Season 3, Chapter 23, The Spies

Solidarity, Honor, Sacrifice. These are the themes for this week’s chapter. Two tribes come together in solidarity. Their mission is to retake Mandalore. What is the cost? Will they accomplish their aim? One spy is obvious, but else is the title referring to? This chapter begins to answer all of these questions and more.

Spies. The obvious spy all along has been Elia Kane. The chapter starts by unveiling the mystery of what became of Moff Gideon. She reports to him the happenings on Nevarro, including the apparent alliance between Din Djarin’s covert and Bo-Katan’s people. Moff Gideon is quite surprised by this revelation. This begs to question, who is the remaining spy or spies? The Shadow Counsel. Warlords of the Imperial Remnant meet in secret and refer to themselves as the Shadow Counsel. This concept was first introduced in the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig. This series also introduces Brendol Hux and ultimately culminates with the Battle of Jakku. Captain Pellaeon and Brendol Hux are now members of this counsel. We all know who Brendol’s offspring is. If you want to know about how Brendol’s story ends, read Phasma by Delilah Dawson. Pellaeon is first introduced in Legends novel Heir to the Empire. However he has been retconned into canon and showed up in Star Wars Rebels. He should be an important figure moving forward in the Star Wars timeline.
The Shadow Counsel Part II. During the council meeting allocation of resources was discussed. The members seemed surprised that Mandalorians could still be a problem. It is interesting to see everyone’s reaction to the mere mention of Mandalorians. Even in dwindling numbers, Mandalorians are feared and respected. Project Necromancer was also discussed. I think it can be safely assumed that this is referring to the cloning of the Emperor. Our second mention of Thrawn in this series occurred during this meeting as well. Captain Pellaeon and Hux are gathering resources. They appear to have the most resources out of all the members of the Shadow Counsel. What is unclear is whether Thrawn is back in the known galaxy or still presumed missing. Wherever he is, this chapter is setting up his return in the upcoming Ahsoka series.
Solidarity. Bo-Katan leads the fleet back to Nevarro where Djarin’s covert now resides. I particularly enjoyed watching the Light Cruiser dramatically fly over with the Mythosaur skull painted on the bottom of the ship. After a seemingly tense initial meeting, a feast is ordered for the two tribes. Bo-Katan then proposes that they retake Mandalore and outlines the initial plan. They agree to move the fleet to low orbit above Mandalore while she leads a small team to determine where the “Great Forge” is located. When she asked for volunteers, Din Djarin stepped forward first. Koska Reeves, Axe Woves, Paz Vizla and the Armorer among others volunteer for the scouting mission.
A Gift. The High Magistrate has been busy. He had the Anzellans make IG11 operational again with one caveat. The newly made IG12 would be operated by a manual user. A cockpit of sorts was made in the torso of the IG unit where a driver could operate the droid. A skeptical Djarin watched as Grogu gleefully tested out his new “toy”. We have all experienced the obstinate child who does not want to give up his new favorite toy.
The Stranded. It is interesting watching how the Mandalorians operate. Eight Mando’s dropped from the Komr’k onto the surface to secure a landing site for Bo-Katan’s ship. Note that IG12, and R-5 have joined this expedition as well. Upon consolidation of the reconnaissance party, they begin to move out when they notice a vehicle speeding their direction. After an exchange of hail’s, it is determined that these are Mandalorians who survived the purge but were unable to leave the planet. They were ragged, haggard, and ailing. One of the survivors recognized Bo-Katan. The survivors agreed to ferry the reconnaissance team. They knew where the Great Forge was located. The Armorer then volunteers to take the sick and unwell back to the fleet. This is an interesting move by her. Did she do this to care for her people or for a different reason?
The Peacemaker. Axe Woves and Paz Vizla settled down to play a form of Mandalorian Chess. Clearly the two tribes had two different concepts of how to play the game. Vizla thought he won and simply stated “yield or fight”. Woves, being Mandalorian, chose to fight. Grogu, in his IG12 suit broke up the fight telling both of them no. I think Grogu’s actions shocked both warriors so much that they had no choice but to listen to the child.
