The Mandalorian season 2 premiere review: A return well worth the wait

The Mandalorian is back for season 2, and it’s just as good as you remember (or better than that)!

Long have we waited for season 2 of The MandalorianThough, technically, it hasn’t even been a year since the last episode dropped, nor has it been a year since the season 1 premiere began streaming on Disney+. So Lucasfilm has made quick work of turning around a high-quality production, barely finishing before the pandemic hit.

And with season 1 beginning and ending the series premiere on a high note, that’s just all the more reason to be wary of them striking gold twice with a new season. But if the season 2 opener is any indication of the rest of the season, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.

This review, for everyone’s sake, will largely be spoiler-free. And even some of the more minor things from the premiere are not really worth revealing either, just because this is an episode worth the viewer watching with very little expectations about what’s going to happen next. But needless to say, this is one big rollercoaster ride of emotions, and you’ll be laughing, cheering and gasping — all within the first half of the show.

To put a little context to the episode, the show picks up exactly where it left off. The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) is now on the hunt to find Baby Yoda’s species and return him to his home planet, per the Armorer’s (Emily Swallow) instructions in season 1. This leads Mando to look for a bit of help, hoping that with the proper person, he can be on his way to getting The Child back home. That, like most of the other episodes of season 1, leads him to his first adventure of the week.

Mando and The Child fly to a little town barely on the map. And in exchange for a desired item, Mando agrees to help the town fend off a gargantuan creature with the help of the Tusken Raiders. Already, we’ve said too much! But the episode works so well in following the “next adventure” format that the series has. Sometimes while watching, you have to remind yourself that shows can be formatted as near-standalones, and it’s okay not to follow the Netflix model with shows that are made for bingeing and feel like one long movie. (The closest example of a show like The Mandalorian on TV now would probably be Doctor Who.)

Sometimes, expecting a Netflix series does give the feeling of you wanting more, more and more about the overall plot. “We need to find Baby Yoda’s home! What are you doing at this pit stop? Let’s keep the plot moving!” It’s not really a fault of the show, but more so a part of the culture today. And for those who do lament the non-binge-able aspect of this show, that may end up being a bit of a problem. But we already knew to expect this from season 1.

Still, showrunner Jon Favreau wrote and directed an incredible episode. And Favreau really must have taken to heart fans calling this series a Western because this is the most Western episode we’ll ever see from The Mandalorian. Style-wise, you get the one-street town. The old saloon. Heck, you even get the sheriff who, in this episode, is the marshal — hence the episode’s title “The Marshal.” The episode is filled with sweeping, dramatic aerial shots of this desert town. And Ludwig Göransson’s score does wonders to complement the show once again. It seems like he’s even added a tiny hip-hop element to his score this time around (reminiscent of his works in Tenet and Black Panther). And who knew a little bit of a hip-hop motif could make Mando look that much more bad*ss?

Overall, this episode was superbly done, and I look forward to watching the next seven episodes. (Like last season, there are only eight episodes in season 2.) If you were holding off watching the season 2 premiere of The Mandalorian, you may want to jump on it quick. Spoilers don’t get held off for long, and this episode is filled with a few exciting surprises.

When you have watched the episode, come back here on Dork Side of the Force for a full breakdown of all those surprises and what they mean for the rest of the series.