The Mandalorian Chapter 1 & 2
The mighty Galactic Empire may have fallen, but remnants of it still exist. It’s just the sort of environment for bounty hunters to thrive in, with their motivations remaining their own and their loyalty only temporarily being claimed by the highest bidder. For one particular bounty hunter – the mysterious figure known only as The Mandalorian – his services are now hired by a client who appears to be linked to the old Empire. Little is known of his latest target, and details are scarce; yet it’s been active for fifty years, and The Mandalorian isn’t the only one looking for it.
As The Mandalorian braves the wasteland of Arvala-7, battling the target’s protectors and other inhabitants while making new allies along the way, he discovers the shocking truth about his quarry. Will the nature of his latest assignment proves to be too much to handle? And will The Mandalorian’s own tragic past influence if – or how – he completes the job at all?
There are two ways of looking at this: either this is finally the return to Star Wars greatness that fans have been waiting for, or it’s a rather humdrum show that’s been massively overhyped. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground here.
However, for this particular Star Wars fan, it’s more a case of the former. Yes, the criticisms out there are fair; the first episode seems to waste time by focusing on The Mandolorian learning to ride a Blurgg, and some story elements seem a bit too convenient (or inconvenient) just for the sake of drama. But for those who are looking for a solid adventure in the style of A New Hope, and which can be appreciated by both lore-loving fans and newcomers alike, it’s one of the most timely shows out there right now.
On the surface, the story is perfectly straightforward and it’s enjoyable watching it play out, especially given the mysterious Mandalorian’s seemingly morally-ambiguous character. One minute he’s getting into gunfights with an air of calm coolness, the next he’s being dragged behind speeding vehicles like an unlucky Indiana Jones. Sure, there’s a story here and it becomes more intricate as it goes, but the show never loses sight of how too much exposition can get in the way sometimes. It moves at a fair pace, and it’s incredibly entertaining without ever getting bogged down.
Meanwhile, for those obsessed with Star Wars lore and have a head full of canon and trivia, there’s plenty more going on than meets the eye. Some things, like mentions of Life Day and the mythosaur, are simple references which drift by to let the fans know that this is 100% pure Star Wars down to its core and happily accepts the bad with the good. Other things, from the most seemingly insignificant costume insignia to the deeper meaning behind the currency The Mandalorian receives for his job, can speak volumes to those in the know. And with Clone Wars and Rebels producer/creator Dave Filoni’s involvement, it’s practically a guarantee of Star Wars authenticity.
Early mentions of The Mandalorian being influenced by classic Westerns and figures like Eastwood’s Man With No Name are an understatement, with plenty of callbacks to that particular trilogy everywhere. It’s a good thing too, because what worked then still works now. And, much like those Westerns and Star Wars were inspired by Kurosawa films like The Hidden Fortress, it appears that the Mandalorian may also owe a debt to the legendary Lone Wolf and Cub.
But all that’s for purists who care about the details.
The simple, most important fact is that – when stripped of the various layers to it – what you’ve ultimately got is an intriguing, touching and funny adventure. The Mandalorian totally commits to being a part of the massive Star Wars universe without any apologies or uncertainty. That makes it an easy watch that breezes on by, while still being completely fascinating.
The Mandalorian Chapter 3: The Sin
Having successfully acquired his latest bounty, all that The Mandalorian needs to do is drop the child off with those who hired him… and get paid. However, the whole adventure has left a bad taste in The Mandalorian’s mouth. As if the distasteful nature of the payment itself wasn’t already an insult to his people, the knowledge that other bounty hunters were issued the same assignment is a reminder of the cutthroat nature of the job. And then there’s the child itself. Why would somebody put a bounty on an infant – even a Force-sensitive one that’s fifty years old – and what possible fate may await it?
As The Mandalorian continues to rise through the hierarchy amongst the remnants of his struggling people, he must also face his own conscience and forge a new destiny. Whatever decisions he comes to will shape his future, ultimately bringing him into conflict with forces he can’t begin to imagine… and altering the lives of all those around him.
Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen this show yet because it’s probable that you’re already aware of the “twist” regarding the identity of The Mandalorian’s bounty. It’s been all over social media and the news, spoilers be damned; hell, even wrestler Chris Jericho made reference to it on the latest live AEW TV show. So, with that said… sure. It’s a Baby Yoda. Why not?
Whether it’s a clone, Yoda’s biological child, or even just one of the little green runt’s species, it’s been dubbed Baby Yoda by everyone and that’s fine. And yes, the little sprout is absolutely adorable. So much so, in fact, that we’d hate to see any harm come to it
With that out of the way, it’s worth pointing out that, as cute as Baby Yoda is, being adorable isn’t the sole motivation for what happens in the episode. In fact, it’s unlikely the cute factor played any part whatsoever in swaying The Mandalorian’s emotions at all, because he’s got bigger issues.
While hardcore Star Wars fans know the rich history of Mandalorian culture and how it relates to the main character (and his people), his actions and choices throughout this episode logically stem from clearly-defined reasons. Well, except the cryptic ones. After all, there’s still lots about him that we need to know. But there’s enough here to sufficiently explain things for now. And while at times this episode may seem a bit thin and obvious in terms of story, the plot progression works wonders and it’s perfectly paced.
But like with most things Mandalorian, it’s the actions that count (even when they’re pacifists). To balance the story out, there’s plenty of action once things kick in to high gear. While it’s become evident that The Mandalorian isn’t as highly skilled as we may have assumed, he’s still got the edge over many and is at his best when he’s overwhelmed in a stand-off. We’ve been waiting to see him go toe-to-toe with old Imperials since the trailers for this series dropped, and that’s good for an appetizer… but it’s nowhere near as rewarding as the final battle here, one which points to even greater things coming soon.
Again, it’s solidly directed and acted, and is an all-round top-quality production that looks and sounds as fantastic as it’s supposed to. It owes plenty to the various movies, shows and genres which have inspired it, and it’s a fitting tribute to classics of yesteryear while still feeling fresh. The show carries itself with an air of confidence that seems earned, even if a lot of it is false bravado… much like the main character himself. To that end, it never overplays its hand in a desperate bid to be cool, nor does it rely too heavily on the built-in Star Wars gimmickry even though that would be the easiest way to go.
Is it going to please everyone? Probably not, and someone will always find fault – especially with anything Star Wars. No, it’s not necessarily like we imagined it was going to be; instead, it’s better than that and feels somehow right.
The Mandalorian Chapter 4: Sanctuary
On the run from bounty hunters and desperate to avoid any trouble, The Mandalorian heads for the sparsely-populated backwater planet of Sorgan. There he encounters a former Rebel shock trooper called Cara Dune, who became a mercenary before hiding out. After she urges The Mandalorian to stay out of her way and move on, he decides to leave… until some local farmers try to hire his services in protecting them from raiders.
