In between Chapter 22 and Chapter 23, Star Wars showed it’s future plans. Among them was news of a Mando-Verse movie directed by Dave Filoni. The news does not sound particularly surprising, as his leadership helped put Star Wars back on the map. What this means for The Mandalorian is still to be seen, but “Chapter 23: The Spies” drops plenty of breadcrumbs. This episode, directed by Rick Famuyiwa, tests Bo-Katan’s leadership and reveals Moff Gideon’s plans.
The Recap – The Mandalorian – “Chapter 23: The Spies”
On Coruscant, Elia Kane/G68 (Katy M. O’Brian) walks through the strobe and neon-infused city. Music from clubs bursts through the air, and she walks down an alleyway. A searching droid flies down and scans her. Reading off her codes connects her to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) via hologram. She reports that the Mandalorians helped Navarro. Gideon does not believe her because Bo-Katan and Din’s factions are enemies.
He lets her go and goes to speak with other Imperial loyalists in the Shadow Council. Captain Pellaeon notes that Thrawn’s return will restore their military power, while Commandant Hux continues “Project Necromancer.” Gideon speaks to Pellaeon and questions the truth behind Thrawn’s return.
Hux confronts Gideon as well, asking for Pershing’s research promised to his mission. Hux also accuses Gideon of hiding Pershing to attempt his own research. Gideon notes he does not care for clone technology. He focuses on his sector. He believes resources acquired by Hux (Brian Gleeson) and Pellaeon (Xander Berkeley) should be shared. Hux notes the request, and they ask why he would need more resources. Gideon brings the issues of the Mandalorians to the table, and the council grows uneasy. His resource request is granted as he promises to rid the galaxy of Mandalorians.
On Nevarro, the town continues to rebuild when a Star Destroyer flies over the city. A droid approaches Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) with concern. However, Greef points out the markings on the ship. It bears the Mandalorian sigil. This is Bo-Katan’s fleet.
The Armorer (Emily Swallow) and Paz (Tait Fletcher) step out of their encampment to watch the approaching ships. Bo (Katee Sackhoff) worries the groups may not get along. Din (Pedro Pascal) assures her this is in everyone’s best interest for survival. The groups come to meet one another, with the new Mandalorians removing their helmets as they approach the camp. This creates a tension-filled moment when the Children of the Watch opt to leave their helmets on. However, The Armorer breaks up the showdown, telling the Children to prepare a feast for their fellow Mandalorians.
Greef Karga arrives to speak with Din. He brings a bottled beverage (assumingly alcohol) from Coruscant. That’s not the only gift he has for Din.
Back in Nevarro, IG-11 works once more. He has been renamed IG-12, and an Anzellan drives him. Greef notes that his memory was removed, so the pilot provides cognition now. Grogu makes his way toward IG-12, and he fits inside. Din does not like the idea of Grogu driving IG, but Grogu refuses to leave.
Grogu walks down the street, continually hitting a button that allows IG-12 to say “Yes.” He then stops and starts eating street food. Din runs back to pay for the food, noting this is not working.
At nightfall, the Mandalorian camp remains divided. Bo speaks to the group, outlining that they need to retake Mandalore. While it is not cursed, it remains dangerous. She proposes that they put the fleet in orbit over Mandalore and send down small teams to establish a base of operations on the surface. When it is safe, they will all return to their planet.
She requests volunteers from both tribes to lead the ground team. Din and Grogu volunteer first. Soon, members from both tribes volunteer as part of the mission. The fleet leaves Nevarro the next morning and flies to Mandalore.
The scouting party descends, with Bo-Karan piloting the vessel. They fly through the rain and weather until the sky breaks. The floor opens, and the other Mandalorians see the planet for the first time since the bombings. They note the planet appears worse than they expected, but they begin to bond when one of them announces they were on the planet when it happened. They drop down and secure a landing zone for the Gauntlet.
After they touch down, Bo disembarks with her helmet off. They are going to secure the forge and then begin to bring down settlers. They walk across the ruined landscape. On the horizon, a ship moves quickly across the surface. The ship stops and asks for food when it’s revealed the men on the ship are also Mandalorian. They are survivors of the bombings and know Bo-Katan. They apologize that they failed and pledge their allegiance.
That night, the survivors tell the story about the planet after the bombing. They believe they never surrendered, but Bo reveals she had. She had met with Moff Gideon and submitted to disarmament. She turned over the Darksaber as part of the agreement, but then Gideon began the Purge of Mandalore.
Silence hangs over the crowd. The survivors ask how the others survived. The Armorer notes they survived in hiding on a moon. When the survivors ask if they were Death Watch, the Armorer informs them that Death Watch no longer exists. They splintered. Bo explains that there were divisions and squabbling factions that destroyed their people. No one can defeat Mandalore if they stay united.
