The Mandalorian: Chapter 13: The Jedi
November 27, 2020 2:12 AM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

The Mandalorian and the Child continue their journey through a dangerous galaxy.
posted by EndsOfInvention (98 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Loved Ahsoka's intro - appearing and disappearing in the fog like a monster from a horror movie.
Getting so many sympathetic parenting vibes from this episode. "Get back in your seat!" "I told you not to play with that!" "Do the thing! You did it before! Why aren't you doing it now?!"
Enjoyed this one - fun to see a Jedi and a Mandalorian team up again, the duel was good, and the ash-covered, post-apocalyptic planet was very atmospheric. Plus we get a name for the Child: Grogu (not sure if there's an official source for the spelling but that's what Wookieepedia says).

Trivia:
- HK-87 assassin droids are a reference to HK-47, the sardonic and blood-thirsty Hunter-Killer assassin droid from the Knights of the Old Republic video game.
- The Magistrate is played by Diana Lee Inosanto, daughter of Dan Inosanto, training partner to Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee is also her god-father (hence the Lee in her name).
- Lang (the Magistrate's bodyguard) is played by Michael Biehn, famous for his roles as Corporal Hicks in Aliens and Kyle Reese in The Terminator, among others.
- Thrawn is back! Famous as an admirer of art and a strategic mastermind, Grand Admiral Thrawn was one of the major characters from Legends continuity to return after the Expanded Universe was rebooted - featuring as one of the main antagonists in Rebels.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:27 AM on November 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


Grogu

That’s how the captions spelled it.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 3:43 AM on November 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


I loved this episode. The moody style was great, loved Ahsoka. Love the idea of getting more Thrawn.

Hate baby’s name. Ugh.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:49 AM on November 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


I love the name.
posted by Pendragon at 7:32 AM on November 27, 2020


Better name than Yaddle for sure
posted by jason_steakums at 10:13 AM on November 27, 2020 [7 favorites]


I couldn't get behind the reasoning not to train Baby Yoda. They've made him too cute for fear/anger to be believable. So far he's been a pretty happy kid who only seems scared when he's in actual life threatening danger. It's similar to the "he's too old" reasoning being dumb in the prequels when you cast a little kid for the role of Anakin.

She should have just said "he told me about the eggs". Then I'm with you. No one wants Grogu the Insatiable wiping out species because he couldn't find any macarons.
posted by Gary at 10:27 AM on November 27, 2020 [17 favorites]


[season 12] “Grogu, my name is not. Screwing with you, Ahsoka was.”
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:49 AM on November 27, 2020 [15 favorites]


I couldn't get behind the reasoning not to train Baby Yoda. They've made him too cute for fear/anger to be believable. So far he's been a pretty happy kid who only seems scared when he's in actual life threatening danger. It's similar to the "he's too old" reasoning being dumb in the prequels when you cast a little kid for the role of Anakin.

There has to be basically a Dark Side Fagin hanging around outside the Jedi temple swooping in on rejected students who still want to learn to use their powers because of course they do. I don't believe for a second that surprise secret Sith were the only major dark side problem the Jedi of the late Republic era had to deal with, it had to be rampant if the Jedi have to find you as an infant to give you a chance.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:14 AM on November 27, 2020 [7 favorites]


“Grogu, my name is not. Screwing with you, Ahsoka was.”

I was pondering during this episode whether or not the distinctive syntax was innate to the entire race. I would like to hear Yoda reading poetry: “Rose a rose a rose is is.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:35 AM on November 27, 2020 [6 favorites]


Nah, Yoda was putting it on. Otherwise in Ep 5 he would have said 'Be, you will'.
posted by biffa at 12:42 PM on November 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


They've made him too cute for fear/anger to be believable.

Perhaps they're just warming up to showing us hate in the season finale?
posted by biffa at 12:47 PM on November 27, 2020


This episode is probably the most blatantly the series has worn its influences on its sleeve and I love it.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:13 PM on November 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


I personally believe Baby Yoda is scared (especially scared to be left by Mando). And also angry -- who knows how much trauma he face when they were harvesting his blood for experiments? At least with Mando, he has something resembling stability. He has someone who genuinely cares about him and wants to protect him. Yes, he's still very much a toddler, but I think Ahsoka could probably see much deeper into his experiences and she could understand them in a way he didn't.

This was also just an impossibly gorgeous episode. I loved the misty color palette and the entire aesthetic. I agree it was pretty obvious about its influences but they worked so well.
posted by edencosmic at 1:17 PM on November 27, 2020 [9 favorites]


I smiled throughout. Just gorgeous and lovely. Rosario was a wonderful Ahsoka - strong and kind.
posted by unicorn chaser at 1:20 PM on November 27, 2020 [6 favorites]


I have to assume that the name "Grogu" was arrived at by the writers trying to think of a suitable Star Wars universe equivalent for "Daigoro."
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:47 PM on November 27, 2020 [21 favorites]


I loved this episode. I think my favourite element was the juxtaposition between the samurai battle between Ahsoka and the Magistrate on one side of the gate and the Old West showdown between Mando and Johnny Ringo Lang. Beautifully shot, beautiful sound design, and I literally squeed when she named Thrawn.

Another moment I loved: the slight smile on Ahsoka's face when Mando commented on their enemies not expecting to see a Jedi and a Mandalorian together. Which brings me to my next question: WHERE'S SABINE?
posted by synecdoche at 2:32 PM on November 27, 2020 [16 favorites]


(Also: I got strong Luke talking to Jabba vibes from Ahsoka's first conversation with the Magistrate, and I liked the callback with the guard scanning the RazorCrest with the price scanner doodad.)
posted by synecdoche at 2:33 PM on November 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


I loved the misty color palette and the entire aesthetic.

