This week finally brings us their long awaited meeting.
The episode opens in the city of Calodan on the forest planet of Corvus, where something very big is going down. A giant gong warns residents to get inside their homes as soldiers take up positions at the city’s entrance. In the woods outside Calodan, soldiers futilely attempt to stop an army’s worth of devastation from one Togruta female wielding two white lightsabers.
*Side Note: If you don’t know your Star Wars lore very well, then the collective squeal of excitement that woke you up around 3:05 AM Friday morning is because this is the first time we’ve seen Ahsoka Tano in live action (and it was even more awesome than we’d hoped).
After easily slicing her way through the perimeter defenses, Ahsoka walks up to Calodan’s front gate like a boss and demands that Morgan Elsbeth (the city’s magistrate) tell her something she wants to know. Elsbeth responds by threatening to execute her own citizens if Ahsoka doesn’t get lost. Ahsoka counters by pointing out that the citizens already suffer and die under her rule without any twisted ultimatums. She then lifts one of her lightsabers and makes an ultimatum of her own: Elsbeth has one day to surrender and tell Ahsoka what she wants to know or face the consequences.
After Ahsoka leaves, the leader of Elsbeth’s military force (Lang) assures her that they’ll be ready when the Jedi returns.
Knobs & Spears
Back in outer space, Djarin begins his approach to Corvus. Before starting the landing cycle, he tells Baby Yoda to get strapped in. The Child does as he’s asked, but also takes the opportunity to remove another knob from the Razor Crest’s control panel. This time, however, he uses the Force to do it.
After touching down on the planet–and retrieving the control knob from Baby Yoda–Din Djarin and the Child make their way toward Calodan. When they arrive, Lang asks the Mandalorian a series of perfunctory questions before allowing him through into the city.
Once he’s inside, it quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t a happy place. Djarin’s brief stroll down main street is filled with people living in poverty and who are too scared to even speak with him. Things get even bleaker when a pair of soldiers step behind the Mandalorian and say that Elsbeth wants to see him.
The soldiers lead Djarin past a trio of citizens being caged/tortured into a fortified central building with substantially nicer architecture and landscaping. Once he’s inside, Elsbeth reveals that she knows he’s a Mandalorian. She also claims to have a proposition that may interest him: Killing the Jedi who’s causing her problems.
Djarin responds by pointing out that in addition to his high service fee, killing a Jedi is an extremely difficult task. She counters by offering to give him her pure Beskar spear as payment. Djarin accepts the job, although it’s obvious he has no intention of doing what she asks. Elsbeth then has Lang point the Mandalorian in the general direction where they think Ahsoka’s attack originated from.
Negotiation of Fates
After reaching the coordinates in the woods (and being watched by what I’m pretty sure was Morai or at least a convor of some sort), Djarin is ambushed by Ahsoka. He fends her off long enough to reveal that he knows her name and that Bo-Katan sent him (back in Chapter 11). This is enough to get her to stand down, but she becomes even more agreeable to a discussion after noticing Baby Yoda sitting on a nearby rock.
That night, Ahsoka speaks to Baby Yoda through the Force, giving both us and Djarin some insight into his past. The first big revelation is that the Child actually has a name: Grogu. He was also raised and trained by many masters at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. After the Empire rose to power, he was taken from the temple by someone (thankfully before Anakin killed all the children) and hidden away. Since that time, he’d hidden his powers in an attempt to remain undetected by those who would do him harm.
Djarin reveals that he’s observed Grogu using powers he’s never seen before and can’t explain. He also tells Ahsoka that he’s been tasked with bringing the Child back to the Jedi. When Ahsoka declares that the Jedi Order is no more, Djarin counters that the Empire is technically gone as well, but they’re still out there hunting the poor little guy.
Grogu needs her help.
The next morning, Ahsoka tests Grogu by asking him to return a pebble to her using the Force. After he proves unable/unwilling to do so, Ahsoka has Djarin hold a stone and ask Grogu to lift it. When he still refuses, Ahsoka tells the Mandalorian to try connecting with the Child.
This time Djarin takes out the control knob, which Grogu eagerly Force snatches.
Unfortunately, this indicates to Ahsoka that the Child has formed a strong bond with Djarin, meaning that she won’t be able to train him. When he demands to know why, she explains that the Child’s attachment makes him more vulnerable to feelings of anger/hate that could lead to his downfall…something she’s had very up close and tragic experience with.
Desperate to complete his mission, Djarin offers to help her take down Elsbeth if she sees to it that Grogu is properly trained. Ahsoka accepts his offer and the pair begin to plotting their attack. She also explains why Elsbeth is such a homicidal sourpuss: After her people were massacred during the Clone Wars, she used the resulting rage to help build the Imperial Navy, leaving a trail of destruction and death in her wake.
Now, however, she’s about to feel the wrath of a Jedi/Mandalorian team up.
