As The Mandalorian Season 2 reached its halfway point, some of the first season’s supporting characters made their long-awaited – or long-dreaded – returns to the show.  A couple characters with actors from Asian countries also made brief re-appearances, to help set up storylines for the season’s mysterious second half.  One appeared too briefly to spotlight just yet, but I will discuss the other’s surprising and slightly substantial scene at the end of this review – in a section more spoileriffic than usual.

Before I begin the review proper, I should admit that I can’t defend Gina Carano’s disrespectful behavior on social media, and that I continue enjoying The Mandalorian by reminding myself that her toxic beliefs don’t reflect those of Team Mando as a whole.  Even though I’ll continue to review these episodes uncut, I feel the need to keep discussion on Cara Dune to a bare minimum.

Brief Thoughts on Chapter 11

  • 11. The Heiress: A tense crossover with cartoons I haven’t really seen myself tops all of the other chapters in the first half of Season 2, as it delivers devastating expansion of Din’s and ours knowledge of different Mandalorian upbringings.

The Siege

Airdate: November 20, 2020
Director: Carl Weathers
Writer: Jon Faveau

If we could take out that one last base, Nevarro would be completely safe.-Greef Karga

Din Djarin prepares the Razor Crest for his clan’s visit to Ahsoka Tano, by taking a side trip to Nevarro for repairs.  Din and the Child catch up with their friends Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano), now respectively the magistrate and the marshal of a town that they’ve begun renovating into a trade anchor.  When Greef enlists Din, Cara, and a bookkeeping Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) in a mission to destroy a nearby Imperial base, the four of them learn that an enemy they thought dead has a horrifying scheme in store.

While marketing often tries to emphasize Weathers and Carano equally with Pedro Pascal, “The Siege” technically marks only their characters’ second team up, if you combine Chapters 7: “The Reckoning” and 8: “Redemption”.  Throughout both stories, Din, Greef, and Cara demonstrate a believable camaraderie.  This one in particular feels more action-packed, and allows all three of them equal opportunities to shine in battle.  The trio’s escapes from the Imperial base prove visually stimulating, climaxing with a refreshingly thrilling and necessary role reversal of times someone had to come out of nowhere to rescue Din.  Of course, Din’s relationship with the Child also remains compelling, especially with Din developing signs of separation anxiety, and a temptation to fully open himself up to the kid he might not get to keep.

This chapter demonstrates some effort to connect The Mandalorian with the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, the Skywalker Saga’s only movie trilogy I never finished watching.  These efforts don’t feel too reliant on knowledge of those movies; the most subtle ones help strengthen the worldbuilding I find essential for a quality Star Wars project.  Even the biggest connection works merely as a sign that the Imperial Remnant plans big trouble for the Galaxy, including the Child.

As The Mandalorian strengthens its ties to other pieces of Star Wars media, it runs the risk of overshadowing Din Djarin and the Child with barely-related stories.  This chapter makes that risk apparent, if the viewer laments a missed opportunity to expand upon a revelation Din experienced in Chapter 11: “The Heiress”.  Instead of having Din return to the Mandalorian covert underneath Nevarro, and confront the Armorer over his adoptive Mandalorian tribe indoctrinating him into a cult, “The Siege” simply reveals that the Armorer moved away from Nevarro, and never shows Din entertaining the thought of visiting her.  Personally, I’d feel even more disappointed if this season never fully addresses that revelation again.  Ultimately, “The Siege” manages to provide both simple pleasures, and plot-relevant suspense.

The Return of Captain Teva

Even though I suspected Carson Teva to appear again, I didn’t think it would take this soon for him to interact with any of The Mandalorian‘s other major players.  After Din and the Child leave Nevarro again, the viewer sees Captain Teva discuss the recent events with Greef, then make a job offer to Cara.  Even if Din and his companions seem hesitant to befriend a New Republic captain, his vindicated suspicions of malicious activity in the Outer Rim suggest that he’d share their determination to stop Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito).

Plug

If you’d like a non-toxic place to further discuss The Mandalorian, join the Star Wars Television Discord server, which I help moderate: https://discord.gg/7cGUdCz

By NJ

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