I immediately thought of the cover to Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Ralph McQuarrie
posted by mikelieman at 3:05 PM on November 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


Thoughts:
  • that was a very Yoda hrmpf
  • kittens grow up to be cats - skittish agents of malice and destruction....with delightfully cute toe beans. Just sayin'
  • How... how did they light this? The samurai battle with the mist and the shadows and the highlights glinting off the rippling pond. How did all of this get filmed at the same time? Maybe some of that was added in post? I dunno; it's magic.
  • Rosario Dawson is scary good at playing bad ass. I wonder if there'll ever be any fruition of the promise in her Night Nurse after the Netflix MCU series squandered those opportunities.

posted by mce at 3:57 PM on November 27, 2020 [7 favorites]


Rosario Dawson is scary good at playing bad ass.

I hadn't much thought about it before, but I've never seen a bad performance from her, and she is often the best thing in whatever she is in, even when the piece surrounding her is... not so good (*cough*Clerks II*cough*).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:39 PM on November 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


I'm not versed in the extended universe or anything, but this felt almost like a missed opportunity to explore lightsaber combat styles even further.

Having established that Ahsoka can turn her 'sabers on/ off reasonably quickly and fighting a 'sabre resistant non-'sabre weapon, how legit would be it be turn the 'sabre off to get past a guard/ defense and turning it back on right away?

Or when locked, to shear off the Magistrates fingers at the knuckles?

I remember reading some EU stuff when I was a youth and Han Solo was supposed to be a top 3-ish fasted quickdraw - he had a specially modified holster and practiced pivoting his hips/ whatever to increase his draw speed.

It looks like Din is simply fast, with incredible accuracy.

Given how ineffective non-beskar armour is, I wonder why anyone bothers.

Given how fast Grogu telekinetted the metal knob, I wonder if that will end up being a weapon in his arsenal like Yondu's arrow in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'?

Grognu doesn't really slide off the tongue, and the Child doesn't evince grog (various alcoholic drinks) nor a grognard (old guard tabletop wargamers).
posted by porpoise at 4:50 PM on November 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


When Ahsoka lost one of her lightsabers, she most definitely switched up her fighting style to compensate.

Given how ineffective non-beskar armour is, I wonder why anyone bothers.

Projectile weapons?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:18 PM on November 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


I really like Pascal's choice to make Djin seem like an awkward kid sometimes. Just a little thing in his body language and voice in uncomfortable moments like when Ahsoka asked him to try to get Grogu to move the stone, where he gets a little fidgety. That little bit of undercutting the faceless badass shtick makes it all work.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:25 PM on November 27, 2020 [10 favorites]


Grogu not talking, despite his age and prior training on Coruscant, makes sense if you think about how Yoda talked, even after 900 years among the non-Yoda-ese. Presumably his species, for all their natural Force ability, aren't predisposed toward verbal language.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:35 PM on November 27, 2020 [10 favorites]


NGL, a part of me wanted to hear Mando say, "I'm your huckleberry" when he first showed up, and to respond with "I beg to differ, sir," when Michael Biehn's character said "My quarrel's not with you, Mandalorian." It would have been exquisite for Mando to follow up after the quick-draw with "You're no daisy, you're no daisy at all."

It's possible I love Michael Biehn too much.

Grogu sounds like the name a little kid would make up for the character when they're writing their first fanfic.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 6:51 PM on November 27, 2020 [8 favorites]


Yeah, not thrilled at Baby Yoda's name sounding like "Grow goo." I wish someone had thought that out more.

I understand the Jedi not wanting someone with magic powers to go rage monster. (I watched "The Gifted.") Buuuuuuuuut, y'know, people have anger issues. Like, shit happens and people get mad. Maybe, oh, I dunno, WORK ON SOME JEDI THERAPY OR SOMETHING FOR PEOPLE INSTEAD OF INSISTING THEY HAVE NO EMOTIONS?!?

Also, seriously, that cute wittle baby is no rage monster. Has he EVER looked mad? I don't think so, I don't see it. I'm sure he was upset back in the day, but also, come on! He had reasons! Like abduction and kidnapping!

That said, Mando encouraging the baby to grab the ball was so adorable! And then waking him up in the hammock to say goodbye....awww.

This is getting kinda roundabout here. Unless they find a Jedi who's willing to hang out on the Razor Crest and train a baby, I guess....
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:11 PM on November 27, 2020 [5 favorites]


I totally agree with Parasite Unseen and synecdoche. This episode is simultaneously both the Western and the samurai film that Star Wars always wanted to be.

I’m not totally sold on “Grogu,” but hey, I’m not Dave Filoni. He’ll always be Baby Yoda to me.

When I saw the name Inosanto, I was wondering if there was a familial connection. Thanks for confirming it, EndsOfInvention.

Ahsoka and Mando had really great chemistry together. I hope we’ll see more of her.
posted by MrBadExample at 7:15 PM on November 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


jenfullmoon, I completely agree about Jedi therapy. I think there’s a lot of potential in a story about how suppressing your emotions rather than acknowledging them and allowing yourself to feel them and move on is where the Jedi started to go wrong. But I suppose if it’s hard to find a Jedi to train the baby, it’s even more difficult to find a Zen monk.
posted by MrBadExample at 7:28 PM on November 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


As far as Mando's childlike qualities go, that was something I thought about when they revealed Mando's/Din Djarin's face in the last episode of last season -- he seemed so young and soft and vulnerable. And the first time I watched it, I thought that seemed really odd because it was not the character we knew. But then the second time I realized that was absolutely the point. He has literal armor to protect himself from being this scared kid he was (and possibly is!). I still think he's smart and brave for the most part but I think that's why he connected with Baby Yoda (still calling him Baby Yoda!). They were both children without a home and needed a found family. And in a lot of ways, Din is still is a child who needs a family.
posted by edencosmic at 7:55 PM on November 27, 2020 [11 favorites]


It was really nice to see two armed and competent women having a showdown about something that had nothing to do with a man.* That's a version of the Bechdel test that's really hard to pass.

I am of an age that Thrawn was the coolest EU character, not Ahsoka, so I was well served by this episode as it was. It was a gorgeous set and lovely cinematography.

