I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long, long time.
With “The Jedi,” the Mandalorian comes face to face with Ahsoka Tano, played pitch perfect in live action by the lovely and talented Rosario Dawson who reveals that, not only does Baby Yoda have a name, but also where he comes from and where he must go. But first, she enlists the Mandalorian’s help in freeing a village from an oppressive magistrate.
So, Ahsoka in live action. Something I never thought I would ever see and, yet… here it is and it’s perfect. The characterization, the look, and even the lightsabers. It was as if she stepped right out of animation and into real life and this is just wonderful as far as I am concerned because I consider Ahsoka to have one of the best and most transformative character arcs in all of Star Wars ever.
Where most of the season, The Mandalorian has been spinning its wheels and unable to get traction as Mando has been going from planet to planet, taking sidequest after sidequest to fulfill his mission to return the child to the Jedi, this episode punts the plot of the show in a direction we’re not used to: forward. We’ve learned, we’ve grown, we’ve made headway and we have a new direction to go. Granted, given the habits of this series, it will probably take three or four episodes before they get there, but for now, it feels like the show has aim again.
Not only that, but I simply adore the plot tidbits that are both implied and explicitly stated. Since Ahsoka is seeking out Grand Admiral Thrawn, is she still seeking out Ezra Bridger from Star Wars: Rebels? Is that the Jedi who will come looking for the child? Could it be that the one who will seek out the child is Luke Skywalker himself? If they can de-age Brent Spiner, they can deage Mark Hamil and, as good as this series is about keeping its secrets, it wouldn’t surprise me if Luke Skywalker didn’t make an appearance… which would surprise me!
There are so many possibilities that, after a season that has been largely disappointing, The Mandalorian feels exciting again!
One of those possibilities is that I do believe that Ahsoka needs her own spinoff. There is so much in her storyline that belongs to her and her alone and, as I said, she is one of my favorite Star Wars characters.
While I freely admit that The Mandalorian devolved once again into blasters and lightsabers, that’s what Star Wars is. It’s never been overly philosophical, rarely has it been deep, and never has it shied away from action. If I want those aspects, I’ll turn to Star Trek. As it stands now, “The Jedi” is easily my favorite episode of The Mandalorian… now let’s see if the momentum carries or comes crashing to a halt with yet another pointless sidequest.