The Mandalorian's Latest Episode Will Have Fans Talking for a Long Time

Windows are down.
Windows are down.
Photo: Lucasfilm

“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” “I am your father.” “So be it. Jedi.” Star Wars is filled with moments that have become part of our lives, and have elevated the franchise to the heights of popularity it enjoys today. Chapter 14 of The Mandalorian had several of those—incredible, unforgettable moments that will forever live in the lore that is Star Wars. What an episode.

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Illustration for article titled The Mandalorian's Latest Episode Will Have Fans Talking for a Long Time

I’m talking mostly, of course, about the official return of Boba Fett. Growing up, I and many others adored the character. The costume, the swagger, the ship. Obviously he pretty quickly gets dispatched in Return of the Jedi, assumed to never return again, which is why it was nice to see him as a young boy in Attack of the Clones as well as The Clone Wars. However, that always felt more like a way to appease fans rather than truly bring back the popular figure.

Finally, though, it happened. After almost 40 years of waiting, The Mandalorian’s “The Tragedy” brought back Boba Fett. Although the show had teased it twice and we all knew it was coming, it still made me feel like a kid again. I was just completely overjoyed to see him back and I’ll never forget it.

Here’s where Grogu’s story changes.
Here’s where Grogu’s story changes.
Photo: Lucasfilm

The return came after what I, for one, found to be a rather surprising start to the episode. In just about the most un-Mandalorian thing the show has ever done, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Baby Yoda/Grogu left one planet and simply, safely, and easily made it to their next location without a detour. I was stunned, which, I’m sure, was the intended effect. Grogu engaging with the Force at the Jedi Temple on Tython seemed like a great way to end the season, not start the very next episode—that would be too easy. But happen it did, just before everything went wrong.

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First, Din couldn’t get the temple to “work.” When it did, Grogu found himself locked into a near-impenetrable beacon of the Force, meditating as energy cascaded into the stars. Then a familiar, unfriendly ship arrived. Fans recognized it instantly. Slave 1. But it couldn’t be, could it? It was.

As most people predicted, turns out it was indeed Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) who found the nearly dead Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) on Tatooine last season, and it was he who watched Mando leave Mos Pelgo with his armor earlier this season. In order to survive, Fennec needed some cyborg parts, and when he helped her, Boba earned her allegiance. He apparently stashed Slave 1 away Doc Brown-style for a few years, and had been tracking Mando ever since he left Mos Eisley. We don’t find out how the bounty hunter survived his leap into the Sarlaac pit; that’s probably a story for another time. Right now he just wants his armor and he’s willing to help Mando protect Grogu to get it. Which is when everything else went wrong.

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Finally. Boba is back.
Finally. Boba is back.
Screenshot: Disney+

Transports bursting with Stormtroopers begin to arrive on Tython and an all-out brawl begins. We see Boba straight-up kicking ass with his gaffi stick, proving that his time out of the spotlight hasn’t softened his fighting skills. Fennec is equally lethal, both with her gun and when she turns the planet into the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, kicking a huge boulder and watching it mow troopers down. It was a great action scene that for a second felt like it was missing something.

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Oh, right, Mando himself! He’d been knocked out cold trying to rip Grogu out of the Force field. Once he awakened, he joined the fight but was almost immediately overwhelmed by troopers and doomed for sure—only for that four-decade in the making moment to happen. Boba takes his armor from the Razor Crest, saves Mando and Fennec, and unleashes hell on the troopers, going so far as to blow both retreating transports out of the sky with a single shot of his infamous rocket jet pack.

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Boba, Mando, and Fennec seem to have won the day when the episode’s ominous title finally started to make sense. From space, laser blasts shoot through the atmosphere and completely destroy the Razor Crest. Then, just when you were trying to get over the shock of the show’s iconic ship disappearing, Moff Gideon (whose ship sent those blasts) unleashes his Dark Troopers to the surface. They very quickly scoop up Grogu and blast back up to the ship. Boba Fett tries to chase them down in Slave 1, but Mando insists he pull back for fear of hurting the child. The reveal of an Imperial cruiser also seems to bring back some bad memories for Boba, and he turns back. Grogu has been Child-napped.