Reluctant Leader. Bo-Katan is still figuring things out. She is skeptical that she can keep the factions together. Din Djarin swore fealty to her and gave her encouragement to keep moving forward. He reminded her that honor, loyalty, and character are the things that matter most.
The Forge. As the Mandalorians draw close to the Forge, a monster erupts out of the ground, destroying their craft, and forcing the Mandalorians underground. The survivors led Bo-Katan’s recon team directly to the Forge. As they are observing it and getting ready to move out again, they hear jet packs. Gideon knows Mandalorians and Mandalorian culture well. Moff Gideon had correctly surmised that Bo-Katan would want to secure the Great Forge before resettling Mandalore. Knowing that two tribes have become allies made it more likely that they would come back to Mandalore. Gideon has been busy. He apparently had set up shop on Mandalore long ago. That likely explains the TIE Interceptors and Bombers attacking Bo-Katan’s family castle. Gideon has been forging armor and training troops. However, we all find out that wearing Beskar does not make you Mandalorian. The recon team and survivors are battled hardened Mandalorians who grew up and trained in Mandalorian ways since they were children. Gideon’s troops were no match for the Mandalorians.
The Sacrifice. As they chased the beskar armored troops thru the caves, the Mandalorians ended up being trapped between two blast doors. Din Djarin and four other Mandalorians were cut off from the rest, outside the blast doors. They stumbled upon Moff Gideon’s base of operations. Overwhelming force took out the four Mandalorians while it took four beskar armored troops to subdue Din Darin, using their wrist cables. A beskar armored Gideon dropped in. Of note Gideon had Maul’s old death watch signature horns at the top his helmet. He ordered Djarin to be taken away, and the rest of the Mandalorians killed. One of the blast doors started to lift as Bo-Katan was cutting her way out of the closed door. Paz Vizla positioned himself at the rear to provide covering fire with his heavy repeating blaster cannon. As all the Mandalorians escaped thru the whole, Vizla laid down withering and devasting fire, killing over 30 troops by himself before his barrel melted down and the weapon malfunctioned. He killed three more troops in hand-to-hand combat. Then, three Praetorian’s showed up. These are highly trained elite warriors. Despite that, it took all three to vanquish Paz Vizla. His song will be song. His son Ragnar has much to live up to…and much to be proud of.
Thoughts and Questions. The question remains: who are the spies? Is it the spies within the Shadow Counsel who spy on one another in addition to Elia Kane? Is there some unnamed spy that we simply have not seen yet? Or, is the Armorer the final piece of the spy puzzle? Has she been sending data to Moff Gideon? I find this last query to be faulty. It simply would not make sense. She has gone thru great lengths to train and armor Din Djarin and protect her covert. Additionally, Gideon looked genuinely surprised that the two tribes have joined together. He would have known that if the Armorer told him already. The next obvious choice could be the survivors…but they fought alongside the Mandalorians rather than stab them in the back. Lastly, I would hate to think it’s the High Magistrate. However, it could be someone in his employment. I don’t know who it is, but I have a feeling that may be revealed in the next chapter.
Clones. Moff Gideon has taken a personal interest in cloning. He is not interested in waiting on Grand Admiral Thrawn to reappear. He lives in the moment, and he has been building an army. I surmise that he took Din Djarin alive for two reasons. One, he wants to leverage the Mandalorians to turn over Grogu. Two, he may want to use Din Djarin as a clone template like Jango Fett. Djarin appears to be the greatest of the Mandalorian warriors. He would make a fine clone template. Whatever the purpose, Djarin’s capture sets up a blockbuster end to Season 3 of the Mandalorian.
Easter Eggs and Revelations. The Armorer has a jet pack. It looks remarkably similar to a jet pack we saw a female Mandalorian in death watch wear during the last season of the Clone Wars. Did you all notice all the Fang Fighters in the fleet? We were first introduced to those in Star Wars Rebels. I wonder if we will see Fenn Rau in the story at some point. Another interesting point is Bo-Katan’s revelation that she surrendered to Moff Gideon in order to save her people. This is how she lost the Dark Saber. Gideon of course did what Gideon does and he “betrayed” their pact. This revelation makes everyone look at Bo-Katan a bit differently now. She made a tough call, her people suffered for it, and she owned up to it. This Is The Way.

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