The Mandalorian Brings Big Action and Even Bigger Mysteries

The Mandalorian poked a bit into the past in Chapter 12.
The Mandalorian poked a bit into the past in Chapter 12.
Photo: Disney

Chapter 12 of The Mandalorian saw our hero return to a familiar planet, meet some old friends, and go on an old-fashioned Star Wars adventure. Along the way, he learned some crucial information about the Child, the Empire, and reignited an old rivalry that’s sure to shape the second half of the second season.

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Illustration for article titled iThe Mandalorian/i Brings Big Action and Even Bigger Mysteries

Did you really think The Mandalorian was simply going jump to lightspeed and magically arrive at Ahsoka Tano? Of course not. The Razor Crest needed repairs before Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and the Child could go and find the former Jedi revealed at the end of the previous episode. What better place to get those repairs than Nevarro, where he could see old pals Greef Karga (Carl Weathers, who also directed this episode) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano)?

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The latest episode title, “The Siege,” implied Cara and Greef had other plans for Mando once he arrived on Nevarro. Turns out in the time since he’s been gone, now-Marshal Dune and now-Magistrate Karga have cleaned up the planet pretty well. Greef has even hired Mythrol (Horatio Sanz), who Mando captured in the first scene of the first episode of the series, to help him out.

These days most of Nevarro is peaceful, save for one old Imperial base that hasn’t been abandoned for some unknown reason. While he’s waiting for his ship to be repaired, Greef and Cara would like Mando to join them on a trip to go blow up the base. You know. Something real simple like that. He, of course, agrees, and after dropping Baby Yoda off at the (adorable!) droid-led local school—in the building that used to be the Client’s hangout—they’re off on another adventure.

Once they arrive and break in, the whole siege reminded me very, very much of A New Hope: heroes running through an Imperial base, blasting back and forth with Stormtroopers, being chased by Stormtroopers, traversing onto a small catwalk over a long drop to turn off something in order for them to leave. It was A New Hope. Hell, the reactor controls Mythrol had to sabotage even looked like the tractor beam controls Obi-Wan shut down on the Death Star. But then the group discovered the true purpose of this random base. It’s no moon—it’s a science lab.

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Green is good, red is bad. They’re going to the red.
Photo: Lucasfilm

Apparently, what most of us guessed Moff Gideon and the Client wanted with little Baby Yoda was true. It’s in this base that Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) was using the blood he extracted from the Child way back in Chapter 3 to do...something. The episode is purposefully a little vague here but it’s a huge revelation—it’s suggested the Empire was injecting the Child’s high M-Count blood (Midi-chlorians, we presume) into volunteers to see if they could create Force-sensitive beings. Ones that would fight with the Empire. The experiments failed though and the gruesome results look like something out of The Shape of Water meets Snoke in The Rise of Skywalker (I personally don’t think these have anything to do with Snoke, but that’s a discussion for another time).

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In a message viewed by our heroes, Pershing recommends to Moff Gideon they call off the failed experiments unless they can get the Child back. Upon hearing how long ago the message was sent, Mando realizes he didn’t kill Moff Gideon as he had assumed and they are in deep, deep shit. He zooms away on his jetpack to get back to the Child while Greef, Cara, and Mythrol are forced to blast their way out of the base.

This escape, again, felt like A New Hope, at least at the start, but once Cara stole a Trexler Marauder the show suddenly became Return of the Jedi. Scout Troopers jumped on speeder bikes and chased the heroes through the canyons, resulting in the episode’s best action scene. Weathers even lifted a few shots from Jedi to harness that nostalgia but quickly distinguished the sequence with a unique moment on top of the Marauder, and by eventually adding in TIE Fighters.

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This was an inspired sequence.
Photo: Lucasfilm

It was already some of the best action the show’s done, only for the scene to get taken to a whole new level. A last-minute save from the Razor Crest, now fully repaired, bailing out his friends with an unforgettable showdown in the sky, full of high-altitude stunts. Stunts wildly applauded by a very excited Baby Yoda...until he got sick as a result. He spent all his time at school not learning but instead binging space macarons. Precious. He’ll eat anything!

