Carl unpacks The Mandalorian‘s action-packed thirteenth chapter – complete with spoilers!!
If anyone was in doubt as to Dave Filoni and his ability to write and direct anything to do with ‘Star Wars’, your doubts should now be over. Chapter 13 of the sublime series ‘The Mandalorian‘ although not the best episode of them all, is still a completely enjoyable, fun, and brilliant episode of the show. The design of the sets, the look of the episode, and the action contained within some parts of the episode are classic ‘Star Wars‘. It is also an episode that contains some of the violence we have come to know from the movies. Is that a bad thing? Not in the slightest. Although it isn’t graphic, it is the perfect accompaniment to what we know and love. To be honest with you, the episode isn’t a chapter in ‘The Mandalorian‘ story but a live-action episode and continuation of the finale to ‘Star Wars: Rebels‘. And THAT reveal!! Inspired.
The story opens in the forest on the planet of Corvus and in particular, the city of Calodan. In Chapter 11, Bo-Katan revealed that it is there that Din Djarin will find Jedi Ahsoka Tano. As it opens, there is a defense force occupying the forest and outside the city gates. They are hunting for someone and are on high alert. As the soldiers are searching through the decimated trees, a cloaked figure is stalking them, dispatching them at will with a pair of white bladed lightsabers. Cutting down the soldiers with ease, the figure approaches the city, disappearing in the mist surrounding the entrance to the forest. With a quick dart out and a swipe of her sabers, the figure dispatches the final two guards and stands outside the city. Above the gates, high on a platform stands ‘The Magistrate‘, looking down on the cloaked figure alongside several more of the city guards which include her deputy. The figure stares up at the magistrate. IT’S AHSOKA TANO HERSELF!
After all the rumors, after all the blustering, Rosario Dawson makes her first appearance as the classic character and the first time we have seen her in a live-action form. Ahsoka warns the magistrate that she will give her one day to let the citizens of the city go free and give her the information she demands before vanishing again into the mists of the forest.
The Mandalorian and The Child arrive on the planet on their mission to find Ahsoka and bring the Child to her. The Child once again wants to play with the shiny silver knob on one of the control sticks on the Razor Crest, to which Mando tells him no once again. Of course, the Child isn’t so easily dissuaded and uses his powers to unscrew it and keep it for himself. He is caught outside the ship with it and Mando confiscates it as they make their way towards the city. The deputy challenges him at the gates and allows him entry when he answers he is there for a layover. Inside the city, however, Mando tries to speak to the citizens but they shun him at every turn, fearful of what the magistrates guards will do to them. The magistrate summons him into her inner sanctum where she makes him an offer. Kill the Jedi who is threatening her and her troops and in reward, she will give him a spear made of solid Beskar, an offer the Mandalorian accepts.
With the Child in tow, he walks through the forest, searching for Ahsoka. After a false start, Ahsoka appears from nowhere, her lightsabers ignited, and slashes at Mando, who deflects her strikes with his armor (I didn’t know Beskar could block a lightsaber?). But her attack stops when he mentions Bo-Katan sent him and she spots the Child and is instantly intrigued. Mando tells her his mission is to return the Child to his kind and a Jedi. Ahsoka tries to train him and reveals the Child’s real name! Her attempts are a failure until she asks Mando to try something which succeeds.
It is proven that the child sees Mando as a father figure and has an emotional attachment to him, meaning that it would be useless to attempt to train him in the Jedi arts. Mando tells Ahsoka about the deal he was offered and pretended to accept to which she informs him of the magistrate and her ultimate aims. Together, they concoct a plan to take down her and her troops and free the citizens of the city. Ahsoka approaches the city, which is instantly alerted but using her Jedi powers, she enters the city by jumping the wall and killing the guards before confronting the magistrate, her deputy, her troops, and two assassin droids she has. Throwing down one of the Mandalorian’s Beskar shoulder pauldrons and claiming she has killed him, the battle is on. Ahsoka taking on the troops and destroying one of the assassin droids before entering the magistrate’s inner sanctum to confront her.
Outside, Mando appears and takes on more of the troops and managed to free the citizens before being confronted by the deputy. After a drawn-out conversation, the deputy lowers himself to the ground and places his blaster rifle down in apparent surrender, only to pull a hidden blaster which leads to Mando shooting and killing him without mercy. Alerted to the second assassin droid by a citizen he spoke to earlier, Mando shoots and destroys him. Meanwhile, Ahsoka and the magistrate are involved in a fight, Ahsoka with her sabers and the magistrate with the Beskar spear. Although she loses one of her sabers in the fight, Ahsoka is victorious. Holding her remaining blade at the magistrate’s throat, Ahsoka demands to know the location of the magistrate’s master…GRAND ADMIRAL THRAWN!! Ahsoka walks out of the inner sanctum, leaving the magistrate’s fate ambiguous, to be greeted by the celebrating citizens, one of which takes the magistrate’s cloak and places it around his shoulders.
