The highly anticipated third season of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian has finally arrived with its fifth episode titled “Chapter 23 – The Spies”. Below is a breakdown of what was seen in the episode and how it possibly connects to the final episode of the season.
The episode opens with Elia Kane sneaking around the lower levels of Coruscant to attend a clandestine video conference with Moff Gideon, the Imperial threat that has been a thorn since the first season of the show. Kane informs Gideon of the recent battle of Nevarro and the Mandlorians intents to retake their home planet and Gideon, who is holding a grudge against the Mandalorians, convenes with the Imperial Shadow Council who are clearly forming plans to reinvigorate the Empire and retake power from the New Republic. Among other items discussed in this council meeting are Operation Necromancer which possibly ties into the cloning technology used to keep Emperor Palpatine alive in The Rise of Skywalker and the imminent return of Grand Admiral Thrawn who was recently confirmed to be appearing in the upcoming Ahsoka series on Disney+. Among those attending this meeting are Commandant Brendol Hux, the father of General Hux from the modern trilogy of films and Captain Pellaeon, a character introduced in the Legends series and is an acolyte of Thrawn. As Gideon grows weary of the continuous mention of Thrawn and his teased reemergence, he motions for the Council to proceed with their plans and get rid of the Mandalorians once and for all.
As the episode pivots towards Nevarro and their efforts to rebuild following Gorian Shard’s attack, the other Mandalorian clans arrive at the planet and this unification is tense to say the least. The Mandlorians who were formerly under the command of Axe Woves and the strict adhering clan of the Children of the Watch have differed ideals and governing rules and the conflict bubbles over throughout the episode. During their evening feast, Bo-Katan announces her plans to retake Mandalore and requests volunteers to join her. The first to sign up without question is Din Djarin, followed by Paz Vizsla, Axe Woves, The Armorer and many more but prior to leaving, Greef Karga meets with Din and provides him with the resurrected shell of the droid IG-11 with the new name of IG-12. This new model includes a pilot’s chair for little Grogu including a voice option that only seems to say “Yes” or “No” to which Grogu uses for immense comedic effect.
With a full compliment of Mandalorians and a new bionic body for Grogu, the army embarks to retake Mandalore and rediscover the Great Forge. Upon their arrival on the desolate planet, they encounter a small group of warriors who never left the planet after the Night of a Thousand Tears when the Empire bombarded the planet and slaughtered thousands of Mandalorians. Bo-Katan then reveals that it was after this tragedy, that she surrendered the Darksaber to Moff Gideon in the hopes that it would avoid more bloodshed but Gideon lorded it over her for years and proceeded to try and snuff out any measure of Mandalorian resistance. As the war party begins to scout the planet for the Great Forge, they encounter a giant beast that knocks them off their cruiser and injures several in the party. They will have to split up to attend to the wounded and the Armorer volunteers to take those injured warriors back to the fleet that is currently orbiting the planet. Following this minor setback, the Mandalorians have found the Great Forge but they are not alone as they are ambushed by a group of Stormtroopers that are equipped with armor made from beskar alloy rendering their blaster attacks useless. Axe Woves volunteers to get reinforcements and quickly departs the battle and as the Mandalorians are able to thwart off the initial attack, they move deeper into the planet’s mines and find the Great Forge but this discovery is a trap. Moff Gideon arrives in full Dark Trooper armor reinforced with beskar alloy and announces his intent to create a new army of Dark Troopers, retake the Darksaber from Bo-Katan and destroy any traces of the Mandalorian culture. Bo-Katan obviously does not want to surrender to the Imperial Remnant and uses the Darksaber to cut a hole into the door and allow her forces to retreat. However, everyone’s new favorite Mandalorian, Paz Vizsla, stays behind to ensure their escape but by doing so, is killed by Praetorian Guards who arrived at the request of Moff Gideon. It’s a crushing blow to this group and makes an impending final battle uneven heading into the final episode.
This episode’s title of “The Spies” obviously refers to a group of spies who working for the Empire; one is clearly Kane and her duplicitous efforts to kill Dr. Pershing and regain the cloning technology but the others could be the Armorer or Axe Woves who each have motivations to get rid of Bo-Katan and live in peace from the New Republic and the Empire. The final episode of this season will surely wrap up this storyline and provide a grand battle and maybe kill off Gideon for good.
Featured Image Credit via Wookieepedia