-----
* That is, it was information, and then a war, not Grand Admiral Thrawn himself. I hope that counts.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:00 PM on November 27, 2020 [8 favorites]


It's never been very text, but there's a lot of subtext that the Jedi system is not great. They're obsessed with perfection and refuse so many potential students that they must leak angry force-sensitive warriors like a sieve. It's a wonder they didn't spend more time killing or suppressing anyone they find who may use the Force for evil. Of course, Luke found out what happens when you try to make Jedi without adhering to all the restrictions when he made his abortive attempt at a new Jedi academy. The answer seems to be that there needs to be a third way between Jedi and Sith/Dark Jedi, which was one of the few themes that made it out of the new trilogy.

I think Ahsoka was more uninterested in having to deal with the kid than any belief that he's untrainable. If she said yes she'd basically be saddled with training him for the rest of his life, and given that he's at least what, 50? and still a toddler there's a good chance she'd spend her whole life training him without much to show for it. That kid needs someone with 900 year old patience if he's going to become anything like Yoda. We're not going to see Angry Teen Grogu in the timeframe of this series.

If Grogu goes all the way back to the Jedi temple, I feel like the likelihood he's Yoda's son goes up exponentially, and that's not even including Star Wars' obsession with parentage and heredity. It seems like nobody knows anything about Yoda's species even in-universe, what are the chances the Jedi would just happen upon a third example of this vanishingly rare species? What I'm trying to say is Yoda and Yaddle fucked and Grogu is the result.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:07 PM on November 27, 2020 [8 favorites]


Good point Mr.Encyclopedia; Ahsoka's got her own business to take care of, and has no interest in taking up a *child* mentee just right now, thank you very much. "Here's how you sign up with Jedifilter, and here's how to make a post soliciting potential Jedi mentors."


The practical logic behind Jedi training is obvious. Either candidates without the "correct" mindset are Force-neutered and/ or "went upstate to the Farm to train differently" and are never seen again.

Put's Anakin's younglings slaughter in a different light; maybe they were a failed cohort and needed culling. Get one strong failed-jedi to kill all the weaker failed-jedis. Then you only have to deal with the one failed jedi with a stronger Jedi(s).

If neutered rather than killed, other scifi I've encountered treats this situation with also making them mindless; a legion of living eunuch ex-Forcers who aren't rendered imbeciles would be a nightmare.
posted by porpoise at 8:43 PM on November 27, 2020


Getting force-neutered may be a little like "stilling" from the Wheel of Time series, which, well, played out narratively almost exactly like getting actually neutered. I sort of doubt that sort of thing is even on the table in Star Wars, probably not, you'd think it would have at least been floated as an option for Anakin given how dangerous the Council thought he was. Also yeah they were right about that, too, maybe the Jedi obsession with perfection isn't so hard to understand, since every deviation we've seen has led to someone who is, at best, a loose cannon.

In retrospect, culling "dangerous" force-sensitive individuals out in the galaxy was probably a pretty standard Jedi mission.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:58 PM on November 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


There has to be basically a Dark Side Fagin hanging around outside the Jedi temple swooping in on rejected students who still want to learn to use their powers because of course they do.

I mean, why do you think the Jedi still trained in lightsaber combat when nobody had seen a Sith for a thousand years? (I was really hoping one of the reasons Luke was disillusioned and living in exile was that he'd found records showing the Jedi spent the bulk of their time putting down unsanctioned Force users and expelled padawans who'd circumvented whatever the Order did to cut them off from the Force.)
posted by The Tensor at 9:14 PM on November 27, 2020


The idea that Ahsoka mentioned of just letting his powers fade is a new bit of how Force stuff works, I think. Like it's a muscle that atrophies without training.

All of a sudden the balls up in the air this season include: Ahsoka Tano, Thrawn, possibly Ezra, possibly other surviving Jedi, Bo Katan, maybe Sabine (please?), and Boba Fett. Like it feels like a whole lot of stuff all of a sudden. I know realistically there are only three more episodes this season so a lot of that will be next season stuff, especially since Space Gus Fring still has to be dealt with first, but I hope they keep up the momentum they've got now.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:17 PM on November 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


Also seeing Ahsoka as a stealthy horror movie killer to begin the episode and then being reminded that the Jedi are pretty cool with that as long as you suppress all fear and anger makes her all the more terrifying
posted by jason_steakums at 9:22 PM on November 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


Maybe, oh, I dunno, WORK ON SOME JEDI THERAPY OR SOMETHING FOR PEOPLE INSTEAD OF INSISTING THEY HAVE NO EMOTIONS?!?

Yeah. This was my main takeaway from The Clone Wars and the prequel trilogy: that the Jedi aren't perfect, and actually they make things worse with their insistence that people compartmentalise their emotions and that to be a proper Jedi you can't have any attachments. It is a great dramatic mechanism because of course people are going have emotions and attachments. But it's a dumb rule.
posted by unicorn chaser at 9:24 PM on November 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


Grogu? Gray goo?
posted by chrchr at 9:44 PM on November 27, 2020


Perhaps not training The Child has more to do with Ahsoka knowing she has darkness and fear within her? Even in her moments of minimalness/stillness and subtle humor, this Ahsoka often seemed to have a deep anger and darkness that would peek out. Maybe I'm misremembering or I'm just reading too much into it, but I don't remember that from the Ahsoka in The Clone Wars.

Even though I still think Ashley Eckstein should have played live-action Tano, I thought Dawson's portrayal nailed her. I also thought Dave Filoni did a great job writing and directing this episode, easily better than the sloppy writing and directing from Jon Favreau this season so far. If nothing else, Filoni should be the one who writes any future Ahsoka Tano episodes.
posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 10:17 PM on November 27, 2020


I was bothered that Ahsoka never once pushed back at being called a Jedi: that's been a really consistent part of her characterization since she left the Temple, that she is not a Jedi. Also, I had understood her to be one of the people finding a third way: a way that didn't insist on Force-users being severed from their emotional connections.

So having her parrot that ridiculous line really struck me wrong. I would have expected her to just say that she didn't have the resources to take on a child, and offer to help find another option, rather than give that old-school Jedi blather.

