The Mandalorian season 2 episode 3 review: Mandalorians, everywhere!
Pedro Pascal's bounty hunter tracks down more of his kind and fights off the Empire in another big episode.
Fresh from his controversial egg-snacking atrocities, Baby Yoda (and his sidekick The Mandalorian) return this week for another spacefaring adventure - but what dark acts will The Child get up to this time? A light spot of cannibalism? A few cheeky war crimes?
Well, no - in fact, this week's episode sees something of a redemption for the Child, who not only manages to avoid snacking on any defenceless eggs but also makes friends with one of the creatures who hatches from them. Truly, one of the biggest screen reverse-heel-turns ever witnessed.
Elsewhere, this episode was a return to more Easter Egg-heavy, plot-centric storytelling following last week's standalone adventure, and to be honest it was all the better for it. I had thought Din Djarin's quest to find other Mandalorians (and then Jedi) could be drawn out over the whole series, but instead within the course of one episode he found most of the information he needed and jetted off to new adventure - and to meet a very familiar face for Star Wars fans.
But of course, as ever, his route wasn't easy. Following the damage of last week, Mando's journey to the planet Trask wasn't smooth, his ship making a rough landing (in some rough seas) and necessitating him to take an honest-to-goodness ship (who knew anyone still used those in a world of, you know, flying transports) after getting a tip-off about some other Mandalorians from a Mon Calamari bartender (i.e., the alien race that famous trap-noticer Admiral Ackbar is a part of).
In typical fashion, this trip turned into a betrayal as several squid-like aliens tried to feed Baby Yoda to a huge sea creature (justice after last week?) and Din Djarin was about to be drowned for his expensive Beskar armour... only to instead be rescued. And here's where things got really interesting.
You see, not only were his heroes the Mandalorians he was looking for, but one of them has actually appeared in Star Wars before - Katee Sackhoff's Bo-Katan, who had an arc in the Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels TV series and appears here in live-action for the first time (Sackhoff voiced the character in the TV series but plays her physically here).
Since fans last saw her, things have clearly been tough for Bo-Katan - but her presence also illuminates something about our Mandalorian. Over the series so far, fans have noted his religious insistence on remaining inside his armour puts him in contrast to other Mandalorians seen in the films and TV series, who take their helmets off pretty often. To some, it was a plot hole... but in this episode it's finally explained, with the trio of Mandos who appear revealing that he's been inducted into a very specific part of their culture.
"You are a child of the Watch," he's told. "A cult of religious zealots who look away from Mandalorian society… their goal is to reestablish the Way."
While this point isn't addressed again in the episode, it's an intriguing glimpse of the world-building in The Mandalorian's corner of the Star Wars universe, and it's probably not the last we've heard on this issue. And who knows? Maybe this means Pedro Pascal will get to take his helmet off again at some point in the future.
Anyway, once the ice has been broken (following another attempted murder of Baby Yoda) these Mandalorians promise to help our Mandalorian find some Jedi - if they'll first help them steal some weapons from an Imperial ship. What follows is a fun, action-packed heist (with hints of certain scenes in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which starred Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau) which shows off just what Mandalorians are capable of, while also including the kind of classic Stormtroopers-vs-heroes scenes that Star Wars proper is made of.
Soon, our Mandalorians have taken the ship...and it becomes clear that there's more going on here than meets the eye. Bo-Katan is after the darksaber, the legendary weapon of Mandalore wielded by their leader, and which she possessed when she was last seen in Star Wars Rebels. Since then, as seen in The Mandalorian's season one finale, baddie Moff Gideon has hold of it - and now that he seems to have assembled a fleet of ex-Imperial ships around him with a goal of rebuilding the Empire, the Mandalorians might have a job to get it back.
Whether they manage it or not, though, Din Djarin won't be a part of it. Determined to continue his quest, he finally gets given the location and name of someone who can help him find Jedi - Ahsoka Tano, aka another beloved animated Star Wars character who's been rumoured to be part of this series for a while but now seems to have been finally confirmed. Clearly, the exciting fan service is only just beginning...
Considering how sparse the storytelling for The Mandalorian was in season one, it's interesting to see how much more complex - and tied into previous Star Wars lore – it's becoming in season two. While you don't have to know who Bo-Katan or Ahsoka Tano are (or what the darksaber is) to enjoy the story, I do wonder whether the fans attracted to the simplistic, easy-access story might begin to get a little overwhelmed by just how much extra detail there is to process this time around.
Still, perhaps I'm overthinking it. After all, no matter how many Clone Wars cameos we get, we'll always have Baby Yoda - and whatever atrocities/cute things he gets up to in any given week.
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