by Mack Olmstead
To begin, I have a disclaimer: if you hate great shows with great action sequences and characters then The Mandalorian is not for you. These past three episodes (chapters 11,12 and 13) were the best in the series so far. So much happened in these episodes that would make any die-hard Star Wars of any age happy. What I mean by that is I think Star Wars has a different impact on every generation. You have the older, original fans who grew up watching episodes 4-6, the prequel fans who saw episodes 1-3 and grew up with the original video games and novels, and the new generation of fans who grew up watching shows like The Clone Wars, Rebels and Resistance and saw episodes 7-9. The Mandalorian reaches out to every fan, and it’s amazing how it does that. But more on that later. Without further adieu, here is the review.
The Mandalorian season 2, episode 3 impressed me. After watching the second episode of the season, I was a little nervous that the show peaked and was about to go down hill. However, instead of going down hill, this episode is a never ending rollercoaster. It starts off with Mando, Baby Yoda, and the Alien Frog Lady on the wrecked Razor Crest. Mando has to make an emergency landing because his ship is torn apart. By the time they land and the ship is being repaired, the Alien Frog Lady reunites with her husband and another one of Mando’s missions is complete. After that, Mando takes the child someplace to eat. He meets a local who knows where other Mandalorians are and offers to sail him there for a price. Mando agrees and they set sail. While sailing, the sailor starts to feed their not- so-friendly pet mamacore which seems to be a giant, worm-type sea monster. The sailors betray Mando and throw the Child in the monster’s mouth. Mando attempts to rescue the Child, but the sailor traps him, so that he can steal Mando’s Bescar metal that his armor is made out of. While trapped in the water in the middle of the ambush, three Mandalorians come to the rescue. One of the Mandalorians wears a familiar helmet that fans of the Clone Wars may recognize. It’s the return of Bo-Katan Kryze. After rescuing Mando, she informs him about an imperial ship that is loaded with weapons. The Mandalorians come together and take down the ship in epic fashion. After the job is done, Bo informs Mando about the whereabouts of a Jedi named Ashoka Tano.
This episode keeps you on the edge of your seat while further introducing more characters from the Star War’s universe. This episode re-introduces Bo-Katan Kryze who is played by none other than Katee Sackhoff who voiced her in the Clone Wars series. Fans of the Clone Wars were surprised to see this character on screen. She is the first character to make her way from animation into live-action. The show introducing this concept means that there could be even more characters and stories that could come into play at any time. The setting of this episode is great. Half of the episode takes place on the Imperial Ship which feels massive and is huge in scope. The story-arc of this episode is also great. We haven’t seen other Mandalorians on this show since early season one – to see Mando fight alongside more galactic warriors is a plus. The episode is also filled with impressive combat and stunts. This episode is what makes this show so special – everything about it was great.
The next episode in The Mandalorian is yet another amazing addition to the series. It begins with Mando going back to the planet Nevarro, so he can get repairs made on his ship. He meets up with his friends from season 1 Cara Dune and Greef Karga. Greef is willing to help Mando out with his ship, but he needs help. He informs Mando about an Imperial base that is hidden on the planet. He needs Mando’s help to destroy it and get what’s left of the Empire off his planet. Mando agrees to help in return that his ship gets repaired. During the takedown on the base, Mando, Cara and Greef make their way into a cloning lab where a familiar character from the new Star Wars trilogy seems to be experimented on. In the lab they also find a recording of a message from a scientist to Moff Gideon. This surprises Mando because he thought he killed Gideon in the season 1 finale. After they blow up the base and finish what’s left of the Empire on Nevarro, Mando and the rest go their separate ways. After that, it is revealed that the engineer that was working on Mando’s ship is an imperial spy who put a tracker on the Razor Crest. The episode ends with Moff Gideon staring down these droid-like storm troopers that he is sure to use against Mando and his crew.
This episode is another action packed adventure. This episode appeals to every type of viewer. Casual TV fans get a cool secret spy mission where the team has to sneak into the enemy’s base and destroy the plans. Fans of the show got to see the return of some of their favorite characters from season 1. And Star Wars fans got yet another expansion of the overall story. They got to see an early version of a Snoke clone. Snoke is one of the main villains in the new trilogy of movies that is revealed in episode 9 to be a clone that Palpatine used to control the First Order. This episode also introduced Dark-Troopers. Dark-Troopers were created for a video game in 1995 called Dark Forces. So fans of Dark Forces got to see a Star Wars concept from their generation make their way into modern star wars story.