The insistence on suppressing their emotions instead of dealing with them is kind of what gave the Jedi Darth Vader, after all. They all need therapy!

Man, I did NOT recognize Michael Biehn at all. We are all old now.

(And I really dislike the name of the kid.)

(I also dislike the decision to make the town entirely full of Asian human beings. Why do that? Where are the non-humans, and why is the population so homogeneous? And then to have at least one white/western-coded person be the rescuer, also not great.)
posted by suelac at 10:21 PM on November 27, 2020 [11 favorites]


Gosh, you can’t have Star Wars without nostalgia, huh? Nothing can ever just be in Star Wars media, it has to entangle more and more of the stuff that’s come before that it eventually becomes another step in the homogeneous same.
posted by sleeping bear at 12:18 AM on November 28, 2020 [5 favorites]



So having her parrot that ridiculous line really struck me wrong. I would have expected her to just say that she didn't have the resources to take on a child, and offer to help find another option, rather than give that old-school Jedi blather


I'm kinda with you, but I think the telling line is when she mentions Anakim falling - perhaps this pushed her back towards "emotions are bad mmmkay"?

(although that doesn't really align with her Rebels appearances, iirc)
posted by coriolisdave at 3:17 AM on November 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Man, I did NOT recognize Michael Biehn at all. We are all old now.

Oddly, given his early prominence in James Cameron movies, I mistook him for Lance Henriksen for a moment.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:54 AM on November 28, 2020


I have decided that it's actually Greauxgout and that when he speaks it will be with a strong cajun accent, cher. No one will remark about it.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:06 AM on November 28, 2020 [31 favorites]


I really liked the standoff with Michael Biehn's character and (though I absolutely knew it wouldn't) I wished his apparent capitulation hadn't been a failed trick. I love the "I'm a badass, but I'm also just doing my job and honestly I don't really care one way or the other" trope.
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:22 AM on November 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


I don't hate 'Grogu' as much as some people do, but the character's real name remains Baby Yoda, no matter what they say in the show. I agree that Ahsoka's stated reasons for not taking him on were weak, but we did see him force choking Cara in the first season, so there's been at least some suggestion that he's not all sweetness and light.

I did love the simultaneous western/samurai duels, though I wish we'd seen more of the latter given Inosanto's martial arts pedigree. Pedro Pascal is known for a bit of spear-fighting himself, so now that Din has the spear he may get a chance to dust off those skills (and hopefully it'll work out better for him this time).
posted by Zonker at 6:26 AM on November 28, 2020 [3 favorites]


I was bothered that Ahsoka never once pushed back at being called a Jedi: that's been a really consistent part of her characterization since she left the Temple, that she is not a Jedi.

In fairness, when Ahsoka made this distinction in the past, it was either: A.) when there was still a Jedi Order around or B.) to other Force users. She may have understood that in this day and age, trying to explain the difference between a Jedi and "a force user with Jedi training and lightsabers who is technically NOT a Jedi" is a distinction without a difference to most people, including Djin who is coming into this with the distinctly un-nuanced belief that Jedi are "a race of enemy sorcerers".

Anyways, even aside from the excitement I have over the introduction of Chekov's Thrawn Name-Drop, I enjoyed this episode. I am curious about the filming of Corvus - it occurred to me that some of that burned-out forest could have been filmed in, well, some burned-out forest in California. Don't know if they actually did that but if so, it's a great piece of "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade" opportunism. In any case they achieved a really great otherworldly feel with the planet.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:01 AM on November 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


I was bothered that Ahsoka never once pushed back at being called a Jedi: that's been a really consistent part of her characterization since she left the Temple, that she is not a Jedi.

I can't recall—did she ever actually say, affirmatively, that she was a Jedi? All I can recall is her making vague comments to there not being many of them left. I agree with mstokes650 that it's probably not something she necessarily wants to get into with every random person she encounters who calls her a Jedi—and it probably would have necessitated a fair bit of exposition that would have pulled away from the main arc of the episode.

That said, I've noted before that there's an interesting parallel between Ahsoka leaving the Jedi order and the possibility of Din turning away from the orthodoxies of the Children of the Watch. I have a feeling (or hope) they may explore that in time.
posted by synecdoche at 9:53 AM on November 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


Fantastic episode, beautifully shot and tightly directed, with such a great performance from Rosario Dawson. Seriously, she gave a master class in how to give your character emotion and dignity while wearing a ton of makeup and prosthetics. Perfect.

I think Ahsoka was more uninterested in having to deal with the kid than any belief that he's untrainable.

Yeah, I wish they'd just had her say, "I have too much urgent work of my own to take on a decades-long project of training a new, slowly-maturing padawan" instead of asking us to suddenly start seeing the cute assertive toddler as desperately fear-ridden.

I wished his apparent capitulation hadn't been a failed trick. I love the "I'm a badass, but I'm also just doing my job and honestly I don't really care one way or the other" trope.

Yeah, Lang should definitely have dropped his weapon and walked away after hearing Ahsoka win. I guess both options count as cliches, but walking away from a losing situation would've felt much more in character for him. That guy was definitely not a true believer type.

As far as Mando's childlike qualities go, that was something I thought about when they revealed Mando's/Din Djarin's face in the last episode of last season -- he seemed so young and soft and vulnerable...I still think he's smart and brave for the most part but I think that's why he connected with Baby Yoda (still calling him Baby Yoda!). They were both children without a home and needed a found family. And in a lot of ways, Din is still is a child who needs a family.

Yes, exactly. He's had *such* a traumatic childhood; his face in that too-brief scene showed that, along with his utter weariness at fighting all the time. It's why I keep waiting for Favreau to give up on the gimmick of never letting us see Pascal acting with his full range in any of these episodes. Why do that? Why limit the emotional range of your show for hours and hours and hours? Every time Rosario Dawson showed up with the Mandalorian all I could think was "god this interaction would be so much more fun and rich and interesting if we could see Pedro Pascal's eyes and eyebrows as he delivered lines like "A Jedi and a Mandalorian - they'll never see that coming."

