*** SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t watched the most recent episodes of The Mandalorian Season 2, look away now***
We’re coming into the home stretch with this second season of The Mandalorian, a series that has been the jewel in the Disney+ crown and no doubt was behind their recent decision to greenlight shows for practically every popular character in a galaxy far, far away. The penultimate episode, S2E7, follows a familiar pattern, but gives us a huge turning point in Mando’s journey.
As revealed last episode Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) has Grogu/The Child, and The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) is being helped by Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). With the help of Cara Dune (Gina Carano), they find Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr), a former Imperial sharpshooter from season one now serving time after being captured by Mando.
They need Mayfeld to help them get access codes to Gideon’s ship, and he reveals the only way to get those codes is to break into an Imperial refinery and use an Internal Imperial Terminal. What on Earth is that? It doesn’t really matter – it’s a MacGuffin that gives our heroes a reason to go on another heist. While it’s always spectacular, the “Get In/Get The Thing/Get Out” formula that has shaped many of the episodes this season is beginning to feel a tiny bit repetitive. It’s still enjoyable, but largely thanks to those on the mission rather than the mission itself.
The security systems mean only Mayfeld can enter the base, however Mando doesn’t trust him to get the job done and steals a stormtrooper’s armour, meaning he has to remove his helmet (even if it’s only to put another one on). Here we get to the true meaning of the episode. It’s not about accessing information, it’s about seeing how far The Mandalorian will go to save his child.
The middle section of S2E7 involves Mayfeld and Mando slowly driving Imperial transport, which contains explosive materials that means they can’t go too fast. This gives the two characters time to exchange philosophies, and for Burr to shine. “What would they say on Mandalor?” he teases as Mando comes out in Trooper gear. He then pierces the strict moral code of his companion by arguing that they are not so different. “Your rules start to change once you get desperate” he remarks, before adding that “everyone’s got their lines they don’t cross until things get messy”.
This is why Burr was important for S2E7. As a comedian, his stand up deconstructs human behaviour in a frank way, so who better to get to the core of who The Mandalorian is than him. His casting in season one was a surprise for many given that he has repeatedly made fun of the Star Wars Universe, and was cast by Jon Favreau partly because he thought it would be funny to include a hater in that world. Burr even dismissed his involvement after his first appearance, saying he doesn’t remember what it was like working with Baby Yoda.
Interestingly, S2E7 does tap into a common thread, in that many famous Star Wars actors have at one point resented their involvement in the franchise. Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill have had their issues with the films over the years, while Alec Guinness once agreed to sign an autograph for a child as long as he promised to never watch Star Wars again.
All may have grown fond of their associations over time, but the point is the best Star Wars performances are often from actors who aren’t in awe of what they’re doing. It comes across in the characters, who wouldn’t be in awe of their surroundings. In this sense, Burr is perfect, because he’s not trying to have a moment with The Mandalorian, and in doing so Mayfeld throws down the gauntlet – how far is he willing to go for Grogu?
As it turns out, the answer is all the way. Mando fights off pirates who try to highjack their transport, and are bemused as they are cheered into the refinery by stormtroopers who hail them as heroes. All that stands between them and victory is the terminal, situated in the refinery’s mess hall. In another quirky twist, Mayfeld can’t use it because an officer he once served under is nearby, so Mando must use the terminal… which requires a facial scan.
Surprisingly, there’s little “will he/won’t he” as Pascal whips the helmet off and obtains the information. It’s a huge deal, only the second time we’ve seen the star’s face and timed just right so that it feels like a climactic event. It also sets a new tone – Mando’s priority is no longer ‘The Way’, it’s Grogu, and he will do whatever it takes to get him back.
One final onstacle comes when an officer (Richard Brake, who also played Game of Thrones’ Night King) asks them to have a drink. We then see the line Mayfeld has to cross, as he has a moment of conscience remembering the many people killed under the officer’s watch. The pair then blast their way out of the refinery, with a well-timed shot blowing it all up. Once they meet up with the rest of their crew, Cara Dune sets Mayfeld free and Mando sends a chilling message to Gideon, repeating the speech that he gave at the climax of season one.
So, what’s to come from the final episode? Probably a plan to sneak aboard the Imperial Cruiser and find Grogu, but hopefully containing some epic showdowns that make the finale stand out. The end comes at the right time as the repetitions were beginning to stand out, but S2E7 shows The Mandalorian remains the best destination for those who want to go on an adventure with memorable characters. If Disney are handing out spin-off shows like party favours, we wouldn’t mind Burr leading a Mayfeld series in the future.
New episodes of The Mandalorian Season 2 are available every Friday on Disney+