Last week’s episode of Star Wars: The Mandalorian concluded with Ahsoka Tano pointing Din Djarin toward the planet of Tython, where the ruins of one of the first Jedi Temples is located. She then instructed him to place Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) on a seeing stone, allowing the Child to reach out with the Force and find a Jedi to train and care for him.
As you might imagine, this process does not go smoothly.
The episode opens with Djarin enjoying Grogu’s reaction to hearing his name, which is something we can all appreciate. He then has the Child take his favorite control knob from him using the Force. The Mandalorian is impressed, but also melancholy at the prospect of handing over his little companion to someone else. Still, he knows it’s the right thing to do; Grogu’s powers require training that he can’t provide.
Upon entering Tython’s atmosphere, Djarin quickly finds the seeing stone, which is far to small for the Razor Crest to land on. This leads to an exhilarating shot of the Mandalorian carrying Grogu as he flies through the air with his jetpack. After landing at the stone, he places the Child at the center of the structure and begins looking for clues as to how the kid is supposed to call a Jedi.
While lamenting how his vague role in this particular task is, Djarin looks up to see Slave-1 (Boba Fett‘s ship) flying overhead. After watching it land nearby, he rushes back over to Grogu only to find that the Child somehow figured out how to summon a Jedi phone line. Unfortunately, this puts him in a trance while also being surrounded by a virtually impenetrable energy shield.
Djarin tries to reach through it anyway and is thrown backwards. After his attempts to reach Grogu verbally also prove unsuccessful, he decides to confront the new arrivals and buy Baby Yoda some time. This leads to him coming face to face with Boba Fett, who claims he’s been tracking Djarin since Chapter 9…and he wants his armor back.
Side Note: Let me get this straight: Boba Fett could have gone after his armor when it was in the possession of Cobb Vanth on Tatooine. Instead, he resisted the smoldering magnetism of Timothy Olyphant and chased down the suit after it was taken by a deadly warrior who’s been traveling all over the Outer Rim–and he just happened to show up at this moment instead of any of the other stops Djarin made where he stayed for much longer? I get why this works from a dramatic sense, but it’s still quite a stretch.
After a bit of posturing, Djarin asks Fett if he’s a Mandalorian. Fett responds by giving him basically the same answer his dad (Jango Fett) gave when Obi-Wan Kenobi tried grilling him back in Episode II.
Despite being shaken by this recent turn of events, Djarin holds firm, threatening to kill them both with his whistling birds if they don’t stand down. Fett agrees, telling Shand to stand down and diffusing the situation considerably. She comes down from her position and reveals that Fett not only found her, but installed some fancy West World-looking cybernetic parts where that douchebag from last season caused the most critical damage.
Fett then reveals that his father was the one who gave him the armor, which was given to him by the Mandalorians. He follows that up with a promise that if Djarin hands over the suit, he and Shand will help protect the Child, who currently has a massive bounty on his little green head.
As if on cue, an Imperial drop ship roars through the air and lands next to the Razor Crest. Djarin rushes back to Grogu and tries again to reach through the energy field. This time his efforts result in a concussion.
Meanwhile, Fett and Shand get to work mowing down the first battalion of storm troopers with ease. The few who make it past Shand’s hail of gunfire are rewarded with a gorgeously choreographed melee beat down courtesy of Fett’s gaffi stick. Shand is almost pinned down by mortars and an E-Web, but leg presses a boulder that rolls down and crushes both of them.
Fett finishes off the wave by bashing and skewering the battalion’s commander. After ensuring that his opponent is super dead, he eyes the open door of the Razor Crest and goes to retrieve his armor.
Back on the seer stone, Djarin wakes up and tries to get to Grogu through the energy field AGAIN. He’s predictably thrown back, but not hard enough to knock him out this time. Realizing that the third time was not the charm, he decides to protect the Child instead, leaving for the battle moments before the Force shield goes down and an exhausted Baby Yoda passes out.
While Djarin was finishing his exercise in futility and terrible timing, Shand was boxed in by another wave of Imperial canon fodder.
