This weeks episode of The Mandalorian sees the return of a classic character and the end of the season’s second act. Yes, that’s right folks, Boba Fett is back in full force.
Seriously. Spoilers galore are coming. You’ve been warned.
Our adventure begins with Mando and Grogu on their way to Tython to find the Jedi temple that Ahsoka Tano told them about in the previous episode. There is a tender moment of bonding as Mando coaches Grogu into taking the silver ball he loves so much using the force, followed by Mando totally not crying as he tells Grogu that he couldn’t possibly stick around and train him.
They land near the temple and jetpack their way to the mountain top. Mando places Grogu on the seeing stone in the middle of a henge, and as he’s trying to figure out what Grogu needs to do another ship lands nearby. Eagle-eyed viewers will immediately recognize Slave I.
Grogu begins to meditate and is surrounded by a field of force energy, and Mando goes to greet the new visitors. A man in a cloak confronts him: Boba Fett. Fett lets him know that he wants his armour (recovered in episode one of this season) back and that his new partner Fennec Shand (last seen left for dead in season one, now part droid) has a lock on Grogu. After a brief standoff, they put their weapons down and make a deal: the armour in exchange for protecting the kid.
Just as the deal is struck landing craft full of stormtroopers land, Mando heads to the kid but is knocked out by the force energy surrounding Grogu. Meanwhile, Fett and Shand go to work. The action sequence that follows is good, with Shand taking our enemies from afar and Fett brutalizing them up close. He wields a gaderffii stick, a weapon of the Tusken Raiders of Tatooine with a club on one end and a blade on the other. Nice to see it can be used for more than just brushing bantha teeth.
Shand meanwhile shoots a ton of troopers before they get a gun emplacement set up, and then manages to roll a bounder down over said emplacement. Around this time Feet finds the Razor Crest and reclaims his armour.
Mando wakes up and still can’t get through to Grogu, so he heads down to the fight. Just as he does, the force energy dissipates, and Grogu falls asleep. As Mando enters the fight, he deploys the whistling birds from his vambrace and takes numerous hits to the armour from various blasters. Just when it seems they’re pinned, Fett shows up and single-handedly takes out the rest of the troopers. What few that are left retreat back to their ships when they see him, of all things, launch darts from his greaves.
As the two troop transport ships head back toward orbit, Fett uses the rock on his back to take them out. He hits the higher ship, which crashes into the lower ship, which brings them down to the ground in a large fireball, which Fett cooly ignores.
“Nice shot.” Says Mando.
“I was aiming for the other one” says Fett.
And then a laser blast from above the clouds obliterates the Razor Crest. Fett takes off to get Slave I, and Moff Gideon dispatches Dark Troopers (heavily armoured droid troopers with rocket feet that allows them to fly) to retrieve Grogu, who Mando and Shand can’t get to in time. Fett follows the droids back to their base and sees the imperial cruiser in orbit, and is stunned.
The cruiser jumps to light speed, and Fett returns to the surface. The only thing that survived the destruction o the Razor Crest is the beskar spear obtained in the last episode and Fett lets Mando know that they are now indebted to him he and Shand will help get Grogu back.
Fett and Shand take Mando to see Cara Dune, now a republic marshal and asks her to look up Mayfeld, the mercenary played by Bill Burr last seen last season. Meanwhile, Moff Gideon visits Grogu in his cell and finds the little tyke tossing stormtroopers across the room. He realizes that using the force makes Grogu sleepy, and gloats a little, and then has a stormtrooper stun him and bind him. He orders an encrypted communication sent to Dr Pershing that they have recovered “the donor” before the episode cuts to black.
This episode was a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, the action was good, on the other with a title like “The Tragedy” (and that it is sixth out of eight in the season) it was hard not to see the ending coming. This was the end of the second act of this season, and the final two episodes will be centred on getting Grogu and his dad back together.
I must also admit that I’ve never really gotten what the big deal about Boba Fett is until now he was little more than a suit of armour, but it was nice to can him as the warrior that the fandom has always imagined him as being. Temura Morrison gets most of the best action in the episode, and I particularly enjoyed the fights before him getting his armour back where he is laying waste to stormtroopers using the gaderffii. That thing always looked kind of silly to me but turns out that it’s a hell of a thing in the right hands.
I don’t quite know how I feel about seeing Gideon taunting a child, but we do have to set him up as evil, I suppose. Seeing the Dark Troopers was kind of cool as I don’t think that they have appeared outside of the video games before*.
I think my favourite part of the episode came at the beginning. Every time Mando says Grogu’s name and Grogu looks up is adorable, and Mando trying to talk himself out of loving the kid and wanting them to stay together. There’s a moment when Mando says that he can’t possibly train Grogu and that Grogu will need to go with the Jedi, and the look on Grogu’s face is “but I’d rather stay with you, dad” that hit me right in the feels.
Still, the episode was the first that I didn’t really connect with. Not to say it wasn’t well made, but it was only fine. As much as I joke that this series is Fan Service: A Star Wars Story, this is the first one that really felt like a fan fiction story to me, and that’s a little disappointing. At least it started building toward something though, and wasn’t just another episode of Mando goes to a place for help and ends up on a side quest! So yeah. Mixed. I’m gonna go with mixed on this one.
It looks like we’ll have Boba Fett and Fennec Shand for the next two episodes though, and while I still have mixed feelings about including Boba Fett in this series, there’s no such thing as too much Ming-Na Wen. Given that Mando is on his way to breaking Mayfeld out of prison, I wonder who else he’ll be recruiting to help. My bet is on everyone. We’ll have to wait at least another week to be sure!
- Ming-Na Wen shooting a bunch of bad guys was cool, but I wish she had a martial arts sequence too.
- Pour one out for the Razor Crest. I am going to miss your clearly-inspired-by-clone-troop-transports design.
- Boba Fett seeing the light cruiser and then seeming shocked that the empire had returned felt a little strange given how many stormtroopers they had just killed.
- Was it just me or did Boba Fett’s armour seem a bit ill-fitting?
- Obligatory mention of Ludwig Göransson’s score here. It’s still awesome.
- Temura Morrison is a good actor. He should be more famous than he is.
- I am sure there is a story about how he still has Slave I, but I don’t know if I want them to tell it.
- At some point someone in Star Wars needs to realize that parking your ship and leaving the door open is a bad idea, right?
- Update: it’s been pointed out that I didn’t mention that Robert Rodriguez directed this episode. Robert Rodriguez directed this episode. Given that information, I would have expected more, which is why I didn’t mention it.