Main cast: Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian), Michael Biehn (Lang), Rosario Dawson (Ahsoka Tano), Diana Lee Inosanto (The Magistrate), and Wing T Chao (Wing)
Director: Dave Filoni
The devotion of The Mandalorian to serve up fanservice as an effort to win fans that are disgruntled with the… wait. what I am talking about again? Lucasfilms under Disney never made any full-length movies that torpedoed the Star Wars canon to the next galaxy. At any rate, people that are unfamiliar with Ahsoka Tano and Grand Admiral Thrawn will far less likely to get the full picture and significance of the former’s crusade in The Jedi. Then again, it doesn’t matter, as unless Mandy gets involved in the mystery of Thrawn’s disappearance later, such as in the next season, these things are all Easter eggs left for fans that have followed everything Star Wars until Disney came in and let Kathleen Kennedy take a big dump on things, and are now left to rage and vent until this show comes along and attempts to woo them back into the fold.
Yes, all this also means that, once again, this is another episode in the show that has Mandy basically taking a backseat and allowing another secondary character to audition for her own Disney+ show. Still, this also means that, after a few filler episodes, we are finally getting somewhere, what with the Imperial remnants wanting Baby while Mandy is now trying to get that thing into the safe clutches of a Jedi. Will that Jedi be Ahsoka?
Of course not! We still have some episodes more to go, after all. Also, given how this show weaves in fanservice to the wazoo, there is only one Jedi that really matters in this Star Wars universe. What are the odds that that particular Jedi will show up in the final episode, hmm?
Whoever says the Jedi is Rey is banned immediately from this website. What am I saying, that wretch has never happened.
Anyway, back to this episode. Mandy and Baby finally arrive at Corvus. Alas, they are soon stuck in the path of two angry women at the throats of one another—Ahsoka Tano, a former Jedi Order warrior whose backstory can be found at Wookieepedia, so go read that thing as I have no space or patience to recount her entire backstory—and the evil magistrate of the town of Calodan. The people of Calodan are downtrodden and scared, et cetera, and Ahsoka is determined to liberate them. Oh, and she also wants to know the location of Thrawn, the Magistrate’s boss.
When Mandy shows up, the Magistrate’s lead henchman Lang has him brought to the Magistrate, who offers him a reward for killing Ahsoka. The silly bint never realizes that he doesn’t specify that he agrees to take up the commission, so it is hardly any surprise when that he offers his services to Ahsoka when he finds her based on the Magistrate’s direction. That is, if she would take Baby—whose name is revealed to be Grogu—and give him the Jedi training he needs. She’s like oh please, darlings, she is going to have her own show, okay, so who has the time to play the babysitter to some green midget that will only steal the show, so be off with him. Oh, and he can take Baby Grogu with him because there are some more episodes to go before we close the season.
It’s clichéd and somewhat predictable, but Baby’s journey parallels Mandy’s, as both are lost souls adrift in a potentially dangerous and frightening sea. I feel that it adds a layer of poignancy to the relationship of Baby and Mandy. Much of the layers of nuances and poignancy will go over the heads of those that are not aware of Ahsoka’s past, however. For instance, it is never mentioned here that her former mentor was Anakin Skywalker, the one she is referring to when she mentions why she is afraid to train someone with the Force that is also filled with fear and hate. Folks that don’t follow Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels may end up thinking that this character is a flake or, worse, a rather heartless person. Also, they may wonder about the identity of the Magistrate’s “master”, as he is never revealed by name, and these people hence won’t realize that it’s Thrawn, and the significance of Ahsoka looking for that fellow.
Me, I like Rosario Dawson’s portrayal of Ahsoka, as this Ahsoka is powerful, yet at the same time weary, sometimes vulnerable, and occasionally flirtatious. She has good chemistry with Mr Pascal, and oh yes, I’ll watch the inevitable Disney+ show of hers, thank you.
The Jedi is also a well-paced episode, made all the more watchable by this great feeling that finally, finally, the season is going somewhere. Yes, there’s action, there’s some great girl-on-girl fight here and Mandy is basically just along for the ride in this first episode of the Ahsoka show, and some touching Mandy-Baby moments when he thinks he will have to leave Grogu with Ahsoka. Seriously, people that say that Mr Pascal is replaceable in his role, and any voice will do, may be seriously missing the mark here, as Mr Pascal manages to evoke a gamut of emotions running through his character very well with just his voice alone. Even better, he does this without resorting to theatrical melodramatic yodeling and posturing like he had done in some of his past roles. Mandy is very believable as a possibly emotionally repressed, socially awkward person having to deal with emotions that he is unfamiliar with, but accepts gladly all the same.
Well, I really like this episode, so here are four oogies for this baby. We’re finally getting somewhere, and things look promising, so long as the show keeps this momentum and doesn’t throw another filler episode at me after this. However, as I’ve mentioned, much of the goodness of this episode also arises from fanservice. Casual viewers unfamiliar with Star Wars stuff may find this episode incomplete or opaque, and instead give it, say, two oogies or something. I can understand that, really, and a part of me feels that it is a misstep to make this episode so meta. Still, I’m glad all the same that this show is finally looking up.