The Mandalorian - Chapter Twenty Three - The Spies

ctg

weaver of the unseen
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Survivors come out of hiding
IMDB score: 9.0 Runtime: 52 minutes (minus intro and credits)
 
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First things first, some of you might have seen the latest in the general thread for the Mandorian series, saying that the viewership is going down. I think Mickey Mouse House has forgotten some of the lessons in the art of the story telling.

I know from personal experience that delivering a story can be a ridiculous tedious process, especially if it's complicated and has multiple layers. The Mandoverse is trying some of the layering, but recently and most throughout the series it has been following a-monster-of-the-week trope or a stranger-walks-into-town scheme to deliver something that vaguely felt like a space western.

It is strange that they however perfectly captured the audience wishes and dreams in the Andor series, which equally seems to be the critic's favourite series as well. In it, they managed to approach and overcome the complexities of the animated counterparts, like what we have in the Rebels.

So to me, it is a waste of episodes, good story time when you don't move the plot, but instead of deliver loosely connected threads in the main series that is supposedly carrying the live-action SW franchise forward. Why the audience had to wait for the last two episodes to get into the serious parts when they knew it was on the cards from the season beginning?

Why Disney couldn't deliver a tighter story?

Anyway, let's get on with this one and see how it develops...

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It didn't take a lot of brain power to figure out that the Imperium officer in the heart of the New Republic were a spy, but that G68 was actually working for Moff Gideon and the Imperium warlords that seemingly be running the operations behind the Pirate Nation. And that their efforts have been to make the current galactic administration to be weak, instead of liberally sexy.

Even though the war makes a lot of money, a peace time can be a golden opportunity for a lot of things. It is almost as if the Imperial faction were brainwashed by Palpatine ideas to believe in tyranny, therefore heavily leaning into the Sith agenda as the only way to run the galaxy.

The only way for them to get back to the top pedestal is to heavily lean for the Heir of the Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn to take over and put things in right perspective. The truth is that Thrawn never were Palpatine Idealistic. He had his own ideas on how to run things, efficiently. Thus making him very dangerous party to run the Imperial WarLords, and the Pirate Nation agenda.

Moff questioned his return, because so very few has returned from the Unknown Part of the galaxy for the sole reason that there are no star charts. No easy way back into the murky soup that they call as the galactic civilization. Therefore he suggested a change in the leadership, naming him first as the successor for the Emperor.

Strangest thing is that even though he was scoffed on the Project Necromancer, even though he had been using Emperor secret projects, and were seen walking past more of them at the beginning. What he wanted from the Shadow Council was "Three Praetorian Guards" aka the guys in Red Suits, a squadron of Tie Fighters and bombers, because the Mando's are coming... :LOL:

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This is the Way! The tribes are gathering, even though this is the first and possibly the only delivery of the clan assets before the retake of the Mandolore. To me personally, the ships coming to land reminded me of the best episode in the new BSG.

Paz Vizla, the Protector, ordered the Foundling to take the kids inside instead of allowing them to run around when they came to facing the otherside of the culture as if he expected a clash. It was broken off by the Armourer, which both tribes seem to respect, before the High Magistrate delivered a bottle and this...

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IT is a IG-12 battlesuit, the one of kind, a unique piece of protection for Grogu. According to the High Magistrate, "The Anzellans ripped out memory circuit. The pilot provides cognition."

While daddy were having issues, Grogu totally approved. It even allowed him to speak with yes and no words as he amazingly learned to operate it in fly under a minute. Man, he's something else... but daddy didn't like the new functionality.

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At the evening, during the feast, the Queen of New Mandalore asked volunteers for the recon job. Din and Grogu were first time join her team to go down on the Mandalore Prime. Then he was followed by all big shots from both tribes, before the Armourer finished the selection.

To me it was a House of Dragon moment. The glory of the parties gathering together and going to deliver something meaningful. I loved the whole scout party fit into one ship, and they did do a hot drop at the surface, ready to party.

At the surface, the Queen addressed the party, "Somewhere below is the ancient capital. We'll survey the surface until we find the Forge and create a safety zone. Only then will we begin to bring down the settlers."

It wasn't a long before they came across a strange hovercraft, and ragtag group of survivors who bent their knee of sight of the Lady Bo-Katan Kryze. Without her waving around the Black Sabre. They told the scout party that they survived while others died under the Imperial Purge, thinking that they weren't going to live, because Bo wouldn't yield. But Bo told them that she surrendered.

