An episode that more firmly bridges the trilogies.
What They Say:
The Mandalorian braves high seas and meets unexpected allies.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Knowing the structure of a lot of TV shows, I knew that we wouldn’t get to Ahsoka Tano quickly. And also because I know that Jon Favreau likes to add his ingredients in a particular way, layering them well, so that when you get to the meat of things, it’s going to be perfection. The Mandalorian whetted our appetites in a huge way the last time around with Bo Kotan and the other members of her clan showing up and working to supply themselves for the larger fight. This was a big key moment in a lot of ways but also in bringing animation to live-action, fulfilling the promise of that connected world in a bold and bright way that I’ve longed for. The small moments we’ve had before with it have been great, but this is seeding the potential of what the post-ROTJ timeline can look like.
This episode worked as I figured with a return to Nevarrio that gets the Razor Crest back up to speed way too quickly. It does have some amusing material early on and we do lean into some gags with The Child more than we have in a bit, which is welcome since they’re decidedly not creepy. But it comes with a price in that we understand more of why the Empire is after The Child. Watching him work on the Razor Crest deep inside was cute, stealing cookies was cute, enjoying the dogfight sequence at the end was cute. The Child is cute. It almost felt like too much in this episode but it was done to help balance some of the darker things that are brought into the picture which helps to establish connections back into the past and far into the future.
While waiting for his ship to get fixed, Mando ends up working with Greef and Cara to deal with an Imperial outpost that should be abandoned and needs to be destroyed before it gets scavagened. It’s not a bad op but it doesn’t go as planned since it’s not empty in the slightest and it’s not just a standard drop point where Imperials could get weapons and other things. The whole plan is to go in and destroy the coolant section and allow the laval that permeates Nevarro to just run wild through it and doestroy everything. Taking along Mando’s initial target from the opening episode of the first season, it shows the four working well together in a pretty efficient way while using and abusing the lowest ranking member. It has its moments of fun, it looks cool, and we get plenty of Stormtrooper deaths that do delight in a way only these kinds of deaths do.
There’s a lot to like about the action of it all and I like that while this goes on, The Child is left at the bar that was converted into a school because he and Cara have turned this place around into a bright and thriving town after everything that went down before. But the real meat of this episode is while inside the base and trying to get out, the discover the lab and a recent recording that confirms that Moff Gedeon is actually still alive (and working some pretty impressive dark troopers by all appearances on his flagship) and working his program. The lab shows a lot of distorted bodies in the juice and essentially we get the confirmation that they’re after The Child and his species in general because they’re high in midichlorians. They don’t call it that but rather M-count because saying midichlorians throws people into a conniption. So what we see here is one of many bases where various clones for Palpatine are being attempted using what The Child’s species offers, noting one has died recently after being exhausted of their M-count. It’s grim and dark but paints us forward toward Rise of Skywalker with pieces of this and Snoke’s origins mentioned as part of a program like this. Love or it hate it, it’s the kind of peripheral connection that I like. I doubt Mando will be directly involved in anything beyond just keeping The Child out of the hands of this program.
There’s a lot to like in different ways about this episode, whether it’s fun parenting of Mando with The Child or the solid action that plays out throughout the episode. I like the ease of the group that has coalesced on Nevarro and seeing how things have changed here in just a few months time overall. There’s a lot of good classic stuff here in the look of the show as it sticks to the early 80s design that we get from the original trilogy films and all the little details from the transports and so forth. But really, once again, it’s the threads of the larger storyline that I love here. It’s not going to be a huge direct impact on events but the kind of knocking around the universe thing that we get and running up against those stories. When your life involves The Child, it’s just a given that something like that is going to happen here.