Although the episode had several enjoyable moments, here’s why the first episode of The Mandalorian season 2 failed to live up to the hype and move the story forward.
The highly anticipated second season of The Mandalorian dropped its first episode, and though it was thoroughly entertaining and the visuals were impressive, the episode, unfortunately, didn’t live up to the narrative hype created by the first season. When the first season ended, Din Djarin was beginning a journey to find the Child’s homeworld and, as fans of the franchise recognized immediately, an answer to the long-awaited question of where Jedi Master Yoda came from.
With only a few episodes per season, there’s a lot of ground to cover in a condensed amount of time. This would seem to mean exploring new worlds and discovering clues to the Child’s origin. Plus, fans have been anticipating this season for months to see fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano in live-action for the first time. But instead of moving the story forward, the first episode found Mando returning to Tatooine, which would have been fine if it felt necessary. Unfortunately, it felt much like the first time Mando went to Tatooine in season 1: unnecessary fan service and little more. I love Tatooine as much as any Star Wars fan, but how many times do we really need to revisit this planet?
1. Did we really need Cobb Vanth?
The return of Amy Sedaris as Tatooine mechanic Peli Motto was a welcome sight, but she was in the episode so briefly that it hardly mattered. And then Mando encounters a character that only the most diehard of Star Wars fans would have recognized: Cobb Vanth, a character introduced in interlude chapters of Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy of novels that chronicle the official end of the Empire after Return of the Jedi. In those novels, it’s alluded that Cobb Vanth found Boba Fett’s armor and became somewhat of a sheriff on Tatooine, establishing order where it was lacking.
Timothy Olyphant does an excellent job portraying the character and will certainly make an enjoyable addition to the show if he returns past the first episode, but at this point, it’s not clear why he was added to the show beyond connecting us to the most significant example of unnecessary fan service in the show so far: the return of Boba Fett. Boba Fett, portrayed by Temuera Morrison (who played Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones and served as the model of all the clone troopers), makes an appearance in the episode’s last few seconds.
2. Is Boba Fett really necessary?
Again, bringing Boba Fett back would be fine if he felt necessary, and maybe he will as the season progresses, but at this point, it feels like the show’s creators are just trying to take advantage of including a fan-favorite character just for the sake of including him. When we last saw Boba Fett, he fell into the Sarlacc Pit in Return of the Jedi. It’s always been assumed that he died, but The Mandalorian makes clear that he survived somehow. This puts a huge narrative burden on the show’s writers to develop a believable explanation of how he survived, but there’s an even bigger burden to explain why he would still be hanging out on Tatooine after all this time.
3. Isn’t there more to Baby Yoda?
Finally, it feels like someone needs to mention the issue of Baby Yoda in this episode. I love him as much as anyone, but in this episode in particular, he felt like an unnecessary prop that the camera keeps lingering on for no reason. It probably didn’t help that I watch most television with subtitles on, and Baby Yoda “coos” an inordinate amount of times. Baby Yoda’s cute, for sure, but this episode made it feel like the show’s creators are just trying to milk the cute factor for all its worth. Shouldn’t there be more to the character of Baby Yoda than being cute?
4. Good by itself but a letdown in context
By itself, the first episode of season 2 was an enjoyable piece of television, but as the premiere of a new season, it failed to move the story forward and felt more like a filler episode than a vital piece of the story. The krayt dragon and the team up with the Tusken Raiders to defeat it was fun, but The Mandalorian doesn’t need to rely solely on stunning special effects, huge set pieces, and unnecessary fan service to be successful. Given the success of the first season, I’m confident the season will pick up, but the first episode was an unfortunate letdown.
What did you think about the premiere episode of The Mandalorian season 2? Was it flawed or was it flawless?