'The Mandalorian' Season 2 Episode 5 Review: Ahsoka Tano's breathtaking live-action debut completely elevates show

Ahsoka Tano's appearance leads to some major revelations that change the show's scope


                            'The Mandalorian' Season 2 Episode 5 Review: Ahsoka Tano's breathtaking live-action debut completely elevates show
'The Mandalorian' (Disney+)

Spoilers for 'The Mandalorian' Season 2, Episode 5 - 'The Jedi'

They may have held off for an episode, but the arrival of Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) was absolutely worth the wait. From the very first moment she appeared, seconds into the episode, white lightsabers blazing through a foggy night, she dominated the screen. Ahsoka Tano was absolutely the star of this episode, and the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) himself was almost a side-character in this chapter. This episode, we see a Jedi teams up with a Mandalorian, find out the the name of the Child (no more "Baby Yoda"), and take down a tyrant on a beautifully barren planet in one of the best 'The Mandalorian' episodes to date.

With the cowboy episode, monster-hunting one, and two sci-fi spec space ops down, we were overdue for a lone samurai story. Corvus is the perfect planet for that kind of stories, covered in dead trees over dead, gray ground, with a green fog that hangs everywhere. The episode makes fantastic use of quiet, especially as Ahsoka Tano has always done her best work as a stealth fighter, flaring out from the shadows and disappearing right back into them just as quickly. Her dual-wielded white lightsabers make an especially strong impression in the gloom. 

Rosario Dawson's Ahsoka misses some of the vulnerability of voice actor Ashley Eckstein's voice, but aside from that one note it's a flawless transition from her animated appearances to live-action. Directed by Dave Filoni - the man behind both 'The Clone Wars' and 'Rebels' - Ahsoka Tano takes on dozens of armed guards with such ease that there are moments where she's just playing it up for the camera. She still has her moments of empathy and tenderness, however, as she interacts with the Child.

There are two parts to this episode - one is the standard fare, brilliantly done, from the anthology-style storytelling of 'The Mandalorian', as Din Djarin finds another small town facing a threat, and teams up with someone local to deal with it. The other part is what makes the show feel like it's a part of something much, much bigger than itself, as Ahsoka reveals that Grogu is a lot more cognizant than he's led us to believe, and that he's already well on his way to becoming a Jedi Master - though a dark cloud hangs over his destiny. It's one of the rare times that Din has truly looked out of his depth, as he learns about the Force and Grogu's connection to it.

While 'The Mandalorian' has made excellent use of the 'Star Wars' setting, it's not until this episode that it becomes clear just how much the Force is a part of every good 'Star Wars' story, and that's something that's been missing from the series so far. 'Star Wars' stories always go hand in hand with destiny, and with a Force that has a potent mysteriousness. Grogu is no longer just an adorable animatronic - he's become a figure fighting against his destiny, like almost all major 'Star Wars' protagonists. Din Djarin is just along for the ride.

Next episode might just see 'The Mandalorian' return to its relative status quo, but for now, the series feels like it's taken on a much larger scope. Din Djarin has been drawn into a story that's greater than himself, and it feels like the series is finally focusing on the story it's been slowly building upon from the beginning.

The next episode of 'The Mandalorian' airs December 4, on Disney+.

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