The Art of War
That night, Ahsoka engages Calodan’s defenses in a full frontal assault while Djarin infiltrates the city’s center from above. After making quick work of the perimeter guards (and slicing their alert gong in half), she calmly approaches Elsbeth and throws down Djarin’s signet, making it appear as though she killed the bounty hunter the magistrate sent after her.
Ahsoka then demands that Elsbeth reveal where her “master” is. Elsbeth responds by commanding Lang and his forces to kill her. After they engage Ahsoka, she sends her personal HK-87 assassin droids to assist in the effort before returning to her fortified enclosure. Before closing the doors behind her, she instructs the two remaining guards to execute the caged prisoners and go door to door to kill the rest.
One of the villagers (Wing) decides to run out and attempt to save his neighbors, but he’s interrupted by Din Djarin landing and killing the guards, instead.
Back inside the city, Ahsoka goes into full John Wick mode and eliminates the entire military force. She also manages to get the drop on Lang, but he’s saved by the assassin droids. After Ahsoka hacks one of them in half, the shaken mercenary instructs the other one to chase her down across the rooftops.
Lang then runs out onto main street, where he comes face to face with the Mandalorian.
Meanwhile, Ahsoka leaps over the wall to Elsbeth’s residence and confronts her. After a few minutes of vicious combat, Ahsoka eventually gets the upper hand and makes the most direct demand that we’ve heard thus far: “Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn?”
*Side Note: For those who are unfamiliar with this character, I’ll explain why he’s important after the recap. The rest of you may continue joining me in squealing with glee.
Back outside, Lang attempts to fool the Mandalorian into thinking he’s surrendered and draws a weapon on him. After he’s predictably smoked for his efforts, Wing warns Djarin of the other assassin droid approaching from behind, which he also takes out with ease.
A New Quest
The next day, Calodan celebrates their freedom while appointing Wing as their new governor (it’s unclear if Elsbeth revealed Thrawn’s location and/or if she was killed). Despite Djarin’s reluctance to take the Beskar spear for a job he did not complete, Ahsoka insists that the weapon belongs with a Mandalorian.
He then heads back to the Razor Crest to retrieve Grogu and say goodbye, which is clearly hard for him despite his efforts to hide it. After pointing out that Djarin is like a father to the Child, Ahsoka once again refuses to train him. Instead, she directs the Mandalorian to take Grogu to the planet Tython, which is (allegedly) where the first Jedi Temple is located. After locating the temple’s ruins, he should place Grogu on the seeing stone at the top of the mountain its located upon and
yell Jumanji see if the Force reaches out for another Jedi to train him.
*Side Note: I love Ahsoka and all, but if I was Djarin I’d be ticked. She’s basically saying that Grogu can’t be trained because of his attachments, but maybe a magical group chat will tag somebody else to come do it anyway. As if that weren’t bad enough, she also reneged on her part of their agreement.
After receiving his frustratingly-vague-yet-potentially-thrilling new mission, Djarin bids farewell to to Ahsoka, who smiles and returns to the woods as her beautiful musical theme swells around her.
Even if you aren’t a huge Star Wars fan, that was still a great episode. If you are, however, then Chapter 13 gave us all types of great callbacks along with the live action debut of a fan favorite character that somehow exceeded expectations. We also got confirmation (mostly) that Grand Admiral Thrawn is still out there somewhere.
There is A LOT of history when it comes to Ahsoka Tano, who started off as one of the most hated Star Wars characters ever and is now one of the most beloved. For the folks who aren’t familiar with her, I’ll stick to the critically essential stuff…which is still a lot. You’re also totally missing out if you don’t watch her incredible character arc as it develops throughout Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels.
That said, let’s take a VERY abbreviated look at the history behind Ahsoka Tano and Admiral Thrawn and how they tie in together. For folks who are already familiar with this part of Star Wars lore, feel free to skip past the video where Ahsoka is in her Gandalf outfit.
- During the Clone Wars (between Episodes II and III), Ahsoka was an extremely talented Jedi youngling (force sensitive kid) assigned to Anakin as his padawan. They initially clashed due to their headstrong natures, but eventually became very close.
- Near the end of the Clone Wars, Ahsoka was framed for an assassination linked to a terrorist plot against the Republic, forcing her to go on the run. She was able to clear her name, but was hurt that the Jedi Order (who she’d already started to become disillusioned with) didn’t believe in her innocence until she was forced to prove it. When the council offered a mea culpa in the form of making her a full fledged Jedi, she turned them down and walked away from the Order.
- During her time away from the Jedi Order, Ahsoka was recruited by Bo-Katan to help a group of Mandalorian loyalists take down Maul, who’d become the ruler of Mandalore while also running a Shadow Collective of crime syndicates. Mandalorians were generally opposed to the Republic getting involved in their affairs, but they were now being ruled over by someone who was an enemy to both of them (and someone who Bo-Katan did not consider a legitimate heir to the throne).
- Ahsoka reached out to Anakin and Obi-Wan for help with the Mandalorian offensive. The two Jedi were thrilled about hearing from her again and the possibility of her returning to the Order (especially Anakin).
