Week on week, Season Two of The Mandalorian continues to get more exciting, and now we’ve arrived at a very exciting and important event in the series narrative in Chapter 13: ‘The Jedi’.
His work complete on Nevarro, the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) continues on his trek to locate a fabled Jedi on the plant of Corvus. Finding himself walking into a dangerous and savaged world, Din Djarin attempts to locate an elusive Jedi, and encounters Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), a legend of The Clone Wars and Djarin’s best chance at trying to decipher the mystery behind The Child. Seeking to help the child, Djarin and Tano make a pact to help each other free Corvos of its brutal rulers and the stage is set for one of the most epic episodes of The Mandalorian so-far.
From her introduction in 2008’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the character of Ahsoka Tano has been a long-time fan favourite as she first served as the Padawan apprentice to a young Anakin Skywalker, before eventually developing into a full-fledged Jedi Knight. In ‘The Jedi’, Tano moves from being a 2D rendered animated character to a totally real live-action being, and star Rosario Dawson does an incredibly impressive job bringing her to live. Now tough and battle-hardened, Tano is a clear veteran of a long and arduous fight against The Empire, and she is still managing to fight the good fight. Dawson brings a real zen-warrior balance to the character of Tano, and her combination of lightning-fast reflexes and cool demeanour makes her one of the most interesting characters that we’ve met so far.
Alongside the introduction of the character of Ahsoka Tano, ‘The Jedi’ also gives us some incredible details into the nature and history of The Child, who is finally revealed to be named Grogu. In what is the most intriguing parts of the episode, Tano and Grogu share a force-bond and telepathic conversation where Grogu’s past as a Jedi youngling is revealed, and the details that are established here make for incredibly exciting watching. This introduction of Grogu’s past also helps to build his bond even more so to that of Djarin as his protector and ‘father’.
In terms of scale and production, ‘The Jedi’ is the most beautifully shot episode of The Mandalorian to date. Director Dave Filoni grounds this episode’s style and design in the classic samurai cinema of Akira Kurosawa, who had a strong influence on George Lucas’s original creation. From a desolate and barren landscape which is captured in a style similar to sumi-e painting to the Medieval designs of the city of Calodan to the martial arts and samurai movement of ‘The Jedi’s’ immense fight scenes, the language of Kurosawa’s style is all through ‘The Jedi’ and it is beautiful to behold. Filoni also uses a bold use of symbolism in this episode as well, and there are moment where Tano and Grogu’s interactions bear a similarity to the visual motif of the Madonna and Child.
‘The Jedi’ also gives viewers an introduction back to the elegant combat of the Jedi order thanks to Tano’s use of a pair of duel white lightsabers that light up the screen with a combination of fury and grace. The dual action between the Mandalorian and Tano is a terrific fusion of both western and eastern combat styles that we first saw back in the original 1977 Star Wars, and their inclusion here makes for a compelling watch. Tano’s samurai sword duel with ‘The Jedi’s’ big bad, Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto), is the episode’s highlight and the action is directly out of Kurosawa’s classic Yojimbo. Tano’s mention of the infamous Grand Admiral Thrawn will also have long-time fans salivating, and will make things very interesting down the road.
Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian, ‘The Jedi’ is the series most beautiful episode to date. It’s Star Wars in its purest form, and I was hooked from beginning to end. They don’t get much better than this.
The Mandalorian streams every Friday on Disney+
Image: Walt Disney Pictures