We return to some familiar ground, and familiar faces, in Chapter 12 of The Mandalorian, an episode entitled, “The Seige.” The Mon Calamari patch job on the Razorcrest simply isn’t cutting it and instead of being able to head to Corvus in pursuit of finding Ahsoka Tano, our hero needs to find a place to set down, take some time, and get that ship – ship shape. Mando’s attempt to have Baby Yoda do some wiring ends in a smoky mess and results in a peaceful moment of contemplation and tea together. A fun moment from start to finish.
Getting to Corvus in a ramshackle ship is problematic. With that in mind, Mando and The Child head to some familiar stomping grounds – Navarro – and the chance to reconnect with Greef Carga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano). I’ll straigiht out tell you that these two were some of my favorites characters from the first season, so getting the chance to dial into them once again was a treat. First, this whole kerfuffle with regards to Carano playing Dune bothers the hell out of me as I think she is a wonderful mix of physical strength and womanly intuition and smarts. She’s tough and capable and Carano plays the hell out of her.
I think she does a wonderful job with the role and would hate to see her have to leave it because of outside pressures, etc. Secondly, Weathers makes his directorial debut on “The Seige” and felt like he delivered a fun episode that moved the plot along enough to keep it away from “filler episode” status. There was a fun chase on land, an aerial battle and some really meaty information on the Imperial influences that are still hanging around the outer rim of the galaxy. And that’s some good stuff, man.
Naturally, Mando lands on Navarro, meets up with his two pals – both of whom have risen high since he last saw them. Carga essentially runs things in a city that has gone pretty darn legit. Dune is the town marshal and we get to see her busting up some illicit activity that involves blasters, knives and some rollicking action sequences that are simply a joy to behold. It’s all right in the wheelhouse of both these characters. Unfortunately, there’s trouble. Let’s face it, Mando can’t set down anywhere these days without someone having need of his special skill set. He kind of reminds me of David Carradine’s character in the TV series “Kung Fun.” As Kwai-Chang Caine, he didn’t land anywhere that his services weren’t needed.
Here’s the set-up. Navarro is nearly an idyllic place these days except for the remnants of an Imperial base on the other side of the planet. It’s here that Moff Gideon got the troops for his attack on our heroes in season 1 and it’s here that Carga notes there is still danger. If they can get rid of the base and the skeleton crew (note that phrase) that mans it, the planet will be free and can become even my idyllic for everyone. They only need Din Djarin to jump in with them for a quickie hit-and-run mission to destroy the base.
Now naturally it isn’t that cut-and-dried (It never is, right?). What we find is a fully functioning research facility with a huge compliment of troopers, weaponry up the ying-yang, and the very stark realization that something unspeakable has been going on here and that, yes, it involves The Child. Personally, I loved the whole “we’ll sneak in quietly and overload a system to cause an explosion” trope because there’s usually a breakdown in the sneaky part and therein we get some fun running firefights. And that’s what happens here. The explosion is set to occur, but they are discovered and need to fight there way out.
Should be noted that Horatio Sanz plays the Mythrol character we saw get frozen in carbonite in the series’ very first episode. He’s working the books for Carga now to pay off a large debt and is recruited into the mission – first as a driver, then gets more involved to keep himself safe. It’s a fun character with just the right amount of fear and cynical outlook to give things a lighter touch when the tension builds. And, he’s got some skills. What we find is a lab with deformed subjects in liquid, then a holo-video recording of another character from the very first episode, Dr. Pershing (Played by Omid Abtahi), explaining the failure of what seems like a continuing experiment.
The deformed corpses certainly have an impact on our quartet, as does the continued explanation from the doctor – he could only extract a small amount of blood from the “subject,” whom we deduce quickly is The Child. We learn that they are most likely after Midichlorians as the doctor refers to the “M’ they need more of. Are we seeing the beginnings of the attempt to resurrect Snoke or the first steps at finding a pathway to life for Palpatine? It’s not immediately clear what the goal of the experiments have been, only that The Child holds the key to whatever it is they want to do.
It’s a bit terrifying to know that the Empire not only still exists in a somewhat limited form in the outer edges of the galaxy, but is organized, well-funded and certainly not about to let its way of life drift away. It certainly adds an interesting layer to the Mandalorian as we move forward as we now sense that The Child, The Empire, The Mandalorian, and Moff Gideon would seem to be on a collision course at some point in this season, or perhaps seasons ahead.
Speaking of Moff Gideon, we know that he’s heading up this scientific effort as the halo-message was directed at him and finished with a promise by the good doctor to not disappoint him again. The Moff Gideon story arc is becoming increasingly interesting. He’s got the Darksaber (which Bo-Katan is after) and would seem due to meet Djarin and The Child at some point. We also discover that an operative of his on Navarro, who was involved in fixing the Razorcrest, has placed a tracking device in the ship. Gideon turns to one of his shipboard associates and notes that this time they’ll be ready.
It was kind of a chilly moment and one that Giancarlo Esposito pulls off with easy malice. I think he’s really good in this role and even when we get the merest snippets of him on-screen, you just know he’s a cool customer with a ruthless and brutal streak. He’s Empire through and through and while the oak tree that was the empire has been damaged, its roots are still there – and dangerous.
The escape from the Imperial science station was a rollicking good time as soldiers were off in hot pursuit of our escaping heroes. We got the chance to see several Imperial conveyances we are very familiar with, including Tie Fighters. We also got a fun little call-back to a young Luke Skywalker as Carga was forced into the gunner’s chair as they made their escape and showed that same youthful enthusiasm as he shot down his pursuers.
And then Mando shows up, having jetted ahead to make sure The Child was safe. He’s back with the revamped Razorcrest and takes to the skies to do battle with the Tie Fighters. I like a good chase scene and this one, based on land and then in the air, was a treat. Just the right amount of tactical acumen and brazen gutsiness all around, eventually culminating in Djarin destroying the last of the pursuers. This was an action sequence that didn’t last too long, but packed plenty of fun in its time on-screen.
In the end, the Imperial facility was blown sky-high, the planet of Navarro can now fully realize its potential with Carga and Dune forming a very smart and tough duo. The Mandalorian can now head off to Corvus with a Baby Yoda that found a new snack to savor while on Navarro, but struggled to keep it down while flying in combat with Mando. It’s cute, it’s fun and you can’t help but smile as Mando is rolling 360’s in evasive maneuvers and The Child, arms spread wide, a smile on his face, shrieks with approval at it all. The fact he then barfs on himself is probably about as “right on” a moment as there was.
There are some wonderful threads starting to come together in this season’s The Mandalorian. I have fully enjoyed the lonesome cowboy vibe that this show has developed around Mando and his young charge. The relationship between The Child and Djarin has grown and morphed into something kind of special and that’s been fun, as have been the worlds and adventures they’ve both been part of. But it feels as though we are entering a bit of a new phase as it would seem that we have a better idea of who the players are and what some of the stakes might be.
I look forward to seeing Moff Gideon, Mando, and perhaps Ahsoka Tano and Bo-Katan coming together for what would be a lively gathering. Yes, it feels as though storm clouds are gathering a bit and that there are several characters that have a date with each other. And some may not live to tell the tale. The Mandalorian’s second season has been a wonderful extension of the first season and that’s been such a delight to experience. As I sit her now, I’m already ready for more.
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