The Dark Troopers are here.
The Dark Troopers are here.
Screenshot: Disney+
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Though he’s without a ship or his baby boy, Mando has thankfully found new allies in Boba and Fennec, who agree to help him retrieve the Child in exchange for the armor. They make a quick trip to Nevarro to see Cara Dune and find the location of Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr), who Mando thinks can help him track down Gideon.

The episode ends with a potentially terrifying moment back on Gideon’s ship. We see Grogu toy with, torture, and seemingly kill two Stormtroopers who are trying to restrain him while Gideon watches with delight. He loves seeing the power in Grogu, but we know his power should not be used like that. Maybe Ashoka was right. Maybe Grogu shouldn’t be trained. There is much fear in him. First, though, he’ll have to be saved.

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From the return of Boba Fett, to the capture of Grogu and the destruction of the Razor Crest, “The Tragedy” was anything but. Oh sure, it was a tragedy for the characters, but for viewers, its propulsive story, incredible action, unforgettable reveals, and shocking moments all added up to another winner. Only two episodes of The Mandalorian are left this season—we wish it would never end.

Grogu looked a little different here, right?
Grogu looked a little different here, right?
Screenshot: Disney+
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Assorted Musings:

  • Here’s the big one. What happened with Boba Fett? Rumor is we might find out in some kind of limited Disney+ series, but we’re dying to know not just how he escaped the Sarlacc, but where he hid Slave 1, how he went about healing and fixing Fennec, and then his tracking of the untrackable bounty hunter. There are so many questions we have about his return.
  • Boba also talked a bit about his father, Jango, which was very cool. He mentioned how Jango fought in the Mandalorian Civil Wars and was a foundling like Din—finally giving a definitive answer to the long debate over whether or not Jango and Boba were “truly” Mandalorian—many things that are sure to further bond him not just with Din, but potentially Bo-Katan too.
  • The moments at the beginning of Mando playing with Grogu, and them flying together, were also so sweet and loving. It made the fact the episode was called “The Tragedy” that much more ominous.
  • When Grogu is first encompassed by the Force field, was it just me or did his look change? He seemed to age for just a second. And he looked a whole lot like Yoda. I put a screenshot above but it’s about eight minutes into the episode. Maybe it’s just his little meditation pose though.
  • The entire middle of the episode was action-packed with a blend of humor and intensity—so the reveal that Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Spy Kids) directed this episode made total sense. He’s been doing just that for years, and he directed the hell out of this one.
  • Out of all the people in the galaxy, why is Mayfeld the one Mando needs to find to find Gideon? Mando is an expert bounty hunter, maybe the best in the galaxy, and he can’t find a massive Imperial cruiser with the help of freaking Boba Fett? Instead, he needs to break out a dude he met, and was betrayed by, for a few hours? It doesn’t really make a lot of sense, though it should make for a great episode.
  • As we mentioned, the action here was excellent, but a moment that stood out was that we got a quick reverse shot of a Stormtrooper with an actual crushed helmet. We very rarely get to see troopers physically injured or impacted like that, so it was kind of perfect to see what a gaffi stick actually does to armor.
  • Dark Troopers. Holy shit. Those things are incredibly cool and beyond formidable. Do they look a little like the original TV Battlestar Galactica cylons? A little T-800 from Terminator? Sure, but it’s also totally right from Dark Forces, and like all those visual predecessors, they seem like they’re really going to be tough to beat.
  • What did Grogu see while he was in the Force field? Did he contact anyone? Did anyone sense him? We don’t know. But we have to imagine, spending all that time in there, protected so well, something will come of it.
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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

DISCUSSION

Dr Emilio Lizardo

I know people love Boba Fett, but this was literally the first time he ever did anything remotely cool in a live action show. I’d go so far as to say the first time he ever did anything cool on screen, but I can’t remember if he ever did anything useful in Clone Wars.

Seriously. What has Boba Fett ever done on screen to earn any love at all before this?  He’s the Captain Phasma of the original trilogy.