Oh well. I'm sure Favreau will get there eventually.
posted by mediareport at 10:07 AM on November 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Presumably his species, for all their natural Force ability, aren't predisposed toward verbal language.

Hmm, a good point you make. To me occurred that had not.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:19 AM on November 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


The mention of “stilling” here really tickled me. :-)

I expect a lot less braid pulling and spanking in The Mandalorian, but who knows what Favreau and Filoni have got planned.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 11:25 AM on November 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


Oh, agreed that he’s always Baby Yoda, though Grogu is okay in my books.
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 11:27 AM on November 28, 2020


Yeah, mstokes650, that occurred to me about the burned forest footage too. Plenty of places very convenient to Hollywood to get that sort of shot these days :(

And I agree with you on Ahsoka not bothering to parse the fine distinctions between "Jedi" and "all-but-dissertation Jedi" talking to a stranger with no clear expertise on the Force. There's just no reason to make the correction right now. Frankly, it also seems quite possible that after years of solo meditation and in the absence of any sort of extant Jedi order, she actually feels like she's done the mental and physical work to claim the title honestly. Hope we'll get more time with her to find out.

But it's one thing to be comfortable not-disclaiming the title of "Jedi" even though you didn't walk at graduation. It's entirely another to be comfortable taking on a padawan! Especially when the parallels between said youngling and one's currently-very-evil Jedi master for whose fall one feels somewhat responsible are so clear. I think it makes a ton of sense for Grogu to be kind of a fearful little guy given the life he's had so far. Frankly, I think pretty much every strong Force sensitive being that survived Order 66 is some degree of extremely messed up and having that be something you felt as a baby seems like it would leave a mark in and of itself. And that's leaving aside the fact that he's been handed off between a rotating cast of shady characters ever since and those imperial holdout researchers had him captured and stole a bunch of his blood! Grogu has been THROUGH it, you all, of course he's a little scared and angry and clingy to the first guy who's given a shit about him since his actual people were purged.

I actually shouted WHAT at the TV at the Thrawn mention. Don't know why I was surprised but I was and I'm SO SO excited to find out what happened to Thrawn.

And uh every week I think "this is the week Yodicito won't do anything that reminds me of my toddler" but said toddler just figured out how to scramble up into a little chair so when Mando told him to get in his seat I was like OH MY GODDDD JUST LIKE BABY so... maybe next week will be the week.
posted by potrzebie at 11:33 AM on November 28, 2020 [6 favorites]


Wait, Pierce Hawthorne’s half-brother is not Thrawn? So, are there three big baddies? Thrawn, dark saber man, and that German film-maker fella?
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 11:58 AM on November 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Dark Saber Man's lackeys killed German Film-maker Fella in a hail of bullets last season, so 2 big baddies at this point.
posted by mediareport at 12:13 PM on November 28, 2020 [5 favorites]


That's a good question. I wonder what GA Thrawn and Moff Gideon think of each other. From what I gather, Moff is a civilian title like Governor, as opposed to a military title like Admiral, but at this point during the collapse of the Empire there's probably not much distinction and they could be anything from rival warlords to allies to liege and vassal.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:53 PM on November 28, 2020


I also dislike the decision to make the town entirely full of Asian human beings. Why do that? Where are the non-humans, and why is the population so homogeneous?

I just went back and rewatched the scenes that had members of the town on-screen and it is less homogeneous than you seem to be remembering. The very first townsperson we see is the white dude the magistrate has brought out as a bargaining chip during her conversation with Ahsoka (he's later in the electric pillory), and when the governor is resuming his position at the end of the episode there are plenty of non-Asian faces in the crowd.

My suspicion is the casting director knew they wanted Diana Lee Inosanto in this episode but realized that having villain be the only Asian person on-screen would be a problem so they also added the governor and a couple townspeople to make it less objectionable. The town did have a significant non-Asian population, so this may just be a situation in which seeing Asian representation on screen has been so rare that any number of Asian actors stands out and seems more homogeneous than it really is.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:59 PM on November 28, 2020 [11 favorites]


Yaddle was a deep cut, and she's now trending on Twitter, so: Here's her wiki page. She's one of Yoda's species, she appeared in The Phantom Menace, and she probably died by Attack of the Clones.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:04 PM on November 28, 2020


Agreed, the villagers were somewhat heterogeneous, but likely an East Asian phenotype majority similar to the deposed mayor.

The architecture evokes a little bit of the style that in our galaxy is historically East Asian.

As for Diana Lee Inosanto/ The Magistrate, my initial read was that she was an interloper/ outsider who took over by force? Possibly from off-planet?
posted by porpoise at 1:04 PM on November 28, 2020


I watched this episode with my girlfriend, and this was the first episode she’s seen. When Grogu appeared she said, “So is that a... baby Yoda?” and was perplexed when I burst out laughing. I do like that they picked an aggressively un-cute name for him, though.

I commented last week that I enjoyed the Skyrim-esqueness of the show, and this week there were silt striders in an ash forest. I guess Filoni and Favreau read Fanfare; thanks guys!
posted by ejs at 1:24 PM on November 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


Speaking of names, it seems like they spent so much time coming up with “Grogu” that they had to name the magistrate after someone’s cousin. I mean Morgan Elsbeth? Really?
posted by Zonker at 1:29 PM on November 28, 2020 [8 favorites]


I laughed at that, too. Presumably she’s from the same WASPy planet as Woody Harrelson’s “Tobias Beckett.”
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:43 PM on November 28, 2020 [7 favorites]


Mr. Encyclopedia, it's a good question. In general the ranks of the imperial power elite were pretty virulently speciest and Thrawn dealt with prejudice against aliens from like minute one of showing up in the imperial navy, and he also was generally loathed by most moffs who had anything to do with him because he had little political acumen and didn't really respect it as a skillset. That said I have to imagine given how few high ranking imperials remain alive and the things they would have to be willing to do to remain among the living, many of them will have set aside old prejudices for survival's sake. Moff Gideon may or may not be that sort.

