THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS
Chapter 23 – “The Spies”
Bo-Katan Kryze has reclaimed the Stolen Fleet and the Darksaber. Catching up with Axe Woves, she challenged him, one warrior to another. After an intense, evenly matched fight, she gained the upper hand, forcing him to yield with the other Mandalorian mercenaries looking on as witnesses. Axe yielded the fight but reaffirmed that according to their ways, the ruler of Mandalore must possess the Darksaber.
Din Djarin yielded the blade to Bo-Katan, explaining it belonged to her. He was captured in the depths of Mandalore while looking for the Living Waters, and the blade was stripped from him. Bo-Katan saved him and took the blade from his captor. She is now the true deserving owner of the Darksaber according to their customs.
Bo-Katan now has everything she needs to try to unite the Mandalorian factions. She is now ready to lead the Mandalorians in reclaiming Mandalore if they choose to follow her. Will she be able to truly unite them in their grander purpose? Or will their differences tear them apart?
My top three picks for noteworthy highlights of Chapter 23:
#3 The Stolen Fleet, the Mandalorian Factions Meet & Grogu’s New Ride
The Stolen Fleet is impressive! I love that the Mandalorians repurposed the Imperial cruisers and ships, taking something back from the Empire in retaliation for all that’s been stolen from them. A large red mythosaur skull has been painted on the bottom of what was once Moff Gideon’s cruiser, making it clear this Fleet is Mandalorian. With Bo-Katan leading the way, the Fleet lands on Nevarro.
“I hope these two groups get along. They’ve never met, and what little they know of each other, they hate.” “They will if they want to survive.”
This is a historic moment for the Mandalorians. Regardless of their origins or beliefs, they are still all Mandalorians by one decree or another. It’s vital they put their differences aside and work together.
There is much tension as Bo-Katan leads the Mandalorians from the Fleet to meet the Tribe. The Tribe is awaiting their arrival. The Mandalorians from the Fleet remove their helmets, but the Tribe remains helmeted, as is their custom. Even Din seems uncomfortable and hopes his people will not take offense. The Armorer clanks her beskar tools together to get everyone’s attention.
“Welcome, fellow Mandalorians. We invite you to make camp. Let us prepare a feast for our guests.”
Bo-Katan addresses the assembled Mandalorians later that evening, “Mandalorians. It is time to retake our homeworld. Even though the planet is not cursed, there are still dangers.” She explains about awakened dormant species and the magnetic interference which disrupts any kind of scans of the surface from the atmosphere. “Which is why I’m proposing that we leave Nevarro and move the fleet into orbit above Mandalore.” She says they should send down a small recon party to scout the surface and try to find the remains of the Great Forge, establishing a safe perimeter. Once that takes place, they can bring down the others.
“I need volunteers from both tribes.” Everyone is quiet. Din is the first to stand, “I will go. Grogu as well.” Kosa Reeves, Axe Woves, and Paz Vizsla, followed by seven more from each tribe, volunteer for the scouting party. Lastly, the Armorer joins. Bo-Katan nods her head in appreciation. They’ve got themselves a crew!
Greef Karga has a gift for Din and Grogu. Greef commissioned the Anzellans to refurbish IG-11 to IG-12. “The Anzellans stripped IG down to his base motor functions. They removed his memory circuit. The pilot provides cognition.”
The Anzellans created a walking vehicle in IG-12 for Grogu to pilot and get around in without having to rely on others to keep up. As the tiny Anzellan carefully leaves the piloting area for the IG unit, he remembers Grogu’s antics from earlier in the season, “Bad baby. No squeezie!” He dramatically makes a wide berth around Grogu.
Greef places Grogu in IG-12. He fits! “They do nice work; I’ll give them that. But Grogu is too young to operate heavy machinery,” Din doesn’t like the new gift. His claim of Grogu being too young is ridiculous despite everything they’ve been through. “Maybe when he’s older…” “No,” IG-12 says. “What do you mean “No?” Din questions. The Anzellans have equipped IG-12 with a “Yes” or “No” button. Grogu is now able to communicate in a very basic way.
“I think he’s saying he’s old enough to operate it,” Greef adds. “Yes,” IG-12 says. Din doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but Grogu pushes him away with his new droid strength and starts wandering around Greef’s office, getting the hang of his new ride. Grogu starts hitting the “Yes” button over and over. “”Yes” what?” Din asks, exasperated.
Grogu accepts his new present and is able to keep up with Din on his own through the streets of Nevarro. He won’t stop hitting the “Yes” button. Grogu stops at a vendor and starts eating fruit he didn’t pay for. Din has to apologize and pay for the stolen and squeezed fruit after Grogu decides to be a mischievous kid with his newfound powers. “This isn’t working for me,” Din says. He doesn’t like that Grogu is becoming independent.
#2 The Mandalorian Survivors & Din’s Vow to Bo-Katan
The Mandalorian scout team secures a spot to land on the surface of Mandalore. This is the first time some of them are seeing the carnage wrought by the Empire. For others, the wreckage of their world brings back memories of the Imperial purge. Bo-Katan leads the scouting party in surveying the surface, looking for the forge.
After some time, Din spots something, “There on the horizon.” A large land ship with big sails and runners, designed for land sailing over Mandalore’s glass surface, stops in front of the scouting party.
“Do you have food?” they call out. “We do,” Bo-Katan answers, unsure. “You wear the crest of the Nite Owls?” they ask. “I should hope so,” Bo affirms. “Is that the voice of Lady Bo-Katan Kryze?” “It is.” Three members from the land ship use their jet packs to fly over to the scouting party. Taking off their helmets, they place their right hands over their chests, “We knew you would not forsake us, Lady Bo-Katan. We have failed you, but our blasters remain in your service.” They are a rugged, motley crew, but considering their circumstances, it appears they have found a way to eke out a living on their abandoned homeworld.