Ahsoka gives the Beskar spear to the Mandalorian and he leaves to retrieve the Child from his ship to hand over to Ahsoka. But his humanity and true feelings become apparent, calling the Child ‘Buddy’ and sitting down alongside him for a long while, contemplating saying goodbye to him. But as he picks him up to hand over, Ahsoka appears outside the Razor Crest, telling him she can’t train the child. She instructs Mando to take the Child to a ruined Jedi temple where he can make his own choice. Call out with the force and maybe get a Jedi to search for him or he will reject his true calling and stay with the Mandalorian. Ahsoka tells him that there are not many Jedi left though. Mando and the Child leave the planet as Ahsoka watches on, smiling before she returns to the city.
Now, I get the feeling that this episode, while adding to the continuing story of the show, is also setting up events that could lead to the rumored ‘Star Wars: Ahsoka‘ live-action series. It wouldn’t shock or surprise me if it came to pass. If it does, then the seeds for it have been well and truly laid in this episode. And I am all for it. Although I’m not 100% convinced by Rosario Dawson‘s portrayal of Ahsoka, she fits the character well. Almost everything about the character, from her clothing down to her facial decals is completely spot on. But it’s her Lekktu that lets the portrayal down.
On many occasions, I found myself thinking I was staring at foam rubber placements, and to make things worse, you can even see crinkles in them, making me cringe at times. This quibble aside, Rosario Dawson plays the character almost to perfection. It could be because I love the way Ashley Eckstein has built her up in the animated shows and her voice sticks in the memory only to be unsure when someone else plays her that gives me reservations at the moment but over time, I’m sure I could become more comfortable with Rosario Dawson’s portrayal of my favorite Togruta. She certainly knows Ahsoka’s actions and quirks, even down to the way she holds her lightsabers at times, bringing a huge sense of satisfaction to the fans.
Michael Biehn though is sadly wasted in a token villain role. He deserved more than to appear, act nasty, try something stupid, and get killed off in what is, in reality, a cameo appearance. I was hoping that his character of the deputy would survive the episode and would continue to be a thorn in both Ahsoka’s and eventually, The Mandalorian’s side. He still could be as it appeared that Carl Weathers’ character of Greef Karga was presumed killed off in season one only to discover he survived. Biehn could feasibly make a comeback once again but sadly, I doubt it somehow. It appears to be a one and done shot for the veteran actor, something Biehn doesn’t deserve, But this episode is Pedro Pascal and Rosario Dawson‘s from the start. The episode focuses mainly on them and they pull it off with aplomb. I don’t know whether Ahsoka will appear again in this season or whether this is just an introduction ahead of a larger role in season 3. It seems to me that Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau are setting up the show for coming seasons by laying the seeds now and waiting for them to bear fruit later on.
Dave Filoni writes and directs this episode brilliantly. As I said before, this is almost like an extension to the finale of ‘Rebels‘. As she first appears, Ahsoka is clad in her white robe, the same as she was at the end of the animated show. And with the dropping of Thrawn‘s name, it could conceivably be that the rumored show will follow Ahsoka as she searches for Ezra Bridger, who is ALSO rumored to be making his live-action debut somewhere down the line. If that is the case then can we expect to see Sabine Wren make her live-action debut too? Anything is possible after the events and the names dropped here. And what are we to make of Filoni writing in that ‘Not many Jedi are left’? The only Jedi we know that are still alive at this juncture is Ahsoka herself, Ezra Bridger, and Luke Skywalker. Could there be a HUGE shock and surprise that has been kept securely under wraps? Or are we reading too much into it? Only Filoni knows but he’s setting the scene up brilliantly regardless.
We can’t end without saluting Ludwig Goransson‘s score for this episode. Not only has he brought his musicality to the series and this episode in particular but he incorporates Ahsoka’s theme from the animated series into his score here. But, of course, he just had to add Yoda‘s theme during Ahsoka’s conversation with the Mandalorian, didn’t he? Those small but vital musical cues add a more than welcome extra touch of class to an already great episode. The score amplifies the action seen on the screen and brings shivers down the spine on occasion, just by adding classic cues and haunting themes into it. This is the mark of a master musician and Goransson is building up quite a legacy as he goes along.
And there we have it. Ahsoka is FINALLY realized in live-action form in an episode that will go down as one of the best of them all. It can’t quite match up to several others but in terms of moving the story forward and giving us clues as to what MAY happen down the line, it does its job extremely well. Dave Filoni, I and the fanbase salute you once again. You have proven yourself once more as a TRUE master. And I for one can’t thank you enough.
The Mandalorian is streaming exclusively on Disney+ NOW!
Carl Roberts is the News Editor for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!