memory grown dark? Is something or someone clouding it, such as the Emperor? Why would his ability to use the Force fade? Is it a lack of discipline, time away from training or something else? Has Ahsoka seen this with others in the post-Empire time period? Hopefully, we will learn more of this backstory, whether in The Mandalorian or one of Disney’s other upcoming series.
The Samurai and the Gunslinger
Other than the Grogu/Jedi storyline, the largest plot point of The Mandalorian S2E5 revolves around Ahsoka trying to free the city of Calodan from the grips of The Magistrate. Morgan Elsbeth, played by actress, stuntwoman, martial artist, filmmaker, and author Diana Lee Inosanto, is a ruthless overlord who has seized the town. After her people were massacred during the Clone Wars, she started working to build the Imperial Starfleet, plundering and destroying whatever planets she could take over along the way. She says the people’s lives mean nothing to her.
Mando and Ahsoka fight The Magistrate’s band of thugs, lead by hired gun Lang. Eventually, Ahsoka takes on Elsbeth herself. This was a fun battle to watch. While much of it is unspoken, it seems Ahsoka and Elsbeth may have a history. It also seems Elsbeth may have experience fighting Jedi. Not only is she secure in sending her droid guards away, she holds her own in this fight.
The influences for The Mandalorian are readily visible in The Mandalorian S2E5. Star Wars was inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress. The Mandalorian was inspired by Clint Eastwood westerns. Both are on display in this episode. Ahsoka is the Kurosawa Samurai, determined to free the oppressed. Mando, the fastest gun in the Outer Rim, is Clint Eastwood’s gunslinger, come to town to bring down the outlaw invaders. It is a potent combination. Even the visuals beautifully merge these two styles.
Return of the Heir
It turns out Ahsoka has another reason for chasing down Elsbeth. Ahsoka is looking for the person Elsbeth serves. Early in the episode, Elsbeth says that Ahsoka will learn nothing from her. Ahsoka says she won’t give Elsbeth a choice. That seems like a pretty serious threat, so we know this person must be very important. Just how far would Ahsoka go to find this person? Did the threat imply ripping the information from her mind, torturing her or even killing her? These are not the Jedi way.
Once Ahsoka defeats Elsbeth, we discover that she is looking for Grand Admiral Thrawn. For many of you, this may be a new name, but fans of Rebels and Star Wars books know him. He is one of the greatest threats to the galaxy, outside of The Emperor himself. Does Ahsoka get the information she wanted from Elsbeth? Does she now know where he is? Did she kill Elsbeth? The answers to these questions aren’t clear. Additionally, it isn’t clear whether Moff Gideon is working for Grand Admiral Thrawn or they represent two different factions.
Timothy Zahn introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn in his Heir to the Empire book and its two sequels. Thrawn is a blue-skinned, red-eyed Chiss alien who served as a sort of hidden asset for The Emperor. Because his mission was in the Unknown Regions, few, even within the Empire, knew of his existence. He is a master strategist and, in the non-canon books, nearly re-established the Empire. Until Luke Skywalker and the heroes of the New Republic take him down, that is. In those books, he appears about five years after the end of Return of the Jedi. Interestingly enough, The Mandalorian takes place in that exact same timeframe.
While I could write several more paragraphs about Thrawn, I will hold onto that for now. If the show introduces him this season, I will fill in more of his backstory, both canon and non-canon.
The Search Continues
By the end of The Mandalorian S2E5, Ahsoka has decided she will not train Grogu. Ahsoka says she has seen what fear and attachment can do to a Jedi, especially to the best of them. This last part refers to Anakin Skywalker. She had the unpleasant experience of watching her former Master, who many believed was the strongest Jedi of all, fall from grace. She does not want to experience that again, nor does she want to put the galaxy at risk by training Grogu.
While Ahsoka refuses to train Grogu, she does provide Mando a possible path forward. She tells Mando to travel to the planet Tython (which originated in the comics) and find the ancient ruins of a Jedi temple there. She says that they should then look for the seeing stone at the top of the mountain there. If Grogu uses that stone, he will be able to determine his path forward. One such path would be to reach out through the Force, to see if there is a Jedi out there who might sense and then come search for him.