Seeing this job as an opportunity to solve several problems at once, The Mandalorian takes the job. Not only will it provide The Mandalorian and his young charge with a place of safety, but he can also make peace with Dune while aiding the farmers. However, the job proves to be tougher than he imagined – both physically and emotionally. Can The Mandalorian truly find sanctuary amongst these people, or is trouble always destined to follow him?
Damn! Just when you think that Baby Yoda can’t get any more adorable, he gets even cuter. Forget about how powerful he is with the Force; at this rate, by the end of the season, he’ll be able to overpower enemies just with a cuddly smile.
It seems that even The Mandalorian himself isn’t immune to his charms, because in this episode he decides that dragging the kid into every battle isn’t a sensible plan anymore. Actually, it makes perfect sense and shows the essence of The Mandalorian’s personality and thought processes. But as for the episode itself, it’s a mixed bag that offers far more positives than negatives, which is a good thing.
However, those bad points do need to be addressed quickly.
The story itself will be familiar with anybody who’s seen their fair share of Westerns of Samurai films: a helpless village gets terrorised, the villagers hire a mercenary to protect them, the mercenary teaches them to fight back while learning a lesson about themselves in the process. You don’t have to have seen The Magnificent Seven – even watching The Three Amigos, Blazing Saddles, or even an episode of The A-Team will give you the same story. There’s nothing new here, but that’s okay. Instead, basically this all boils down to how well the story is told. In this case, it’s… solid. Not great, but certainly not bad.
It’s hard to fully embrace this episode as a winner though. While some moments are handled with genuine care, such as learning more about The Mandalorian and Cara Dune’s personal history, the lack of depth to the villagers in general (as well as the bandits) makes the whole adventure feel somewhat pointless. It’s hard to cheer on our heroes if we don’t see any reason to care about what they’re fighting for. Sure, the village is nice and the people living there seem decent (except for a pair of Dumb and Dumber numbskulls); but seeing some random furniture get tossed around lightly by faceless goons doesn’t give viewers anything to connect with or a reason to sympathise. It’s Star Trek: Insurrection all over again.
For an episode that’s about The Mandalorian connecting with people, it’s sad that there are only two new characters we can connect with ourselves. Meanwhile, the directing and pacing of the episode seem a little off at times and the action scenes are handled no differently from the exposition ones. Where’s the energy?
Oh, and then there’s the other thing. Thanks for the spoiler, LEGO.
Fans of various franchises lately have been noticing spoiler details about upcoming movies and shows based on the designs of tie-in LEGO sets. I saw one such LEGO set for The Mandalorian recently, which revealed this episode’s big surprise well in advance. It wasn’t much of a spoiler, and I would have realised it in the first few moments of the show anyway just from being a lifelong Star Wars fan, but still… Seeing it revealed, exactly as it looked in the LEGO set, kind of ruined the moment for me. It wasn’t the worst thing, but it does point to how it can happen and seemed like just another problem with what, for the most part, was a solid episode.
On the positive side, it’s still a thoroughly entertaining episode with just enough action and plenty of character work to please any fan. Plus, hopefully, Sanctuary will end the debate about the lack of strong women – or any women, for that matter – in The Mandalorian. Here, Gina Carano’s Cara Dune debuts and she’s every bit the powerhouse she should be. Yet it’s her wry humour and attitude which work the most, and her return can’t come fast enough. Carano is still evolving as an actress, and while her physicality is still her strongest attribute she sells each line well and gets better all the time. Julia Jones as Omera is a far more polished performer, making every moment of screen time count, and you can tell that there’s a lot more going on with the character than is revealed.
But at the end of the day, this is still The Mandalorian’s show and nobody outshines him. Well, except for Baby Yoda, of course. And they’re both in great form here, delivering even more moments for fans to enjoy in a solid – if somewhat underwhelming – episode. The Force is definitely still strong with this show.
The Mandalorian Chapter 5: The Gunslinger
In Chapter 5 of The Mandalorian, after a deep-space dogfight with a rival bounty hunter, The Mandalorian’s ship The Razor Crest is damaged. Desperately needing a place where he can repair it, he lands at a repair facility at the Mos Eisley spaceport on the desert planet of Tatooine only to learn that he lacks enough money to pay for the repairs. Now seeking a new job to make some quick money, he joins forces with an inexperienced young bounty hunter called Toro Calican.
The Mandalorian soon learns that, like the Jundland Wastes, the Dune Sea is not be travelled lightly as they pursue their prey: Fennec Shand, a highly-trained mercenary who knows she’s being hunted. But in this tense game of cat-and-mouse, who will win? And with The Mandalorian and his young charge being chased by bounty hunters too, who can he trust in a wretched hive of scum and villainy?
For some, this latest episode will represent the most classic Star Wars-style episode of The Mandalorian to date: full of classic imagery and references that have been a part of the franchise since the very start, it feels like a hybrid extension of the original trilogy. Meanwhile, for others this will be a rather dull, by-the-numbers exercise in straightforward storytelling: it offers no real shocks, the characters are exactly what they seem to be with little depth, and there’s only a minor amount of action.
Both are right, balancing it out into a strangely average episode. But… what is an average episode of The Mandalorian like, exactly?
Well, it turns out that average is still pretty damn good. The guest stars may not quite get the chance to shine as brightly as they should, especially the under-utilised Ming-Na Wen but, across the board, it’s an impressive display of top-notch casting. The story may not be the most creative, but it’s still a well-paced tale that looks good, plays out smoothly, and fits with the overall narrative. And while there isn’t quite enough development with The Mandalorian himself, at least they eased up on the Baby Yoda cuteness so as to not wear out his welcome.
Of course, the real drawcard for this episode has to be Tatooine itself, and a welcome return for fans to Mos Eisley and its classic cantina. Even more than before, the impact of the fall of the Empire (and in this case Jabba the Hutt’s criminal underworld, too) is apparent and a lot has changed since we were here last: the Pit Droids are funnier, and practically redeem themselves here even with their usual dreaded light slapstick routine; the scum and villainy isn’t quite as obvious, and the lack of fascist stormtrooper activity makes a huge change; and the no-droids policy in the bar seems to have been done away with, thankfully.
Plus, throw in a fascinating scene with the Tusken Raiders that puts them in a new, and strangely sympathetic, light and you’ve got a lot to add to the lore of the entire series. At the very least, it’s interesting to see The Mandalorian thinking his way around problems instead of blasting through them. At most, it also puts their earlier on-screen moments into perspective, instantly elevating them from the position of being “like animals” to one of the more intriguing species in the franchise. That this should come from Dave Filoni should be of no surprise to anyone familiar with Star Wars stories in recent years.
Lastly, there’s a fascinating final scene in Chapter 5 of The Mandalorian. The impact of it will only be known in time, but if it’s what it appears to be then viewers could be in for one crazy ride.
So, is all of that enough to fill the gaps in this episode? Not exactly. While this show continues to look good and play out smoothly, if you’re not a hardcore Star Wars fan then you’re not likely to get much from all the small details going on here and the episode is… average. A good average, and there’s certainly nothing to complain about, but average nonetheless. It’s breezy and entertaining, but it may take a while for The Mandalorian Chapter 5: The Gunslinger to simmer and become truly appreciated.
