Rotten Potatoes: The Mandalorian returns with a twist
The following review contains spoilers for Season Two of The Mandalorian.
Disney Plus’ award winning show The Mandalorian is back with a brand new season, and the first episode was released October 20. It starts right off with brand new twists that will take the season in an unexpected new direction. Although a bit slow, Chapter 9: The Marshal was an excellent way to bring back the show for a second season.
Since the ending of Season One, Din Djarin, the Mandalorian, has been sent to reunite The Child, better known as Baby Yoda, with his own kind. This first episode began that quest with a bit of a detour. Djarin is trying to locate other Mandalorians to help him on his way, and upon meeting the marshal, sets off to kill a krayt dragon.
The episode opens to shots of Djarin and The Child moving down an alleyway. He walks as The Child floats beside him in his pod. The sun is set in the background, with darkness creeping in. Their way is lit by eerie street lamps, showing off graffiti of stormtroopers, clone troopers, and even a depiction of C3-PO. In the darkness, sets of glowing, red eyes watch the pair. All of these visual details, complete with haunting music makes this episode great right from the beginning. The attention to detail in just these few shots captures the feel of society after the Empire, and sets the right mood for the rest of the episode.
As Djarin goes in to speak with Gor Koresh, I once again loved the attention to detail. Instead of simply recycling different creatures and species, the crew took the time to create countless new beings that make the area unique and visually very interesting.
Additionally, the fight scene at the beginning was very different, which I really appreciated. Instead of Djarin immediately going to his disintegrator, he begins a fist fight and shows off his impressive knife skills. While I do love Djarin’s disintegrator weapon, it was exciting to see him use more of his abilities instead of wiping them all immediately out. I love how The Child knows when something is going in the direction of a fight, as he quickly closes his pod himself. Soon after, Djarin quickly kicks The Child’s pod to the side for safety, which looked seamless to him. I love seeing the development of this dynamic, as they understand each other more and more, and as Djarin is so quick to protect The Child in all that he does.
When Djarin’s search for other Mandalorians finds him on Tatooine, we get to catch up with Peli Motto again, the lady who fixed the Razor Crest in Chapter 5: The Gunslinger. This time, the Mandalorian lets the droids do work on his ship, and does not even freak out when they mess up. Seeing this transformation continue through Season One with Djarin’s relationship with droids is amazing, and I appreciate that this detail was included to show how much growth he has had.
When Motto sees The Child again, she says “thank the force,” which was a very fun line. The exchange between Motto and Djarin in that scene was hilarious, as she joked around about wanting to buy The Child or any of its offspring. I already knew from the trailer that Djarin would be meeting up with Carasynthia Dune and Greef Karga, who he worked with in a few episodes. But, it was exciting to see more characters being brought back. Djarin’s dynamic is different with characters he knows well, and it is fun to see more of his personality in these moments.
A surprise in this episode is upon meeting the town’s marshal, Cobb Vanth. While I was expecting to meet a Mandalorian, instead I met the new owner of Boba Fett’s armor, who was swallowed by a sarlacc in Return of the Jedi. I can tell it was not made for him, right from the first time I met the character. He does not fit the armor the way Djarin does, and he looks more like a janky space cowboy in it than a Mandalorian. All of the leg plates are missing as well. The armor, although easily recognizable as Boba Fett’s, has definitely been beaten down more since meeting the jaws of the sarlacc. While Vanth’s intentions for using the armor—to protect the town from invaders—are honorable, I am very glad that Djarin reclaimed the set. I hope it gets put to good use in future episodes.
The first look at the krayt dragon is very drawn out, and it takes over two minutes. The anticipation of the shaking, the alarm, the scattering of people, the sand moving in the distance, and the scales seen going through the middle of town leads to a great reveal when it eats the bantha. This did feel almost a little too long, but it was an interesting way to introduce the quest of this episode.
If we fight amongst ourselves, the monster will kill us all.”
— Din Djarin
The Mandalorian takes on a peacekeeper role as he tries to make the Tusken Raiders and townspeople cooperate. He is a neutral person, not taking either side and focusing on the task at hand. This is a new side of Djarin I have not yet seen. Throughout Season One, Djarin’s leadership qualities are easily spotted, and it was great to see this expanded for a greater purpose.
As the raiders arrive at Mos Pelgo, and as everyone journeys to the krayt dragon’s dwelling, the music is phenomenal. Just like last season, the music is excellent. Unlike a lot of Season One’s intense themes, the soundtrack of this episode is more eerie and gives the feeling of a strenuous, haunting journey. It encapsulates the energy of Tatooine so well, and is probably my favorite soundtrack out of any Mandalorian episode.