She said, "After our forces were annihilated in the Night of Thousand Tears, and defeat was imminent, I met with Moff Gideon. The ISB had reached out to me to negotiate a cease-fire. In exchange for submitting to the Empire and disarming, all remaining cities and Mandalorian lives were to be spared. That is how Moff Gideon came to possess the Darksabre."

"I didn't trust him, but it was the only chance I had to save our people. And then he betrayed me, and we were helpless to resist the Purge of Mandalore."

When the survivors asked about the others, the Armourer confirmed that they were on the Moon of Concordia. She also said that the Death Watch had been shattered, before the Queen spoke out about the unity, not separation. It rubbed the Queen bad way. Din was able to bring her a glimmer of hope as he talked about the culture, the honour and unity to her lady, like a proper king.

He said, "Your song is not yet written. I will serve until it is."

This is the Way!

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I hated that the Queen allowed Paz and Axe to fight over the boardgame move with vibroblades. Grogu couldn't stand it and he intervened before they were going to draw blood.

The Queen thought daddy had been teaching the kid, forgetting the fact that he's over fifty years old. Din categorically refused to acknowledge it. "Didn't learn that from me."

It wasn't long after before they came in contact with a stadium size monster, losing the ship at the entrance to the Great Forge. Grogu wanted to get in touch with the new one, but the scout party were having different thoughts.

When they arrived at the forge, the scout party came in contact with Gideon's Imperial troops, wearing beskar armour. Gideon knew what got when Bo yielded. All the goodies that weren't in stock at the Imperial Armoury.

Din led them into counter charge, chasing the Imperials, before they were led into the Imperium facility, and Moff's trap, taking down Din at the front of the others. Then he boasted about wearing the new version of Dark Trooper armourer, and having all the Mando under his feet. He pissed on the survivors. The cloners. The Jedi.

Using the Darksabre Bo cut an exit, while Paz forced a Rambo moment by closing the entrance to Bo's escape. He ran his heavy blaster until it was melting in his hands, and then he put trust into the heavy Mando suit, downing Gideon's troops to only face the tree Praetorian guards that stabbed him to death.

So sad to lose the mighty protector. :cry:
 
A few thoughts before I rewatch it later this week with the missus:

- Yes, this episode was good in comparison to the rest of the season. Still not great though.
- IG-12 with Grogu was great. I don't think Star Wars has ever managed to make me chuckle before. This did.
- The Imperial Light Cruiser with the Mythosaur Skull painted on its hull would make a fine addition to my Lego collection.
- The plot is just a series of events that don't feel connected organically or woven into a greater, coherent narrative
- Pellaeon! This scratched my old-EU itch.
- As I suspected, the entire episode dedicated to Dr. Pershing could have been skipped and replaced with two expository lines spoken by Gideon during the Imperial Council meeting. Why oh why does this show like to beat around the bush so much?
- As usual nothing feels earned. An example: Din Djarin swears fealty to Duchess Kryze and that's fine. But why? Why does it matter to him that the Mandalorians are united? Why does it matter to him that it happens via Bo-Katan when she had been portrayed as a semi-antagonist until the start of this season? The show repeatedly fails at making any of the protagonists' actions meaningful, to us or to themselves.
- The dialogue is just poor, bland, inconsequential. People just state banalities all the time without giving us any further insight into their way of thinking.
- The lore at the heart of the fratricidal war between the different Mandalorian factions is criminally underdeveloped. We never really know what makes them tick nor why they even fight each other beyond "So and so wears a helmet all the time" and "These guys are savages".
- ANOTHER giant monster? And one that yet again serves no purpose other than to go "Look out! Giant monster!" Cut it out already.
- Gideon is such a bad, goofy villain. He showed up twice, got defeated twice. Here he returns with yet another, more outlandish armor and troops, to get defeated one more time. The actor is chewing the scenery as if it were made of pizza. Please kill him off.
- Wait, there are Mandalorians on Mandalore? Err, why? The planet was glassed, how did they survive? How can they be there and not know about Gideon's operations on the planet? What? Why? When? Cool barge though.
- Paz Vizsla's sacrifice was sabotaged by the staging. He stays behind because the enemies are "too numerous", yet he single-handedly kills them all. Only then do more show up and get the upper hand over him. It would have been easy to add a little more enemies to really make this an impossible fight.
- Din Djarin is captured. Let's see where this goes. Din has been about as useless as Grogu this season and now he has even taken his place as the character to be saved. If they killed him off in the next episode, I'd be fine with it.
- Remind me why this wasn't the fourth episode of the season again? I hope in the next season they stop wasting time and cut to the chase.
 
