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The Mandalorian Chapter 13 – “The Jedi” Review: His Name Isn’t Baby Yoda?!

Mandalorian Chapter 13
Photo Credit: Disney Plus

Well, it happened! It took nearly 13 full episodes of The Mandalorian for us to learn Baby Yoda’s aka The Child’s real name. It also took about that many episodes to see a full-fledged Jedi yielding not one but two lightsabers. For hardcore Star Wars fans familiar with the extended universe beyond the original, prequel, and sequel trilogies, The Mandalorian Chapter 13 “The Jedi” is exactly what everyone has been waiting for.

Photo Credit: Disney Plus

Written and directed by series executive producer, notable Star Wars director and super-fan Dave Filoni, “The Jedi” featured the first live-action appearance of fan favorite Ahsoka Tano – a former Jedi padawan of Anakin Skywalker who rose through the Jedi ranks on Star Wars: The Clone Wars before leaving the Order for her own adventures. In The Mandalorian, Rosario Dawson (Briarpatch) brings Tano to life with exquisite grace and the type of cool renegade spirit we haven’t seen in a Jedi since perhaps Ewan McGregor’s Obi Wan. For the first few minutes of “The Jedi,” the opening mise-en-scene was cloaked in so much darkness that I thought something was wrong with my TV. But, like all of the finer details present in Disney’s treatment of this show, the darkness worked not only to increase tension but shock us the moment Tano ignited both her lightsabers, washing the screen in a heavenly white glow.

Unlike most of the show’s previous installments, we learn a great deal of information about the political nature of the galaxy post-Return of the Jedi in this episode. Namely, there doesn’t seem to be much peace even after Luke Skywalker and friends brought down the Empire only a few years earlier. Here, the villain of the week Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) holds an entire village hostage on the planet of Corvus in a way that feels reminiscent of the OG Star Wars Bad Guys. In a fun turn of events, Mando is tasked by this villain to kill Tano – even though we know he’s been trying to track down a Jedi in order to give them Baby Yoda.

Luckily Mando and Tano quickly meet and team-up, leading to some of the most interesting character dynamics we’ve seen in the show. Tano and Baby Yoda telepathically communicate in that way Jedi do, and we learn not only that Baby Yoda’s real name is Grogu (!) but he was raised at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and trained by many Masters before the temple’s destruction (which we witnessed in Revenge of the Sith). While we’ve been imagining and assuming that Sweet Grogu has been trying to develop his connection with the Force, we learn here that he’s actually been suppressing it for his own protection. He is nearly 50 years old, after all! 

And then, like many recurring moments in Star Wars, Tano and Mando discuss how a young padawan needs to be trained, but can’t be train by the obvious Master present because of unclear, obtuse reasons, and further tension arises. The main takeaway from the Tano and Grogu meeting is that Mando and Grogu have a connection so deep that it strengthens Grogu’s own connection to the Force. And as much as I deeply would love to see what actual Jedi training looks like (we’ve merely seen moments of this in Empire Strikes Back, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker), I couldn’t bear to see Mando apart from little Grogu. Although I have had and still have minor issues with Mando’s character in this show (this feels most obvious in that I call him Mando instead of his real name, which I have forgotten because it is forgettable), his dynamic with Baby Yoda is undeniably the show’s highlight.

For me, “The Jedi” was probably the most successful episode of Season 2 of The Mandalorian aside from my personal favorite “The Passenger,” which I affectionately refer to as “the episode that’s basically Children of Men in space.” Despite being one of the few big Star Wars fans who hasn’t watched all of The Clone Wars, I was able to immediately recognize Ahsoka Tano as a badass and interesting character certainly worthy of her own spin-off adventures. While there is much charm and appeal to the show’s approach to the lone-cowboy-with-something-to-prove in Mando himself, I wish the pacing and plotting of the show was a bit more forward moving. I know there’s value in doling out information little by little if you hope for a long-running show, but it’s bizarre to me that it’s taken this long to learn key facts about Baby Yoda and his place in the Jedi canon. The Adventure-of-the-Week format is cute, but we are more than halfway through Season 2 and I feel we ought to be a bit further along in the story than we are.

All that being said, I applaud the level of detail, technical feats, and unique approaches to telling atypical Star Wars stories in The Mandalorian; and more than anything I look forward to everything that comes next. The potential for this show to become an all-time classic is certainly rising with the release of every new episode. This is the way.

The Mandalorian Chapter 13, “The Jedi” is now streaming on Disney Plus.


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