Hark, she hath arrived.
Rosario Dawson’s inclusion as Ahsoka Tano in season 2 of The Mandalorian is something I truly wish hadn’t been announced early on. The character first appeared in the theatrical premier of Star Wars: The Clone Wars in 2008 and, after some development in early seasons and a lot of good storytelling from the series team, came to be a beloved Star Wars character and an inspirational figure for young women across the globe. Like many aspects of that show, she’s the definition of an idea that sounds bad on paper and is completely wonderful in execution. As of midnight last night we were gifted with her live action debut.
“Chapter 13: The Jedi” sees our Mandalorian hero reaching Calodan with the teensy green bundle of adorable, the two of them seeking Jedi Ahsoka Tano so that he may complete his task and deliver the baby to someone that can help him harness his powers. Ahsoka is currently assaulting a city in an effort to interrogate and depose the Magistrate in an effort to save the citizens. The Jedi and the Mandalorian weave through twisting alliances and setpieces as they come to their final conclusion.
Spoilers will be toward the bottom so that we can chat about the episode first. There’s stuff that needs addressing.
I need you to know that the episode is good. It’s moving the story forward, Rosario Dawson is fantastic as Ahsoka, and the things introduced to the wider universe are fun and wild. That said…this week the action finally suffers. Look, I dig Rosario Dawson, but it seems like fight scenes just aren’t her thing. It’s truly unfair that this episode came out in the same year Star Wars: The Clone Wars ended and we got the best fight scene Star Wars has ever had (Maul v. Ahsoka tops them all, fight me). With her live action performance, the movements are slower and pretty but unimpressive compared to what we literally JUST had. I know it’s not fair to hold them up most of the time, but learning that the animated fight was choreographed and photographed via motion capture to create realistic-looking movement. The portrayal of her fighting prowess in this just castrates her.
Okay, that’s out of my system.
Other than that this is a wonderful episode. Mando and Ahsoka have fun chemistry, there’s a wonderful “liberate the people” plot, and we get Michael Beihn just delivering lines in the most bizarre way he could have possibly chosen and I was having all of it. The planet is ugly and swamplike, an obvious callback to Yoda’s Dagobah and a fitting place to learn more about our favorite little green dude. The villainess is snappy, the wavering loyalties leave just enough space to make me uneasy, and the resolution was heartwarming. All-in-all the only thing the episode needed was fight choreography and editing worthy of Ahsoka Tano’s character, but it wasn’t enough to derail the episode and I’m joyous that she’s entered the Star Wars live action scene.
- Ahsoka has her white lightsabers, which is awesome.
- So Baby Yoda has a name! It’s Grogu.
- The information Ahsoka wanted was the location of Grand Admiral Thrawn, which warmed my nerd heart and will be absolutely meaningless unless you watched Star Wars: Rebels. So…watch that.
- Baby Yoda (Grogu) is so bonded to his adoptive father, and the Mando to him, that they are apparently inseparable. That’s beautiful.