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I just noticed the title of the episode again (I never bother to remember them).

So who were the spies? Hm... I don't remember anyone mentioning the word or calling someone else that during the episode. Is it a reference to the Mandos chancing upon Moff Gideon's operation on Mandalore? That seems unlikely. The Imperial Remnant Council? They're plotting for sure, but spying? A reference to Elia Kane whom we saw again at the start of the episode? But why is it plural then? Or could it refer to as-of-yet unidentified spies like, I don't know, those Mandalorian/Mad Max survivors?
As I wrote in my previous post, it seems weird that anybody could have survived for years in close proximity of a huge Imperial base without knowing about it, and even more so on a glassed planet which has nothing left to offer beyond giant Mando-eating dinosaurs. Unless these "Mandalorians" are working for Gideon... In which case, sending them to the Mandalorian fleet in orbit for treatment might have devastating consequences in next week's episode.


And of course, there are the seemingly far-fetched yet persistent rumors that the Mandalorian Armorer herself is a double agent or spy. Cue her horned helmet, a possible reference to Mandalorians who were loyal to Darth Maul, but also now a not-so-subtle wink at Gideon's own Mandalorian helmet, which is also adorned with horns. But after this episode there are even more possibilities:
- Beskar must be hard to work with or Armorers wouldn't be so revered among the Mandalorian culture. So who forged that Beskar for Gideon and his troops? They must have access to an armorer, possibly a Mandalorian armorer.
- The Armorer insisted on flying the Mandalorian survivors back to the fleet to have them treated. If those are double agents working for Gideon, then the Armorer either unknowingly sealed the fate of the fleet or... put her master plan in motion.
- Beside Paz Vizsla, who was presumed dead or on the run at that time, the Armorer was the only known survivor of the Nevarro covert after it was attacked by Gideon's troops in season 1... Hm.
- Of course that doesn't explain why the Armorer killed a bunch of stormtroopers to cover the escape of Djarin, Cara Dunne, Grogu and IG-11 in season 1, nor does it explain why she massacred those pirates on Nevarro in that earlier episode of Season 3... But Din Djarin's escape led him straight into Gideon's arms. As for the pirates, well, maybe she is just that good at being a spy!


To be clear I don't believe that this is the case because again, it's too far-fetched to me. And there are as many or even more elements pointing to the contrary. Then again I wouldn't put it past the showrunners to manufacture such a twist out of thin air for the sake of entertainment. It's not like they seem to care too much about grounding their characters' decisions and behavior with credible motivations.
 
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I didn't read your hidden spoilers, @The Crawling Chaos, because I like to be surprised. I only came on to post that I found this episode underwhelming (to the extent I possibly enjoyed the previous one). IMDB-rating watchers seem to lose themselves in ecstasy when there is a shoot out and prominent fatalities. But, for me, the episode still needs to flow, the action needs to be plausible and logical, and plotting of the scenes themselves need to make sense. And there were plenty of issues here. As you mentioned, TCC, why didn't Bo Katan cut through to save Mando instead of just watching? Why didn't the red super samurais just come straight away to kill Paz instead of waiting for 30 of the jet pack troopers to be mown down? Yes, again, why another giant creature? What do these things eat to survive? Sand? Other giant creatures (at least in Phantom Menace, there seemed to be a chain of scale, explaining what the 'bigger fish' lived off)

The dialogue is very stilted and flat, and Gideon isn't remotely intimidating. I have to remind myself that this really is a show for children, but then I've seen plenty of shows / movies for kids with punchy scripts and solid character development.

This season is, so far, not ranking much higher than Book of Boba Fett (but still way higher than the execrable Kenobi).
 
