Some season 1 faces of “The Mandalorian” return & we get an idea of why the Child is such a highly coveted bounty.
Last week on The Mandalorian: we visited the chowder house to find Bo-Katan Kryze, and Mando learned he grew up in a cult. This time around we’re catching up with old friends and old enemies, and maybe, just maybe, beginning to answer a question not asked for decades yet. What does that mean? Let’s find out!
A note: So much of “Chapter 12: The Siege”, written by Jon Favreau and directed by Carl Weathers, is action-packed that I won’t be able to do the sequences justice. I will do what I can, but before we get to the chases and the TIE fighters, first some questionable parenting. Also! Spoilers abound, both for this episode and for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
On the poorly repaired Razor Crest, Mando (Pedro Pascal) attempts to do some rewiring (what the heck did that Mon Calamari do?) by… talking The Child through it. Yes, The Child is in the crawlspace waving various wires around. It doesn’t work.
Mando. Din, if I may. He’s a toddler. At best, at absolute best, you end up with tangled wires, and at worst…I think we can all imagine. Parenting is tricky, but there are maybe a couple of basic tenets, one of which is no electric wiring work until at least ages 8 or 88.
Wiring unrepaired, the pair sit down with cups of broth. Mando is skirting some lines here, eating with The Child, lifting his helmet just enough to be able to drink. It’s no full-helmet removal, but it’s certainly more than we’ve seen him do previously, and it’s not hard to imagine that it’s due in part to his meeting with Bo-Katan and her team last episode. This is why the Children of the Watch don’t want their members talking to outsiders. They start getting wild ideas like “maybe I could take this off to eat soup.” The Child tries to sneak peeks at Mando’s face as he’s eating, but to no avail. Respect your father’s fundamentalism.
Mando decides that the best course of action is to stop at Nevarro and see about getting the ship repaired, as they’re not going to make it to Corvus in this state. Meanwhile, on Nevarro, a clutch of Aqualish have holed up in the old Mandalorian covert to hide various stolen goods, but the thieves are quickly dispatched by Nevarro’s own Marshal: Cara Dune (Gina Carano).
Mando and The Child meet up with Dune and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), the latter of whom directs some of his mechanics to repair the Razor Crest. One of said mechanics gives an entirely too long and intense stare at Mando and The Child before getting to work, which is a warning to everyone other than the characters themselves. More on that, later. Nevarro is a changed place, and Dune and Karga proudly take Mando to the repaired cantina, now a school.
Karga, now The Child’s grandpa in his own mind, deposits the baby in an empty seat, while Dune assures Mando that The Child will be safe there while they talk business. Mando reluctantly leaves while the other students giggle and coo over The Child. Well, every student except for the one seated next to him, who is eating some bright blue (yet again!) space macarons and refuses to share with The Child. No worries, because The Child uses the Force to steal the cookies for himself.
The “previously” for this episode went back to the very beginning, to remind us about Mando’s first onscreen bounty, the nameless Mythrol (Horatio Sanz). Why do we need to remember him? Why, because he’s back! Great? Turns out his crime was embezzling from Karga in the first place, so he’s back working off his debt as a sort of general Mythrol of work.
Turns out that the Empire had a base on Nevarro, handily housed in Blofeld’s volcano lair, that is still being maintained for unknown reasons. Dune and Karga want help getting the Empire off planet once and for all. Mando agrees to help. The quartet (the Mythrol is driving) head out to the base and get inside, finding, once again, more stormtroopers than advertised.
The team gets to the volcanic center of the base and arranges it so that the lava will overflow and destroy the base, but as they’re leaving they find themselves in a lab. The lab, manned by two scientists who frantically destroy their computers when the team busts in, is full of the classic blue-lit tubes of liquid and bodies we’ve come to expect from any good cloning (probably) facility. The Mythrol manages to call up one recording on the computers: a message from Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) to Moff Gideon, saying that they’ve exhausted the blood that they were able to take from The Child to use in the experiments, and that they need another such donor with a high “M-Count”. Uh oh.
Upon discovering that the message is recent, and therefore Gideon is alive and a danger to The Child, Mando heads out with his jetpack to get his boy. Dune, Karga, and the Mythrol steal a transport and head back to the city, followed by scout troopers and TIE fighters. They do a pretty solid job escaping on their own, but when things are looking dire with the TIE fighters, here comes Mando in the newly repaired Razor Crest to help out. The Child and cookies in tow, Mando dispatches the rest of the TIE fighters with some fancy flying that delights The Child until the ship straightens out and he spits up blue goop all over his robes. Karga calls as Mando is wiping up the spit up with his cape, and Mando declines a drink to get back on the run once more.
Back in his office, Karga lies glibly to returning space cop Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) about the destruction of the base and the Razor Crest’s involvement. Teva stops on his way out to speak to Dune, trying to recruit her for their New Republic forces. Though not stated outright, it’s clear that Teva is cognizant of the remaining Imperial threat, and that they aren’t just fleeing, they’re gathering steam. He leaves a badge with Dune, but it’s unclear how she takes the action.
Somewhere in space, an Imperial officer on a Star Destroyer receives a message from the Nevarro mechanic with the notable stare. There’s a tracking device on the Razor Crest. The officer takes this intel down the hall to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). We close on Gideon in a room full of racks of dark, imposing armor.
First things first, what were they making in that lab, that they needed The Child’s midi-chlorian rich blood to make? My first thought was that we finally had an answer for poor beleaguered Poe Dameron, that we’re getting the first wave of attempts to have Palpatine return. But! The reveal of the armor at the end of the episode also seems to point to the creation of Dark Troopers, a special group of Force-sensitive stormtroopers, previously seen in the 1995 Star Wars video game Dark Forces. Either way, none of this can be good.
As for the rest, this was a great side quest episode. Like The Heiress before it, it serves as both a stand-alone adventure and a stepping stone to the larger plot. Now, with Gideon on their trail (presumably straight to a hidden Jedi), complete with a secret creepy plot of some kind, the stakes are inching ever higher. Character-wise, it was a little too pat to return to Nevarro and find bounty hunter Karga and mercenary Dune now happy-go-lucky pillars of a small community, and much like the Other Mandalorians last week, there was an ever-present feeling of suspicion. Thankfully, that feeling seems unfounded, but time will tell if we see these characters again and whose side they’ll be on when we do. At the midpoint of the season, The Mandalorian is at a precipice. Is it too early to reach Corvus and meet Ahsoka? Will another side journey bring the plot movement to a screeching halt? And will The Child learn that you cannot just take anything that looks tasty?
- Under what possible circumstances does one ask a person from Alderaan if they “lost anyone”? The entire planet blew up! Dune has the only possible response to that question: She lost everyone.
- More blue food! And the aftermath of same!
- Good to see that Favreau is keeping up-to-date with the Mandalorian fanfic community. This episode was a veritable collection of Archive of Our Own story tags.
- I hope that kid has another robe somewhere.