The hunting scene is overall pretty good, but it did not have as much tension as I hoped for. I liked the build up of the panic from the krayt dragon, seeing the progression of it going from not really caring about being bothered to spitting out venom due to feeling threatened created a nice build throughout the scene. Krayt dragon venom dissolves any organic tissue it comes into contact with, which claims several victims. I liked how this was not used at the very beginning of the fight, as its introduction creates an added level of urgency and tension.
However, whenever it disappeared then returned somewhere else, like at the top of the mountain or behind the sand people, it did not feel as big of a reveal as it could have been. I wanted to feel more sense of peril from this scene, and the only true moment I was concerned was at the end when Djarin was swallowed by the monster.
Despite this, the ending is very satisfying with Djarin flying out of the krayt dragon’s mouth, full of blue sparks from his disintegrator. That, followed by the final explosion felt like a just way to end the fight.
I loved seeing Djarin wearing the venom, dripping green on his beskar. It also goes to show, once again, the strength of his armor. It protected him completely surrounded by the venom, and can deflect any blaster shot. Adding in its resistance to the krayt dragon made the armor look even more powerful, and made Djarin look that much cooler.
As with every episode, I loved to see Djarin’s variety of weapons used. His grappling hook was used very creatively to capture and hang Gor Koresh upside down. He really likes to use his flame thrower often, so it was nice to see other things being used. The flamethrower was only used once, to get a Tusken Raider and Vanth to stop arguing. The idea of using it not as a weapon, but to grab people’s attention was a very unique detail that I enjoyed. It was exciting to see the return of the whistling birds at the beginning of the episode, as well as Djarin using his new jetpack more. The wide range of arsenal in The Mandalorian makes it highly captivating to watch, and every fight scene feels different.
My favorite part of the episode was seeing the continued relationship with the Tusken Raiders, otherwise known as the sand people. In Episode 5 of Season One, Djarin communicates with the sand people to gain passage across their lands, and audiences gain a new perspective on the raiders that they had never seen before. They were portrayed in A New Hope as barbaric enemies who only attacked, as they did with Luke Skywalker. But, seeing Djarin communicate with them on his way to Mos Pelgo, and teaming up with them to kill the krayt dragon, is unheard of in the Star Wars universe. Seeing them through Djarin’s eyes, as natives with a valuable perspective, made me reconsider my perspective on those people, and I learned a lot.
All visuals of the krayt dragon were very interesting and detailed. The way the sand rippled like water was very unique and definitely gave off the intimidating impression that was intended. The head of the dragon reminds me of a goblin shark, as the noses look similar. Also, the way its scales poke out of the sand when it moves through Mos Pelgo almost looks like shark fins. This creature gives off major similarities to sharks, and is its own sand shark. Every little detail helped the krayt dragon come to life, and makes it an excellent villain.
The entire episode felt straight out of a western movie. When Djarin first arrives in Mos Pelgo, he rides on his speeder bike slowly, straight through the middle of town, with everyone staring at him. It had the feeling of the sheriff riding into town on his horse. There is a clicking sound that can be heard as Djarin walks into the local bar, that sounds like cowboy boot spurs as he goes through the doorway. They even had a spittoon, which The Child hid in as the krayt dragon goes through town. There was the classic saloon scene, with a standoff, and even the town sheriff, as the marshal. The way the entire Mandalorian show plays around with different genres in film such as this more western style makes each episode unique and interesting, and this one is no exception.
The episode ends with a very interesting reveal, as it appears that Boba Fett is alive and was watching Djarin. Fett is played by Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones. Jango asked for a child clone of his, Boba, so it makes sense that Boba looks just like Jango as an adult, and is played by the same actor. This reveal raises many questions, as we do not know how he is alive. Somehow, he escaped the sarlacc. It could have been critically injured by Jaba’s sail barge exploding, or Fett could have found another way out. My guess is that when he did escape, he was so weak that when attacked by Jawas for his armor, he was too weak to fight back. I hope that soon he will get to be reunited with his armor once more, and I am very interested in his role in this season. His return is a complete surprise, as they did not even tease it in the show’s trailers.
This reveal did not have as much shock value as it could have, as it took me a moment to register who that possibly could be. But, I am very excited to see what comes next for his return. This will definitely take the season in a different direction than what I predicted from the trailers.
Overall, I felt this episode was a little slow. It took a lot of planning, negotiating, and traveling for the final kill. It felt like a major detour to the overall mission of this season, which was to reunite The Child with its kind. However, with Djarin ending with Boba Fett’s armor and the surprise of his character living, I am hoping this episode sets up for something special in the next one. I am optimistic that all of this setup will not be for nothing, and I look forward to this next chapter to be released.
Despite its pacing, Episode 9: The Marshal is still an enjoyable story with a very good plot. It is worth many watches over again and I am anxiously anticipating the release of Episode 10 on Friday, November 6. I am very excited to see how Boba Fett fits into the overall storyline, as well as the different environments Djarin and The Child will travel to.