We never really know what makes them tick nor why they even fight each other beyond "So and so wears a helmet all the time" and "These guys are savages".
People just state banalities all the time without giving us any further insight into their way of thinking.
I was under the impression that you guys all knew this stuff already, and that I was the only one who didn't. Now you tell me that you have no idea either. What IS the difference between these clans, apart from wearing a helmet constantly or not? (Which, as we've discussed before, is quite a silly idea.) And was there always different clans? Because the time that has passed since Mandalore got wasted doesn't seem long enough for them to have created new clans with different rules and philosophies.
ANOTHER giant monster? And one that yet again serves no purpose other than to go "Look out! Giant monster!" Cut it out already.
It's the Star Wars Universe. Giant Monsters on every corner!
How can they be there and not know about Gideon's operations on the planet? What? Why? When? Cool barge though.
it seems weird that anybody could have survived for years in close proximity of a huge Imperial base without knowing about it,
Not weird, wholly unlikely! This goes equally for James Bond Villains and International Rescue's Tracey Island too, but how to you actually build a secret underground base without anyone seeing the construction traffic and construction workers, let alone the arrival of the aircraft and guards. And do you kill off all the construction workers when it is complete?
Din has been about as useless as Grogu this season and now he has even taken his place as the character to be saved. If they killed him off in the next episode, I'd be fine with it.
It's almost like this series isn't really about him at all. He is just an observer to most of what happens. The last few episodes have been all about Bo Katan really. Grogu has now become the light comedy element.
Beskar must be hard to work with or Armorers wouldn't be so revered among the Mandalorian culture. So who forged that Beskar for Gideon and his troops? They must have access to an armorer, possibly a Mandalorian armorer.
You see! Once again I thought I was the only person who didn't know about Beskar either. What kind of metal is it? Why does it protect, and from what? Is it just Handwavium? Does it have inherent magical properties, or is more about the skill of the armourer, and the skill with which the armour was made? I thought it was rare; even an ancient relic, but if whole legions of stormtroopers can wear it then there must be a big mining operation going on somewhere, and there must be more skilled armourers in Moff Gideon's employment than just one spy?
The Armorer insisted on flying the Mandalorian survivors back to the fleet to have them treated. If those are double agents working for Gideon, then the Armorer either unknowingly sealed the fate of the fleet or... put her master plan in motion.
This would explain some things, but as you point out, conflicts with others unless she was pl;aying a very, very long game, so I expect that she isn;t a spy. So, who are the spies in the title? Is G68 a twin? She seems to get around Coruscant.
IMDB-rating watchers seem to lose themselves in ecstasy when there is a shoot out and prominent fatalities.
I don't take much stock of scores (viewing numbers possibly) but what you say seems to be true. They are just voting for any episode in which there are shoot outs, space battles and prominent deaths. I guess this is the way!
why didn't Bo Katan cut through to save Mando instead of just watching?
That really irked me when watching. If she could cut through the hanger door at anytime, then cut through the door straight away. No, they all just stood around and watched Din Djann get captured before thinking, hmm we'd better get out of here now.
Why didn't the red super samurais just come straight away to kill Paz instead of waiting for 30 of the jet pack troopers to be mown down?
To be true, that didn't irk me as much as it ought to, simply because it is the standard practise from Scooby Doo to all Martial Arts films. The villain's henchmen always line up and come at the hero one at a time, starting with the least able, and with the most able quietly waiting their turn until last.

Why didn't they just execute Din Djann? What possible advantage does he serve by being kept alive. Even if he wasn't the star of the show, it's obvious he will escape because otherwise he should already be dead.
 
I was under the impression that you guys all knew this stuff already, and that I was the only one who didn't. Now you tell me that you have no idea either. What IS the difference between these clans, apart from wearing a helmet constantly or not? (Which, as we've discussed before, is quite a silly idea.) And was there always different clans? Because the time that has passed since Mandalore got wasted doesn't seem long enough for them to have created new clans with different rules and philosophies.
So as far as I know, in the new canon which I don't know as well as the old one, Mandos were split in two factions: The "New Mandalorians" who were pacifists, loved Picasso, and lived in huge domed cities on an otherwise empty planet devastated by nuclear war, and "The Death Watch" who embraced Mandalore's warmongering traditions and origins. Only the latter wore armor, the pacifists wore robes. But everyone in The Death Watch was free to take off their helmet so there was no such thing as the "Helmet Rule". Interestingly, Bo-Katan was one of the most prominent warriors of the Death Watch, who perpetrated terrorist attacks on Mandalore to make its population realize that pacifism would just lead them to extinction. Her sister Satine Kryze was the Duchess of Mandalore and led the pacifists.

