Wednesday, April 12, 2023

REVIEW: 'The Mandalorian' - Gideon Uses New Imperial Forces to Prevent the Resurrection of Mandalore in 'Chapter 23: The Spies'

Disney+'s The Mandalorian - Episode 3.07 "Chapter 23: The Spies"

Survivors come out of hiding.

"Chapter 23: The Spies" was written by Jon Favreau & Dave Filoni and directed by Rick Famuyiwa

The time has come to retake Mandalore. That mission matters to every Mandalorian across the galaxy. The factions unite behind that common cause. At first, the season centered the mission as personal redemption for Din. However, the vitality of Mandalore is much more significant. Bo-Katan notes how no army could ever defeat Mandalore. Instead, it was the divisions amongst the people that led to its ultimate downfall. Every faction has a different story of the surrender that resulted in the purge. Din's covert was led to believe Bo-Katan was selfish. She doesn't dispute that. However, that doesn't resemble the woman she is today. Now, Din loyally serves her because she has proven her honor. She abides by the way. She is the only person who could make this mission possible. She doesn't hide from the mistakes of her past. She details how she was betrayed by Moff Gideon. He misled her to gain possession of the Darksaber. The purge began shortly thereafter. Mandalorians still survive on the surface of the planet. They remain loyal to Bo-Katan. They've fought to maintain the way. They never abandoned the planet. The other groups had to depart to strengthen their ranks once more. Bo-Katan had to earn the trust and respect of each faction. Part of that is merely the symbol of her wielding the Darksaber once more. It's also earned through her actions. Her time with the covert showcased how she understood their beliefs and fought to uphold them. She sought to keep this community prosperous. The Mandalorians had the opportunity to build a new home for themselves on Nevarro. That was never the end goal. They sought the restoration of their home planet. It's possible. Unfortunately, Mandalore has become the new Imperial base for Moff Gideon's forces. He seeks to create a better army that carries the best qualities from many civilizations across the galaxy. Every resource has its value. And now, it's daunting to see stormtroopers shielded with Beskar armor. The resource that holds so much reverence in Mandalorian culture has now perverted in service of these villainous ideals. Gideon explains to his fellow members of the Imperial Shadow Council that resources must be sent to his region. He knows the Mandalorians are plotting to retake the planet. He received that information from Elia Kane. His work with Dr. Pershing has come to an end. Other Imperial commanders are eager to focus on their own projects - like Project Necromancer and the awaited return of Grand Admiral Thrawn. They have their vision for a new order that can easily wipe out the fledgling New Republic. The threat from the Mandalorians is the most pronounced because the history of their strength is daunting. All it takes is this one culture to be revitalized for the rest of the galaxy to slip from their grasp once more.

The Mandalorians are united in this cause. They still face friction along the way. Throughout the episode, the tension builds as Gideon's forces could strike at any moment. Only the audience is armed with that information. Bo-Katan believes a scouting party must go to the surface first to secure the Great Forge. Only then can the other survivors make their way to the surface. The planet they encounter is far from the glory it once exhibited. The flame that ignited the Great Forge has long been extinguished. Moreover, the Mandalorians are led into a trap. They are directed into witnessing the new Imperial capacities that have been erected on the planet. It's all in service of Gideon's grand mission. The New Republic was incapable of holding him accountable for his crimes. He escaped and Carson Teva believes the Mandalorians are responsible. They are the only people who wield Beskar weapons. That's no longer true. Gideon has built a new force. It's overpowering. It results in a couple of epic sacrifices. First, a way out is provided to the Mandalorians simply by Axe escaping through a crack in the ceiling. That's pivotal if he reaches reinforcements before they too are under siege by Gideon's forces. And then, Din is deemed too important to kill right away. Instead, he is disarmed and directed to interrogation. He becomes a prisoner of Gideon's much like Grogu was in the second season. The roles are reversed. Grogu carries more capabilities now. It's reassuring that the show had a point to Din wanting to reinstate IG-11. That was a random moment from the premiere. And now, Greef Karga delivers the droid as a gift for Grogu. It provides him with a new way to communicate. That means Din has to deal with a child who can suddenly talk. That's amusing. Communication happens more easily now. The danger is still prevalent. Din refuses to ever be separated from his child ever again. He fights on behalf of a cause far greater than himself. He's still taken prisoner. The Darksaber provides Bo-Katan with a way to lead the helpless Mandalorians out of this trap. It still requires Paz Vizsla to stay behind and make the ultimate sacrifice. He sees a community of warriors who honor the way. They will do right by his noble deed. He accepts this choice. This is how he can ensure the survival of his people. He won't be able to see it himself. Nor will he get to share it with his son. And yet, he believes in the power and unity of the covert. This planet has a people willing to fight back to reclaim what was taken from them. The devious forces refuse to do so even though the rest of the galaxy believes the Empire has been wiped out. The Imperial forces are still quite numerous and lethal on Mandalore. It's up to the Mandalorians to fight back. They are surprised by what they find on the surface. They are always prepared for anything. That unites them while the odds remain stacked against them. All hope is fleeting that a planet can prosper when the forces of evil still conspire to control all territory throughout the galaxy. That fate is certain as well - with the existence of the Dark Order in the years to come. The fight is still honorable. That's noble and provides the season with the central emotion that has long been missing.