The latest episode of The Mandalorian introduced its first Jedi character. Fans of The Clone Wars and Rebels were excited when Ahsoka Tano got teased for the season. It was a long wait, but finally, in this seasons’ fifth episode, she made her live-action debut. Her introduction strongly moved the recent episode’s structure closer to one of the two main inspirations behind the franchise. Star Wars’ is a love letter to classic Western and Japanese Samurai films. Up until this point, the latter was more subtle in its inspiration, but Chapter 13 has switched that up. Ahsoka’s debut pushed the series towards it closer to its samurai inspirations.
There will be minor spoilers for the episode, so only continue at your own risk if you have yet to watch it.
The series’ biggest Japanese inspirations were in the core concept. The journey of Din and the Child, who now has a name, echoes the story of Lone Wolf and Cub. Yet, the samurai aspect was never at the forefront, as it focused more on Mando’s skills with the blaster. This episode introduced a character that changed that. His search for a Jedi has come to an end. After meeting Ahsoka, he asks her to look after the foundling and teach him to control his abilities. Yet, she refuses his inquiry. Mando is forced to make another deal, so he could change her mind. So, together they faced Diana Lee Inosanto‘s Magistrate and Michael Biehn‘s Lang.
The episode ends with two showdowns. Once again, Mando faces Lang in a blaster showdown. Ahsoka was in a fight against the Magistrate, who was elegantly wielding a Beskar steel staff. Their showdown took place on a single path surrounded by a beautiful Koi pond. It wasn’t about who can attack first but a ballad between two skilled warriors. Visually, it was a beautifully done fight. Earlier in the episode, we got the reveal that Beskar armor can withstand lightsabers, so it set the stage for a fair fight. It felt like the perfect balance between the Prequel’s elegant coordination and the Original trilogy’s methodical approach. As the article’s title implies, it felt like an episode of Into the Badlands had mixed with Star Wars and Akira Kurosawa‘s work.
There were some gorgeous shots in this episode, and going by the artwork you can see above, I am glad they decided to go with the exterior outside of the home. The Koi pond was just a great touch to offer a unique visual strongly tied to its inspiration. It also helped to restrict it in a way that they could make every step have weight. They didn’t have an entire room to jump around. All they had was a single path surrounded by water. Yet, they still stayed true to the Western by having these two distinctive fights with different stakes. Switching between them just added more tension and weight to every swing of the saber. The outcome of that fight would echo for those waiting outside. Hopefully, we will see more lightsaber action in future episodes. It would be a waste to introduce Ahsoka and not have her return, especially if someone is out there wielding the Darksaber.