We are now halfway through the season and it seems Chapter 12 is a turning point in the overall plot of The Mandalorian so let’s discuss. Here be spoilers.
Since Carl Weathers mentioned on his Twitter that he was directing this week’s episode, I figured it would be a Greef Karga and Cara Dune episode and was not expecting to see Ahsoka…and I was correct. This episode starts with Mando and Baby Yoda trying to do some make-shift repairs on The Razorcrest but Baby Yoda is a baby and doesn’t completely understand the mechanics of which wires go where so they have to dock somewhere and get repairs, again, before journeying on to Corvus. I guess they are close enough to Nevarro, so enter Cara Dune, who is now the Marshall of Nevarro City, and Greef Karga, who is now Magistrate.
Of course, they have a mission they need him for so we are off on another adventure. Overall, this was a solid episode with a fun side adventure and more reveals in what the endgame for Moff Gideon might be. Here are some thoughts:
Marking The Passage of Time
Since Star Wars properties tend to have time jumps in between the films and even the animated series, I assumed that was going to happen in The Mandalorian; however, Chapter 9 appeared to start right where Chapter 8 of season one left off. Now, with Mando revisiting Nevarro City which has been cleaned up and the demolished building they escaped from is now a school, I’m not so sure. I know things move quickly for narrative sake on the show but a good amount of time has to have passed. One of the reasons I have always been a fan of the opening crawl in Star Wars, besides nostalgia and getting to hear the opening theme, is that it is a good marker of the passage of time. The opening crawl establishes where characters are compared to when we last saw them so people are not completely lost and that is something The Mandalorian is missing. I don’t think the show needs a full opening crawl but I think having something at the beginning of season two could have been useful.
More Character Returns
Along with Greef Karga taking over Nevarro City as Magistrate, we see a familiar Mythrol, called Mythrol, handing accounting for Karga. This is the same Mythrol in Chapter one who was the unfortunate carbonite cargo that Mando was collecting in the opening scene. Turns out he use to work for Greef but got “creative” with the numbers, then ran for it, causing a bounty to be put on his return. So now he is working off a 350-year debt as an accountant which sounds just as much of punishment in their world as it does ours (I joke). While it is nice to see characters that have appeared briefly in other episodes reappear for larger roles, it also toggles that line of making the Star Wars universe seem small. In this case, I think there is a good reason why Mythrol is there working for Karga and I am sure we will see him again, and it is more likely that we will see other characters from season one again (like the gang from Chapter 6: The Prisoner). I already mentioned my thoughts on why I think bringing back Zero in Chapter 10: The Passenger was important but I hope, if they do decide to bring back more characters, it makes sense to the narrative.
On that note, it is great to see that Carson Teva might also be a regular who is following his own leads and keeping tabs on the Imperial remnants and Mando.
There are Still Elements that Make The Mandalorian Feel Like TV
I said after Chapter 9: The Marshal that it was the first time that an episode of The Mandalorian made me feel like I was watching a film and that was a credit to Jon Favreau. As impressive as this episode was for Carl Weathers, it also felt more like a television show, but aside from a crew member still being in a shot, most of these elements are not Weathers’ fault. This took me a couple of episodes to figure out what was bothering me and why the scenes including Imperial officers this season seem more television than any other scenes. Now, I personally love that we are getting different accents in the Star Wars universe, especially on the New Republic side but I didn’t realize how much my mind connected Imperial commanders to British accents. So when Titus Welliver and Kevin Dorff show up as Imperial Officers, it felt off but it was made a little more clear at the end of this episode that it was because of the lack of Britishness. And somehow that made it feel less cinematic though I understand I am probably in the minority on that. The Mandalorian is filmed in Los Angeles (vs the films which usually film in the UK) so I don’t blame the producers for pulling locally and there is ample talent in Hollywood of course. But there are definitely British actors living in LA, and they should use them. It also wouldn’t hurt to have more film actors in The Mandalorian in general. I think we are going to see a big difference in the Obi-Wan series (with Ewan McGregor) and the Cassian Andor series (with Diego Luna and other Rogue One cast members) and I think The Mandalorian needs to step up with their acting talent.
Having said all this, the action in this episode was fantastic, especially Dune, Karga, and Mythrol’s Troop-transport chase through the canyon from TIE Fighters and Scout Troopers. Very few things are more Star Wars than a canyon chase so glad to see one finally show up here.
The Plot Thickens
Obviously, there had to be a larger plot around The Mandalorian than finding Baby Yoda’s species or other Jedi and in this episode, we get a hint that it might revolve around cloning or experiments with Baby Yoda’s “M-count”. That would be the scientific term for Midi-chlorians or the level of force-sensitivity in a being.
I want to be cautiously optimistic that this show will not get too in the weeds with cloning and bringing in too much from the Expanded Universe. Those were Dark Troopers at the end, which are EU super battle droids. And if that is all they are, that’s fine (and they did successfully bring in new versions of Purge Trooper and Inquisitors from the EU). There is a lot of speculation on the Internet right now about what Kamino scientists (who aren’t Kaminoan?) are doing in that lab on Nevarro and if they are trying to use Baby Yoda’s “M-count” to inject people with the midi-chlorians. I think the subject of cloning worked very well in The Clone Wars (and I supposed in the prequels) and not so well in The Rise of Skywalker and I would like to move away from it. I know that it makes sense to plant seeds of something that could connect to the sequel trilogies but I also think it would be great if The Mandalorian could just occupy its’ own corner of the galaxy. I also don’t want to see genetically engineered force users, which would not only seem silly to add to this timeline of the Star Wars canon but also contradictory to what we know and have been told about the force. Let’s keep it simple.
The Helmet is Slowly Coming Off
We finally get to see Mando eat with Baby Yoda, even if it is just a slight helmet lift. This could be the beginning of regular face time with Pedro Pascal. At least they addressed the question of how does he eat if he has to be around other people. We already know that he sleeps with the helmet on.
The IG-11 memorial statue in the background in Nevarro City was a nice touch. The brave droid is gone but not forgotten and I wonder if there is a Kuiil statue somewhere. Baby Yoda finally used his force powers this season…on food. And yes, there are Blue Macaroons in Star Wars. How else could they show up in Galaxy’s Edge?
Looks like Ahsoka is up next!