*** SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t watched the most recent episodes of The Mandalorian Season 2, look away now***
In last week’s chapter, The Heiress, we were introduced to new characters who are likely to play a big role in this season at some point. This week, we go back to a relatively self-contained adventure, however Mando’s allies are a more familiar bunch.
With the repairs on his ship not quite as extensive as he’d hoped, The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and The Child make a stop on Navarro, a planet that was the setting for the first season’s finale. There, they meet up with Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano), who have cleaned up the planet into something more civilised. While the ship is being repaired, they ask Mando to help them on a job: taking out a sparsely manned Imperial base, the last real threat to Navarro’s safety. Like always, the task is simple: “get in, overload the reactor, get the hell out of there”. However, as always, not everything goes to plan.
If last week was a treat for lovers of the animated series, this feels like fan service for The Old School. There are echoes of A New Hope throughout this episode, from the mission itself to the thrilling final moments. If there’s one thing The Mandalorian does better than any other Star Wars media, it’s the ability to capture the feel of that Original Trilogy.
It’s also nice to catch up with Karga and Dune. Weathers is entertaining as ever with his booming bravado, and Carano’s character is always an effective ally for our hero, even the actor’s recent off-screen activity has made her a problematic watch for some. Despite only seeing them four episodes ago, there’s a sense of getting The Gang back together to go on an action-packed side quest.
Once we get to the base, it’s about blasting through as many Stormtroopers as possible. Weathers directs this episode, drawing on his career as an 80s action star to bring a cavalcade of explosions and quips. It’s impressive work, and we certainly wouldn’t mind having him in the director’s chair for more episodes. Alongside our tough trio is Mithrol (Horatio Sanz), The Mandalorian’s bounty from the very first episode. He’s now working off his debt as an accountant for Karga, and provides a welcome sprinkling of humour.
So, after a lot of shooting, our heroes do indeed get in, overload the reactor, and get the hell out there. Karga and Dune’s escape, chased by TIE Fighters, is the cherry of top of an episode that feels like classic Star Wars in every way.
That’s not to say there aren’t larger questions answered. Once in the base, they discover that it is in fact some kind of lab, and uncover a log from Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi). The doctor, who accompanied Werner Herzog’s Client in the first series, explains that the base is used for some kind of experiment, involving blood taken from The Child.
Learning that Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) is alive, The Mandalorian realises time is against him and makes a quick departure to avoid detection. The trouble is, Gideon knows exactly where they are. The final scene reveals that the villain has attached a tracking device to Mando’s ship, meaning that their next stop is likely to stage another meeting. It’s a big gasp moment that promises less patient viewers that something big is on the way.
As for Baby Yoda, there’s not a lot for The Child to do in this episode other than be adorable. After a comedy mishap with some faulty wiring, he’s parked in a Navarro classroom where we see his first use of The Force this season, to prize some food from the hands of a classmate. It’s not spectacular, but as always it is adorable.
This episode might be frustrating for some, particularly if you were expecting Clone Wars favourite Ahsoka Tano to make her appearance this week. However, showrunner Jon Favreau and his collaborators understand that Star Wars isn’t about the destination. It’s about hanging out in catinas, meeting alien smugglers, or blowing up a big base full of Stormtroopers. We suspect there are more densely plotted episodes to come from the second half of this season, but it’s these adventures we’re likely to remember mostly fondly.
New episodes of The Mandalorian Season 2 are available every Friday on Disney+