The next episode, chapter 13, begins with two white lightsabers being swung by a cloaked Jedi who fans of the Clone Wars and Rebels would recognize to be Ashoka Tano. Then we see Ashoka confronting the Magistrate who took over this town on the planet Corvus. Ashoka gives her one day to surrender, and she goes off into the woods to wait. After that, we meet back up with Mando and the Child who try to go into town so they can find Ashoka. Mando meets the Magistrate who agrees to give him a Bescar spear (that’s made out of the same strong metal as his armor) in exchange for him to kill the Jedi that confronted her; he agrees but only because he wants to find Ashoka. Mando goes into the woods and is suddenly ambushed by Ashoka. They exchange a few blows when Mando says her name: “Ashoka Tano”. They both stop fighting when Mando tells her “Bo-Katan sent me”. Ashoka sees the child and agrees to talk.
Then the show cuts to a beautiful night sky scene by the fire where Ashoka and the Child look at each other and seem to be communicating using the Force. Ashoka tells Mando about the child’s backstory and how he was trained by jedi on Coruscant until the Empire came to power. After that, he was hidden. Ashoka then informs Mando that the child’s real name is Grogu. Mando asks Ashoka to train Grogu and she agrees – but only after he helps her save the town from the Magistrate. Mando and Ashoka then take down the guards stealthily while Ashoka goes after the Magistrate and Mando fights her head bodyguard, Lang. After Ashoka has her epic showdown with the Magistrate, and Mando has a standoff with Lang, Ashoka asks the Magistrate, “ Where is Grand Admiral Thrawn?”. For people who don’t know, Thrawn was the main villain in seasons 3 and 4 of Rebels and was also the main villain from the Heir to the Empire book series from 1991. After the battle is over and the people are set free, Ashoka tells Mando to take Grogo to the planet Tython and place him on the ancient rock so he can decide his own fait on whether or not he wants to become a Jedi. Mando agrees and sets course for Tython.
For some people, this episode was twelve years in the making. Fans of the Clone Wars have been wanting to see Ashoka in live action since 2008. And they were not let down. The makeup and costume were amazing. Ashoka Tano was played by a different actress Rosario Dawson, but it’s not a bad thing. She did an awesome job playing the character, and, in my opinion, should stick around longer on the show.
The next episode, chapter 14, picks up exactly where episode 13 left off. Mando is landing on planet Tython. He sees he can’t land too close to the ancient rock, so he jetpacks Grogu to it. At the rock, Mando is trying to figure out what he is supposed to do, but then a familiar ship (that fan’s would recognize as the Slave I) shows up. Mando sees a figure walking off the ship, so he goes to it to make sure Grogu is safe. Mando is then shot at and confronted by Boba Fett. Boba wants his armor back when he threatens Grogu with his sniper who is none other than Fennec Shand, the sniper from season 1, episode 5. Everyone agrees to stop pointing guns at each other and come to an agreement. But then an imperial shuttle flies over them, so they move fast and try to get out of there. Mando tries to grab Grogu, but he is in the middle of using the force and is creating an impenetrable force field around himself. Seeing that they can not escape, Mando decides to play defense and tries to keep the Empire from Grogu. The best fight scene in the show’s history then begins. Fennec, Mando, and Bobba (back in his iconic armor) take down the stormtroopers one by one. More and More troopers arrive but that doesn’t stop them; they keep fighting for Grogu’s safety. Just when the battle’s over and the good guys win, a huge laser beam comes out of the sky destroying everyone’s favorite ship, the Razor Crest. After that shocking moment, four unstoppable Dark Troopers come out of nowhere. The Dark Troopers fly down like Iron Man and grab Grogu before anyone can rescue him in time. Boba then follows them in the Slave One and finds an Imperial Cruiser. Bobba informs Mando and Fennec that the Empire is back! After that tragic scene, Boba takes Mando to Cara Dune. Mando asks Cara if she can help him find Migs Mayfeld. Migs Mayfeld helped Mando in the prison escape in season 1, episode 6, but then betrayed him. Migs is currently in prison.
The Mandalorian doesn’t get any better than this. Bringing back Bobba Fett in his armor was definitely a highlight for the show. This episode also did a great job tying in stories from season 1 while still moving on with the overall plot. The action was at it’s best and the special effects were top tier. Overall, there is not much to say about this show besides it being the best thing on Disney Plus. My only complaint is that I wish The Mandalorian episodes were longer than their half hour runtime..