Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Mandalorian concluded with Din Djarin headed to Corvus to meet Ahsoka Tano, who he hoped could assist him in finding Baby Yoda’s people. Unfortunately, the Razor Crest is literally being held together by string.
With the craft on the verge of breaking down in the middle of space, the Mandalorian won’t be going anywhere without a pitstop that also happens to include
a bottle episode an action packed adventure.
Repairs & Reunions
The episode opens with Din Djarin sending Baby Yoda into the ship’s inner workings and instructing him on how to rewire something. This is a terrible idea for a number of reasons, but thankfully results in little more than an adorable/partial electrocution of the Child.
Seeing that their ship won’t make it to Corvus, he decides to set down on his old stomping grounds of the planet Nevarro to ask his friends from last season for assistance.
*Side Note: It’s worth pointing out that before they landed, Din Djarin lifted his helmet partway in front of Baby Yoda to drink from a cup. This might not mean anything, but it could also indicate his growing trust/attachment with the little guy.
Back on the unnamed city where Din Djarin’s clan used to reside, a group of Aqualish criminals are picking through the abandoned covert’s treasures. One of them is about to kill an adorable lava meerkat when Cara Dune busts in and kicks everyone’s ass. Turns out she’s now the city’s marshal, enforcing laws (except for any mask mandates of course) and rooting out it’s previously pervasive criminal element.
She also finds a new friend in the grateful meerkat, who lovingly watches Dune as she recollects the covert’s riches in hopes of returning them to their rightful owners.
*Side Note: Although we don’t see it happen during the episode, the concept art featured during the end credits shows the lava meerkat breathing fire. If/when this creature becomes Cara Dune’s pet, that would make for a really cool visual during their next fight together.
With that business out of way, Dune steps outside along with Greef Karga (who is now the city’s magistrate) to greet Djarin. Karga welcomes his old friend/employee with open arms and immediately puts his best people to work repairing the Razor Crest. He also takes the Mandalorian into the city, which is a much happier and livelier place now that the Imperial remnant is gone and Dune has cleaned things up.
Djarin is even more surprised to find that the city’s cantina has been converted into a school. Karga asks him to leave the Baby Yoda there, which he resists at first, but relents when he explains that their next stop is no place for a child.
Karga plops Baby Yoda down into one of the desks, which causes a flurry of whispers and stares from the other students. The Child immediately notices that a boy sitting near him has a sleeve of blue cookies and motions for him to share. I personally couldn’t resist sharing my food with Baby Yoda, but the kid coldly shoots him down.
As we’ve seen before, however, no obstacle or social norm is too great for the Child to overcome when he’s in the throes of a snack attack. After seeming to take the rejection in stride, he lifts is tiny hand and uses the force to snatch the entire sleeve of cookies into his possession.
*Side Note: I can’t be the only one who was worried that Baby Yoda was about to force choke that kid out, right?
Meanwhile, Karga and Dune take the Mandalorian to see an unexpected ally: The Mythrol who Djarin captured back in Chapter 1. Turns out he was busted doing some “creative accounting” for Karga and is now paying off his debt via 350 years of bookkeeping work.
Karga also constantly refers to him as “Mythrol” instead of calling him by any sort of name, which feels both weird and a little racist.
But I digress…Karga and Dune explain to Djarin that while his ship is being repaired, they’ll need his help. Despite Navarro being in much better shape than it was before, there’s still an Imperial base on the other side of the planet (where Gideon’s troops had previously been stationed). It isn’t nearly as well fortified now, but still contains a skeleton crew along with a boatload of heavy weaponry.
Karga and Dune want to make sure the base is wiped off the map before reinforcements or blackmarket vultures have a chance to occupy it. Once that’s done, the planet can finally be free and begin its full transition into a flourishing trade anchor for the entire sector.
The group takes Mythrol’s speeder to the base, which they plan to destroy by overloading the reactor (via cutting the coolant running to the heat shaft). After arriving at the front entrance, however, they discover that the controls are melted thanks to the nearby lava flow.
Karga convinces Mythrol to work on getting them in the door by offering to take a few decades off his debt. Meanwhile, Djarin flies up to the base’s roof and takes out the topside stormtrooper guards.
After getting the door open, Karga, Dune, and Mythrol take the elevator up and find the Mandalorian standing among substantially more dead stormtroopers than you’d expect from a “skeleton crew.” They also find a mint condition Trexler Marauder (basically an Imperial Troop Transport without the “troop transport” compartments), which Mythrol excitedly suggests they take and sell. Djarin predictably shoots his suggestion down, instead leading them into the base.