We don’t know how many other Jedi might be out there. We know Luke Skywalker is still around. Ezra Bridger, another Rebels character, may or may not be. Other Jedi may have gone into hiding during the Empire timeframe, but Ahsoka says there aren’t many left. Honestly, I hope Luke is not the Jedi who connects with Grogu. After the way Rian Johnson wrote Luke in The Last Jedi, that would make me fear for Grogu’s future.
As I mentioned above, last we knew, Ezra was lost in the Unknown Regions. He was trained by a Jedi named Kanan, who escaped the purge of the Jedi. Ezra proved to be pretty powerful himself, discovering abilities we had never seen before. If Ahsoka is back, is it because she found him and returned? That would explain why he wasn’t around during the Original Trilogy, and would give a way for Grogu to learn about the Jedi.
One item that has puzzled me through The Mandalorian S2E5 is the association of Ahsoka and the term Jedi. As mentioned above, Ahsoka made a decision to leave the Jedi Order. In Rebels, she famously and adamantly declared “I am no Jedi.” Others consider her to be one, and she does not deny it. I wonder if she is just accepting of Jedi as a general term or if, following Return of the Jedi, she once again adopted that moniker. When she speaks of Jedi, she never verbally associates herself with them, never saying “we” or “us.” If she does not consider herself a Jedi, this may play into why she doesn’t take The Child. Does she believe an actual Jedi should train him?
The Epic Story
Before the season started, various Disney and Lucasfilm reps stated that they wanted to make The Mandalorian a sprawling, epic story, much like Game of Thrones. This is likely to happen via multiple shows on Disney+. While no spinoffs have been officially announced, we are starting to see the seeds for them line up. The rumored Boba Fett miniseries appears to be actively casting and may start filming in the next month. Bo-Katan and her Mandalorians are pursuing Moff Gideon. Ahsoka Tano is chasing Grand Admiral Thrawn. Cara Dune’s story needs to be told. These stories certainly overlap, but there is a lot of room for them to separate, and then come back together occasionally or for a grand finale. I can’t wait until we have new Star Wars most weeks on Disney+.
Season 1 taught us a lot about Mandalorian lore, as I discussed in my review and analysis of “Chapter 9: The Marshal.” As we watch The Mandalorian Season 2, I expect we will continue to learn more about what it means to be a member of this creed.
In The Mandalorian S2E5, we learned a few things. First, we learned that beskar has the ability to block lightsabers. We may have previously seen this property of beskar in animation or comics, but I don’t think I knew about it. We saw Mando block Ahsoka’s lightsabers with his gauntlets and Elsbeth block them with her beskar spear.
Elsbeth stated that “Jedi are the ancient enemy of Mandalore.” This isn’t an entirely new concept, but previously we heard the Armorer speak of battles between Mandalore the Great and the Jedi. Their rift may have been larger than against one person or faction. It also may have been more long term than the Armorer’s comment suggested.
The Mandalorian S2E5 also reinforces Mandalorian honor, in that Mando says he cannot accept the beskar spear, as he did not fulfill the job for which it was to be payment. He says this even though Elsbeth is either dead or captured. He only eventually accepts the spear because Ahsoka says it belongs with the Mandalorians.
Thoughts and Theories
- In this episode, we see white lightsabers for the first time in live action, the sixth color overall. The others are the blue and green sabers of the Jedi, the red sabers of the Sith, Mace Windu’s purple saber and Rey’s yellow saber.
- I liked the way Ahsoka would turn her sabers on and off as she needed them, to continue to mask her position.
- This season has established just how valuable beskar is—the spear of pure beskar must be worth an amazing sum.
- I am continually impressed with the development of The Child, both in the show and technically. We see clear evidence that he does understand Mando and can listen when he wants to—he is just stubborn. He is also getting better with his Force powers, when he isn’t masking them. On the technical side, the level of emotion the show displays improves every week. The puppetry and CGI combination that make up Grogu also gets better and better.
- Does Grogu realize why he has been in hiding? Does he know the Remnant is after his powers? How many times have others experimented on or drawn blood from him?
- Ahsoka of course knew Yoda, as she had many scenes with him in The Clone Wars. She apparently did not know Yaddle. Yaddle was the other Jedi Master of that species shown in the Prequel Trilogy.
