The Mandalorian’s first season was pretty good. Its practical effects and evident Star Wars vibes were great but these positives were held back by an abundance of deus ex machina and an awkward blend of episodic and serialized storytelling. While it was good, the abundance of quality on the small-screen means the show struggled to even break into our top 40 list last year.
But of course Star Wars fans will inevitably latch onto this, given it’s one of the few shows that have actually done well with the Star Wars licence.
Episode 1 of Season 2 starts things off in a promising way, with Mando and The Child arriving to see Gor Koresh, heading down the bleak, dark hallways into a fighting pit. While the pair of Gamorreans clash swords, Mando asks for the location of more Mandalorians to help bring baby Yoda back home. Getting nowhere, he eventually winds up stringing the man upside down, where he spills the truth that there’s another Mandalorian on Tatooine.
Mando returns to Tatooine, reunited briefly with Peli who helps guide him toward Mos Pelgo. With a speeder bike in tow, Mando makes it to this dusty refuge as serious Western vibes flow through these scenes.
He turns up at the bar, enquiring with the bartender Weequay about the location of whom he seeks. Weequay mentions the Marshal in town also wears Mandalorian armour and points him out. Lo and behold, just behind Mando is a man named Cobb Vanth, who shows up and shares a drink with him.
The man removes his helmet and it’s immediately clear he’s only wearing the armour to keep things safe in Mos Pelgo.
Mando is not happy and tells him to remove it completely, leading to quite the stand-off between the two. Only, before they can fire their guns, ominous rumbling from outside sees the very sand part ways as a sand worm (or a Krayt Dragon as Cobb soon informs us) blitzes through town.
It turns out its been terrorizing them for a long time. If Mando can destroy it, then Cobb promises to hand back the armour. It looks like Mando has a new mission now.
As they head across the sand together, we cut back in time and see more of Cobb’s history. It turns out the destruction of the Death Star turned their town into a slave camp overnight thanks to opportunistic bandits. When Cobb fled, he managed to grab some silicon crystals, which he swapped with Jawas for the Mando armour. This then helped him free the town from these bandits.
Back in the present, Mando speaks Tusken with some local sand people who also happen to be after the Krayt Dragon too. Reluctantly Cobb allows them to join forces but it’s a tenuous agreement to say the least. They make it to the cave but it’s obvious that things aren’t going to be so simple.
Because of this, Mando offers up the townsfolk as bait. He drives a hard bargain but these men and women really don’t have a choice. Together with the sand people, this uneasy alliance make it to the cave. With ballistas set up, the two races work together to try and stop the dragon.
Eventually they do, through a series of slick action sequences and a clever plan of using explosive-strapped bait for the Dragon to devour.
With the threat gone for now, Cobb hands back the armour as the sand people start picking the bones of this deceased creature.
Mando races back on his speeder just as a strange character in the foreground watches him go. As fans have been speculating, this could be Boba Fett but we’ll have to wait and see.
The Episode Review
As The Mandalorian returns for a second season, it’ll be interesting to see if this one follows suit with what happened last time around. The combination of serialized and episodic adventures upset the flow of the series and it did feel like a bit of a mixed bag overall.
As mentioned before, there’s no question that this is the best Star Wars content seen for quite some time but given the quality of the sequel trilogy that’s hardly a high bar to hit. It’s still not as good as some of those animated episodes in The Clone Wars but The Mandalorian starts off season 2 in a promising way.
The pockets of history with what happened following the destruction of the Death Star is a nice inclusion and overall the episode does well to show that actually the Empire weren’t all completely bad – with these small refuges actually keeping the bandits in check for the most part.
Notably, there’s an abundance of establishing shots here; sweeping camera movements to show off the vastness of Tatooine and the vast distances these guys travel. This works well and the practical effects here are great. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come going forward.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|