New planet, some familiar faces, and a surprising amount of answers. This week’s episode of The Mandalorian has a lot to discuss.
Oh man! The latest episode of The Mandalorian, titled “The Heiress,” has arrived on Disney+ and brings the goods in terms of action and story. There’s plenty to break down, but as always, I’ll be diving heavy into spoilers and what they could mean for the future.
Chapter 11 picks up pretty much where we left off from before. The Razor Crest, fresh from the ice spider attack, is limping through space. They’ve managed to make it to their destination, the planet Trask, to deliver the Frog Lady to her husband and hopefully discover more Mandalorians.
After a rocky landing and a touching reunion, Din Djarin and the Child finds himself on a boat in the middle of the ocean planet. The Quarren captain isn’t on the level, however, and only wants to kill Din and take his Beskar armor. Once the captain tries to feed the Child to the monstrous looking “Mamacore” creature, he traps Din in the hold and tries to drown him.
It’s a relatively simple trap, all things considered, but it really goes to show how attached Din has become to the Child. It’s more than just finding a home for him, the parental relationship is apparent and the care he shows is truly touching. This is clear throughout this episode as we see Din in a more direct parental role; chastising the Child while dropping him off with the Frog people for babysitting and generally interacting together more.
The bond between the two is clearly strong and growing ever stronger. Again, I’m starting to wonder what will happen when/if Din finds the Child’s people. Will he be able to let him go? Will the Child even want to go? There’s potential there for some serious emotional storytelling and I’m both eager and terrified to see it play out.
Anyway, things are looking pretty dire for Din and the Child trapped in the hold of the ship. They’re ultimately rescued by the very people he’s trying to find: Mandalorians. It would be easy to miss their names (since they didn’t really give them out except for one) here’s the three Mandalorians Din dealt with in this episode:
Bo-Katan Kryze: Katee Sackhoff reprises her role from The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, this time in live-action form. We’ll talk more about here in a bit.
Koska Reeves: This is Sasha Banks’ (Mercedes Varnado) character that we saw in the first trailer. It’s nice to have a name and confirmation she’s not another known character from the previous shows.
Axe Woves: Played by Simon Kassianides.
As has been the case with the past couple episodes, in order for Din to get more information on what he wants to know (a path to the Jedi), he has to complete a “job” for another. Instead of fighting a giant monster or ferrying a passenger, the mission this time is to help Bo-Katan and her team with taking down an Imperial Freighter to get back some of their gear.
By helping them out, Bo-Katan promises information about where to find the Jedi, a group of people she has plenty of familiarity with. It turns out Trask isn’t a simple fishing export planet, but instead serves as a major black market port. Hordes of Mandalorian equipment and material have been stored on the planet and Bo-Katan is there with her followers to steal it back from the Imperials trying to take it all.
Her ultimate goal? Put a new Mandalore on the Throne and retake their home planet.
Mandalore is the ruler of the Mandalorians and has roots in both the old Expanded Universe material, much of which was brought into Canon thanks to The Clone Wars and Rebels. As such, this is a fairly big name/lore drop and sets up for some larger happenings in the galaxy far, far away.
We learn that Bo is after more than just blasters and Mandalorian equipment…she’s specifically after the Darksaber. The last time we saw the Darksaber was in the hands of Moff Gideon at the end of last season and that’s been one of the biggest questions fans have been wondering about.
Before Gideon had it, the Darksaber was in the hands of Bo-Katan, given to her by Sabine Wren during Star Wars Rebels. I won’t dive into this deeper as you can read more about it from our Chapter 8 recap.
It’s a connecting thread that points to Bo-Katan and Din crossing paths once again. After all, we know Moff Gideon isn’t done searching for The Child, and Bo-Katan needs the Darksaber back to help unite the Mandalorian clans once again. Seems like they’ll all be heading for a showdown sooner or later.
Despite making a surprise change in the deal, Bo-Katan gives Din the information he craves. He directs him to the city of Calodan on the forest planet Corvus, which is where he’ll find Ahsoka Tano…
The Larger Story
Yep, that’s right. Ahsoka Tano herself gets a name-drop in today’s episode of The Mandalorian. Though she’s only appeared in the cartoon series’ so far Ahsoka has become an iconic character in Star Wars and for fans.
The last time we saw Ahsoka was at the tail-end of Star Wars Rebels. Having been rescued by Ezra Bridger in the “World Between Worlds” she popped up in the finale (taking place after Return of the Jedi) and joins Sabine as they set out on a journey to find out what exactly happened to Ezra after he warped into hyperspace with Grand Admiral Thrawn.
It’s a story thread fans have been eager to see picked up and rumors of a follow-up animated series to Rebels would supposedly cover it. Since The Mandalorian takes places 5 (ish) years after Return of the Jedi and that episode, it’ll be interesting to see what Ahsoka is up to at the moment. Has she already found Ezra and will we learn anything about it? Or is that a story for another show down the road?
For what it’s worth, I don’t suspect we’ll get many answers about what Ahsoka is/has been up to in The Mandalorian, but she’ll definitely help move the current story forward in a big way. Since she trained with Master Yoda during The Clone Wars, she’ll most certainly recognize The Child. Perhaps in her travels over the years she’ll have encountered more of his species and can direct Din where to go.
The biggest implication of all of this, of course, is that we’re starting to see Din interact with the larger story going on in Star Wars. While he’s still on his own quest, his path is coming into contact with other story threads we’ve seen seeded throughout the years.