The Mandalorian Chapter 6: The Prisoner
Still looking to make some money while keeping his young ward safe, the Mandalorian takes a job offered to him by an old friend, Ran. However, when he learns that the job is to break a prisoner out of a New Republic transport ship he’s reluctant to accept it. Things get worse when he has to surrender control of his ship to one of the other mercenaries hired to be a part of the “rescue” team, while another is a Twi’lek woman whom he once had a relationship with.
With an uneasy alliance with the mercenaries in place, and with the risk of becoming an enemy of the New Republic becoming greater all the time, the pressure is on for the job to go smoothly. But there’s no honour amongst the thieves and assassins, and the truth about the Mandalorian’s recent actions will come back to haunt him as he confronts enemies both old and new…
At this stage, some may be wondering if the story of The Mandalorian is truly progressing or if the excitement has finally worn off revealing the show’s average nature. So let’s get something straight here:
This is a fun, fantastic episode.
Is it great? No, not really. The story itself is a pretty by-the-numbers heist. There’s nothing massively original going on in that department and, on the surface, it’s another filler episode until we return to the bigger picture. But even if it is filler, it’s still an enjoyable adventure which looks great and flows smoothly even despite being a “bottle” show. More demanding fans may be clamouring for something more intricate, but this is still Star Wars. As such, it works best telling simpler stories that are told well.
And when it comes to the execution, this episode nails it. The fight scenes, while brief, go from zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye; the casting is excellent again, with enough fan-favourite cult legends (Lex Luthor, one of HP’s Order of the Phoenix, and an IT Crowd star?!) to satisfy plenty of viewers and they’re all in great form; a few Easter eggs and in-jokes for the hardcore fans; possibly the most image-defining visuals of the Mandalorian himself (in a glorious moment reminiscent of Alien), Baby Yoda, and even the Razor Crest, to date; and, most importantly, it captures the real vibe of the Star Wars universe.
It’s that last fact in particular that really sells this episode.
It’s completely believable that this story can happen and that these characters exist well within the greater tale. Once more, it isn’t just that things look right, but they feel right too. It’s a valid point that the polish may be wearing off on The Mandalorian as being a shiny new show, but then we’re still not quite sure as to exactly what kind of show this is anyway. Is it meant to be an in-depth tale? If so, how is it meant to be told? Remember, a weekly Star Wars show is exploring new territory… and at a time when recent movies have told us there’s too much Star Wars out there, it seems almost contradictory. That this show is doing what some of the latest movies have failed to and connect with audiences, that’s an achievement in itself.
Getting back to the episode, it’s easy to judge it as a throwaway stand-alone instalment… albeit a highly entertaining one. But there’s more to it than just action, some jokes about stormtrooper’s lousy aim, more baby Yoda cuteness and a solid heist story; there’s more of the Mandalorian’s backstory and his culture to unpack here, with some purposefully cryptic – and possibly contradictory – information being revealed, raising suspicions as to the true identity of the character. It may not be the most lore-heavy episode, but there’s also a lot being said between the lines.
Yes, this episode can be dismissed as nothingness. But if you’re a fan of Star Wars and this show so far, it should bring a smile to your face even if you’re getting used to the luxury of weekly adventures from a galaxy far, far away. Will it play a part in a bigger picture? Possibly… but would it be so bad even if it doesn’t? For now, enjoy it for what it is: an entertaining adventure.
The Mandalorian Chapter 7: The Reckoning
The time has come and the Mandalorian can no longer keep hiding from the Guild and its top man, Greef Karga. However, things have changed dramatically on Nevarro as a result of his earlier actions, and the remnants of the dying Empire have lashed out and taken control of Karga’s town and old grudges must be put aside. Karga is desperate to recruit the Mandalorian’s help to overthrow the Imperials and assassinate the mysterious Client, and the Mandalorian’s code of honour demands that he helps.
Expecting a trap, the Mandalorian recruits the aid of his most recent allies before taking the job. But their alliance is an easily-fractured one, and working alongside Greef Karga and his men is more perilous than they had imagined. Can the Mandalorian continue to keep the Child safe, despite such overwhelming odds? And who can really be trusted, when the scars of betrayal and hatred run so deep?
So, if you’re one of those folks who are disappointed by the latest Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker, or simply want to get an extra Star Wars fix this week, then this is perfect for you.
More than that, but rarely has an “I told you so” moment felt so deserved as the one this episode delivers, practically slapping the face of viewers who’d assumed the show had become complacent. Seeing the threads of this story arc be pulled together so effectively, showing how those previous stand-alone episodes were important… damn, it feels good.
Just seeing the Mandalorian pull his rag-tag team together is an incredibly rewarding experience, something many fans have been waiting for since the very beginning. Mando’s team is the epitome of a motley crew, bickering and untrusting because of their incredibly unique backgrounds, and the character interaction is superb and feels genuine. If this episode had been about that alone, it would already have been great; instead, that’s just the beginning and it goes further, getting even better as the plot rolls out and races towards its cliffhanger.
There are so many amazing moments, big and small, at work here that it’s almost impossible to know where to begin or what to single out. It’s incredibly easy to become emotionally invested in this episode, and by the end it’s likely that you’ll be left awestruck and desperate for the next episode. Perhaps one of the most touching, heartfelt, and at times darkly hilarious moments must be the story-within-a-story of the return of IG-11 – told by Kuiil the Ugnaut. The amount of compassion on display here is impressive, and other films and shows could learn a lot from it.
The acting is solid, and this time out Gina Carano puts in a great performance as Cara Dune in particular. She shines both in the action department and in terms of measured acting, more so than her first appearance. Since it’s often mostly just her and Carl Weathers whose faces appear on screen properly, while Mando is constantly masked and other characters are puppets or CGI, you’d be forgiven for thinking think that the acting is secondary here; however, from voicework, body language and more it’s easy to get a sense of how every character is feeling. It’s impressive stuff.
There’s enough action here to please those who need that adrenaline boost, although for the most part this is about building the story with tension (and occasionally humour). Clues are dropped regarding the mystery surrounding the Child, while this episode again conveys the state of the galaxy following the Empire’s defeat at Endor. It’s some impressive world-building, and helps to sell the big picture. On top of that, this is one of the most striking episodes to date on a visual level and the editing is perfectly paced.
Oh, and Baby Yoda continues to be the cutest thing in the galaxy since… Darth Vader? Make your own mind up on that one.
So, is this the perfect episode? Pretty much. Any faults are so nit-pickingly minor as to be practically unnoticeable, or at least unimportant. Not only does it set up what could be an incredible season finale, but it delivers it with true style. It’s an early reward for viewers, and is Star Wars done right; in other words, it’s everything fans could want and more, without sacrificing its own identity or original creativity. If you miss this, then you’re missing out.
