In our weekly recap series, we take a look at a monumental episode of The Mandalorian (warning: spoilers), which revealed a huge amount about Baby Yoda’s past
This episode of The Mandalorian is: “Game Of Thrones”.
“A Mandalorian and a Jedi? They’ll never see it coming.”
We didn’t realise how much we missed lightsabers in this series until Ahsoka Tano (the Clone Wars Jedi played by Rosario Dawson), popped up in the opening scene with two, slicing her enemies to bits while scurrying through a fog-covered forest. It was the best bit of action we’ve seen in the series yet.
It was one of several game-changing moments that occurred in this week’s episode, appropriately titled “The Jedi”. We finally got to meet Tano, who was embroiled in a battle to free the people of a walled city from an evil queen (strong shades of Cersei from Game Of Thrones). When Mando finally tracked her down, she revealed a surprising amount about Baby Yoda, with whom she was able to communicate via the force.
His name, we discovered, is…
Grogu! Not Baby Yoda, not “the child”, not even “the baby” (thanks, Carl Weathers), but Grogu.
And while we learned a huge amount about the little green sprog’s past, we are still none the wiser as to what his future may hold. Though it initially appeared that we had reached the end of the road for Mando and his adoptive child, Tano ultimately refused to take him under her wing for training and lumped the Mandalorian with yet another task.
Nonetheless, there was a lot more plot momentum here than in your typical Mandalorian episode, so there’s much to discuss.
Let’s get into it…
Things kicked off with Ahsoka Tano absolutely destroying some enemy soldiers on the planet Corvus, weaving in between trees and cutting them up with her double lightsaber shtick. Truly excellent stuff.
When she’s taken care of all the bad guys, Morgan Elspeth (a world-plunderer and Imperial-sympathiser from the Clone Wars era, we’re told) pops up atop of the city wall. Tano tells her that she’s got one day to release the people of the city and restore its rightful king or she’ll be back to cut her up (we’ve paraphrased that).
Elsewhere, Mando and Baby Yoda are squabbling on the ship about the bobble on top of the landing controls, in a throwback to last series (it was his favourite toy). They land on Corvus and Mando takes the bobble from the child and pockets it.
He is welcomed into the city and brought to Elspeth, who offers him a spear made of Beskar in return for the killing Tano. Mando doesn’t agree, but he doesn’t not agree… even though it’s clear that he has no intention of taking Tano out.
When he finally finds her, they have a bit of a scuffle before she spots Baby Yoda and immediately recognises why he has come. Tano and Baby Yoda sit by a campfire, having a silent, force-fuelled conversation. It’s as if she’s a kind of Jedi child services, wanting to make sure that Mando had been taking good care of him.
She then tells Mando that Baby Yoda is called Grogu (he coos whenever he hears his name). He was raised, she explains, at the Jedi temple on Coruscant and trained by many masters over the years (Baby Yoda, remember, is at least 50 years old). Then, he was hidden after the Clone Wars and finally lost. His memory is dark after that point.
Then she makes the series’ first reference to the actual Yoda, the only other weird, shrivelled green Jedi that she has encountered in the past. No word on whether or not they’re related as yet, though.
In an excellent payoff, Mando takes the bobble out of his pocket and uses it to get Baby Yoda to demonstrate his powers for Tano.
But here’s the rub: she doesn’t want to train him. She tells Mando that the bond he and the child have formed is too strong and that Grogu’s connection to Mando makes him vulnerable to his emotions, meaning his power could be corrupted.
Mando agrees to help Tano free the city, expecting that she’ll U-turn on her decision if they succeed. They do; she doesn’t. Instead, she gives him another task (Mando loves tasks!): to take Grogu to the planet Tython, to the ancient ruins of a temple that has a strong connection to the force, and place him on the seeing stone at the top of the mountain, at which point he can choose his own path. If he reaches out through the force, a Jedi may sense his presence and come searching for him. So, Baby Yoda has a big decision to make…
Baby Yoda corner
Is the world ready for Baby Yoda to be called anything other than Baby Yoda? Not very likely. Only the hardcore nerds call Mando Din Djarin and we suspect that’ll be the case here too.
The Mandalorian drinking game
Drink every time Baby Yoda uses the force for mischief: Last week he was stealing macarons, this week it’s the ship controls again. Truly a parent’s worst nightmare.
Drink every time Mando talks to Baby Yoda like a grown-up: Grogu may well be 50 years old, but he still behaves like a baby, eating things he shouldn’t, cooing and whatnot. He doesn’t know what “detecting a beacon” means, Mando!
Drink every time Mando double-crosses someone else: This might be a one-off, so finish the bottle. He knew exactly what he was doing, leading Elspeth to believe that he would take Tano out.
Percentage of time we reckon Pedro Pascal was under the helmet:
Zero. Pascal missed the fourth episode of series one entirely because he was in a broadway production of King Lear while it was filming. Who’s to say he didn’t sit this one out too?