The Mandalorian Recap: A Child by Any Other Name (Season 2, Episode 5)

We’re running a weekly recap of The Mandalorian on Disney+ for season two. There are spoilers, duh! You’ve been warned.


This week (“The Jedi”), Mando finally found his Jedi, and we the audience finally learned what Ahsoka Tano has been up to. 

Ahsoka is on the planet Corvus, single-handedly laying siege to the city of Calodan, which is occupied by a warlord named Morgan Elsbeth. Who is Morgan Elsbeth, you ask? 

She’s a tragic lady. 

Once upon a time, her people were massacred during the Clone Wars. After that, Elsbeth ravaged worlds and depleted their resources to construct guns and ships and somesuch for the Empire, accumulating enough wealth and power to fund her own little militia. 

See, I rarely, if ever, recommend buying your own militia. In my limited experience, they’re more trouble than they’re worth. But even I have to admit that whenever I want to be installed as the magistrate of whichever rinky dink town I’m exploiting on the outer edges of the galaxy, a militia is the first thing I put on the payroll.

My favorite idea of any Star War is when that dusty old Jedi teaching is shredded and burned to the ground.

Now, when I say all that, you would naturally assume that Ahsoka is sneaking around Corvus to stop Elsbeth and free the people of Calodan. After all, this foreshadows a central idea from The Last Jedi. Remember Vice Admiral Holdo’s speech? “In every corner of the galaxy, the downtrodden and oppressed know our symbol, and they put their hope in it. We are the spark that will light the fire that will restore the Republic.” 

The Rebellion, the Resistance, the Jedi Order—they’re all a means to an end, not an end to themselves. They exist to herald freedom and flourishing throughout the galaxy. 

And because it’s officially December now, let’s apply a little Advent to this story. 

Just like us, the Calodians were a people in peril, clinging to their last vestiges of hope, a hope that would one day take the form of a Messiah, a Rescuer to defeat the principalities, the powers, the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness, to bring peace and justice, to heal their land. 

But actually, no. 

Because rescuing the town is at the bottom of Ahsoka’s priority list. What she really wants is to learn the location of Elsbeth’s “Master,” the meanest, bluest baddy of the post-Rebellion Empire.

You guessed it—Grand Admiral Thrawn

LOL what? This silly, stupid show. I hate that I love you. I wish I knew how to quit you.

Now listen. There’s probably a sensible reason Ahsoka wants to find Thrawn. And finding Thrawn may be the key to Mando finding a Jedi who will eventually train the Child. 

But I gotta be honest. I’m convinced that if Morgan had simply told Ahsoka where Thrawn was hiding in the first few minutes of the show, Ahsoka would’ve moved along and left the Calodians to themselves. 

Some Messiah she is.

Hey! Speaking of Messiah, let’s talk about that Child, shall we? 

For to us a Child is found, to Mando, a son is given; and the Frog Lady’s eggs shall be upon his maw, and his name shall be called Imperial Asset, The Child, Baby Yoda, Strong in the Force, Abundant of M-Count.

You are to call him…Grogu.

Grogu? Yes. 

Grogu. 

I like it. It suits the Child. First, it’s cute, like Porg. 

Second, it’s two syllables, like Yoda. 

Third, “Grogu” carries an intangible gravitas, free from a surname’s entanglements and wasted breath. 

Like Beyoncé. 

Mando finally finds Ahsoka, and Ahsoka sits by a campfire and has a Force-mind-meld conversation with Grogu. And for once, we learn the Child’s backstory.

Grogu was once trained in the Force while residing in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Then, after the Emperor issued Order 66 and slaughtered the Jedi, someone (we don’t know who) took Grogu and saved him from certain death. Imagine that. When Anakin killed those younglings in Revenge of the Sith, are we to assume that Grogu would have been among them? Probably.

Since then, Grogu has remained in hiding, and according to Ahsoka, he suppressed his force abilities to stay hidden. 

But all that’s over now, and Mando wants Ahsoka to train Grogu in the ways of the Force. 

She refuses. Why? “You’re like a father to him,” she says. 

CALLED IT. Here’s what I wrote three episodes ago:

Mando is more than just muscle now, and he’s infinitely more than just a ride from one point to another. He’s a father. There’s an intimacy to their relationship. 

I did not foresee, however, that this relationship would be the thing that prevents Grogu from being trained in the ways of the Jedi. “His attachment to you makes him vulnerable to his fears, his anger,” Ahsoka tells Mando. “I’ve seen what such feelings can do to a fully trained Jedi knight.”

That’s some classic Star Wars baloney right there. A Jedi must divest themselves of relational attachments, because those attachments are the things that lead to the dark side. 

Hogwash. My favorite idea of any Star War is when that dusty old Jedi teaching is shredded and burned to the ground. After all, it was Luke’s attachment to his father that brought Darth Vader back to the light. Han and Leia’s attachment to Kylo brought Ben back to the light. Galen Erso’s love for Jyn gave him the hope to build a fatal flaw in the Death Star plans. 

Love won. Empires fell. Yoda was wrong. 

Paul once wrote, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” 

Tell me, Star Wars. What good is highest M-Count if you have not love?

Ahsoka probably has her own complicated reasons (and trauma) for not training Grogu. But I do hope that eventually this kind of thinking becomes one more Jedi relic she eventually forsakes for good.

A few final thoughts: 

I admit, I was a bit misty at the idea of Mando leaving the Child with Ahsoka. If and when the time finally comes for the Grogu to find his new forever family, I will not be okay. 

Apparently a lightsaber can’t cut through beskar. This matters! My prediction: Now that Mando has the beskar spear, Mando will wield the spear during his eventual showdown with Gus Fring and the darksaber.

Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano was a good bit of casting. Fun fact. Did you know Dawson is dating Senator Cory Booker? It’s true! 

You do know what this means, right? If the physicists are right and there are actually a gazillion universes parallel to our own, then in one of those universes, at this very moment, President-Elect Cory Booker, not Joe Biden, won the Democratic nomination and defeated Trump. Which means Ahsoka Tano is the new First Lady. 

If only.