The Mandalorian recap: Mando meets a Jedi legend — and learns Baby Yoda's name
After last week’s pit stop in Nevarro, Mando finally makes it to the city of Calodan on the forest planet of Corvus and it’s looking much worse for the wear. The terrified citizens are under the grip of a fearsome Magistrate (Diana Lee Inosanto) who rules the city without mercy. Before Mando arrives, the Magistrate is being bedeviled by a cloaked figure outside the gated city walls. As the Magistrate’s guards chase the figure through the eerie dead forest, two gleaming white lightsabers announce they are fighting the legendary former Jedi Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson, taking over the role from the wonderful Ashley Eckstein), who makes quick work of them and gives the Magistrate one day to give her the information that she knows. And while that information will have fans of a certain blue-skinned Grand Admiral screaming, the episode, written and directed by Ahsoka's creator Dave Filoni, answers a ton of questions while creating a bunch more.
Mando arrives in the middle of this standoff looking for a lead on Ahsoka, who has disappeared back into the desiccated forest that surrounds the city. After being let in by the Magistrate’s main guard, Lang (Michael Biehn of Aliens fame), he starts to ask around the scared populace for a clue, and he’s brought before the Magistrate. While the people outside her fortress suffer in deprivation, the Magistrate lives in a virtual paradise in comparison. Knowing the Jedi are the ancient enemies of Mandalore, she wants Mando to kill Ahsoka as a bounty, offering a spear of pure beskar as a reward. Not agreeing to the deal but not saying as much, he asks where the Jedi is.
Taken outside the city’s walls again by Lang, Mando and Baby Yoda start searching through the forest. As Mando checks out a false alarm, Ahsoka attacks and easily deflects all of Mando’s tricks. Once he tells her that Bo-Katan sent him, Ahsoka stops fighting him and says she hopes it’s about the child.
If you haven’t watched any of the Star Wars animated shows, you might have no idea who Ahsoka Tano is and why she is so important to the fandom, so here is the briefest of histories. As a teenager, she became Anakin Skywalker’s padawan and throughout the Clone Wars they became almost like brother and sister to each other. She left the Jedi Order after being wrongly accused of a bombing, an event that helped shatter Anakin’s trust in the order and leading to his eventual downfall. She’s not technically a Jedi anymore but The Mandalorian doesn’t really make that distinction. After Order 66 happened and most of the Jedi were eliminated, Ahsoka became a fugitive from the Empire. She didn’t know what became of Anakin until she joined the Rebellion and came face-to-face with Darth Vader. She survived their battle and was last seen looking for the missing Jedi Ezra Bridgers sometime after the Battle of Endor in the final episode of Star Wars Rebels.
Now whether this meeting with Mando takes place before or after that moment isn’t quite clear in the episode but it’s obvious that Ahsoka is as powerful in the Force as she’s always been and Dawson clearly enjoys playing her (though admittedly Ahsoka’s lekku look a bit on the rubbery side).
As Mando paces in the background like a nervous dad, Ahsoka and Baby Yoda commune with each other silently through the Force. As they finish, Ahsoka brings Baby Yoda over to Mando and he asks her if she can understand his child. Calling the child Grogu (Baby Yoda’s name is GROGU?!?), she says they can feel each other’s thoughts. Mando questions the name of Grogu (as we all do) and Ahsoka confirms that is his name. Mando calls out to the child using Grogu and he responds quite adorably (and so shall he be named Grogu from now on).
His name isn’t the only thing Ahsoka knows. Turns out Grogu was raised at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and has been trained by many masters (Can we have a lost Clone Wars episode of Anakin and Obi-Wan babysitting him back then?). When the Empire rose to power at the end of the Clone Wars, someone took him from the temple and he went into hiding. His memory of the time became dark and she says he was lost and alone. She tells Mando of Jedi Master Yoda and asks Mando if Grogu can still wield the Force and he confirms he can. Informed of his task to bring Grogu to a Jedi, Ahsoka says the order has fallen but Mando notes so has the Empire and yet it’s still hunting him. After saying Grogu needs her help, she agrees to test him in the morning.
As the sun rises, Mando sets Grogu down for a test and Ahsoka floats a rock to him and asks him to return it to her the same way. Mando says Grogu doesn’t understand and Ahsoka insists he does. Grogu looks scared and drops the stone. Like any parent who watches his kid crash a test he knows the kid can pass, Mando’s disappointed. Ahsoka takes Grogu’s hand and says she senses much fear in him and that he’s hidden his ability in order to survive all these years.
