I didn’t even bother writing about last week’s episode of The Mandalorian. Not that it was a bad episode, because it was fine, but that’s just it. The episode was fine. Carl Weathers proved himself adept at handling an all-action episode from the director’s chair while the problematic Gina Carano returned in her role as Cara Dune. I have… well, some strange connections with Carano and the fight industry and to say that I was happy when she landed the role and seemingly fit it well was an understatement. Her boyfriend, international muay thai star Kevin Ross, started showing cracks in his beliefs early in the pandemic, to where someone I was cordial with for years and had enjoyed some pleasant conversations with ended up blocked and forgotten. Such is 2020, right? I kept holding out hope for Carano to not show herself as having even a shred of the same beliefs as her boyfriend and, for a while, it looked like she’d steer clear of the madness.
Long story short, she didn’t.
Whenever I wrote about last week’s episode I found myself talking about my connection with these people, the interview I did with both of them after they got back together, the strange history of Carano in the world of fighting and entertainment and gave up. Weathers did an admirable job and proved that whatever script Favreau throws together can be saved by someone who engages with the material and is comfortable enough with it.
Here we are in the fabled Chapter 13: “The Jedi.” This is the episode fans of Star Wars have been waiting for. Not only written by Dave Filoni of Clone Wars and Rebels fame, but directed by him as well in what is his third time behind the camera with live actors. Why? Because it was the Ahsoka episode. That’s something special.
Bringing Ahsoka to life in live action for the first time was a big deal. Her existing without Ashley Eckstein portraying her was indeed weird, considering the entire tenure of the character’s existence has been with Eckstein voicing her, but Dawson did an outstanding job of being a more mature Ahsoka, to where it would feel like a shame for this to be the only time that happened. If you haven’t watched it yet and are prone to being upset by spoilers, you’re already knee deep into this, but this is another warning. The episode ends with a goodbye between Ahsoka and Din, which could mean Ahsoka was a fleeting guest role, or will be saved for later.
Rumors about spin-off series have been around since they announced The Mandalorian, with multiple projects planned, although all we know for sure is an Obi-Wan series with Ewan McGregor. The one fans have been clamoring for, though, would have to be Ahsoka and this episode packed a punch in at least hinting at a future for the character and some characters she shared a screen with prior. In fact, we had a name-drop of Grand Admiral Thrawn in this episode, where we learned Ahsoka is hunting him down. That isn’t the sort of detail that can be tossed out and just left hanging without making Star Wars fans upset, right?
At this point, Ahsoka has anchored two Star Wars animated series that were supposed to be about other characters. Perhaps there isn’t room for her in The Mandalorian, nor should there be long term, because this is Favreau’s show and anything involving Ahsoka would need Filoni at the helm. Fitting Ahsoka, the crew of the Ghost and Admiral Thrawn into this bare bones samurai show wouldn’t really fall into Favreau’s narrow view of what the show is or where it’s heading. And that’s OK.
Oh, and we uhh… learned Baby Yoda’s name, which is Grogu. That’s certainly… a name.
There was some good action, it was very blatantly another storyline from old samurai films where a corrupt local governor was torturing their subjects and a hero samurai (Ahsoka) was tormenting her, while an outsider came to help her and… yeah, it’s again a plotline that’s ripped straight from old samurai/western films and echoes a lot of past episodes of this own show.
While there’s definitely a future for Star Wars on Disney+ shown in this episode, I’m not sure where The Mandalorian fits into that. Ahsoka hunting down Thrawn? I’m in. Mando stuck in a snow globe rehashing old samurai scripts is growing tiresome, at best.