The group quickly finds the command center, kills the Imperial officer on duty, and locates the heat shaft. Once they get there, Karga makes Mythrol climb over to the reactor controls (via bullying rather than another offer) and overload it. He succeeds, which immediately sets off the base’s alarms.
With only ten minutes until the base explodes, the group hastily sneaks back through the building to escape. Their altered path eventually leads them to a room manned by two scientists. Upon seeing the intruders, they destroy as much of their data as possible before being shot dead.
Our heroes enter the room and find a row of tanks occupied by horribly disfigured beings. Dune realizes that what they’re standing in isn’t a base at all–it’s a lab. Her suspicions are further confirmed when Mythrol is able to get the scientists’ damaged control station to play a holo message from Pershing (the scientist we saw experimenting on Baby Yoda back in Chapter 3) for Moff Gideon.
In the message, Pershing explains that his team has been unsuccessful in their efforts to transfuse blood into volunteers (or “volunteers”), with the longest survival period being two weeks. He also says that they’ve run out of the blood he managed to harvest from the Child, which has a much higher M-Count than any they will ever find elsewhere.
*Side Note: In case you’ve managed to erase most of Episode I from your mind, this is a reference to midi-chlorians, the cells that determine someone’s level sensitivity to the Force.
Pershing suggests that they suspend all further experimentation until the Child is in their possession again. As if that weren’t chilling enough, his message is only three days old. In addition to revealing that Moff Gideon is still alive (which we knew but they didn’t), this also means their former nemesis is likely nearby.
Just as Djarin is realizing how truly bad their situation is, a squad of stormtroopers barges in and starts shooting. After the group takes them out, Dune tells the Mandalorian to fly back on his own so he can reach the Child more quickly–she, Karga, and Mythrol will find their own way out.
Djarin takes her advice (along with the opportunity to do a cool Iron Man landing) and fights his way outside before taking flight towards the city.
After fighting their way to the top floor, Dune highjacks the Marauder from earlier. She then saves her two companions and drives the craft over the edge of the base. After a steep fall (and landing on top of Mythrol’s speeder), the trio flee down the lava gulley they came through with speeder bikes hot on their tail.
Thanks to Dune’s impressive driving skills and Karga’s shooting, they’re able to evade their land-based pursuers moments before the base explodes behind them. Unfortunately, their celebration is cut short when a quartet of Outland TIE fighters swoop toward them.
Things start to look bad when Karga’s ground-to-air firing capabilities prove woefully inadequate, but they get exponentially worse when the wreckage from the one TIE he does manage to hit destroys the Marauder’s external guns. Just as the other three ships close in, however, they’re engaged by Din Djarin and a newly restored Razor Crest.
Baby Yoda squeals with glee as the Mandalorian does some truly inspired shooting/flying to take the out TIEs. His flying is good, in fact, that it makes poor little guy puke up the blue cookies he stole.
After Karga thanks his friend and asks what he owes him for saving their lives, Djarin says they can call it even after what must have been the quickest full body/engine repair of all time.
When Karga asks if they can at least celebrate with a drink together, the Mandalorian politely turns him down, explaining that he needs to get out of there before Gideon finds them–and that there’s some Baby Yoda puke that needs to be cleaned up.
Loyalty and Betrayal
Later, Karga is visited by Captain Carson Teva, one the X-Wing pilots who saved Djarin back in Chapter 10. When Teva asks about the Mandalorian’s possible involvement in the the Imperial base being destroyed, he refuses to divulge any information or betray his friend.
Teva then walks outside and finds Dune feeding her lava meerkat. After running her service record (and seeing what a stone cold badass she is), he asks if she would consider rejoining the New Republic military and helping them clean up the sector. He (correctly) believes that something big is going down in the Outer Rim territories, but can’t get anyone on the Core Worlds to believe him. He and the other military personnel assigned to the area won’t be able to stop whatever’s coming without soldiers like her helping them.
After Dune coldly rejects his request, Tevan asks if she lost anyone on her home world of Alderaan. When Dune replies that she “lost everyone,” Tevan tells her that he’s sorry before laying down a Rebel Alliance medal and walking away. Dune watches him leave with a look that indicates she hasn’t completely given up the idea of fighting for the Republic one day.
Meanwhile, an Imperial captain on a star destroyer takes a call from one of the repairmen who worked on the Razor Crest. After confirming that he put a tracker on the Mandalorian’s ship, she goes to inform Moff Gideon, who is standing in the middle of what appears to be multiple suits of armor…or maybe robots…or maybe clones.
I’m honestly not 100% sure.
Whatever the case, Gideon asks her if Djarin still has the Child (which he coldly refers to as “the asset.”) She confirms it, prompting him to declare that they will be ready.