When Ahsoka asks him to try the test in her place, Mando doubts Grogu will listen to him since he knows how stubborn his child can be. Mando attempts it again with the rock and fails but realizes he knows what his kid really wants. Taking out the little round handle that Grogu always swipes from the ship to play with, Mando offers it and Grogu immediately calls it to his hand via the Force. Mando reacts like a true soccer dad when his kid makes a game-winning score and Ahsoka realizes just how bonded these two are to each other.
Because of Grogu’s attachment (ah, not that issue again!) to Mando, Ahsoka admits she cannot train him, fearing what the child’s anger and fear will do to him. Thinking of a certain Jedi Knight who fell because their attachment to another was too strong, Ahsoka refuses to send Grogu down that same dark path. As visions of Darth Grogu dance in our heads, Mando insists that’s all the more reason to train him and she says that it’s best to let his abilities fade.
Not willing to let it go, Mando admits the Magistrate expects him to kill her but he didn’t agree to it. He’ll help her with her problem if she sees that Grogu is properly trained. As they go over the firepower that the Magistrate has at her disposal, Ahsoka tells Mando that the Magistrate’s real name is Morgan Elsbeth and that after her people were massacred during the Clone Wars, her anger fueled an industry that helped build the Imperial starfleet. She’s plundered and destroyed worlds and it looks like that’s what she’s doing to Corvus.
Knowing that they’ll never see a Jedi and a Mandalorian coming, they plan their attack. As night falls, Lang and the guards on the walls sound the alarm at Ahsoka’s approach. She is soon at the top of the city walls, taking out the guards and slicing through the giant metal gong like it’s butter.
When the Magistrate emerges from her fortress to face off with Ahsoka, she tells the guards to stand down. Ahsoka slowly walks to her and throws down Mando’s signet and demands to know where the Magistrate’s master is. As the Magistrate orders the former Jedi killed, Ahsoka takes to the rooftops and leads Lang and his guards on a chase through the darkened allies. The Magistrate withdraws back into her fortress and orders all her prisoners killed. A brave citizen (Wing Tao Chao) tries to intercede on the prisoners’ behalf and Mando flies in and they both free them before they are executed.
Lang loses track of Ahsoka, who quickly kills most of the guards, but he eventually finds Mando. As they face off, Lang sees Ahsoka jump behind the wall of the Magistrate’s fortress. Lang is disgusted that Mando threw in with the Jedi but as they hear the clang of beskar against the hum of her lightsabers, it’s obvious that the real action is with Ahsoka.
While Ahsoka was one of the best fighters the Jedi had, the Magistrate is a formidable opponent and this allows martial artist Diana Lee Inosanto to show off her prodigious fighting skills as well. Though Ahsoka loses one of her sabers during the course of the fight, she gets the upper hand and launches a question that surely led to much shock across the Star Wars fandom, “Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn?” That the fan favorite Chiss villain might soon appear on The Mandalorian is quite a surprise but significantly ups the stakes for the rest of the season.
We don’t see the Magistrate’s response, but her reign of terror seems to have come to an end as Mando also takes out Lang. As the people rejoice and the brave citizen we saw earlier becomes the city’s new governor, Ahsoka gives Mando the beskar spear as his payment. When Mando goes back to the ship to get the sleeping Grogu, it’s obvious in the time he takes with him that he’s slowly and painfully wishing him goodbye.
As Mando prepares to bring Grogu to Ahsoka for training, she appears at the ship. She notes that he’s like a father to him and because of that she cannot train him. Mando doesn’t like having a promise broken but also seems a little relieved. She says that if he wants to help Grogu, he needs to take him to the ancient temple on the planet Tython (potentially the very first Jedi temple). Once Grogu is placed on the seeing stone at the top of the mountain, he may choose his own path. If he reaches out through the Force, a Jedi might sense his presence and come searching for him. Then again, there aren’t that many Jedi left (since we most likely aren’t seeing Luke Skywalker on this show, perhaps missing Jedi Ezra Bridger or ghost Yoda might make an appearance). Mando thanks her and she says goodbye in the way the Jedi most famously do. As Ahsoka’s theme gently plays, she walks back off into the forest and Jedi legend.
The live-action Star Wars series follows a lone Mandalorian gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy.