The Mandalorian season 2 episode 5: S2E5 a Clone Wars showdown
With the broadcast of S2E5, we’re past the midpoint of The Mandalorian Season 2, and those who were wondering where this is all going got a big boost with this episode, subtitled The Jedi.
Almost immediately we are treated to a James Bond-esque pre-credit sequence where a mysterious figure with two lightsabers (!) slashes their way to the walls of a city on the planet Corvus. The figure is revealed to be Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice and a key figure in the Clone Wars animated show. Dave Filoni, who directed the Clone Wars film and TV series, is behind the camera on this episode.
Meeting her at the wall is the city’s ruler Magistrate Morgan Elsbeth (Diana Lee Inosanto) and her lieutenant Lang (Michael Biehn, another 80s action movie legend). Tano is after information, and gives Elsbeth 24 hours to surrender. This High Noon style deadline feels in keeping with the show’s Western tone, and you’ll feel that throughout the episode as The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) catches up with The Child in tow.
At first, he meets Elsbeth, who promises him a priceless Beskar staff in exchange for finding Tano. Finding a loophole in his Mandalorian code, he asks where to find her without promising anything to The Magistrate, and this is where things get very interesting.
The series has been content to only offer snippets of information as to what’s coming, but in forty minutes downloads a ship-full of reveals. The biggest is perhaps The Child’s name – Grogu, and that he is only the second of his species that she has seen, after Yoda. The second revelation is that Baby Yo – err, Grogu – can’t be trained as a Jedi due to his connection to The Mandalorian. Tano says the attachment makes him “vulnerable to his fears”, hinting at the damage she saw Anakin wreak with such fear.
So, The Child’s name is Grogu. It will be interesting to see how much they use this given that the show doesn’t often rely on given names. Tano is mostly referred to as The Jedi, and while we found out last season that his name Din Djarin, it will always be The Mandalorian or Mando to us. It’s also surprisingly upsetting for the minute or so where we think this might be the end for this Clan of Two. There’s a scene where Mando just holds Grogu, silently preparing himself for goodbye, is very moving. Of course, that’s not going to happen, as the show would be over.
Instead, The Mandalorian S2E5 makes a bargain – he’ll help take down the Magistrate in exchange for Tano agreeing to train Grogu. It’s revealed that Elsbeth and Lang torture and terrorise their citizens, so the finale is basically a Western showdown where the heroes ride in and save the cheering town folk.
We get an iconic stand off between Lang and The Mandalorian, with Biehn sounding very cool despite not doing much this episode. Tano and Elsbeth have a courtyard duel, which feels like we’ve switched over to the finale of another story. Tano seems to win, and demands the location of Grand Admiral Thrawn, another Clone Wars villain. If you’ve not seen the animated show and want to know backstory, this season will have you doing a lot of googling.
Our heroes save the city, and it’s time for Tano to keep up her end of the bargain. She insists she can’t train Grogu, but tells them to go to the ruins of a Jedi Temple and place him on The Seeing Stone, where he will choose his path and a Jedi will seek him out. Given most of The Jedi are dead, that leaves the possible candidates as Ezra Bridger, a Jedi from the Rebels TV series, and…. Luke Skywalker.
It seems unlikely to be Luke, given that Mark Hamill is too old to play himself just after Return of The Jedi, although some digital trickery could be employed. It’s also worth noting that Sebastian Stan, Marvel’s Winter Soldier, looks an awful lot like a younger Hamill, and would be a strong candidate for recasting. It’s probably going to be Bridger that shows up, given this season’s links to the animated stories, but we can dream!
S2E5 highlights both the exciting possibilities of The Mandalorian, and its limitations. On the plus side, the episodic nature of the show means we can spend time with a lot of favourites from the movies or wider universe. However, the implication that this may be goodbye to The Child/Groku addresses a big problem – once this father/son pairing is split up, the draw of the show is lost. Can they keep these two together without becoming repetitive? Favreau, Filoni and co must find a way.
New episodes of The Mandalorian Season 2 are available every Friday on Disney+