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Once again, the Mandalorian has helped save Nevarro, but unfortunately for him, one of the aliens tasked with repairing his ship secretly works for Moff Gideon, and has placed a homing beacon on it. After an epic, New Hope-inspired intro to Moff Gideon’s ship (which we told you was coming!), we were reintroduced to the Moff and saw he had a surprise. He’s building an army of very sinister-looking troopers that look ripped right out of Dark Forces: the sinister Dark Troopers of the old expanded universe (or at least something similar and new to the canon). That’s good news for him, but bad news for Mando, who is now leading Moff Gideon right to himself, the Child, and one of the last Jedi in the universe: Ahsoka Tano.

“The Siege” was another highly entertaining episode of television, even if it did stick to the basic, predictable structure of The Mandalorian. Mando has somewhere to be, needs something to get there, has to complete an unrelated task to get it and move on. That’s just what it is at this point, though, and you have to look at the positives. The action here was excellent. The revelations about the Child were intriguing. The development of Greef and Cara was welcome. It all added up to another great chapter in the story of The Mandalorian. Bring on Ahsoka!

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Screenshot: Disney+

Assorted Musings:

  • This may have been the best Baby Yoda episode yet. From him helping Mando with the wires, to him sitting at a desk, asking for space macarons and using the Force to get them, and finally him cheering as Mando destroyed a TIE before vomiting all over himself, it was just pure adorableness. Beyond that though, you can see that he’s learning to vocalize a bit more and definitely starting to understand things better. Though he hasn’t been a huge factor in this season so far, producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are absolutely aging him and making him smarter. He will not be Baby Yoda forever.
  • As a big Ponda Baba fan, it was awesome to see a few of his fellow Aqualish in the episode, even if they were very quickly dispatched by the force that is Cara Dune. The way The Mandalorian keeps making random Star Wars aliens more prevalent is one of the show’s best attributes.
  • It was cool to see Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) of the New Republic back so soon, especially since Greef mentions how he doesn’t like the New Republic trying to police the Outer Rim. You have to think him coming back just two episodes later means this is a story that’s going to get bigger.
  • Even more interesting though is how Teva extracts more information about Cara Dune’s past, tries to recruit her, and leaves her a Rebel badge. Is this to kind of officially make her the Marshal? Yeah. But we think it could also be a sign Cara may get back in the fight with her former allies in the Rebellion.
  • Speaking of which, do we think Cara will keep that Star Wars rat thing as a pet? [Editor’s Note: Excuse me, I believe that was a space meerkat, thank you for coming to my TED Talk. - Jill P.]
  • As a big carbonite fan, I enjoyed hearing Mythrol talk a bit about his experience. “I still can’t see out of my left eye,” he says. We guess Han Solo was lucky to get his eyesight back so quickly.
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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

So this episode basically blamed the rise of the First Order on the local populations not cooperating with the police.

Just like you I loved all the chase and air battle scenes though. And the whole infiltrating Imperial base part was so very classic Star Wars. Including the stormtroopers being as bigger danger to each other then to the people they are fighting.

We finally know why Moff Gideon’s wants the Child. His blood is being used to try to infuse others with Midichlorians. A whole army of Force powered stormtroopers. Possibly even Gideon himself once the kinks are worked out. For now all the experiments failed and they are out of Baby Yoda’s blood. Of course now that they have tracking on Razor Crest they are coming to get more.

This is clearly going to lead to big final confrontation of Gideon’s forces and Din and his friends, Ahsoka and the Mandalorians. With Gideon coming for the Child and Bo-Katan coming for Gideon to get her Darksaber and Cara calling Teva and his buddies it looks like it’s going to be fun.

Also I like how Katy M. O’Brian is quickly becoming evil henchwoman for all the genre series. She terrorised Freeland. She tried to take over the world with Mallick and some evil robots. And now she’s an Imperial officer. This kind of typecasting is usually reserved for men - that dude who always plays bad guys - so congratulations. I also like how the trajectory here angles is towards space.