Season 1 Finale
Everything has gone wrong for the Mandalorian. Trapped alongside mercenary Cara Dune and the bounty hunter boss Greef Karga, he’s pinned down by the evil Moff Gideon – a man who brought death and destruction to all Mandalorians. Worse, his ally Kuiil has been killed, and the young child he’s been protecting is now in the hands of former Imperial troopers. There’s no hope of escape, and no reinforcements coming to his aid… or so it seems.
With the odds stacked so heavily against him, old enemies become new allies in this final, desperate battle for survival. As more of the Mandalorian’s history is slowly revealed and the recent history of his people is explained, it becomes increasingly clear just what he’s now fighting for. But can he survive against such overwhelming odds? And what will this mean for all of those around him?
This is how to do Star Wars properly.
After the tragic and shocking cliffhanger last week, the start of this final episode jarringly switches gears… by offering viewers the funniest Star Wars scene ever. Proving that the franchise isn’t so stiff that it can’t beat parodies like Spaceballs, the COPS-style TROOPS and College Humor’s underrated Troopers at their own comedy game, the conversation between a hapless pair of scout troopers is played so broadly it’s almost unforgivable. ALMOST. However, thanks to some smart writing and the slick comedy direction of Taika Waititi, it’s the funniest thing in Star Wars since Tag and Bink and it’s just what this rollercoaster of an episode needed.
Of course, that’s just to lure the audience in before the sucker punch. Suddenly, the bantha poodoo gets real and audiences are soon treated to a combination of Rio Bravo and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Battle lines are drawn, the stakes keep going up, plans quickly go wrong and our heroes need to adapt, explosions and shocking revelations punctuate each scene, and sacrifices have to be made. While it’s not the most complex of episodes in terms of storytelling, the no-nonsense style flows smoothly and it delivers on just about every key moment in the most riveting ways possible. They even throw in a couple of additional mini-cliffhangers, reminiscent of some of the best old serial plays, and end it all with a boss battle.
Plus, Baby Yoda is amazing here! Oh, and Mando takes his helmet off and we learn his real name. Like anybody cares… because Baby Yoda is so damn awesome in this!
This episode is the culmination of everything the show has been working towards since the start, and the dividends are huge. Every moment of redemption or enlightenment feels earned, and there’s barely a wasted moment of screentime. The action sequences are phenomenal but, more importantly, it’s the personal moments which make it truly memorable. It’s Star Wars done right. Beyond the story itself, references abound and there’s something for everyone – from the casual viewers to the most in-depth, canon-loving fans.
There’s plenty of groundwork laid for the next season too. But smartly, it successfully wraps up everything that needed to be done for this one first (without giving away too much), which was important. It allows this to be a good jumping on/off point, although I doubt anybody will be bailing on it after this ending – which gives fans almost everything they could have possibly wanted and more. And for anyone who missed out on The Clone Wars or Rebels, it’s time to give them a look!
Some will argue that The Mandalorian’s characters have been barely more than one-dimensional, and there’s some truth in that; however, the same can be said for many of the best SW characters in general, and it’s played to their advantage. For example, we’ve never really needed to know more about Han Solo (sorry, Solo) to know that we like him – he’s a good-hearted lovable rogue, and that’s plenty. The same is true here. While every new detail about them is helpful to flesh them out, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re simply likeable. Cara Dune kicks ass, and hates Imperials with good reason; Mando’s own grudges are clearly defined and explained; Even IG-11 wins over fans.
It isn’t the dumbing-down of character motivations; it’s playing to the core strengths that they can connect with the viewers, and Mando and his team are exciting to watch throughout. It also means that when sacrifices are made, or when a legacy or mantle is passed on, it means something. It’s impressive, despite appearing deceptively simple.
If there’s one let-down, it’s Moff Gideon. While there’s plenty said about him to let us know just what kind of a person he is, there’s still a whole lot more ground to cover. However, it isn’t too much of a stretch to say that he could be the best thing since Grand Admiral Thrawn, and next season should help expand his position. He has the potential to be a gamechanger, if The Mandalorian’s Dave Filoni, Christopher Yost and Jon Favreau play this right. But here, there isn’t quite enough of Gideon.
So, season 1 of The Mandalorian ends on an even higher note than it began. It’s the perfect finale to what’s been one of the best TV shows of the year, and once again proves that there’s still life in the Star Wars franchise when it’s done right. With the groundwork now having been laid, there’s no reason it shouldn’t continue to win over fans and critics alike as it continues…
Welcome back, Mando! We’ve missed you! It hasn’t been that long since The Mandalorian left our screens, but it feels like forever and a lot of things have changed. It’s only fitting that now, at a time when we really do need a new hope, that Star Wars would once again gift us with something special.
The Mandalorian Chapter 9: The Marshal Offers A Big Surprise
Determined to return the Child to its people, the Mandalorian desperately searches the galaxy looking for others of his kind to aid him. After a tense encounter with criminal Gor Koresh, he learns that there may be another Mandalorian on the remote desert planet of Tatooine. However, the details are vague and the Tatooine town of Mos Pelgo is rumoured to have been destroyed.
Travelling to the location of Mos Pelgo to uncover the truth, the Mandalorian discovers a small settlement presided over by a Marshal wearing distinctive Mandalorian armour – the same armour worn by the galaxy’s most fearsome bounty hunter, a man who fell into a sarlacc pit.
But who is the Marshal, and whose side is he on? With the small town under threat from a fearsome krayt dragon, the Mandalorian finds himself once again being called upon to help those most in need, leading to an unexpected alliance…
While elements of this episode may feel a little too much like the first season’s early battle against the mudhorn, the execution of this is far smoother and the scale is far greater, deliberately showing how far this series (and the Mandalorian himself) have come.
This episode wastes no time in delivering exactly what viewers want to see: mass quantities of Baby Yoda cuteness, an awesome fight scene for Mando, familiar faces, and some locations and visuals that are a treat. Before you know it there are the returning pit droids to chuckle at too, Tusken Raiders, and tons of canonical lore to excite viewers while the story unfolds simply and efficiently.
Oh, and there’s… that thing. You know what I’m talking about. One of the most requested Star Wars appearances ever. Of course, it’s here because this series knows what the fans want and therefore gets it out of the way fast.
Sort of. Because this episode likes to play games with the audience too.
Hands up, anyone who got Jodo Kast vibes.
The real trick here is that each little moment in the episode adds up, layering levels of goodness on top of each other in unexpected ways. Just when you think you’ve seen something cool and your mind starts processing what it may mean to the bigger picture, something else is added which raises the presentation higher. It’s a smart storytelling style that never lets up for an instant. Of course, it also serves to distract from what’s a mostly hollow plot, but when the progression is this entertaining it’s hard to truly complain.
Once again the Tusken Raiders are shown in a more favourable light, casting an even-greater question mark over Anakin’s slaughter of them years ago and reminding us that they’re more than just “animals”. It’s little moments like that which continue to expand our understanding of the Star Wars universe, while the Marshal reminds us of the power vacuum that was left after the Empire fell. It’s solid worldbuilding.