- Anakin and Obi-Wan were unable to help Ahsoka and the Mandalorian loyalists personally (due to General Grievous‘ attack on Coruscant at the beginning of Episode III), but they did leave her a battalion of clone troopers led by Captain Rex. The troops also painted their helmets to look like Ahsoka because they missed her so much.
- Ahsoka and Bo-Katan lead the Siege of Mandalore, successfully retaking the planet and capturing Maul…
- …and giving us this awesome gif.
- On the way back from Mandalore, Order 66 happens and Ahsoka’s clone troopers turn against her (making the fact that they have her face painted on their helmets go from inspiring to downright terrifying). Rex tries to kill her as well, but she manages to knock him out and remove his behavior modification chip.
- Rex and Ahsoka escape their former friends (who they’d previously fought alongside for years) and go into hiding. Ahsoka felt through the Force that something terrible happened to Anakin, but simply assumes he died. It’s one of the most heartbreaking sequences in all of Star Wars.
- Anakin/Vader discovers that his former apprentice is still out there somewhere (also heartbreaking).
- As the Rebel Alliance begins to take shape, Ahsoka runs its intelligence gathering operation under the codename Fulcrum.
- Ahsoka doesn’t just work from the shadows–she also fights out in the open, which is awesome to watch.
- This eventually brings her into a highly anticipated confrontation with her former master, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. By the end, it appears as though Vader has defeated and likely killed her.
- If you watched that video, however, you saw someone pulling Ahsoka through a portal to safety. Yes, it’s weird and would take too long to explain. All you need to know is that Ahsoka survived.
- The person who saved Ahsoka is Ezra Bridger, a force sensitive kid who was a big part of the Rebellion turning into a successful military operation.
- Meanwhile, the rise of the Empire was aided significantly by Grand Admiral Thrawn, a brilliant tactician who used various cultures’ artwork to determine the best way to defeat them. (I could honestly do an entire article on Thrawn in both canon and Legends material, but just take my word for it when I say he’s a badass).
- During the battle to free his home world of Lothal from Thrawn’s grasp, Ezra got some of his fellow Rebels to summon a pod of purrgil, which are basically space whales that live and travel between solar systems in hyperspace.
- (Just stick with me here).
- Knowing that he and Thrawn would be sucked into into the deep void of space (but still remain alive), Ezra sacrificed himself to save both his friends and the planet he grew up on.
- After the Empire was defeated a second time (in Episode VI), Ahsoka and Sabine Wrenn (another Mandalorian) meet up and embark on a quest to find Ezra.
So with Ahsoka appearing again, that leaves us with a number of questions.
- Where is Ezra?
- Where is Sabine Wrenn?
- Why was she specifically looking for Thrawn? Is he back and/or holding Ezra prisoner somewhere?
- Why didn’t we see Ahsoka during the Original Trilogy saga?
The practical answer to that last one is obvious (she was created long after the movies were made), but has yet to be definitively addressed from a lore standpoint. As far as the other questions are concerned, we don’t know. That’s part of what makes their introduction to The Mandalorian‘s narrative so exciting.
Even without all those elements, however, it was just plain great getting to see Ahsoka on screen like this. I honestly wasn’t sure I could like someone other than Ashley Eckstein portraying her, but Rosario Dawson completely knocked it out of the park. She pulled off a near perfect animated-to-live action translation, from her look and fighting style down to the body language and facial expressions. It’s clear Dawson did a ton of study and work for the role and it payed off big time.
Speaking of fighting, those action sequences were fantastic. I’ll fully admit that some of my praise is based on the novelty of seeing Ahsoka kick bad guys’ asses in live action, but I didn’t expect it to look anywhere near this good.
As far as the rest of the episode was concerned, it was nice to finally have Baby Yoda (aka Grogu) finally be part of the story again instead of reaction shot fodder. There are obviously a lot of questions that arose with what we learned about him (like how he escaped the Jedi Temple), but I’m more than happy to let those answers unfold as the series progresses.
I also loved Din Djarin’s reluctance to part ways with his little green companion. Even with a helmet on you could tell that possibility of saying goodbye was tearing him up.
The episode wasn’t perfect, though. It still bugged me how Ahsoka rejected training Grogu (for an arguably justifiable reason) only to send one of the only force sensitive children she’s seen in years on a wild goose chase to magically seek out someone else to do it.
Also, if you aren’t familiar with Star Wars lore, then I’m honestly not sure what type of impact this episode’s major revelations had on you. Hopefully the prominent mention of Thrawn means that he’s going to show up later instead of being a verbal easter egg.
And I can’t be the only one who remembers Ahsoka’s repeated insistence that she’s not a Jedi, right?
Other than that, though, I had an absolute blast watching this one. Once again The Mandalorian drew on Star Wars’ rich mythology to frame an exciting and intriguing narrative for new and old fans alike. With our next stop being an ancient Jedi Temple, it’s probably a very safe bet that even more reveals are headed our way.
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