*** SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t watched the most recent episodes of The Mandalorian Season 2, look away now***
Thus far, The Mandalorian Season 2 has been about self-contained adventures, where the fun comes from the twists and turns in our hero’s path. This week was a bit more action packed, with some huge plot points unveiled.
We open up with The Mandalorian, The Child and The Passenger landing on a port town on the moon of Trask, his ship just about making it after last week’s encounter. We get a nice finish to the previous episode where The Passenger is reunited with her husband and their spawn can hatch. Aww.
Mando gets pointed in the direction of where he can find one of his own kind, an exchange that ends up with him and The Child on a trawler, where they are double-crossed and The Child is fed to a sea beast. It’s a rare moment of peril for Pedro Pascal’s character, as usually The Mandalorian takes out enemies with minimal fuss. However, without this he can’t be rescued by one of his own – or, rather, three of his own.
Once again, Mando is disappointed when this trio remove their helmets, but this isn’t like the first episode. The three are genuine Mandalorians: Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado aka WWE star Sasha Banks), and Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides). We discover that they are of different beliefs to Mando’s tribe The Watch, who they view as a cult obsessed with the ancient ways. In a couple of sentences, a big chunk of plot was dropped on us. Suddenly, The Mandalorian’s noble convictions are reframed as fanaticism. Is he a code-driven warrior, or a brainwashed zealot? Could this be the beginnings of a change of path?
Aside from this shift in perspective, there’s a huge reveal for lovers of the wider Star Wars universe. Bo-Katan is a fan favourite character from the animated Clone Wars and Rebels series, and not the only star of those shows who will get mentioned in this episode. Pleasingly, Sackhoff was the voice of the animated version, and brings her to another medium perfectly as a steely anti-hero.
Without weighing you down with backstory, basically her group’s mission is reclaim The Darksaber last seen in the hands of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) at the end of Season One. To get a step further to this and regaining control their homeland of Mandalore, the crew plans to hijack an ex-Imperial ship. She promises The Mandalorian that if he helps them, Bo-Katan will give him information that leads to The Jedi.
After that big information dump, it’s refreshingly straight-forward from this point. The four Mandalorians blast their way through the ship, with a lot of Stormtrooper shoot-outs that give this a classic Star Wars feel. Observing the carnage and leading from the cockpit is the ship’s captain, played Titus Welliver (another former Deadwood actor to appear in the series). He watches on with dread as his fate becomes clear. We get a glimpse of Moff Gideon, revealing his plans in the telling sign off “long live The Empire”.
It’s not long before it’s curtains for Titus, and while they have the ship Bo-Katan is no closer to finding the Darksaber. Still, she fulfils her promise and tells The Mandalorian to get in contact with Ahsoka Tano, another Clone Wars reveal. Tano was Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice in the series, and appears in various other Star Wars media. It’s rumoured that Rosario Dawson will be playing the character, a big star for a character that will no doubt have a part to play in Mando’s quest.
Oh, and what of The Child? Baby Yoda is left with The Passenger while Mando goes on the heist, and develops a fascination with her now fertilised eggs, looking to pet the hatchlings rather than eat them. He’s not included much in the meat of the story, but we still get some cute moments.
This new episode treads a fine line, laying Easter Eggs all over the place but making it simple enough that you don’t have to have watched 100+ episodes of the animated shows. One hopes that this is still The Way moving forward, as too much fan service is arguably what stalled the films. Still, things are heating up, and at just 35 minutes this series knows how to leave you hungry for more.
New episodes of The Mandalorian Season 2 are available every Friday on Disney+