As for the krayt dragon, it’s a powerhouse hybrid of a Dune sandworm and a Starship Troopers blister bug, which is everything anybody could have asked for.
The Mandalorian understands its audience. As always the production looks spectacular, the music is immersive and grand, and the acting, in particular, is top-notch. The Mandalorian is a show at the top of its game and confident in itself enough to understand its fans and play to their expectations.
If this episode had been mid-season it could have easily been regarded as a filler, given the relatively low stakes, but, instead, it serves as a great jump-start for the new season just to get things rolling.
Once again the Force is strong with The Mandalorian and it seems incapable of doing almost anything wrong. There are complaints to be found if you want to look for them, but it’s much easier to just enjoy the ride.
The Mandalorian Chapter 10: The Passenger
Having slain the krayt dragon that was terrorising the inhabitants of Mos Pelgo, the Mandalorian and the Child make their way back to Mos Eisley.
Their journey back is not without incident though, as they’re attacked by bandits looking for a quick score. While the Mandalorian considers his journey an initial waste of time, upon returning to Mos Eisley he learns that someone else may have information on where the other Mandalorians have relocated to. All he has to do is one simple job:
Transport a passenger to a nearby planet.
However, there’s always a catch. He can only travel at sub-light speeds, because his passenger – known only as The Frog Lady – is a mother transporting her spawned eggs to her husband and they must be kept safe at all times.
The Mandalorian and his precious cargo face increasingly dangerous odds, as patrols of New Republic X-Wings in the area search for criminals, and their only safe haven may not be as safe as first appeared. How far will a parent go to protect their child? The Mandalorian is about to find out…
The Mandalorian Chapter 10: The Passenger… is a good episode. And that’s a bad thing.
That’s because this series, The Mandalorian, more often than not, has been great.
Good… good is fine, but great is better. In other words, by the show’s own lofty standards it’s a disappointment. The thing is, on many shows being good would be just fine, and this episode certainly has some fantastic moments which will entertain fans. Unfortunately, despite everything going on, it feels like an early-season filler episode that (apparently) doesn’t do much to advance the overall plot.
Directed by Marvel’s Ant-Man director Peyton Reed, the action starts right from the beginning with a quick reminder of how protective Mando is of Baby Yoda. Anybody or anything threatening its life is instant bantha poodoo. It’s a fun set-piece, but one that seems forced and only there to pad out the running time. It does successfully set up the theme of protective parenting though, and if there’s one thing that holds this episode’s story together it’s that.
The Frog Lady, protecting her spawn, is sadly one of the more blatant MacGuffins to be used in the show and the whole mission seems to have little bearing on anything.
Of course, Mando being used for taxi duty leads to them being rumbled by the local X-Wing pilots and a crash landing, because… well, something has to happen in this episode. Also, it’s shocking to see Baby Yoda developing quite a taste for Frog Lady’s eggs and it goes from cute to disturbingly psychotic pretty quickly.
Is it a warning of darker things to come, or a misguided attempt at comedy? It’s hard to tell, but it may not survive long enough for us to find out if it keeps doing this.
This episode of The Mandalorian smartly keeps piling the pressure on Mando, and, as a result, increases the tension with the viewer. One minute, Mando is trying to curb Baby Yoda’s eating habits; the next he’s getting shamed by the Frog Lady for being irresponsible and his ship is totalled.
Naturally, it’s at that moment when they unleash the Krykna arachnids from Star Wars: Rebels as this episode’s Easter egg – no pun intended – and before long all of our heroes are being chased down by an angry mommy spider and her army of millions of kids. It’s a fine example of the story building in layers, and all with a neat thematic bow on top to tie it together.
It’s the moment everything is resolved when you realise how lazy it is, and the moral of the story – that parents protect their kids – is painfully obvious.
In fairness, the action is great, it looks and sounds amazing as always, and the directing is solid. There are some laughs, a little lore, and it’s good to see more being explained of the political situation in the background. Mando is impressive and continues to cement his legacy, while Baby Yoda reminds us of how dangerous he can be. It is, as stated, a good episode. There’s nothing wrong with that.
It just isn’t a great one.
This may satisfy your Star Wars craving, but it isn’t quite satisfying enough. For other shows, this may be enough, but not this one. This is The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian Chapter 11: The Heiress
After the Razor Crest’s harrowing journey, the Mandalorian and his passengers finally arrive on Trask. While his ship undergoes urgent repairs, he continues his quest to locate other Mandalorians who can lead him to the Jedi and a safe haven for the Child. Answers come easily… almost too easily. And little does the Mandalorian know, but he’s being observed.
Discovering treachery on the high seas, he encounters more of his people; yet they’re unlike any Mandalorians he has ever met before, leaving him confused. While they’re led by a legendary hero, he finds it hard to trust them as they undertake a perilous mission against a squad of former Imperial soldiers.
With the Mandalorian learning more about the culture which gave him sanctuary, old enemies resurface and he finds himself caught in the middle of a private war.
After the episodic misfire that was The Passenger, The Mandalorian delivers a satisfying, fast-paced tale that could possibly be the most pivotal episode so far. Or, if you’re not too bothered about the lore of the Star Wars universe and haven’t absorbed (and loved) every millisecond of every movie, cartoon and TV show they’ve delivered, then it’s probably just an above-average adventure.
Thankfully, odds are good that you’ll get a kick out of this one. How much of a kick? Well, that depends on you.
This episode delivers on the early promise of the series in continuing to tell the story of the Mandalorians as a people – something built up over years in shows like The Clone Wars and Rebels. Not only that, but it does so by gifting the fans with the first live-action appearance of Bo-Katan Kryze, a character with quite a backstory that’s similar to Mando’s in some ways.
And yes, she’s even played by Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff (who also voiced her in the cartoons), which is exactly as it should be. It really is the way.
This all opens up some major plotlines for The Mandalorian as a show, linking multiple elements from others and building on their solid foundation while moving forward, as well as teasing some major potential character developments for our mostly-masked hero.
What this episode may lack in length – it clocks in at barely half an hour – it makes up for in substance without making it obvious as to how much of a game-changer it could be. It doesn’t hurt that the episode barrels along, delivering some glorious action set-pieces and a few dry quips for good measure.
Of course, none of this may mean a damn thing. Yes, it’s likely that Bo-Katan’s quest to reclaim the Darksaber from Moff Gideon may be pivotal; but it’s also possible that plenty of viewers won’t be aware of that. And that’s a problem.
Those who may not be familiar with her character (or the intricate history of the Star Wars universe that this is dovetailing in to) are likely just to view this as a fun adventure of Mando featuring some less uptight other Mandalorians. And while that’s exactly what it is too, the episode suffers for not taking the time to explain things better. At least it raises enough intrigue to progress the bigger picture of the show itself in a self-contained way, even if it doesn’t fill in all the blanks.
