“You see, every society has something to offer. The cloners. The Jedi and even the Mandalorians!” – Moff Gideon
Chapter 23 of The Mandalorian premiered Wednesday on Disney+ with an action-packed episode as the united Mandalorians look to re-claim their home world of Mandalore. Along the way, they encounter their past, an understanding of each tribe, and a dire reveal of the future. The episode improved greatly from last week and was more in line with the storytelling and action that has made the series so popular among fans.
There are so many great scenes to discuss, but we have broken it down to our 7 favorite scenes.
Coruscant’s “Blade Runner” Aesthetic
Coruscant is the capital of the New Republic. Once an ecologically diverse world with lush forests and oceans, it was urbanized entirely over time, becoming a bustling metropolis and the political center of the galaxy. Coruscant’s landscape consists of towering skyscrapers and neon lights and is home to the Jedi Temple (pre-Empire), the Galactic Senate, and numerous other vital institutions. Despite its advanced technology and sophistication, Coruscant is also plagued by poverty, crime, and corruption.
In the episode opening, we follow Elia Kane through the streets of Coruscant, and it reminded me of the film starring Harrison Ford,”Blade Runner”. The scene made me think of a scene in “Blade Runner 2049” of the character “K,” played by Ryan Gosling, with the camera angle behind. It was a nice nod to the film and is a nice gritty look for Star Wars.
Moff Gideon Returns!
The rumors are true! Moff Gideon escaped on his way to the New Republic to be tried for his crimes, and fans are happy that he did. Gideon, played by Giancarlo Esposito, has a measured and intimidating presence on screen. Adding his skill and confidence makes him an even more menacing adversary, and Esposito exudes a Darth Vader-like presence.
A former officer of the Empire, you can never tell what plans he has up his sleeves as he has proven himself a cunning and ruthless foe who seeks to restore Imperial order to the galaxy. We see how experienced he is in the episode as he leads the ambush and captures himself of the united Mandalorian clans in an exciting and terrifying episode finale. With the support of the other Imperial warlords, Gideon’s plans start to unfold, and we can see the connections between those to the sequel films. I expect an epic season finale!
The Shadow Council
In the episode, we see a secret meeting of Imperial warlords known as “The Shadow Council,” consisting of the remnants of the Empire. It is made clear the Empire has remained more organized with access to powerful fighting forces and influence since their removal from control. The Shadow Council first appeared in the Star Wars book series, “Heir to the Empire” as well as the animated series, “Star Wars Rebels”.
Like we’ve seen in other Star Wars series, such as the Imperial meetings in Andor, there are politics and power play within the council and a clear attempt at seizing control from Thrawn, who is not in attendance, by Gideon, who questions his leadership abilities. Most on the council agree with Gideon except for Commandant Brendol Hux, played by Brian Gleeson, who remains loyal to Thrawn. I expect we will see Thrawn in the season finale, and it will be interesting to see how he and Gideon interact. Maybe, Thrawn will need to make an example of Gideon? I am betting we won’t see this until the Ahsoka series.
I’ve enjoyed the progression and growth of Grogu over the past three seasons. Over time, we’ve seen him improve in using his Force abilities, including Force push, levitation, and his graceful acrobatics, so when the former hunter of and then babysitter of Grogu, IG-11 (now IG-12) was customized to fit Grogu to ride inside, I had mixed feelings.
While I found the “bratty” Grogu working the “Yes” and “No” voice buttons and using the long arms to take food in the Nevarro market, I feel that this shifts the story focus away from Grogu using the Force to a brute tool that, might look cool, doesn’t feel “Jedi,” or “Mandalorian.” It feels more like “Krang” from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons.
Having Grogu depend on the IG suit eliminates potential story ideas showing his growing wisdom and powers. For example, in the scene where Paz and Axe fight on the deck of the sail barge, Grogu gets between them using the strength of the suit and hitting the “NO” button over and over until the two Mandalorians walk away. Although a cute reaction does show that Grogu has initiative, it doesn’t, in my opinion, show Grogu’s true potential. It would be a better scene if, without being inside the Krang suit, Grogu had stepped in and kept Axe and Paz separated using the Force. While unable to move towards each other, Paz and Axe would look down where we would see Grogu, arms up, shaking his head NO. Then the camera would go to Din and Bo, where Din turns to her and says, “I didn’t teach him that.” (the running gag this season) That would have had a larger (and cuter) impact on Grogu’s abilities and his future as the second-ever Mandalorian Jedi. Of course, we have one episode left in season 3, and perhaps I am wrong, and “IG-Grogu” will surprise everyone.
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Night Owl Survivors
While on their way to The Great Forge, the united Mandalorians encounter a desert sail barge vehicle which made me think of Mad Max or the pirate vehicle from the 80’s movie, “The Ice Pirates” but, it’s revealed that the barge is piloted by several Night Owl survivors from “The Great Purge”. They recognize Bo-Katan and offer to take them to the forge.
After the episode, this felt weird to me and after researching online, I noticed others had similar questions. How did they survive on Mandalore all this time without being discovered by the secret Imperial base finding you or them not finding the base? Is there something more nefarious about these survivors? The episode is called “The Spies”, plural – spies. We know that Elia is a spy but, who is the other? Could it be these survivors? Are they working with Gideon because they are bitter towards Bo for what she did during the purge? Is there another possible spy?
Gideon’s Beskar Armor and Imperial Troopers
While traveling underground to the forge, the Mandalorians are attacked by a small army of jet-pack-wearing Imperial Troopers. We are treated to an incredible close-quarter battle where the Imperials retreat and are pursued by the Mandalorians. The armor they wear is a very sleek new version of the Stormtrooper armor and they are much better fighters than the Stormtroopers we are used to. While chasing down the Imperials, they are actually led into a trap where all the Mandalorians are captured, including Din. Then Gideon jetpacks in wearing black armor in the style of the Deathtroopers and as he reveals, is made from Beskar. Gideon has been building back the Empire in the most elite way! As he says to the Mandalorians, “You see, every society has something to offer. The cloners. The Jedi and even the Mandalorians!” Gideon’s speech is both exciting and ominous!
Paz Vizsla and the Praetorian Guards
The episode ended with an incredible battle between a lone Paz Vizsla, played by Tait Fletcher, against a squad of Imperial Troopers and a final showdown against three Praetorian Guards that enter in sinister fashion.
Praetorian Guards are an elite unit of warriors. Dressed in crimson armor and wielding various weapons, these highly trained fighters are chosen for their combat skills and loyalty. In battle, they display incredible speed, agility, and strength, making them formidable opponents to anyone who dares to challenge them, and we see this in the scene.
In epic fashion, Paz unleashed his heavy blaster into the attacking troopers until his blaster overheats, but this doesn’t stop the massive Mandalorian. Paz turns his attack using his fists and brute strength as he crushes the enemies before him, and when we think it is over… the Praetorian Guards show up in their ominous red armor. Wish energy shield and vibro-blade in hand, Paz gives a valiant push against the Praetorians but is ultimately defeated in heroic fashion.
My heart broke.
We were starting to get to know Paz, and I am disappointed that this, although a glorious way for a warrior to die, was the end of his story.
Watch The Mandalorian on Disney+