Rotten Potatoes: Halfway through, Mandalorian slows with set-up
The following article contains spoilers for Season Two of The Mandalorian.
At the halfway point through the second season of The Mandalorian, the show feels stuck. While Chapter Twelve: The Siege brings back some old favorite characters, the episode feels more like a set-up than anything else. Glimpses into a master plan by Moth Gideon are sprinkled throughout the episode, hinting to a greater reason for going after The Child. I hope that all of this repetitive plot is leading somewhere, and the season will pick up soon.
On his way to find Ahsoka Tano, Din Djarin, The Mandalorian, makes another stop in Nevarro to make more ship repairs. Nevarro was the location of the final battle at the end of Season One, when the town was pretty obliterated. I loved seeing the growth and everything that had been rebuilt. For example, Djarin visited the old cantina, which had been remodeled into a schoolhouse, to leave The Child there for the day. These innovations to the set were so creative, and it was cool to see something being rebuilt instead of still in ruins from the Empire.
Of course, the rebuild of Nevarro would not have been possible without Season One characters Cara Dune, the new marshal, and Greef Karga, the new governor. I love these two characters, and get excited every time they make a reappearance. Once again, Djarin gets roped into another heist. This time, he is helping Dune and Karga wipe out an Imperial holdout.
While this heist is also exciting and fun, it continues with the same old, same old plot sequence: Djarin stops on a new planet for Razor Crest Repairs, he needs information, has to help on a mission to get it, leaves The Child in a safe place before venturing out, completes the task, then continues on his journey. I want something fresh from this new season. The first season of The Mandalorian did not feel this repetitive, which is disappointing because I had high hopes for this season.
Despite this repetition, I would be lying if I said I did not enjoy this mission. The filmmakers made a great decision in bringing back Mythrol, the blue, fish-faced man. He was a great source of comic relief, since The Child was not present to do so. His anxious personality and forced service created some of the best dialogue seen all season.
This episode appears to be focused on foreshadowing, as the team discovers some scientific projects. Djarin and the others stumble upon tanks of growing blobs while in the Imperial holdout. Due to the long limbs and similar color, I think these were attempts at creating force-sensitive supreme leaders. They look very similar to Snoke, seen in The Last Jedi, and to the growing versions seen in Emperor Palpetine’s hideout in The Rise of Skywalker. After Darth Vader died, I am guessing the Empire tried for years to create a version of Snoke, and it took them a long time to succeed.
It is revealed that The Child is needed because his blood is supplying midi-chlorians, which are present in all force-sensitive beings. Along with foreshadowing towards the Star Wars sequels, I enjoyed this small reference to the prequels with the head scientist mentioning the “M-count.”
All of the setup was by far the most interesting part of this episode, and it feels like it could also serve as foreshadowing for future seasons. Since this ties The Mandalorian to the sequels, it feels increasingly linked to future storylines. I would be interested to see if Emperor Palpetine makes an appearance in future episodes or seasons.
The details in the chase scene were really impressive. I enjoyed Cara Dune driving a massive tank, very focused, as Greef Karga and Mythrol just sat there screaming. Starting the scene out with a chunky tank making tight turns and going down a massive, rocky hill was a great catalyst to the chase. I loved the effectiveness of the tank’s size, as it was used to take out entire speeders.
I would have liked to feel a little more sense of danger however, before the Razor Crest flies in to save the team. I did not feel a strong sense of peril when they were surrounded, and I could have used more suspense there. The Siege ended with a spooky and ominous appearance from Moth Gideon, with some new weapon that looks like modern day battle droids. I am really hoping all of this set-up pays off real soon, because I want to see more of Moth Gideon. This scene’s dark tones seem like the season is going to take a more serious turn, and I sure hope it does. I would love to see some more variety in the plot moving forward, as well as an exploration of this darker pathway.