In any case by the end of the empire I imagine there were a whole bunch of folks in the imperial power elite who had beef with Thrawn, legitimate or not, and a handful who trusted him implicitly. I think the show is a lot more interesting if Moff Gideon and Thrawn hate each other and are working on entirely separate projects, personally, and I think it's very plausible.
posted by potrzebie at 2:59 PM on November 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


What is up with landing your spaceship and then leaving the door open while you wander around an unknown planet?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:50 PM on November 28, 2020 [28 favorites]


Her not willing to rip a child from a parent makes perfect sense, imo. She studied under Anikin, so definitely doesn’t want unleash anything similar.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:02 PM on November 28, 2020 [2 favorites]


This episode's Emmet Asher-Perrin recap.
This episode is written and directed by Dave Filoni, the man behind Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, and damn does it show in every frame. Filoni started out in animation departments for shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender, and adores Star Wars with a fervor that is palpable with every story he tells. His greatest asset creating narrative in this universe comes from understanding Star Wars’s visual strengths better than anyone alive. Many visuals from this episode look and feel very alike to the finale of The Clone Wars, which aired this year and was similarly gorgeous, particularly in frames centering on Ahsoka. It’s like candy for people who can see the through line, so much mood infused into each shot, incredible set ups, silence and stillness countered with flurries of action and light. It’s deeply impressive to see Filoni get the chance to overlay his eternally cinematic sensibilities onto a live-action canvas with a story he wrote using characters he conceived years ago. And this is a true full-length episode because it needs to be—the mythology to which it’s contributing is too vast....

It’s almost impossible to imbue a live-action character with the level of fluidity and motion you can get out of animation, but they clearly tried their hardest here and it comes close, particularly for a character as skilled as Ahsoka. It gears up as it goes on, with the first few fight sequences trading more on mood and atmosphere (and doing so beautifully with that switch-off-the-lightsabers-in-the-fog move), raising the stakes as it continues. The pinnacle comes in the showdown between Ahsoka and Elsbeth, which is hilariously juxtaposed in the far less impressive showdown between Din and Lang. (And am I pleased that the only high-noon-esque scenario we’ve gotten from the show thus far was completely overshadowed in this way? You bet, I am ecstatic.) I feel the need to point out that this is the very first live-action fight sequence in Star Wars history that takes place between two female characters. The first, and currently only, example. It’s taken nearly forty-five years to get this on screen. For any other examples, you’ll have to head to Clone Wars and Rebels....

But of course, the real question here is more about the overall arc of this series and where it’s trying to take us in the long run. It’s upsetting to hear Ahsoka giving Din the usual Jedi dogma against attachments, particularly because she’s more aware than anyone of what truly caused Anakin’s downfall—the fact that the Jedi system doesn’t really work. Moreover, she watched Kanan and Ezra accomplish a great deal together, and saw their attachment to each other and their little found family enable them toward great deeds. But it’s entirely likely that she’s telling Din all this toward a different end; she sees how much Grogu has grown fond of his Mando dad. It’s possible that this is her subtle way of saying “You know, he’s your kid at this point. Might be time to make peace with that and stop trying to offload him.”
posted by medusa at 5:30 PM on November 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


Disney is giving Filoni a high profile authorial voice in flagship productions in the way that WB should have done with Dini and Timm for DC universe stuff and it's great to see.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:01 PM on November 28, 2020 [9 favorites]


What is up with landing your spaceship and then leaving the door open while you wander around an unknown planet?

Likewise, why buzz a settlement then land out in the woods nearby? I suppose maybe he made a pass looking for a landing pad and didn't see any, or requested landing clearance and was denied? A planetary settlement with no accommodations for starships seems odd, as does being denied clearance when they let him in the gate easily enough. Maybe he wanted his ship parked somewhere more discreet, but then again he had no idea what he was flying into and if you're looking for someone on a planet the first thing you do is go to a population center and ask around, which is exactly what he was trying to do before the magistrate summoned him.

Mando seems to spend a lot of time really slumming it in the tiniest most podunk locations in the galaxy. For instance compare the city on Nevarro requiring ships to park outside town to Mos Eisley and its 362(!) docking bays. I am forced to conclude that when Luke whined "if there's a bright center to the universe, you're on the planet that it's farthest from." he was not only wrong, but stupidly wrong. Tattooine is actually a pretty important planet in the Outer Rim, being a large trade hub and home to Jabba, a high-ranking lord in the Hutt crime syndicate. In fact, I'd go as far as to say Tattooine is the most populated and important planet Mando has visited thus far in the entire series.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:54 PM on November 28, 2020 [4 favorites]


I am forced to conclude that when Luke whined "if there's a bright center to the universe, you're on the planet that it's farthest from." he was not only wrong, but stupidly wrong.

Sort of off topic for this thread, but I think that's the point - Luke's meant to sound like a suburban teenager. We almost immediately see that he lives a short drive away from a smallish but diverse town with a busy spaceport where galactically famous ships turn up with some regularity, where there's at least one pretty cool bar with a swinging band. There are obviously bazillions of places in the galaxy more remote and less cool. You're meant to infer that Luke is a snot-nosed kid with no perspective and no experience, and no understanding of how good he's got it. Much of the galaxy has more in common with the little settlements we're visiting in The Mandalorian than with Luke's reasonably comfortable childhood home in the exurbs of Mos Eisley.
posted by potrzebie at 12:48 PM on November 29, 2020 [22 favorites]


For a certain type of person, one's hometown can never be anything but a backwater shithole, no matter how objectively that true that may be. Luke is such a person.
posted by wabbittwax at 1:28 PM on November 29, 2020 [12 favorites]


Seconded. Also, clearly Teen Luke wants to go out and do heroic shit, which isn't an option in the land of power converters, Jawas and droid buying.