Katee Sackhoff turns in a great performance as expected, truly bringing Bo-Katan to life and, hopefully, she’ll return very, very soon – and often. Meanwhile, WWE’s Sasha Banks/Mercedes Varnado offers solid backup, doing a good job with the little she’s given, while Titus Welliver makes an attention-grabbing meal of his appearance as an Imperial Captain.
As for the usual scene-stealing Baby Yoda, it gets back on track thanks to some touching moments. It’s almost as if the fan backlash from the previous episode was expected and they course-corrected ahead of time… raising the question of whether it was planned like this. It may be some time before we completely trust the Child again, although it’s clear it’s learning the value of life.
Looking better and more polished than any half-hour show has a right to, this is a pivotal episode that fans need to see. It may not be perfect and there’s plenty of reason to feel short-changed by the brief experience, but it’s also exactly what this show needed and offers plenty to enjoy. In fact, this could be the best episode so far.
Although, as Obi-Wan would say, it all depends on your point of view…
The Mandalorian Chapter 12: The Siege
When an episode is directed by “Action” Jackson, you expect just that: action, and bucketloads of it. Thankfully, this episode of The Mandalorian delivers in that department. Chapter 12: The Siege has got gunfights, fistfights, aerial dogfights and even a speeder bike chase.
But there’s a lot more to it than that.
Despite the basic work done to the Razor Crest on Trask, the Mandalorian’s ship is still desperately in need of proper repairs and so he returns to one of the few safe havens for him: Nevarro, the planet where his adventure began. Much has changed for the better since he was last there, and helped drive out the remnants of the Imperial army. One of his allies, Greef Karga, has become the local magistrate; his other, Cara Dune, has become the town’s marshal. Aid isn’t freely given though, and the Mandalorian’s old friends need his help to clear the last pocket of Imperial troopers from a distant base.
Leaving the Child at the local school, the Mandalorian embarks on his latest mission. Yet things are not what they seem, and the unoccupied small base proves to be anything but that. Outnumbered and unprepared for what they find, the trio of heroes race against time to uncover the terrible secrets that the base holds…
While his directing may seem to be the no-frills variety, Carl Weathers draws on all his experience to highlight exactly the right storytelling beats and character moments which allow the viewer to become truly invested in the episode. Every skirmish our heroes scrape through is a cause for celebration, and average lines of dialogue become amusing repartee as old friends bond together. It all helps to lend the episode a warm, personal touch which is sometimes lacking in The Mandalorian.
Mando’s concern for the Child is evident in this episode, even more so than usual, while Greef displays an even more Lando-like blend of sly charm and authority. Even Cara Dune actually seems to be enjoying herself naturally. Baby Yoda once again runs the risk of alienating its fan base early on with some more “hangry” shenanigans, but any negative feelings viewers may have towards the tyke will be wiped out by its hyper-enthusiasm and some well-timed blorping later.
With the plot of The Mandalorian season 2 already breaking new ground, it makes sense that this episode also returns to some of the mysteries of season one. In particular, just why did the defeated Empire want the Child in the first place? Eagle-eyed, lore-loving fans will have already picked up on the many clues right from the start, but it’s here where theories become real Star Wars canon. It also potentially fills in some of the missing, unexplained plotlines from the sequel trilogy too, making this a surprisingly important episode even if it may not seem like it on the surface. In this way, The Siege dovetails with the previous one as the big picture is slowly revealed.
Interestingly, for the second episode in a row, they’ve also introduced a way to possibly handle a bantha in the room (so to speak). After the introduction of Bo-Katan teased Mando’s possible parallel character development (complete with the potential for more helmet removal), this time around they may have found a solution to the other real-world shadow which is being cast over the show which may interest viewers who have opinions on the matter.
What lets this episode of The Mandalorian down is, unfortunately, the limited running time and the gnawing feeling that they could have done a whole lot more with it. A few extra scenes of the Child actually learning in school would have helped with developing its character beyond just Baby Yoda cuteness; likewise, seeing a little more of how things have changed on Nevarro – especially for the evolving Greef and Cara – would have gone a long way to establishing the impact Mando is having on the galaxy around him. Basically, the episode just needed… more.
Once again The Mandalorian gives viewers a healthy dose of Star Wars adventure, taking audiences on a rollercoaster ride through a galaxy far, far away. While not the most challenging of episodes, it turns what could have been a filler story into an essential piece of the series. Maybe it’s because there is no tomorrow? Either way, it’s another class act that should please the fans.
The Mandalorian Chapter 13: The Jedi
On the planet Corvus, the brutal Magistrate Elsbeth rules with an iron fist and crushes all who oppose her with her army of enforcers. Only one dares stand her: Ahsoka Tano, the former Jedi initiate and resistance fighter. When the Mandalorian arrives on this forest world, he becomes drawn into the conflict between her and the Magistrate. The Magistrate offers him a spear made of Beskar steel in exchange for his services killing Ahsoka, unaware that he seeks Ahsoka’s help with his young ward.
While his first meeting with the legendary former student of Anakin Skywalker is a tense one, Ahsoka understands the importance of the Child – revealing much of his mysterious past, and exploring his use of the Force. But will Ahsoka accept the responsibility his guardianship, and train him to become a Jedi? What is the purpose of Ahsoka’s conflict with the Magistrate… and what role will the Mandalorian play in its outcome?
Can we please give Dave Filoni a medal for everything he’s done – and continues to do – for Star Wars?
After years of hard work expanding the Star Wars universe through the lore-heavy Clone Wars and Rebels sagas, he continues to build on those foundations with The Mandalorian. In this case, The Jedi goes all out in bringing his fan-favourite animated character of Ahsoka Tano to life. Fans have speculated about it, and this is a gloriously rare example of the reality living up to the hype. Even more enjoyable is that the episode itself is incredible too.
With a story and visuals straight out of a Kurosawa film, this is easily one of the most impressive episodes of The Mandalorian to date in all departments. It’s simple but elegant, focusing on small details, conveying information without it feeling like tedious exposition, and lean action. It’s the sort of episode where micro-expressions tell a tale and a quick-draw can last for minutes. Forget the big-budget action set-pieces, this does more with less but never feels cheap.
Veteran action star Michael Biehn – a man who has battled both Terminator and Alien xenomorph in his career – plays the Magistrate’s grizzled henchman with flair, while Diana Lee Inosanto exudes enough merciless menace to make her a formidable presence. Of course, the real star of this episode has to be Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka, and she’s practically perfect. From Ahsoka’s stealthy dual lightsaber kills and unorthodox reverse grip to her patient empathy gained from experience and harsh life-lessons. Not only does she look right, but she acts right.
Let’s not forget whose story this is though, and get back to Mando and the Child – who now gets his proper name too.
The galactic Lone Wolf and Cub journey continues to play out in fascinating ways, the bond between the two characters becoming increasingly fascinating. Thankfully, this series has made it clear that it won’t be dragging its heels on delivering all the key moments for the pair of them. Mando’s coolness is elevated once again with some slick action moments, while the Child is an ideal cute and comedic foil. Meanwhile, for every piece of information revealed about the Child’s origins, more questions emerge but don’t feel forced.