By far, “The Heiress” has the most direct connections to previous story material so far. I love seeing how plot threads from other shows are beginning to play out here, and it’s offering some payoffs for the big interconnected canon Lucasfilm has been pushing since the Disney purchase. From Cobb Vanth (a book character) to Bo-Katan and Ahsoka, fans are being treated to some cool things.
I also love how it’s been handled so far. They’ve been introduced in a way that manages to appeal to viewers who AREN’T familiar with the ancillary material (like the books/cartoon shows). Even without seeing the exploits of Bo-Katan, her introduction in “The Heiress” sets her up as a badass Mandalorian with a history and a purpose. You don’t need The Clone Wars to get that setup or see where things might be heading.
That said, fans who’ve watched the cartoon shows are obviously freaking out and excited to see her make the jump to live-action. Not going to lie…I squealed when popped off her helmet. Hell, even her blasters shoot out yellow lasers just as in the cartoon!
Finally Explaining the Helmet Thing
This is the way. That’s a motto we’ve seen espoused frequently on the show and is a driving factor in character decision making. One of those ways that some fans have been trying to figure out, is the idea that Mandalorians cannot take off their helmets. It makes sense in terms of the specific show and what we know of his character, but it’s an idea that hasn’t exactly lined up in the rest of Star Wars canon.
As we saw in Clone Wars and Rebels, Mandalorians frequently took their helmets OFF. Hell, even Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones didn’t wear his helmet until it was time to work.
Today brought answers. As many fans have suspected/speculated over the past year, Din Djarin and the Mandalorians we saw in his covert are part of an entirely different sect. Considering Mandalorians are essentially tribes/clans of people it makes sense that different sects would have different rules. Turns out, Din’s clan is extreme even for others.
Bo-Katan refers to Din as a “Child of the Watch” and the “Children of the Watch” as a religious CULT. They seemingly want to re-establish the ancient ways or “The Way of the Mandalore.” On the surface it would seem like their goals are the same, but the ways they go about it will bring them into conflict.
I’m very curious to see how these different sects will play out in the bigger story, especially as Din comes into more contact with them. It’s a revelation that, understandably, rocks his world and could bring about some other story ideas that I hope to see revisited. Either way, it’s great to have a firm explanation about the discrepancies in the helmet lore we’ve seen.
Though it was one of the shorter episodes this season, it packed in the action and helped move the story forward in some meaningful ways. We have a name/destination for the next stop on his quest, but I don’t think we’ll go there immediately. Mainly because we know that Carl Weathers is directing the next episode (which he revealed online) which will most likely bring us back to Nevarro (from the first season).
It’s been clear that all the footage we’ve seen in the trailers released have come from these first three episodes…except for the scenes featuring Cara Dune and Greef Carga. So it would make sense for those to come from the next episode, leaving the back half of the season completely untouched/unseen.
Din is in some dire need of repairs on the ship. Even though it’s now functional, it’s far from optimal. I’m guessing he’ll want to go to ground somewhere he knows is safe so he can get his ship back in fighting shape before heading to his next destination. Nevarro seems like the perfect spot.
He can trust Greef and Cara and potentially check in with the Armorer, who remained on planet in the covert at the end of last season. He could provide updates on his quest while getting more advice/information (possibly on the other sect he’s encountered).
As for the larger story of the season, it seems clear we’re heading for another big showdown with Moff Gideon. I suspect, much like happened in the last season, Din will end up recruiting the allies he’s met in these first episodes (Cobb, Bo-Katan, maybe even Ahsoka?) in order to help fight back and keep the Child safe. This could also get him back to Tatooine which could help tie-off the still dangling Boba Fett thread.
The Heiress features plenty of Easter eggs for fans, even beyond the major character appearances. Let’s take a gander:
OI-CT (Crane Walker) – Early in the episode we see a Crane Walker hauling the Razor Crest out of the water. It looks like a smaller version of the Crane Walker that you can see in the beginning of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Gozanti Freighter – The freighter the Mandalorians are attacking is an Imperial Gozanti cruiser. While fans will recognize it from many appearances throughout The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels (where it featured in plenty of battles/episodes), it was actually first seen in The Phantom Menace.
Titus Welliver – If the Imperial Captain looked familiar, that’s because he was played by Titus Welliver, who’s appeared in Deadwood, Bosch, and Sons of Anarchy to name a few. It was a fun cameo and he played the Imperial role perfectly.
Kevin Dorff – Another, “hey I know that guy” actor that pops up is Kevin Dorff, who plays the unlucky Imperial in the cargo hold. He’s had funny parts in The Office, Parks and Recreation, Brooklynn-99, and many others.
Mon Cala Galore – Always a treat to see familiar aliens in Star Wars and today brought plenty. On top of the aforementioned Quarren, there are a whole bunch of Mon Cala walking around the floating city.
A Character Death? – This isn’t so much an Easter egg as a lingering question. Bo-Katan mentions that she’s the “Last of her line” in the episode, which makes one wonder. Her sister, Satine Kryze, was the Duchess/leader of Mandalore before she was killed by Darth Maul, but she wasn’t the only Kryze there.
Korkie Kryze was their nephew, and helped rescue Satine (with the aid of Ahsoka) during the initial takeover by Pre-Vizla. Korkie didn’t show up in the final season of The Clone Wars, but there was no reason to think he was dead. Does Bo-Katan’s line here indicate that Korkie is also dead? If so, was it at the hands of Moff Gideon when he stole the Darksaber?
There was a lot to love about today’s episode and I’m eager to see where the story goes next. Bryce Dallas Howard (who also directed Chapter 4 last season) has shown some impressive skills in handling the action and pacing of this episode; leaving me wanting more Star Wars stories from her.