The Mandalorian’s second season had a LOT to live up to, thanks to its top class first season, and somehow it managed to meet it. The stakes were raised, characters from all over Star Wars appeared and most of all our lead duo both got some character development, never getting lost in the flood of new content. So let’s spend several paragraphs gushing over it, shall we?
The Mandalorian otherwise known as Dinn Djarin, has been tasked with returning his charge, a child whose name he doesn’t know, to its people: the Jedi. He begins searching for other Mandalorians who he believes can help him find the Jedi…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
“It’s alright, I’m sure this mission will be nice and simple…”
The first half of this season started to show a pattern of big, key story episode, then a lower-key “side quest” episode, but to be honest I still enjoyed the latter ones a lot. Anyway, focusing on the key story:
The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) arrives back on Tatooine, following the lead of a sighting of another Mandalorian who might have information for him about how to take “The Child” back to the Jedi. There he meets Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), a marshal for a small town who is using Boba Fett’s old armour he got from some Jawas, and the two eventually join forces with the Tuskan Raiders to take down a Krayt Dragon, with Cobb willingly handing over his armour to the Mandalorian as part of the deal. As Mando heads back to his ship we see a bald and scarred Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison, of course!) watching him from the dunes. This was a great episode, Cobb is from the Aftermath books, so it was a deep cut to see him in live action, but it was all explained in the episode for those uninitiated, and the pearl the Tuskan get from the Krayt Dragon is straight from the computer games to boot!
Episode 2 I’ll get to in the “Bad” (though it wasn’t actually THAT bad at all) but it involves a long trip Mando has to take to deliver a frog lady only known as “Frog Lady” to a planet where her other half is, and Episode 3 is set on that watery world. It’s here where our titular “hero” meets more of his kind in a trio of Mandalorians headed by none other than Bo-Katan Kryze (played by her original voice actress Katee Sackhoff no less!), but to his shock they remove their helmets to greet him. When Dinn says that them taking their helmet off isn’t “the way” he is brushed off as being “one of those”, which at least addresses the fact that in the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons the Mandalorians took their helmets off all the damn time, it seems the titular Mandalorian was brought up in something of a splinter cult who take the creed far further than other Mandalorians tend to. They all team up and do a job together, with Bo-Katan promising to get Dinn in contact with a Jedi if he helps, and sure enough she points him in the direction of another once animated-only character in Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson). During the mission we hear that Bo-Katan is after Moff Gideon and the dark sabre that last we saw was hers…
Bo-Katan in the flesh, but still voiced by Katee Sackhoff! … and played by Katee Sackhoff as well, obviously.
The next episode is another side-step, this time involving The Mandalorian meeting back up with Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) to take out an old imperial base and fire a lot of lasers (plus find out that Gideon wants The Child because its blood has a high “M Count”, with the implication that he’s trying to gain Force Powers via blood transfusion). Then we get to the big episode where we see a live action Ahsoka Tano help out the Mandalorian and communicate with “The Child” to find out its name is Grogu, and it was formally of the Jedi Temple before Darth Vader slaughtered everyone. Ahsoka and the Mandalorian take out an unpleasant Magistrate and free the people of a local city, with Mando gaining a spear made of Beskar Steel and Ahsoka revealing (to the viewers) that she’s searching for Admiral Thrawn. At the end of the day Ahsoka refuses to train Grogu because he’s too old and full of fear, but tells him to go to an old Jedi temple on Tython and put the young Yoda lookalike on a pedestal and allow it to call out into the Force…
The Mandalorian does just that in the next episode (breaking the pattern), but as Grogu is calling out the Slave I arrives and out walks Boba Fett, along with top soldier and assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Boba appeals to get his armour back but Dinn isn’t convinced he’s a fully-fledged Mandalorian so he’s unwilling to give it to him. Suddenly a bunch of storm troopers land from Moff Gideon’s cruiser and a full-scale fire-fight breaks out, which includes Boba popping into the Razer Crest and grabbing his armour back, putting it on and instantly becoming the bad ass we all wanted the character to be in our heads. Gideon (still played by the “it’s almost cheating because he’s so good in the villain role” Giancarlo Esposito) sends out some Dark Troopers (black-painted robot storm troopers straight out of the old 90s games!) and manages to kidnap Grogu, who finished communicating to whoever he was communicating to, if anyone at all. Gideon then destroys the Razor Crest for good measure and leaves, but luckily for Mando Boba offers his and Fennec’s services to him after proving his father Jango was indeed a Mandalorian, and a Foundling like Dinn no less.
