In the words of Han Solo, “Crazy thing is, it’s true. The Force, the Jedi — all of it. It’s all true.” Rumours have been circulating for months that we would see Rosario Dawson as a live-action Ahsoka Tano and this Dave Filoni written and directed episode delivers that and so much more. Questions are answered and more are asked.
There is no burying the lead in this installment. Ahsoka appears on screen virtually straight away, emerging from the darkness, illuminated by her two white lightsabers. Filoni, the creator of this character, gives her the entrance she deserves, the light in the dark, with all her skill and power on display. Whether this will have an impact on someone just being introduced to her I don’t know (I hope it does) but long time fans this will be more than satisfied.
The story has Din following up the lead he was given by Bo-Katan a couple of episodes ago and traveling to the planet Corvis to meet with Ahsoka so he can return the child to the Jedi. Upon arriving he is given his quest of the week by the local warlord which is, ironically, to kill Ahsoka. This leads to a brief tussle between Djarin and Tano, in which we see beskar is lightsaber proof, before we get to the meat of the episode.
Ahsoka can communicate with the child and we get the info dump that we have been waiting for including the most important bit, his name. He is no longer the child or baby Yoda, his name is Grogu. If you listen carefully you can hear all the merchandise packaging printing machines firing up to get the products labelled in time for Christmas. We also get his back story. He had been trained at the Jedi temple on Coruscant by many masters before the fall and then did the classic Jedi thing of going into hiding and cutting himself off from he force to avoid detection. He also appears to have some memory lose and needs to have his full force powers unlocked again. Grogu is powerful but we, the audience, and Grogu, the character, just don’t know who much power he has. Ahsoka also doesn’t want anything to do with training him because she can sense fear and attachment in him and she knows first hand that those two thing don’t mix well with Jedi.
Dawson portrayal is spot on to the more mature Ahsoka that we got in ‘Rebels’. Filoni is the guardian of this character and there was no doubt that everything was going match up. So finally we have the most popular hero not from the films make her live-action appearance but Filoni’s loves to play with the fans. Ahsoka is on a quest of her own. She is looking for Grand Admiral Thrawn (probably the most popular villain not to be seen in the flesh) , syncing her appearance here up to the epilogue from ‘Rebels’. Will the dangling fruit left at the end of ‘Rebels’ be pick by ‘The Mandalorian’, is Ahsoka getting her own series (Rosario Dawson is a big name not to tie down for future appearances), is the rumoured ‘Rebels’ animated sequel on the way? What this means going forward we will have to wait and see.
This is the third episode directed by Filoni, also only his third time directing live action, and he has taken massive steps forward. This is the most beautifully shot episode of ‘The Mandalorian’ so far. The framing and lighting are masterful and I don’t think a lightsaber has ever looked so good on screen. The storytelling on display is top notch and it amazing how much emotion he gets into the scenes considering he is directing a lead actor in a helmet (Pascal’s voice work doesn’t get enough credit), a puppet, and an actress in heavy makeup. He has also clearly been taking notes from his mentor, George Lucas, with Ahsoka’s fight at the end of the episode being very visually similarly to the Anakin/Dooku duel in ‘Attack Of The Clones’.
I am starting to get conflicting feelings about the future of the show. Do I want it to fully embrace the Skywalker saga or should it remain it’s own thing? Yoda has now been mention and snipets of The Force theme have been played. Force powers have been fully shown and witnessed. Din is going to a Jedi temple to re-activate the force in Grogu and send out a call to the Jedi and there is only one obvious choice to respond to that call. Does this show need to answer questions that parts of the fan base felt weren’t answered by the sequel trilogy? I don’t think it matters as long as the creativity behind the camera can keep us entertained and carry on uniting the fans. Without any films in the foreseeable future, ‘The Mandalorian’ has cemented itself as the spine of the current Star Wars universe.
It should also be mentioned that this episode features Michael Biehn, a man who was born to wear a Star Wars costume.
A less bombastic, more thoughtful episode than previous weeks but it delivers massively.
Welcome, Ahsoka Tano.