Side Note: Storm troopers may be laughably weak/inept soldiers, but they can often make up for it with their overwhelming numbers.
Just as she’s about to be overrun, Djarin shows up to help. The pair’s valiant stand is interrupted when a grenade drops from the sky followed by a newly armored Boba Fett, who proceeds to kick ass in ways you can’t even imagine. Seriously–the dude even manages to take out a couple troopers with freaking knee cannons.
The storm troopers wisely retreat, but still get smoked when Fett launches a backpack missile that manages to take out both drop ships after they’re airborne.
The good vibes are abruptly cut short, however, when a blast from orbit blows up the Razor Crest.
Djarin scans the atmosphere and discovers an Imperial cruiser (which belongs to Moff Gideon) has found them. As the trio rushes to protect Grogu, Gideon deploys his Dark Troopers (who we first saw back in Chapter 12) to the seer stone.
The experimental soldiers easily make it to the structure before Djarin and Shand can get there, taking the child and immediately flying back to the ship. Fett gives chase in the Slave-1, but stands down when Djarin says he doesn’t want Grogu to get hurt. Instead, he follows them to the cruiser and confirms with his own eyes that the Empire isn’t dead and gone after all.
While going through what little wreckage is left of his vaporized ship, Djarin finds the control knob Grogu liked to play with along with the beskar spear he got last episode.
After accepting that nothing else can be salvaged, he walks over to Fett and Shand, who’ve been watching him with a surprising amount of sympathy. Fett then shows Djarin his armor’s chain code (basically a verified proof of ownership), which also reveals that Jango Fett was a Mandalorian foundling.
Djarin realizes/voices that the armor truly does belong to Fett.
Side Note: And hard core Star Wars fans like myself finally have confirmation that Jango Fett (and by extension Boba Fett) are true Mandalorians.
Fett then declares that he and Shand still intend to honor their agreement to help Djarin keep the Child safe. That means getting him back from the Empire, which will require even more badassery than the three of them can produce.
Their first recruiting visit is to Navarro to see Cara Dune. Instead of just asking her to leave her post and join them, however, Djarin requests her assistance in springing Migs Mayfeld from the prison he left him in back in Chapter 6.
Dune is understandably resistant to the idea of busting a former Imperial soldier out of jail, but her resolve falters when Djarin reveals that the Empire has Grogu.
Moff Gideon walks through the hallways of his ship until he arrives at a prison cell. The doors open to reveal Grogu using the Force to kick the crap out of a couple storm troopers. Gideon smiles and allows the beating to continue until the Child is completely worn out.
After Grogu lays down, Gideon takes out his dark saber and taunts the Child over his inability to fight back in a weakened state. He then has one of the storm troopers stun Baby Yoda and put him in shackles.
Before walking out of the cell, Gideon commands one of his officers to inform Doctor Pershing that they have their donor again.
If you didn’t hate the Empire before this, I’m not sure how you couldn’t now. Also, it’s uncanny how Giancarlo Esposito can make you both love and loathe his villainous characters at the same time.
As usual, we’ll do a quick history/lore review before diving into the review part of things. Those of you already familiar with Fett’s backstory, then feel free to skip ahead past the video of him going out like a chump in Episode VI.
- If you’ve seen Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, then you likely remember the giant army of clone troopers that was made on Kamino. I won’t go into the reasons/machinations behind its creation (that would take a whole separate post on its own), but it’s definitely worth some further reading.
- The template for this clone army was Jango Fett, a Mandalorian bounty hunter who also helped trained the first batch of clone troopers. One of the terms for providing his DNA/services was that the Kaminoans provide him with a clone who did not have the accelerated development and behavioral modifications of the others–basically a made to order son, who he named Boba.
- At the start of the Clone Wars, Jango Fett got his head chopped off by Mace Windu.
- As you might imagine, Boba Fett did not take this well. He became obsessed with getting revenge on Windu and the Jedi as a whole. Unfortunately for him both of these quests for revenge were made moot by Anakin and Emperor Palpatine killing Windu (ALLEGEDLY) and the Jedi getting wiped out thanks to Order 66.