That last fact, in particular, is one of the ways this show is truly excelling. This episode, like the last two, is obviously going to be most appreciated by those who know Star Wars’ intricate history inside and out. After all, it’s Ahsoka Tano!
However, you don’t have to have watched every (or any) episode of The Clone Wars or Rebels to enjoy it. It’s obvious who the good and bad guys are, enough details are revealed to explain the big picture, and it’s entertaining enough on its own merits even if you’re not a Star Wars fan. You can be a casual viewer or a lifelong fan, and it doesn’t matter.
But sure, if you enjoyed the cartoons then you’ll love this!
The Jedi is a slow-burn gem which represents The Mandalorian at its best. You don’t have to know every reference to enjoy it, nor to appreciate the many layers it has, and TV shows don’t come much better than this.
The Mandalorian Chapter 14: The Tragedy
This is how to make a Star Wars story. Perhaps more importantly, this is also how to make Boba Fett cool, how to make the Mandalorian a badass, how to evolve the galaxy far, far away and how to turn Grogu into the most “distressed dude” in recent memory. The Tragedy is an episode that piles on even more fan-service for the season, but simultaneously balances it by delivering some serious emotional gut-punches at the same time. And it’s all packed into a short, bite-sized runtime of half an hour that would normally be an insult to viewers.
It’s all about quality, not quantity. And The Tragedy is a high-quality offering indeed.
Arriving on the planet Tython, Din Djarin finally escorts the child Grogu to an ancient temple with the hopes of contacting a Jedi to become the child’s new mentor. While the pair are initially confused about what to do there, Grogu appears to use the Force to send a message and creates a shield around him, protecting himself. However, the Mandalorian realises that trouble is about to strike when an old Firespray-class interceptor lands nearby – Slave I, a ship which once belonged to the most fearsome bounty hunter in the galaxy.
When the Mandalorian confronts the new arrivals, he’s astonished to learn their identities: legendary sniper Fennec Shand and a man claiming to be Boba Fett, owner of the other set of Mandalorian battle armour that Din Djarin has acquired. Despite the considerable bounty on the child, all Boba Fett wants is his armour back, whether by peaceful means or through bloodshed. But when several old Imperial ships arrive seeking Grogu, the Mandalorian must unite with Fett and Shand if they’re to survive…
Almost immediately in The Tragedy, the bond between Din Djarin and Grogu is made clear. Yet it’s also presented as a very likely possibility that they’ll be parting ways very soon, even if it isn’t what fans want. It’s this emotional core that the show has been building up week after week, and it’s hard not to love seeing them together, but it also feels like their time may be drawing to an end.
However, before there’s even time to process that potential loss properly, there’s the arrival of Slave I. For all the cameos and fan-favourites who have been brought in to liven up the screen, there’s something even more special about seeing Boba Fett’s ship arrive. The character’s return has been teased since season 1, and it’s something fans have been begging for, and this golden opportunity isn’t squandered in any way. In fact, this most legendary of characters from the original trilogy gets three chances to make a good first impression – and each is noteworthy.
Now, there’s plenty of justification for the old argument that Boba Fett was the most overrated character in the old films. After all, he may helped track and capture Han Solo, but we never saw him in action and he was defeated by a blind man, a stick and some bad luck. Regardless, fans have always viewed him as a genuine ass-kicker and now he’s given the chance to let rip on screen properly. Not only is he a great pilot and fighter, but he’s a blaster-twirling gunfighter of the highest order… and with a fascinating backstory and moral code, to boot.
He’s basically everything the fans could want, and Temuera Morrison continues to do the Fett lineage proud.
In The Tragedy, Ming-Na Wen once again shines as Fennec Shand, returning as another notable gun-for-hire who helps make the galaxy seem even more riveting, while Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon truly gets his groove on. He’s got the moves like Vader and the smarm of Dooku, and is rapidly overtaking Rebels’ Thrawn as the top villain we love to hate. Meanwhile, Pedro Pascal – whether by physical performance or voice work – continues to display increasing levels of emotional depth as Din Djarin.
Oh, and Grogu is as lethal as he is cute and helpless. So full points there.
The action, when it arrives, happens thick and fast and is a cut above typical TV fare, and is so perfectly paced that there’s also time for the exposition to play out and for the story to be told naturally. Of course, from the moment the episode’s ominous title appears on screen you know there’s going to be a nasty bump or two; it’s the nature of those bumps and how hard they hit that’s surprising though. It’s hard to not be moved by this episode in some way, which offers viewers an emotional rollercoaster which you don’t want to end.
Sadly, it does – and too quickly, as well. Although at least there isn’t any padding to draw it out.
It’s a near-perfect episode of The Mandalorian, delivering everything the fans could want and more without ever feeling like it’s pandering to them. This show continues to march to its own beat, doing the unthinkable and improving constantly. The episode’s title may be The Tragedy, but in execution it’s nothing less than a triumph.
The Mandalorian Chapter 15: The Believer
Obi-Wan Kenobi notoriously once said that the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. At the time, he used it as justification for his own twisting of the facts… but, of course, he was still right: the truth, and what we believe in, is rarely a matter of absolutes. In The Mandalorian season 2 episode 7, The Believer, Din Djarin continues his personal quest by learning this same lesson the hard way.
That may make this sound like a dull, albeit very personal, episode… but it isn’t. In fact, the character growth on display never overwhelms how damn entertaining it is.
The Child, Grogu, has been kidnapped; the Mandalorian’s ship, the Razor Crest, has been obliterated; and Moff Gideon, the man who kidnapped Grogu, cannot be found. Now is the time for Din Djarin, the Mandalorian, to call on his friends and companions to aid him in his quest to find the child. But in order to track down Moff Gideon, he must also call on the assistance of former Imperial sharpshooter Migs Mayfeld – a man the Mandalorian knows he cannot trust, and who he recently betrayed.
Once assembled, the Mandalorian and his team head to the planet Morak to infiltrate a refinery, hoping to get the information they need. When Din Djarin goes undercover with Mayfeld, transporting dangerous cargo for the Empire and fighting off local pirates, he witnesses firsthand the effects of the Empire and the New Republic on the galaxy. Substituting his Mandalorian helmet for an Imperial one, he’s again forced to question the nature of what he truly believes in…
While the return of Bill Burr’s shady Migs Mayfeld may not have been a high priority for some, his playful nature is enough to lend Mando’s fearsome foursome a much-needed Suicide Squad-style element of comedy. It’s also what makes him a perfectly contrasting mouthpiece to explain to Mando some of the harsh realities of Empire vs. Rebellion, and the casualties of war. It’s something so often overlooked in the films but that’s been necessary. Mayfeld’s comments about Mando’s evolving worldview are striking here, and are driven home by some of the most impactful moments of the episode.