Old Luke, meanwhile, became a total hermit in the sticks.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:23 PM on November 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


Luke also has quite a talent for being wrong about things. It's pretty much his superpower.
posted by medusa at 2:34 PM on November 29, 2020 [11 favorites]


I can see an in-universe reason that a settlement might not want spaceflight-capable ships, and all the potentially destructive energy they entail, not constantly coming and going from the population centers. Maybe the urban spaceports have some kind of moderately expensive shielding setup in case of accidents, to cut down on engine wash and noise, etc.

Making sure ships don't land in town also means you get to better control who goes in and out of town via the gates, which are probably easier and cheaper to watch than a whole hemisphere of sky.
posted by pykrete jungle at 3:21 PM on November 29, 2020 [1 favorite]


I figure Luke's complaint isn't that he's in the most remote place, so much as the most boring one. He's not living in Space Death Valley; he's living in Space Several-Hours-Outside-of-Space Barstow, Space California.
posted by pykrete jungle at 3:29 PM on November 29, 2020 [12 favorites]


Lol yes having lived annoyingly near a municipal airport I can definitely imagine why a town might ban starships landing within city limits
posted by potrzebie at 4:00 PM on November 29, 2020 [5 favorites]


I figure Luke's complaint isn't that he's in the most remote place, so much as the most boring one. He's not living in Space Death Valley; he's living in Space Several-Hours-Outside-of-Space Barstow, Space California.

But Death Valley is several hours outside Barstow...?

Drawing on the biography of George Lucas (who Luke is clearly an author-insert for—hence "Luke S"), Luke grew up on a farm outside Anchorhead (= space-Modesto) and dreamed of someday going to the Bright Center of the Galaxy (= space-San Francisco or space-Los Angeles). This suggests Mos Eisley is probably space-Fresno. Or maybe space-Oakland?
posted by The Tensor at 4:58 PM on November 29, 2020 [10 favorites]


What I want to know is why there's a town with the nautical name of Anchorhead on a desert planet
posted by jason_steakums at 5:16 PM on November 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


Sudden thought.
If The Child sits on the Sending Stone and reaches out through the force... presumably not only Jedi will hear him.

What if a Dark Jedi answers?

Or, more interestingly... THE BENDU. Man would I be here for some towering Bendu action. Any excuse to use Tom Baker whilst his voice is still with us.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:51 PM on November 29, 2020 [10 favorites]


What I want to know is why there's a town with the nautical name of Anchorhead on a desert planet

It's near the Dune Sea?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:49 AM on November 30, 2020 [5 favorites]


This episode was my favorite of the last few by far. It was so good!

Now I'm off to AskMe to figure out which of the animated series I should watch if I want more Star Wars TV in my life!
posted by beandip at 10:55 AM on November 30, 2020 [2 favorites]


Space Fresno should be a Thing, much like Space Ithaca NY.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:29 PM on December 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


I felt like Ahsoka wanted Yodito to have more time with the one parental figure in his life before he began any kind of training, or thought he was better off with Mando long-term. So if this wasn't Star Wars i would totally expect that the "Sending Stone" was a made-up thing and she's just sending him on a wild goose chase so they'll have more time together. Maybe she'll be waiting when they get there to say "See, he belongs with you."

Also this show has a bit of a Gilligan's Island problem* with Baby Yoda: As soon as Grogu gets dropped off at Jedi Day Camp, there's no longer a reason for the show, especially since Baby Yoda is the audience favorite.

[*In that show, they were always trying to get off the island, but you knew it couldn't possibly work because if they did it would be the end of the show.]

> Grogu

I thought it was a bad name until I imagined an exasperated Yoda voice saying "Wrecking this house you are! Behave you must, young Grogu!" and it totally works.
posted by mmoncur at 10:39 PM on December 2, 2020 [2 favorites]


Great point that good plot would be self-limiting in terms of revenue.

From a misspent youth reading too much bad fiction, Din/ Mando becomes necessary for Grog's Force development somehow, or there is a time jump.
posted by porpoise at 12:09 AM on December 3, 2020


WTF was with Ahsoka's foam head tentacle things? ("Lekku", in canon?) They were ridiculously badly made; you could see wrinkles where the foam had creased.

But boy the cinematography in this episode was beautiful, drawing from both Western and Japanese tropes. Now that I understand the rear projection magic they're using for so many shots I keep trying to look for evidence of when they're using it and failing. It's just beautiful and seamless.

Clearly can't be Yaddle's child. Yoda and Yaddle would name their baby Yodel.

Greauxgout is my new canon. Not only is Yoda Cajun, but it explains what he was doing dwelling on the swamp planet ‎Dagobah. He wasn't just there to get away from all the Jedi drama, he was there having sexy time with his swampwife Greauxsein. They hid away there because it reminded them of home, filé grows natively, and of course Yoda couldn't confess to having a romantic engagement. Unfortunately along with the 1000+ year lifespan the Yoda species only mates once a decade. And Yoda and Greauxsein didn't get along very well other than the hot Force-enhanced sex so he'd spend long periods of time alone on the other side of the planet in his bachelor hovel. That's how Luke found him.

I'm with coriolisdave in thinking that trusting Yoda to the mercy of whatever Jedi happens to be lurking around the old temple looking for Force-capable fanboys is really not a great plan. I don't understand anything about Ahsoka's story but I get she can't take on a trainee. Surely it'd be in everyone's interest to find Greauxgout a therapist and a trainer.

Speaking of which, I wish they did a better job showing us the child being a bit more malicious and cruel. It's very subtle in the show, I'd only noticed it because we've talked about it so much here. And up until now you could write it off as the amoral nature of a small child who has no idea that, say, it's wrong to eat someone's egg-babies. But now it's supposed to be a big plot point that he's already tainted. Presumably by whatever cruelty was visited on him at the blood leeching factory, and boy that's a grim thing to imagine for a small cute child.

I appreciate the showrunners are planting the fabric of a larger galactic story. The first season was so tight, almost like 8 bottle episodes in a row. But they're gonna run out of material if it's just the adventures of buckethead solving small town sheriff's wildlife problems. I don't know the Clone Wars and Rebels stories and characters but they seem like a rich place to draw from. Hoping also for some more Mandalorian focus.
posted by Nelson at 7:28 AM on December 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


They were ridiculously badly made; you could see wrinkles where the foam had creased.