Ahsoka Tano in the flesh too! Though not played or voiced by her original animated self (but still good!)
Just before the final showdown episode we got a side-story again, as our Mandalorian (plus Boba and Fennec) break Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr) from the previous season out of prison and invade an Imperial outpost to get Gideon’s location, during which Dinn has to take off his helmet for a long period of time, and there’s a great and tense scene with Migs and his former officer at a breakroom table. There is also a scene of Boba Fett using those really “cool sounding” bombs from Episode II, which is always welcome. Then we reach the finale, and oh boy… the finale. Dinn, Boba and their allies pick up Bo-Katan and her ally at a bar, and there are some great lines and jabs, particularly Katan referring to Boba as a “Clone” and that she’d heard his voice “thousands of times”, but in the end they all go off to Moff Gideon’s ship to rescue Grogu (and get the Dark Sabre if you’re Bo-Katan).
They arrive and tear their way through the ship, though Mando nearly gets his face pummelled in by a Dark Trooper. He meets and wins a duel against Moff Gideon, earning a Dark Sabre he didn’t really want, but freeing Grogu, which he did. Everyone meets back together on the bridge, with Bo-Katan angry, revealing that the only way to inherit the Dark Sabre is to win it in a duel, and so now… BUT before anything can happen a whole army of Dark Troopers thought to have been ejected into space return to the ship, and all hope seems lost… BUT then a lone X-Wing arrives and docks onto the ship, and my heart starts pounding. Sure enough a cloaked Jedi arrives, one with one black gloved hand and a green light sabre, and he starts mowing down Dark Trooper after Dark Trooper in a frankly amazing sequence. Sure enough, the door opens and it’s Luke Skywalker himself! That’s who Grogu called out to on the Jedi ruins, and after a rather touching scene where our titular Mandalorian removes his helmet for his adopted son-like figure, Grogu leaves with Luke to learn the ways of the Force as the series ends…. Apart from an extra scene where Boba Fett kills a bunch of people in Jabba’s Palace and takes a seat on the throne. Just one more extra bad-ass Boba Fett moment, why not? Luke’s appearance, cutting down of the Dark Trooper army (something he can do due to them being robots) and reveal was one of the most exciting moments on TV in many, many years for me. I was literally buzzing for hours after I saw it. Top stuff.
If the Emperor mass-produced these things instead of relying on Storm Troopers it’s safe to say the Rebels would’ve had NO chance…
The only “Bad” really is Episode 2 (or Chapter 10), where while escorting the “Frog Lady” The Mandalorian, the future-named Grogu end up crashing and encountering a very creepy spider-like race in an icy cave. It had a few good moments, but unlike even the other fun, filler-y episodes, this seemed like a time waster. Also I will mention that while it didn’t stop what can only be described as a “fangasm” the CG de-aging of Mark Hamill wasn’t perfect, especially the mouth movement when he spoke. Still, can’t stress enough how much I didn’t, and don’t, care…
Also some of the “Previously on” scenes at the start of the episode spoil things by suddenly recapping events from many episodes ago / last season that would have no reason to be recapped unless the up-coming episode didn’t feature a character that suddenly popped up in the recap (*catches breath*). Thankfully there is a “skip recap” button on Disney Plus, so it wasn’t an issue, but Episode 2’s recap (which after which I decided to then skip all future recaps) was mildly annoying. ..
Let’s just call the whole Sarlacc Pit thing a rare mishap, shall we?
I knew a few episodes in that I should’ve reviewed Mandalorian like Doctor Who and reviewed each episode on their own, because I could go on and on about how great the show is, reducing each of the big episodes to one paragraph was tough and I skipped out on a lot more … fanboyish, over-excited dribbling. Maybe that’s not a bad thing… Well, seeing something you love get such a well crafted, scripted, directed and acted show made it impossible to wipe a smile from my face for many hours after watching pretty much every episode, especially the finale. The way they also added so many characters from the franchise’s past, be it old films, cartoons and books, but never just “for the hell of it” and always with a purpose is frankly amazing. Can’t recommend this enough, and after two Seasons of the Mandalorian being of such high quality, I’m looking forward to what else is in store for Star Wars on Disney Plus…