- I am convinced Mando doesn’t want to give Grogu up—he seems extremely sad at the end of the episode when he thinks he is saying goodbye. He just wants what is best for The Child.
- The Mandalorian S2E5 highlights Grogu’s connection to Mando. Ahsoka says “Try to connect with him.” Is she setting Mando up to essentially be Grogu’s teacher, even though he doesn’t know how to use the Force?
- Mando and Ahsoka’s plan was the opposite of what I expected. I thought Mando would show up with one of Ahsoka’s lightsabers. In the end, I think their plan was more effective.
- Ahsoka’s costume and makeup looked really good. It doesn’t look as flimsy as the Twi’lek lekku (head tentacles) in S1E6 “The Prisoner,” and not so stiff that they look like a helmet. Great balance.
- Did Ahsoka ignite her sabers when they were attached (blade side in), and then separate them? We haven’t seen this before.
- A friend of mine asked what was up with the shifter knob. Why does Grogu want it so badly and why does Mando seem so protective of it? Is there something more to this knob that Mando says isn’t supposed to leave the Razor Crest?
- Ludwig Göransson incorporated Ahsoka’s theme by Kevin Kiner into the score of The Mandalorian It was nice to hear it brought over from animation.
- A note from last week: When Mando and company see the tanks in the lab in the Imperial base, Snoke’s theme plays in the background. I previously asked if the Remnant is trying to bring back the Emperor or create Force-powerful beings. This theme choice suggests the experiments we saw may mean that Gideon is in process of creating Snoke. Is this all a step toward bringing back the Emperor?
- Ahsoka and Thrawn continue the trend of bringing characters from books and animation into live action. Other such characters include Boba Fett, the droid Chopper (seen in the background in Rogue One), Bo-Katan, Saw Guerrera, Cobb Vanth, and Hera Syndulla (in name only—we hear her name in a PA announcement in Rogue One). Can Ezra Bridger and other Rebels characters be far behind?
- Lang, The Magistrate’s hired gunfighter, is played by Michael Biehn. He is famous for playing Corporal Dwayne Hicks in Aliens and Sgt Kyle Reese in The Terminator.
- Governor Wing, the man who takes over the town at the end of the episode, is played by Wing T. Chao. Mr. Chao is a famous architect, master planner, hospitality professional and former Disney Imagineer. He was also a 2019 recipient of the Disney Legend Award.
- This is the third episode of The Mandalorian that Dave Filoni directed, following “Chapter 1: The Mandalorian” and “Chapter 5: The Gunslinger.”
Easter Eggs and References
- The white droid that Mando sees in Calodan is an 8D-series smelter droid. This type of droid was first seen in Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi, in the droid 8D8.
- The owl-like creature seen when Mando is looking for Ahsoka comes from animation. The creature is a convor named Morai, and has a strong connection with the Force. The creature has essentially bonded with Ahsoka.
- The HK-87 assassin droids are updated models of hunter/killer droids. These droids first appeared in the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game.
- We see a Loth-cat (twice). Star Wars Rebels featured these feline creatures. We also saw one in the bar in The Mandalorian S1E4 “Chapter 4: Sanctuary.”
Memorable Lines from The Mandalorian S2E5
- “Then you know what I want.”
- “A Jedi plagues me.”
- “What is that thing?” “I keep it around for luck.”
- “I hope it’s about him.”
- “The Jedi Order fell a long time ago.” “So did the Empire, yet it still hunts him.”
- “Let’s see what knowledge is lurking inside that little mind.”
- “I like firsts. Good or bad, they’re always memorable.”
- “A Mandalorian and a Jedi? They’ll never see it coming.”
- “Your bounty hunter failed.”
A Bounty Captured
The Mandalorian S2E5 “Chapter 13: The Jedi” was another great episode, and may prove to be my favorite. Jon Favreau and team continue to just knock it out of the park this season, with four of the episodes in my top five. Next week should see Mando and Grogu head to Tython. Will they make it or get diverted along the way? What will the seeing stone show Grogu? What will he decide about his path forward? I am excited to find out. How about you?
If you have comments, theories or other easter eggs I didn’t mention, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
This is the Way.