Before diving into the pros and cons of this episode, let’s pick apart the reveals and the lore behind them a bit.
I think most of us assumed back in Chapter 3 that Pershing was trying to clone or harvest cells from Baby Yoda. Not only does it make sense narratively, but Pershing and his scientists have the emblem of Kamino (the planet/people known for cloning) slapped on all their suits.
So what are they trying to do with Baby Yoda’s DNA? And what was in those vats they found at the base?
Well, the prevailing theory right now is that we saw the first attempts at creating Supreme Leader Snoke, who was the baddy in Episodes VII and VIII. As we learned in Episode IX (and was detailed further in the movie’s novelization), Snoke was actually one of many severely altered clones of Emperor Palpatine, who somehow survived being thrown down a reactor shaft by Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker in Episode VI and had been working from the shadows to rise to power again.
Aside from how this all lines up narratively, reddit user acautelado posted a great set of photos to the /r/StarWarsLeaks subreddit showing the similarities between Snoke, the failed Snoke clones from Episode IX, and what we saw in this episode of The Mandalorian.
There have also been a number of people who pointed out that the music we hear during the laboratory scene in The Mandalorian is extremely similar to John William’s musical theme for Snoke.
— Vito (@vito_silerio) November 20, 2020
Does that mean Moff Gideon was specifically trying to create Snoke or secretly working under Palpatine’s orders? Not necessarily. He could’ve been doing his own twisted experiments that will eventually end up leading to what we saw in the sequel trilogy. There’s also a decent chance that I’m way off base and this is something completely new/different (which I would actually prefer), but who knows.
Fully explaining what the Dark Troopers are would require a huge deep dive into Legends material. All you really need to know in the context of The Mandalorian is that the suits are exoskeletons that allow their wearers to combat Force-wielders (and potentially even wield the Force in a limited capacity). The suits also require the person wearing them to undergo major cybernetic modifications, which often caused them to go crazy.
Both those things track with a storyline that involves harvesting midi-chlorian cells and lots of dead test subjects (especially if they skip the part where the Dark Troopers were replaced by androids).
If you want a quick explanation on the lore behind these terrifying soldiers, check out the video below.
As far as the episode itself is concerned, this one was a lot of fun, but it did have some deficiencies.
For starters, there were a bunch of weird little moments and aspects that were impossible to ignore after you added them up.
- Why would Djarin let Baby Yoda work on the Razor Crest’s wiring? I get the comedic value of that set up, but it still doesn’t make much sense. Not only did it put the kid in incredible danger, but it had absolutely no chance of success.
- Calling the Mythrol by his species as if it were his name. I know that happens a lot (especially with “Mandos”), but it’s usually done by the bad guys.
- Mando telling Mythrol to keep the speeder running, which he totally did not do. I know that’s picky, but c’mon…
- Karga being a complete jerk to Mythrol. I know he’s a criminal and all, but it’s not like Karga’s past as disgraced magistrate gives him much of a moral high ground. I realize Mythrol stole from him, but Karga’s treatment clashed quite a bit with the more sympathetic and likable character it felt like the episode wanted him to be.
- Baby Yoda being a jerk again. Maybe this is all leading to him being revealed to be a Sith or something, but the mischievous/evil balance is starting to feel off.
- How was the Razor Crest fixed so quickly? Maybe more time elapsed than it seemed like during the episode, but I’ve had oil and transmission changes on my Honda Accord take longer.
Also, as wonderfully choreographed and directed as those fight scenes were (props to Carl Weathers’ work behind the camera), the inept stromtroopers are losing their ability to create any sort of tension when they show up. Even the original trilogy was good about showing them in overwhelming numbers or accompanied by awesome vehicles. We definitely need some Death Troopers or something being consistently added to the mix if Imperial ground forces are going to be perceived as a genuine threat.
On the flip side of that complaint, the chase scene in the lava gulley was outstanding. In addition to some incredible effects, Cara Dune’s driving and Din Djarin’s flying were a real treat to watch.
I also appreciate that despite this being a bottle episode, we did get some intriguing puzzle pieces and new questions about what Baby Yoda means to the overall story. For folks who aren’t well-versed in Star Wars lore, the reveals were probably even more potent/exciting.
Also, despite my complaint about Greef Karga’s treatment of Mythrol, I really liked the dynamic of the quartet of heroes this episode. They weren’t anywhere near as badass as Bo-Katan’s crew (except for Cara Dune of course), but their dialogue and chemistry was a lot of fun to watch.
Now that Moff Gideon is back on Din Djarin’s tail, it should be even more interesting to see what happens when Ahsoka Tano is added into the mix.
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