Well, that was a massive course correction. After last week’s side-quest of an episode, chapter 23 of The Mandalorian has the most plot importance and advancement since chapter 18. Titled “The Spies,” this episode has Din, Bo, and the Mandalorians head off to Mandalore to try and reclaim it. However, with a returning foe aware of their plans, it isn’t as easy as it might seem. I’m also absolutely convinced that the Armorer is evil at this point, but I’ll get to that later. First, we shall recap.
The penultimate episode begins once again on the city planet of Coruscant. Elia Kane is seen sneaking around the neon-lit streets, looking awfully shady. She ducks into an alley, where she’s greeted by an imperial probe droid. After some security checks, Moff Gideon appears via hologram. Kane lets Gideon know that the Mandalorians are beginning to band together and that they may try to retake Mandalore. Gideon is visibly annoyed by this but assures Kane that he’ll deal with it. We then move over to Gideon’s imperial bunker, where he’s meeting with the rest of the Shadow Council (leaders of the fractured Empire).
This meeting was less a collaborative effort and more Gideon trying to get his way. He eventually does get what he asked for through a little passive-aggressive convincing. Gideon getting what he wants isn’t the big takeaway from this little meeting; it’s the copious number of cameos and references jammed into this part of the episode. Not only do they mention Grand Admiral Thrawn (I bet he shows up in the finale), Captain Pellaeon from the Heir to the Empire trilogy is here, as well as Brendol Hux, who is the father of General Hux from the sequels. There were a few other things that I noticed or that piqued my interest, but I have to move on, or I’ll be here all day.
Moving on from the Shadow Council, Din and Bo have returned to Nevarro with Bo’s fleet and Mandalorian buddies. Everyone gets together for the first time, and you could cut the tension with a knife. It’s obvious that both sides don’t like or trust one another and that it’s only a matter of time before they come to blows. Before a clan brawl starts, the Armorer takes the lead, welcoming the other Mandalorians to their camp. Both groups get together that night for a feast (even if only half of them ate). Bo plans to retake Mandalore and attempts to get everyone else on board. Everyone seems to silently agree, but when Bo asks for volunteers to scout the surface, they are less than enthusiastic. However, once Din volunteers, most of the major players from both factions volunteer as well (gee, isn’t that a coincidence)
The army of Mandalorians travels to Mandalore the next day, and the scouting party heads down to the surface. Once they land on the sickly green planet, they begin to investigate, and they encounter some other surviving Mandalorians. Din and the gang travel with these guys for a while, and the Armorer takes the sick survivors back to the main ship (how convenient). The rest of the Mandalorians continue on but are attacked by another giant turtle dinosaur thing (I got nothing for this one). The Mandalorians that don’t get crushed escape into a cave and begin their descent into the planet.
The group finds the Great Forge, the place they want to be their base of operations. Before they can take in the view, they’re attacked by what appears to be imperial Mandalorians. They’re wearing white beskar armor and put up a decent fight. They end up being no match for Din and the gang and are forced to retreat further into the cave. Din, Bo, and the others chase them through the cave, and things start to look a tad familiar, almost like we saw this place at the beginning of the episode. After some aimless running, Din and the others find themselves in an open area with what seems to be imperial equipment. The group is then ambushed by the beskar wearing imperial troops, the doors are closed, and Din is detained.
Moff Gideon then appears from out of nowhere, sporting a Mandalorian helmet with horns (who else has a helmet with horns?) He spouts some cryptic nonsense about combing the best parts of the Jedi, Mandalorians, and the Empire to create something new. He proceeds to monologue some more before sending Din away and trying to intimidate Bo. Bo basically says screw you, and the Mandalorians try to escape. Paz Vizsla covers everyone as Bo cuts a hole in the rear door with the darksaber. While everyone escapes, Paz locks the front door to buy some time. Paz does a decent job at holding the Empire back but is eventually taken out by a group of praetorian guards. If I had a nickel for every time a Star Wars character with a minigun sacrificed themselves for their team, I’d have two nickels, which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird it happened twice.
Chapter 23 of The Mandalorian was one of the best episodes of the entire series. It had everything from intense action, comedic moments, emotional sacrifices, and enough references to make any Star Wars fan pass out from excitement. With one episode left, I’m excited to see how this season will end. My money is on the Armorer being evil and Thrawn showing up to kill Gideon after he escapes Bo-Katan.
Have you seen Chapter 23 of The Mandalorian? What did you think? Do you also think the Armorer is a little too shifty? Let us know in the comments where we can talk about how Thrawn is going to make Gideon look like a joke of a villain.