The scouting party is invited aboard, and under the moon of Concordia, they share their food with the Mandalorian survivors. “They punished us as a warning to the whole galaxy because we refused to surrender,” claims one of the survivors.“That’s not true. I did surrender,” Bo-Katan confesses. She explains she tried to negotiate a cease-fire with the ISB to save the remaining Mandalorians, but Gideon betrayed her, and that’s how he came to possess the Darksaber.
“Our people have suffered time and again from division and squabbling factions. Mandalore has always been too powerful for any enemy to defeat. It is always our own division that destroys us.”
Later that evening, Din approaches Bo-Katan, “I had no idea. We were taught that everyone but us has forsaken the Way. That you were selfish and uncaring. Now I understand.” Bo-Katan still blames herself for Mandalore’s fall. “We’ll rebuild it. Isn’t that our history? For thousands of years, we have been on the verge of extinction, and for thousands of years, we have survived,” Din says. “I don’t know if I can keep everyone together. There’s too much animosity. And this blade is all I have to unify our people,” even Bo-Katan doubts herself.
“I only know of this weapon what you taught me. To be honest, it means nothing to me or my people. Nor does station or bloodline. What means more to me is honor. And loyalty. And character. These are the reasons I serve you, Lady Kryze. Your song is not yet written. I will serve you until it is.”
Din shows he has faith in what Bo-Katan can do, and his spoken vow strikes a cord in Bo-Katan. The two of them have become good friends and have gotten very close during their quests. He trusts her and admires her skills as a leader.
#1 The Shadow Council, Moff Gideon’s Secret Base & the Ambush
At the beginning of this chapter, we got a glimpse of the Imperial Shadow Council. It appears all the Imperial ‘War Lords’ are not disorganized and working of their own accord but are still united. They are working for a grander purpose for the remaining factions of the Empire scattered about the galaxy. They are attempting to appear disorganized, hoping the New Republic will underestimate the actual threat they pose.
Captain Gilad Pellaeon makes his first live-action debut! Captain Pellaeon was once dominantly featured in Legends. He was reintroduced in the new canon novelizations, the animated series Rebels, and was voiced by Jim Cummings. “Grand Admiral Thrawn’s return will herald in the re-emergence of our military and provide Commandant Hux enough time to deliver on Project Necromancer,” Pellaeon assures. I can’t wait to see Thrawn!
Speaking of Commandant Brendol Hux… Yes, that is General Armitage Hux’s father. Commandant Hux is played by Brian Gleeson, who is Domhnall Gleeson’s brother. That is brilliant casting!
Captain Gilad Pellaeon & Commandant Brendol Hux
When the Mandalorians find the Great Forge, they immediately get ambushed by the next generation of Dark Troopers. The Mandalorians put up a fight but find themselves chasing their foe right into a trap. Moff Gideon has built a secret Imperial base not far from the Great Forge. A ‘cursed’ planet with constant electromagnetic interference from the atmosphere is a great place to build a base where no one will ever look for you, so you can continue whatever experiments you wish to further the Imperial agenda. It’s smart but a little too convenient. Anywhere the Empire deems ‘cursed’ to the rest of the galaxy should probably be investigated first.
“As you can see, Mandalore will live on in me. Thanks to your planet’s rich resources, I have created the next generation of Dark Trooper suit forged from beskar alloy. You see, every society has something to offer. The cloners. The Jedi. And even the Mandalorians. By aggregating the best of each, I will create an army that will bring order to the galaxy,” Moff Gideon brags in his shiny new suit.
Moff Gideon captures Din alive, most likely to use him as a template for one of his clone divisions, and traps the Mandalorian scout team between two blast doors. He plans on destroying the Stolen Fleet with an element of surprise.
“Now, surrender the Darksaber, and tell these people that this planet is mine,” Gideon demands. Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me. Bo-Katan is not going to fall for that again. She tilts her head to the side and nods. Paz takes the hint, “This is the Way,” he confirms.
As the blast doors open, the Mandalorians stand their ground as Bo-Katan retreats to the far door and cuts through it with the Darksaber to allow them to retreat. Paz says he’ll cover the rear allowing the others to escape, “Go. There are too many. This is the way.”
Paz Vizsla stays behind, drawing all the fire from the new and improved Dark Troopers. He’s relentless in laying down cover fire with his heavy blaster to the point his heavy blaster glows red from overheating to the point of almost melting. He doesn’t stop. When it looks like he’s cleared the Dark Troopers, the Praetorian Guard make their appearance. Paz makes a great attempt but doesn’t stand a chance against the Elite Praetorian Guards. I was very sad to see Paz fall.
From the beginning to the end, I was hooked and loved the story progression! Now this is what The Mandalorian should be focusing on! It seemed like they got right back on track from the detour that was the last chapter. Tying in Amnesty Officer Elia Kane at the beginning, leading that into the Shadow Council, which gave us further appetizers of the larger Imperial plots working throughout the galaxy, to the Stolen Fleet, Grogu’s new ride, scouting Mandalore with multiple Tribes and finding a secret Imperial operation run by none other than Moff Gideon himself packed in a lot of information for vital story progression.
The name of this chapter, “The Spies,” is plural, indicating there are many. Does that mean there are spies among the Mandalorians keeping tabs on their growth and movements? Or does that just mean the Empire has multiple spies throughout the galaxy?
I think our final chapter in this season is going to cause a bit of an uproar. The story could go in many different directions, but I know that if Bo-Katan or Din Djarin get the chance, they need to end Moff Gideon once and for all.
What were your favorite moments from this chapter? What do you think will happen in the finale?