I thought they were scars.
posted by rocketman at 7:32 AM on December 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


WTF was with Ahsoka's foam head tentacle things? ("Lekku", in canon?) They were ridiculously badly made; you could see wrinkles where the foam had creased.

I don't get why people are bothered by this. If my non-prosthetic forehead (on my real head) can get wrinkles, so can the floppy head-protruberances of an imaginary space wizard. This is exactly why makeup artists use latex foam for this sort of thing, because it mimics the organic qualities of real flesh, wrinkles and all. I get that the CGI cartoons represented her features as completely smooth, but it would look much faker in live action to not have those little details.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:16 AM on December 3, 2020 [11 favorites]


(Having said that, not getting why Star Wars fans are bothered by things in the movies/TV shows has pretty much been my MO ever since The Last Jedi, so don't anyone take this too personally.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:18 AM on December 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


Allow me to repeat what I posted on Reddit about the lekku/montral "controversy":
Why is everybody talking about live-action Ahsoka's head-tentacles and ignoring the REAL issue?

...namely her EYES. Real true original CG-Ahsoka has anime eyes
the size of baseballs that take up about 40% of her skull volume, but merely human knockoff TV-Ahsoka has gross tiny human-sized eyes. That's not CANON, you guys, and we shouldn't have to put up with it, any more than we put up with fights that mix lightsaber styles or movies that violate us right in our expectations. [sob]
posted by The Tensor at 10:13 AM on December 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


A Tumblr summary of the show:
The Mandalorian is literally a story about a supporting character.

Here are main characters, Bo-Katan and Ahsoka, hunting down big bads like Gideon and Thrawn, and Din is like “that’s nice, I’m just trying to find a really good preschool for my child” AND THAT IS HILARIOUS I AM FROTHING AT THE MOUTH WANTING TO KNOW THE MAIN FUCKING STORYLINE AND DIN IS REFUSING TO ENGAGE. HE IS LEGIT LIKE “not fucking today, not my fucking division” AND DRIVES OFF IN HIS SHITTY HONDA CIVIC WITH HIS GREMLIN CHILD THAT HAS ANGER ISSUES.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:46 AM on December 3, 2020 [38 favorites]


It's NOT a strength of the show that they're including more and more Jedi/lightsaber/Force stuff. The Star Wars universe is big enough to support a show about a bounty hunter who doesn't know any of the main characters; shoehorning in the same group of Jedi and Jedi-adjacent characters makes everything feel samey-samey.
posted by The Tensor at 11:53 AM on December 3, 2020 [5 favorites]


Whilst I do like some Ashoka Tano and Thrawn stuff, I agree.
Every call back to previous canon makes the universe smaller.

I really want to see a Star Wars story where no one goes to tatooine. There are no Jedi, or anyone or thing you've ever heard of.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:51 PM on December 3, 2020 [6 favorites]


I am so incredibly sick of shows about Big Important People fighting Big Important Battles and I love that a Star Wars show can be about a guy who is a much better murderer than he is a dad wandering around with his magical little adopted son.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:53 PM on December 3, 2020 [18 favorites]


I found that summary hilarious, but I don't care much about the "main storyline" there; it feels like they're trying to tie in hooks to other things, like convoluted continuity or summer crossovers in comic books.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:23 PM on December 4, 2020 [1 favorite]


That is exactly what they’re trying to do.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:21 AM on December 5, 2020


I had no idea Thrawn had been reintroduced into the continuity (I ... do not know what Star Wars: Rebels is; I read the Timothy Zahn books many ages ago), so I did NOT see that coming.
posted by kyrademon at 3:05 PM on March 15


SW: Rebels is a 4-season animated series run by Dave Filoni, who also ran SW: Clone Wars the animated series. Thrawn shows up in Season 3 of Rebels as a very intelligent adversary to the Rebels crew, and then is shuffled off-stage at the series finale, but not killed. Rebels ends a year or so before SW: A New Hope takes place.
posted by suelac at 3:30 PM on March 15


Ok. Hear me out. Skywalker isn't the savior, the hope unlooked for. He's the unstoppable monster Mando has to take on to rescue The Child, and Luke.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:30 PM on April 3


This episode felt the most to me, for lack of a better term, the most MCU-like.

Not because it went out of its way to introduce elements from other series- imo to someone who was unfamiliar with Clone Wars, let alone the pre-Disney Extended Universe and Timothy Zahn's work, this episode didn't incorporate lore excessively to the point of confusion. I think rather the problem that the episode, for all of its technical perfection and high production values, felt completely devoid of tension.

The most amount of uncertainty was emotional, revolving around the future of Grogu, which is good. But the action scenes were just Ahsoka obviously dicing up the bad guys, and Mando doing what he always does. At no point does either seem to be in danger at any point. The HK-47 assassin droids are a namedrop to the EU but didn't actually do anything different from the cannon fodder soldiers. At no point was Grogu was in danger, either. So what you get is a classic MCU situation of amazing window dressing without the actual action of an action film. The big payoff is a big namedrop and the promise of future installments, but the action itself while technically proficient is completely forgettable.

Also, the aesthetics, like that of an MCU film, were very well-made but also very bland and sterile. The over-industrialized oppressed town had muted and bland colors that were a huge disappointment compared to what the credits' concept art promised. The props looked expensive but unconvincing. It had the pretense of grit without real grittiness. There was a uniformity to it without any quirk. The most quirkiness the aesthetics of this episode had was the festive Ren Faire music at the end which clashed nicely with the vaguely Orientalist architecture of the town.

Also, Michael Biehn's character was completely wasted. He had some good menace as a hired guns without any of the skills to back it up. His own distinguishing action trait was that he carried an inexplicable blaster shotgun while the other bad guys used blaster rifles. His fakeout at the end was both predictable and predictably doomed and disappointing because that means there's no chance for him to reappear in future episodes.

Anyone get what I'm getting at?
posted by Apocryphon at 2:48 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


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