Now, all that was true at the beginning of the Clone Wars. But then a lot of stuff which I won't get into happened and Satine died, Bo-Katan became a good guy again and a few years later, she was offered the Dark Saber and therefore the throne of Mandalore. Since a former Death Watch commander was now in power and it was now OK for Mandos to arm up again, The Death Watch as an opposition party became irrelevant and fractured, and Mandalorians returned to their old warmongering selves... which displeased the Emperor immensely and led to the Purge of Mandalore by Gideon and his troops. However, on a moon of the Mandalorian system called Concordia, a new extremist sect had risen to prominence, calling themselves The Children of the Watch (CotW thereafter). And they're the ones who found and raised Din Djarin, and escaped the Purge by virtue of living hidden on Condordia. Their name hints at an admiration of the Death Watch I suppose. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. We know they can't take off the helmet and that they live in coverts and rely on Foundlings to perpetuate their ranks (I assume not being allowed to remove your helmet in front of ANYONE makes finding a partner quite hard)

To be honest I have no clue why the Helmet rule exists. It seems to have existed prior to the Purge, which is the main problem. If it had been created and enforced after the destruction of Mandalore and the annihilation of Mandalorians and their culture, I'd have guessed that keeping your helmet on had maybe become a symbol of resilience and an act of defiance towards those who wished to see the Mandalorians become extinct. But that's not the case since Din Djarin has only ever known the helmet rule, and he joined the ranks of the CotW before the Purge.

Maybe the CotW consider that a Mandalorian is no more than their armor, not whoever lies underneath. Maybe they don't like individualism (but then why use names and allow customized armor?). Maybe whoever founded the sect was particularly ugly and couldn't stand seeing good-looking people around. Your guess is as good as mine, really.

Now, a part of me would bet that whoever came up with that rule is just an old fan who is disappointed that Boba Fett was unmasked in Attack of the Clones. Before the movie Boba Fett always had an aura of mystery around him that contributed to his legend. Even Darth Vader had ended up being unmasked but Boba Fett's face was always a mystery. Then in came George Lucas and his prequel and off went the helmet. Maybe a frustrated fan decided that if he ever were to make a SW series one day, his Mandalorians would remain faceless war-machines. Maybe that fan's name is Dave Filoni. I can't say.

What I can say is that the writing team doesn't seem to know much more about the CotW and their rules than we do.

You see! Once again I thought I was the only person who didn't know about Beskar either. What kind of metal is it? Why does it protect, and from what? Is it just Handwavium? Does it have inherent magical properties, or is more about the skill of the armourer, and the skill with which the armour was made? I thought it was rare; even an ancient relic, but if whole legions of stormtroopers can wear it then there must be a big mining operation going on somewhere, and there must be more skilled armourers in Moff Gideon's employment than just one spy?

Beskar was first created by Karen Traviss, an author of the Republic Commando and Imperial Commando novels from the old EU. She's the one who first developed the Mandalorian culture, language, structure etc. Her controversial (again, for reasons I won't get into) contribution to the SW universe was almost entirely wiped out by Lucas himself when he suggested to Dave Filoni that the Mandalorians should actually be pacifists as he was designing the Clone Wars.

Anyway, Traviss's Beskar was also known to have quite extraordinary properties and its secrets were jealously guarded by Mandalorian metalsmiths who were forbidden to reveal their techniques to non-Mandalorians. And it had been all but forgotten until Filoni and Favreau recanonized it for The Mandalorian. And so Mandalorians suddenly stopped dying after being struck by laser bolt and lightsabers. Well, when the plot demands it...

I think there's plenty of beskar on Mandalore so if the Empire has established a mining operation there, they should have more than enough. Now can they smith it? Apparently so. To the level of a Mandalorian armorer? I'd say they can't but again, your guess is as good as mine.

This would explain some things, but as you point out, conflicts with others unless she was pl;aying a very, very long game, so I expect that she isn;t a spy. So, who are the spies in the title? Is G68 a twin? She seems to get around Coruscant.
In hindsight, it seems the title was a reference to the biblical "Twelve Spies" sent to scout out the Land of Canaan to find a new home for the Israelite people... So the spies (scouts) were Din Djarin, Bo-Katan and their friends. And there were no "spies" (double agents) anywhere.
 
This was fine. I think there are endless holes that could be picked in it, but none of them occurred to me at the time of watching (although the ice-ship, the huge monster and the way that everyone just abandoned the ice-ship seemed a bit arbitrary). The Mandalorian has changed into a different programme to the one that it was at the beginning, but I'm not sure that the lone bounty hunter stories could have kept going forever. For one thing, at least two episodes of this series involved Mando defending communities from bandits, which was beginning to get a bit tired. I think it's interesting to have a hero who isn't the Chosen One but the Chosen One's companion. It also made Mando feel less like just another Mandalorian, as he was given more to do. Not the best, but decent.
 

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