[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Mandalorian, Season 2, Episode 4, “The Siege.”]
Arrived halfway The Mandalorian With Season 2, this seems like a timely time to see how far the groundbreaking Emmy-nominated drama has come in recent weeks. And the answer at the action level is “not far”. In four episodes, each lasting over half an hour, if not longer, Mando did a great job bringing his ship to its knees, battling a ferocious array of alien creatures, making new friends, and each other again connecting with some old people and keeping Baby Yoda alive while trying to track down someone who knows where Baby Yoda’s people might be.
It is understandable when you are frustrated with the current show. it certainly doesn’t feel as electrifying as it did in its first season. But a lot of the frustration with The Mandalorian depends on what the show is supposed to be, not what the show is. Certain patterns have been set, including a far more leisurely pace than we’re used to from our Star Wars stories: every episode has not lacked in action: Chapter 9’s Krayt Dragon Confrontation, Chapter 10’s Escape From The Ice Spiders, Chapter’s Heist Adventure 11 and Chapter 12’s attack on the Imperial base were anything but expertly crafted action set pieces around which an episode can be structured. But the problem is their varying degrees of materiality.
I’m not the first to say the story structure can’t help but evoke traditional video games (“Mando, I need you to do myself a favor”) has become so repetitive that the drinking game -Player must be careful) – especially side quests, which technically take the plot a little further thanks to some new information. But the reason quests are compelling is because there are strong characters at their core. Our protagonist Din Djarin (in case you forgot, that’s Mando’s real name) has always been hard to bring to life as anything more than a cipher, and so far this season has missed outstanding moments like his surprisingly tender connection with the hot widow Omera (Julia Jones) last season. His only notable personal growth – he didn’t trust droids until IG-11 sacrificed his life for him in the season one finale – isn’t much to hold onto a character, especially when you can’t see his face.
Image via Disney +
Sure, his relentless loyalty to Baby Yoda makes him our precious space daddy, but while some of the best comedies on the series are from him struggling with parental responsibilities, there’s also a very neglected subplot about Mando’s fitness as a parent – such as why he thinks it is a good idea to ask his young community to help with dangerous repairs on the ship …
Look, it’s so easy to get into the details of The Mandalorian thanks to the show because those details figuratively and literally exist on the edges of the Star Wars universe and a fascinating look throwing on a story world that we normally only understand on an epic scale. One of the big moments of this season so far has been Chapter 9’s look back at the night the second Death Star was destroyed, as witnessed by the people of Mos Pelgo: a moment of triumph observed from afar, only for thanks to the Mining Collective rushes in to ruin the party – a reminder that power always abhors a vacuum.
But sometimes this sense of scale feels like it. Our own Vinnie Mancuso put it best when tackling the most controversial topic of our time:
We all understand Baby Yoda’s massive popularity (and meme ability) by now, but it’s not something to stick with an entire story. Again the question is, how cute would Baby Yoda have to be so that I don’t go super crazy that he just devours the unborn children of a woman who is just trying to get home to her husband? Apparently, kind of cuter than that!
Fittingly at halftime, Chapter 12, “The Siege,” provided some real and substantive information on exactly why Baby Yoda is a point of interest to the Empire (yep, we’re talking about Midi-Chlorians again, y’all). And the back half of the season could speed up the action, now that Mando seems to have the key pieces he needs to get closer to his one goal: reuniting Baby Yoda with his people.
Image via Disney +
And let’s talk about it by the way, since it’s probably the only big decision coming soon to our buddy Din that could define him as a character: he clearly loves the kid as the show will always insist on calling him, but Is it going to be difficult for him to let go? Of all the likely things to come this season, including the arrival of Ahsoka Tano and a duel with Moff Gideon and his dark sword, that’s what intrigues me the most, because this sequence will tell us more about this person than that a thousand slapdowns by stormtroopers.
It’s also a moment that is one of many completely independent of the Star Wars main narrative that is a huge part of its attraction to its creators. Anyone who plays in a sandpit as well-established as this knows that at the end of the day, they’re playing with someone else’s toys. However, Mike Ryan of Uproxx brought up the idea of this creator this week Jon Favreau is literally influenced by toys – especially the Kenner Star Wars line, which Boba Fett made a childhood obsession for so many in the late 1970s. executive producer Dave Filoni in his own way he also plays with toys – specifically with pre-determined characters like Bo-Katan and Ahsoka Tano from last week’s animated series.
And that’s good! Despite uncomfortable beats, dialogues a million miles away, and the occasional instances of a toddler attempting genocide, I have to say I have fun here! After months without a movie theater, it’s hard to get mad at a show that only delivers space battles and wise aliens on a smaller scale than usual Timothy Olyphant Olyphant do things. Hell, it was nice to see Gina Carano returning this week (despite her recent social media antics which give me reason enough to wish Cara Dune would pull a poochie when she probably can’t get back to her home planet too early?).
Most importantly, the calm way in which this approach to the Star Wars universe feels a bit wilder, more dangerous and also more inclusive than before is all to be commended. But to really embrace it, one has to get into the idea of just playing with Space Lone Wolf and Cub together, patiently waiting for the few things we know will happen, and in the meantime just those Enjoying views, whether that’s beautifully rendered digital vistas, Timothy Olyphant doing Olyphant things, land speeders falling over the cliffs, or Baby Yoda misbehaving. It’s hard to get so excited about the goal now. But it’s not difficult to enjoy the trip.
New episodes of The Mandalorian season two appear every Friday on Disney +.
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About the author
Liz Shannon Miller
(170 articles published)
Liz Shannon Miller is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has been speaking about television on the internet since the dawn of the internet. She is currently Senior TV Editor at Collider. Her work has also been published by Vulture, Variety, the AV Club, the Hollywood Reporter, IGN, The Verge, and Thought Catalog. She’s also a Produced Playwright, a variety of podcasts, and a collection of “X-Files” trivia. Follow her on Twitter at @lizlet.
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