It’s these moments that make The Mandalorian season 2 episode 7: The Believer truly special, both for the characters involved and the Star Wars galaxy as a whole. Fans have matured enough over the years to view figures like Darth Vader – and the Empire itself – as more than just the stock villains the original films portrayed them as. It’s good to see the franchise keeping step with the fans on that score, acknowledging all those moral grey areas while still clearly highlighting true evil. Sometimes the messages are subtle, sometimes there are blatant messages about the abuse of power, and all of them work.
Echoing all of this development is one of Pedro Pascal’s best performances as Din Djarin yet. Once again speaking volumes through body language or a simple expression, he says just as much with measured silence as he does with a line or two of dialogue. Meanwhile, Cara Dune does what she does best by simply being an intimidating presence; Ming-Na Wen seems to be truly at home as Fennec Shand, poised for action and quick with a sly smile; as for Temuera Morrison’s Boba Fett, he’s cooler than anyone could have imagined and every second he’s on screen is a joy.
Of course, if you’re not interested in the characters, their growth or the evolving nature of personal beliefs then none of that will mean anything to you.
Thankfully, if all you care about is the action, there’s also a heist, an exciting car chase, lots of shooting and explosions, and even a revenge story. Because, after all, it’s a rip-roaring Star Wars adventure too and never loses sight of that. There’s plenty of fun to be had with this episode, and it plays out like a condensed version of all the best bits of Solo and Rogue One with all the boring bits removed.
For those intent on picking fault, the plotting method of each episode being little more than a stepping stone to the next one is still on show. That criticism is perfectly justified too; it’s certainly true that each episode’s self-contained adventure can feel like just another in a never-ending series of fetch-quests. However, with so much action, adventure, character growth and sheer entertainment, who cares? This show’s apparent lighter touch can be misleading, but don’t be fooled into thinking the show isn’t progressing.
Episode 7 of The Mandalorian season 2, The Believer, is a really great, and it has a solid message behind it too. Timely and as thought-provoking as it is fun, it’s got something for almost any fan. Simply put, Star Wars rarely gets any better than this.
Season 2 Finale
It all ends here. And could there have been a more fitting finale for season 2 of The Mandalorian?
Din Djarin – the Mandalorian – has made a vow to rescue the child Grogu from the clutches of Moff Gideon… and he’s always a man of his word. With his bounty hunter allies Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, as well as New Republic Marshal Cara Dune, he’s already learned of the location of Moff Gideon’s ship; however, the insider knowledge of Dr. Pershing, along with the man’s Imperial shuttle, provide the key to Grogu’s potential rescue.
Joined by his other recent allies, the Mandalorians Bo-Katan and Koska Reeves, Djarin puts his plan into action. But even the best-laid plans rarely work out perfectly, and Moff Gideon wields both the Darksaber and an entire army – one comprised not just of stormtroopers, but of mechanised Dark Troopers who will stop at nothing to stop their enemies. Can the Mandalorian rescue Grogu before it’s too late, and help restore Bo-Katan to her rightful position on the throne of Mandalore?
Much like the first season’s finale, the show’s storytelling plan is pretty simple: the Mandalorian has helped a few people out in previous episodes. So, at the end, they’ll all come together to help him out in his own time of need. It’s a simple but effective way of getting the band back together, so to speak, which proves that his own (mostly selfless) deeds can pay dividends in the long run. And for those who haven’t been keeping track, this season he’s certainly made some important friends and allies.
Aside from the returning (but sporadically misfiring) powerhouse Cara Dune, this season he’s also teamed up previously with sniper Fennec Shand and the legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett, as well as other Mandalorians Bo-Katan and Koska. They’re excellent backup to have, even if they spend a chunk of their screen time bickering with each other (or, in the case of Dune, ironically dithering about with a jammed blaster).
It’s unfortunate though that characters like Cobb Vanth, Greef Karga and the iconic Ahsoka Tano couldn’t return too. What, is Grogu not good enough for Ahsoka to come back for and help rescue?! Seeing Bo-Katan and Ahsoka together would have been glorious, and even more so if she’s gotten to meet the episode’s biggest cameo character at the end given her history. However, it makes sense for the show to keep the focus as narrow as it can. It’s just a pity though, and feels like a massive missed opportunity.
It’s a sad reminder that, as grand as this show is, sometimes the limitations of it can peek through the veneer; each time there’s only a trio of stormtroopers on screen instead of an army, or there are less characters than you’d hope to see (Boba Fett’s presence is removed too, for the sake of plot), or there are too many reaction shots that feel like padding to extend the episode’s running time, or some facial CGI that doesn’t quite work… it’s a bittersweet realisation. There are some other gripes too, although the level of them will differ for each viewer.
So, back to the question: could there have been a more fitting finale for season 2 of The Mandalorian? Yes. Sure, there absolutely could have been. This episode isn’t perfect. It isn’t even the best for of the season.
But it’s still amazing.
Despite any fan frenzy complaints of things that could have been, this is a real achievement. Remember, this is still a Star Wars TV show and not a movie, with a bloated budget and all the bells and whistles that unlimited resources can buy. What they’ve pulled off here, while smaller in nature, is a triumph. As a result of this kind of hi-tech guerrilla filmmaking, it’s a more personal (and enjoyable) experience than anything in the sequel trilogy and comes across more like the originals.
Not only do the stakes in this feel more real, but each emotional moment has been earned through the progression of the series. Yes, there’s “fan service” – from the cameos and a Rogue One/Vader hallway rampage homage, to the jaw-dropping tag scene that brings back the promise of the original trilogy – but it’s not just there for cheap thrills. It’s perfectly executed, rewarding those who have stuck with the franchise by giving viewers what they want (even if they never knew it, or hadn’t dared to imagine it).
It’s also emotionally heartbreaking, much as it should have been, and you’d have to have a heart of stone to not be moved by the final act.
They could have called an end to the episode earlier than they did, just before the show pulls a rabbit out of the hat, and nobody would have complained. Leaving it on a couple of cliffhangers, with the fate of Mandalore in question and a mysterious stranger arriving, would have been enough to drive fans into a frenzy; instead, they let it play out just a little further, subtly tugging on the viewers’ heartstrings enough to draw a few tears out. It’s the work of creators who know their audience.
There’s plenty of action to please every fan from start to finish, and the production in general looks as polished as ever. Moff Gideon is easily one of TV’s most charismatic villains, while Mando’s Dirty Half-Dozen are a fun bunch to go on an adventure with. Some of the season’s biggest plotlines are properly resolved, while still leaving just enough to tempt the audience to return next season for more. Basically, it gets everything right and looks good while doing it.
Much like Grogu, the Force is strong with this one. Now we just wish we could alter time, speed up the harvest and teleport off this rock because, after this finale of season 2 of The Mandalorian, season 3 feels too far away.
The Mandalorian may be a little rough around the edges and be disappointing for some… but if the first two episodes are any indication of the quality of show this is going to be, then fans will know that the Force is strong with this one.