- During the Clone Wars, Mandalorian Prime Minister Almec told Obi-Wan that Jango Fett was never really a true Mandalorian–just a bounty hunter with some ill-gotten armor. I have no idea why this caught on as an iron clad statement since Almec was a total snake–although to be fair, the official Star Wars Twitter account appeared to back this statement up a few years ago.
- During the rise of the Empire, Boba Fett became one of the best bounty hunters ever…
- …although you wouldn’t know it by his spaztastic “death” in Return of the Jedi.
- After capturing Han Solo and selling millions of actions figures (thanks to his cool design), Fett was unceremoniously devoured by a sarlacc on Tatooine thanks to a blinded Solo whacking his jetpack.
- This sequence of events should have resulted in Fett being painfully digested over the course of 1,000 years. Instead, he survived–albeit with some severe sarlacc stomach acid damage, which you can see all over his body in this episode.
So how did Fett escape the sarlacc pit? Well, in Legends canon (i.e. before Disney took over), he fought his way out thanks to an iron will, some great armor, and a telepathic bond he formed with other victims of the Sarlacc. Seriously.
As far as the current mythology is concerned, we know that the sarlacc was gravely injured when Jabba’s sail barge got blown up. Otherwise, that story has yet to be told.
What do have now, however, is a Boba Fett who is much more interesting and exciting than he ever was in the movies. I love the Original Trilogy, but the character works so much better with the backstory we got during the Clone Wars animated series and this episode of The Mandalorian.
As expected, the former bounty hunter is cold, menacing, and prone to a bit of blood lust. But he also has the ability to show empathy and lives by a code of honor. Hats off to Temuera Morrison for providing so much more than just a cool link between this series and the characters he played in the prequels.
Speaking of characters getting their due, I can forgive the absurdity of Fennec Shand surviving her death in Season 1 if we get to see her kicking ass like this from now on. In addition to being played by a great actress (Ming-Na Wen), she also provides our new team with a great sharp shooter…which makes me wonder why Migs Mayfield is even an option.
Look, I like Bill Burr as much as the next person, but c’mon. The guy is completely untrustworthy and wasn’t that good of a character, anyway. Considering how easily Djarin took him down in Season 1, I’m not sure why he’d be considered so indispensable that it was worth asking Cara Dune to help break him out of prison. Even if his only purpose is to help track Gideon’s ship, why would a former Imperial-turned-two bit mercenary have the access to do something like that?
This was one of many issues with the episode that really should have bothered me more than it did.
- As I mentioned before, Boba Fett waiting until Djarin got the amor from Cobb Vanth (and showing up now of all times) makes absolutely no sense. It definitely works better from a dramatic/story standpoint, but it’s also ridiculously contrived.
- Grogu is adorable (and is finally starting to become a character again), but he has the worst timing ever.
- Speaking of timing, why did the Empire show up now instead of all that time Djarin spent on Corvus? You could make the argument that it’s because Ahsoka was there, but I don’t buy it.
- I get that Fett needed the armor to show Djarin his chain code, but he could have diffused things much quicker by being more direct about his Mandalorian heritage from the start.
- Much as I loved all those storm troopers get bodied, their ineptness continues to decrease any chance they have to be portrayed as a genuine threat.
Even when you take all those things into account, however, there were just too many good things about this episode to let me be annoyed by it.
For starters, the story is really starting to cook. This time last season (the prison break episode), the series was spinning its wheels. Now we have a tale that gets more interesting and intense with each chapter.
The episode was also gorgeous in every possible way. The cinematography, the fight sequences, the design/effects for the Dark Troopers…everything was top notch and all types of fun to watch.
And then you have the incredibly powerful opening and closing scenes. We started with a painfully sweet moment and ended with a final shot that turns your blood cold.
I know loving/obsessing about Baby Yoda has become an ironic part of the cultural zeitgeist, but it was truly heartbreaking to watch Grogu get taunted and abused like that. Let’s hope Djarin & Co. come up with a good plan to deal out some payback next week.
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