Later in the night, Din speaks with Bo-Karan. He tells her that he was taught about the Nite Owls selfishness. By forsaking The Way, the other Mandalorians led to their destruction. Bo believes she was selfish, and the Purge of Mandalore happened because of her actions. Din reminds her that Mandalorians have always been on the verge of extinction, but they’ve always survived.
Bo admits she has self-doubt in her ability to keep everyone together. She believes the only reason she holds everyone together is the Darksaber, but Din pushes back. Her honor and loyalty are why he serves her, and his people knew nothing of the blade. That is why she United the Mandalorian factions. Her future and legacy are still being written. He pledges continued servitude.
The Armorer and the survivors work together on the ship. She tells Bo that some are too weak to continue. She can bring them back to the Gauntlet and then to the ships above. Bo-Katan agrees.
She informs the leader of the survivors of the plan and that those healthy enough can search for the Forge. However, he knows where it’s the Forge lies. The next morning, their ship takes off to find it while the Armorer flies back to the ships in orbit.
An unease still sits over the ship. Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) and Paz (Tait Fletcher) play a board game, but a disagreement over the rules leads to a brawl. Din asks Bo if he should step in. She tells him it was bound to happen. They continue fighting while the other Mandalorians watch. Grogu steps in with his IG-12, and the brawling stops.
The Mandalorians on the planet pull up the Forge, but a giant creature comes out of the ground. This monster destroys the survivor’s vessel, and the Mandalorians abandon the ship. They go to hide in a cave beneath the surface.
As they go deeper into the caves, they find the Forge. No one remains, and the fires went out. The Captain notes that No Mandalorians survived when they explored deeper. Din hears jetpacks approaching, but Bo realIzes these are not Mandalorians.
They gear up and begin a firefight against those flying in. They appear to be Imperial soldiers with packs. Axe makes a run for the surface to go for reinforcements. Paz lays down cover fire, allowing Axe to escape. The firefight continues with the Mandalorians advancing deeper into the mines. However, they come into an Imperial hanger.
Bo wonders what they’ve stumbled into. Din realizes it’s an ambush and pushes the others back before a blaster door closes. Trapped with troopers, he begins opening fire and using his flamethrower on the troopers. However, troopers surrounded Din and tie him up.
Moff Gideon, donning Mandalorian armor, flies down. He notes that his new era of Dark Trooper will now wear Beskar armor from Mandalore. Gideon sends his interceptors and bombers after the Mandalore fleet. He then demands that Bo-Katan return the Darksaber to him and surrender the planet. This time she refuses and the Mandalorians open fire on the troopers.
Paz covers the rear as the others escape through a hole Bo cuts out with the Darksaber. Bo tells Paz to join them, but he refuses. He closes the blast door and takes on the remaining troopers. Paz kills the troopers but cannot fight off the three red guards who attack him. Paz dies as they begin to pursue Bo and the other Mandalorians.
Episode Breakdown – The Mandalorian – “Chapter 23: The Spies”
The episode ends with the Mandalorians in quite a mess. Moff Gideon’s forces captured Din, killed Paz, and Bo-Katan goes on the run. Luckily, Axe and the Armorer have made it out. Can they provide enough firepower to help the Mandalorians who escaped? Moff Gideon seems awfully powerful, and with his own fleet to back him up, they are ready to go to war.
However, we have more questions to answer. First of all, the name “The Spies” indicates more than one on the ground. Not for nothing, but we only saw one. Someone, either on the Mandolorain side or elsewhere, seems to be leaking information. Keep an eye on that as the season concludes.
Second, project Necromancer appears to directly allude to the efforts of reviving Palpatine. The return of Grand Admiral Thrawn also falls a bit flat. After all, audiences locked into the Ahsoka trailer this week already saw him in silhouette. Even if we did not get a good look at him, we know he exists. It will be curious to see Ashoka go to war with Thrawn, and we have to wonder how many Mandalorians are set to back her up (if any).
A fun little nugget, by casting Brian Gleeson as another Hux, Brian joins his brother Domhnall Gleeson in a galaxy far far away. This is a nice touch, allowing a new character for the TV shows to appear while we wait for Domhnall to grow up and become the traitor we know and love.
Last, we get notice of the Shadow Council, which seems poised to become the First Order. However, it’s clear each person continues to lie about their actions on some level. While Gideon certainly required the fleet resources to stave off a Mandalorian attack. However, his plans seem far grander, and as a result, he might lose the trust of his fellow Council members. With the season finale on the horizon, do not count this possibility out.