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The Mandalorian: The Jedi

“The Jedi Order fell a long time ago.”

Chapter Thirteen

Mando and the Child land on Corvus to find the Jedi known as Ahsoka Tano. When they arrive, a Magistrate of the walled city of Calodan hires Mando to track down and kill Ahsoka in exchange for a spear of pure Beskar metal…

This episode wastes no time whatsoever and introduces us to Ahsoka right away. The entire opening scene is clearly designed to set the mood of the episode, and to let us know how powerful she is with the Force. Her white lightsabers are striking and unusual, and indicate that there is a deeper story going on with her. She moves with grace and dispatches several guards without hesitation or really, any difficulty at all.

Then she threatens the Magistrate, who does not seem to fear Ahsoka at all despite watching as a good number of her guards were killed outright in minutes. This again sets up a situation where we do not know all the variables, and things feel a little off-kilter. Who is this Magistrate, and what does Ahsoka want with her? Or for those who are not deeply into Star Wars like I am, who the heck is Ahsoka?

Spoilers for Star Wars Episodes 1-6, The Clone Wars, and Rebels.

Ahsoka Tano is Anakin Skywalker’s former Padawan apprentice. She fought side by side with him and Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Clone Wars. She left the Jedi order before becoming a Jedi Knight due to a false accusation made against her. She survived Order 66 and was a spy for the Rebellion against the Empire under the name Fulcrum. Much like Obi-Wan, she was very close to Anakin up until his fall to the dark side of the Force, and was unaware of his connection to Darth Vader.

More than that, she is a fan favorite character and it is just wonderful that she is finally making the transition to live action. Here she is portrayed by Rosario Dawson, who is a bit different from the animated incarnation but feels like Ahsoka, just experienced and confident in her abilities. There is such a quiet calm presence to the character, but there is clearly some anger she is trying to deal with. Knowing a bit of her journey, it is very understandable.

To put it in perspective, Star Wars: The Clone Wars ran for seven seasons and 133 episodes in which she appeared in 70; she also appeared in 14 episodes of Star Wars: Rebels, all voiced by Ashley Eckstein. Ahsoka is from a race called the Togruta which are known for bright skin in unusual colors and large montrals (cone-like horns) and head tails, as well as natural white markings in unique patterns on their faces. Ahsoka’s face patterns were briefly adopted by a squad of Clone Troopers shortly before Order 66, the men painting their helmets to honor her.

The appearance of such a fan favorite character is rather surprising given how the first season of the show barely utilized any known characters. What is really surprising is that this is still an episode that heavily features Mando and the Child, or rather Grogu. That little tidbit comes along with some long standing answers to questions about Grogu’s origin and history. He was a foundling taken in by the Jedi order and trained by several masters before he was hidden away during the purge of Order 66. From there we know almost nothing, except that Grogu’s memories of those years are mostly dark.

Ahsoka’s reasons for not training Grogu are not explicitly stated, but are fairly obvious if you know her history. She could sense the Child’s fear and emotional connection to Mando, and feared a repeat of history. She did eventually find out about Anakin’s fall and transformation into Darth Vader, although I wonder if she knows about his redemption? Whatever the reason, she sends Mando on another quest: he must take Grogu to Tython to perform a ritual to potentially summon another Jedi to train the Child.


While the action and pretty much everything else about this episode was great, the villains were a bit too easy to root against and the stakes for the conflict were well established. Morgan Elsbeth was a brutal tyrant lording over her little town. The black and white aspect of this conflict was good shorthand for an episode that was really more about introducing us to this version of Ahsoka. What was interesting is that Ahsoka wasn’t really all that interested in liberation, although it was a secondary goal. She wanted to find out about Grand Admiral Thrawn… which, if you are unaware, is perhaps the greatest Star Wars legacy villain of all time. Ahsoka then heads off, probably to find the elusive Chiss commander.

Bits:

Rosario Dawson is very good as Ahsoka, but this could be considered a disservice to Ashley Eckstein. The rumors surrounding this were that Eckstein didn’t even get an audition (although that may be entirely false), but she has been nothing but gracious about the casting of Dawson, even promoting the character’s turn in The Mandalorian.

Tython is the ancient home world of the Jedi, settled eons before by some of the first force users. It is also featured heavily in the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO.

Grand Admiral Thrawn first appeared in a book trilogy written by Timothy Zahn which many fans of the franchise considered to be the second trilogy (and some still do after the less than excellent sequel trilogy). He is the first example of an alien race known as the Chiss, who have blue/gray skin and red eyes.

Michael Biehn (Aliens, Abyss, Terminator) played Lang the enforcer for Morgan Elsbeth. He had a good presence, and I thought it was a shame that he died in this episode.

Both of the fights we see with Ahsoka against Mando and the Magistrate showed conclusively that Beskar can protect against lightsabers. While this may have been established in The Clone Wars or Rebels, this is the first time we are seeing the other big reason why Mandalorians use this kind of armor.

Quotes:

Mando: “Ahsoka Tano! Bo-Katan sent me. We need to talk.”
Ahsoka: “I hope it's about him.”

Mando: “A Mandalorian and a Jedi? They'll never see it coming.”

Lang: “So, you threw in with the Jedi.”
Mando: “Looks that way.”

It might all be fan service, but this was a solid episode and stands out as a highlight of the season so far.

4 out of 4 Lightsaber Duels

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.

3 comments:

  1. Samantha, I agree this was a standout. I was highly impressed by how they brought Ahsoka to life, and by Rosario Dawson’s acting. She made Ahsoka feel real.

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  2. You can always tell from this episode what kind of Star Wars fan they are. If hearing the name "Grand Admiral Thrawn" nearly gives them a heart attack, they're one of the good ones :)

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  3. Very good episode and I enjoyed your review, Samantha. Particularly because I had no freaking clue who Ahsoka was, and was wondering.

    It was especially nice that the Child finally got a name and a past. Bout time.

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