Season 2 of The Mandalorian got off to a slow start, but the creators have made up for it with two exciting episodes that promise more thrills in the season’s second half.
The first season of The Mandalorian had a fun Star Wars western-in-space feel to it, and not only was it a compelling new Star Wars story, it was filled with fun little nods to Star Wars lore throughout. It was a show for Star Wars fans, but it was also an introduction to the Star Wars galaxy for a new generation of fans. Although it was only eight episodes in length, the first season of The Mandalorian covered a lot of territory, revealing the still tenuous state of the galaxy after the fall of the Empire and briefly alluding to the mythology surrounding the Jedi. As the season came to an end, Mando was tasked with returning the Child to the Jedi, setting up an exciting premise for the show’s second season.
The last several months have been filled with speculation about The Mandalorian‘s second season, from rumors about Anakin Skywalker’s former padawan Ahsoka Tano making an appearance to a return of fan-favorite Boba Fett. Fans have certainly been ready to continue the journey with Mando and the Child.
And now we’re four episodes into the second season. Has it lived up to the hype?
An initial failure to launch
The second season began with a somewhat failure to launch. Although fun and packed with fan servicing elements, the first episode failed to move the overall story forward, making it more of a filler episode than a plot-necessary episode. The episode saw Mando return to Tatooine and introduced us to a character created by author Chuck Wendig in his series of post-Return of the Jedi novels, Aftermath. Cobb Vanth acts as a local sheriff or marshal on Tatooine who wears Boba Fett’s armor, which helps him to establish justice and order in Tatooine society. Fett, we previously believed, died on Tatooine as a result of falling into the Sarlacc pit. The end of the episode briefly reveals that Fett is actually very much alive, still living on Tatooine.
When filler episodes are okay
The episode also features an epic battle joining citizens of Tattoine with Tusken Raiders to take on the legendary krayt dragon. Again, the episode was fun and interesting, but if season 2 is to be about Mando finding the Jedi, this episode ended with him being no closer to reaching that goal. Fans of the first episode argue that filler episodes are perfectly reasonable to show the development of a character, which I agree with if you’re dealing with a 22-24 episode season. The Mandalorian, however, is only a short eight episodes in length, which means that the show’s creators are incredibly limited by the amount of time they have to tell their story and move the plot forward.
An even slower episode 2
Episode 2 had more of the filler quality to it with Mando taking a journey to the ocean moon of Trask with a mysterious frog lady who needs protection for her and her eggs on the journey. Mando, the Child, and the frog lady are sidelined, however, on an icy planet after a confrontation with New Republic pilots. Other than revealing that the Child has a dark side to him as he eats several of the frog lady’s eggs, the episode again failed to move the plot of the story forward.
The best episodes of the series so far
Season 2 was a slow start with the first two episodes, but episodes 3 and 4 were the redemptive arc the season needed to pick the story up off the ground. Episode 3 introduced a Star Wars fan-favorite from the animated series The Clone Wars, Bo-Katan Kryze. Played by Katee Sackhoff and accompanied by two other Mandalorians, including one played by WWE wrestler Sasha Banks, Bo-Katan reveals to Mando that she is the rightful heir to the throne of Mandalore.
Why Mando refuses to remove the mask
This episode introduced the super interesting concept of Mando belonging to a group of religious zealots who broke off from Mandalorian society to re-establish the ancient way of the Mandalore. This answered the pressing question of why Mando refuses to take off his mask to allow his face to be seen when we’ve seen so many Mandalorian faces in the past. I look forward to seeing this explored further because it has so much potential for Mando’s character and an opportunity to learn more about Mandalorian history and society.
Teasing Ahsoka Tano
The episode ended with Bo-Katan sending Mando on a journey to find Ahsoka Tano, which is probably the character fans are most interested in seeing because she’s been so important to the franchise ever since her introduction in The Clone Wars and reappearance in Star Wars Rebels. The Mandalorian will be her first live-action appearance, and although episode 3 ended with a promise of her appearance, episode 4 doesn’t quite get us to her yet.
A return to Nevarro and a return of Midichlorians
Instead, Mando needs to repair his ship, which takes him back to Nevarro where he joins a mission with Greef Karga and Cara Dune to destroy an Imperial base. This episode broadened the overall mythology of Star Wars by interestingly re-introducing the concept of midi-chlorians, an aspect of the prequel trilogy that fans have been divided over for years. It seems that the Empire and Moff Gideon want the Child because of his high midi-chlorian count. It’s suggested that the Child’s blood cells are being used in some sort of cloning experiments. Is Moff Gideon trying to clone Emperor Palpatine? Snoke? Someone else? We don’t know yet, but the idea that Moff Gideon wants Baby Yoda because of his Force sensitivity for some reason is intriguing.
Four episodes in, The Mandalorian is still a fun show that’s exploring a vast ocean of Star Wars mythology. Although the first two episodes were slow-going, episodes 3 and 4 have been two of the best episodes of the series yet, and the next few should be very exciting with the introduction of Ahsoka Tano and a glimpse into the state of the Jedi five years after Return of the Jedi.