The Mandalorian returns to a familiar place, with familiar friends, for some repairs only to learn he’s not as safe as once thought. Let’s break it down!
Today marks the mid-way point of this season of The Mandalorian, which brings us back to Nevarro and on another adventure with some friends from the first season. There’s plenty of action to go around and even some tantalizing clues/answers to what’s been going on with regards to other plot lines. Let’s talk about what it all means in our latest (spoiler filled) breakdown.
The More Things Change…
“The Siege” is directed by Carl Weathers, who also returns as Greef Carga in this episode and takes us back to where it all started! In desperate need of repairs for the Razor Crest, Din Djarin heads to familiar territory before continuing his quest for the Jedi, based off his lead from Bo-Katan.
He limps back to Nevarro, after a hilarious moment where Din tries to get The Child to help with repair. Nevarro has changed fairly dramatically since the last time he was there. Greef Carga is once again Magistrate, and has employed Cara Dune as Marshal to keep the peace in the town, while allowing it to thrive into something beyond a simple hub for smugglers and bounty hunters.
In fact, it’s downright respectable now! The episode kicks off as Cara Dune clears out a group of Aquilish who’ve infested the old Mandalorian Covert, right where The Armorer used to do her work. It’s a small moment, but shows the work/effort being put into keeping the town on the up and up now.
Din arrives in clear need of repairs and is welcomed with open arms. Easily one of my favorite moments is seeing Greef react to seeing The Child again. It’s a heartwarming moment that shows how much Greef himself has changed and appreciates how the Child once saved his life.
As they head through the town, seeing merchants and families on the streets, it’s obvious how much better things have become under Greef’s new management style. In fact, the first place they stop by is a brand new school, once the Cantina where Greef used to dole out bounties and where the final showdown with Moff Gideon took place.
Filled with children being taught by a Protocol Droid that looks to be a similar model to C-3PO. It’s the perfect place for The Child to hang out while the adults talk about some…business.
The More They Stay The Same
Turns out, Greef needs Din’s help. Much like the rest of the season so far, Din finds himself working a new job just about everywhere he goes. This time around, Greef and Cara need a hand flushing out the last remaining pocket of Imperial forces on the planet. While they were able to clean up and get things mostly back to normal after ousting Moff Gideon in the previous season, there’s still a small base that remains. Destroying the base, will eliminate the last vestiges of the Empire on the planet, allowing them to be truly free.
Funny enough, the Mythrol we met in the very first episode of the show last year, is currently working for Greef. Turns out the bounty was placed by Greef himself, for the Mythrol stealing money while working as an accountant. Rather than keeping him in Carbon freeze, Greef is allowing the Mythrol to work off his debt instead. It’s a fun call-back to the previous season, while giving an extra hand in the action to come.
Din, Greef, Cara, and Mythrol head out to the Imperial Outpost only to discover it’s not as vacant as they believed. In fact, it’s much more than it seems. Filled with Stormtroopers, the group inadvertently uncovers an Imperial Research facility conducting some interesting experiments taking place.
As they set the base’s reactor to explode, thus taking the base down entirely, the Imperial Scientists (wearing the same outfit as Dr. Pershing did in the previous season) scramble to erase the data and ensure no one else can get to it. Their cover-up is only partly successful, and thanks to the Mythrol’s slicing they uncover a hidden message.
Speaking of Dr. Pershing (again played by Omid Abtahi), he’s back in a recorded message. While short, it’s awfully revealing and gives Din a key piece of information: Moff Gideon is alive. Of course viewers have known this all along, but it’s nice to see the story begin to catch up. Din now knows that the Child is no longer as safe as he once thought, making his quest to find his permanent home more pressing.
What follows is a daring escape from the facility and speeder chase. Overall, it’s a tad on the formulaic side, but hearkens back to some classic Star Wars action (reminiscent of the Death Star hallway shoot-outs) and feels competently executed. There are some thrilling moments and it made for a super fun episode that managed to expand on some previous storylines while cluing us in to what’s coming next.
Undoubtedly, the thing everyone will be thinking about most are the tantalizing tidbits of information we’re given about Moff Gideon and what exactly he’s been up to. First, let’s talk about what we see in the Laboratory.
The crew comes across a handful of tanks/vats filled with some humanoids inside them. It’s tough to tell what exactly they are, but they seem deformed. In many ways it reminded me of that scene in Alien Resurrection when Ripley comes across the various failed clones of herself.
Which begs the question…what are they? Many feel they are some manner of clones, not unlike the facility we see in The Rise of Skywalker on Exogol where Snoke was created. This would imply that Moff Gideon has some connection to the Sith Eternal, even beyond what the First Order would know at this point, and could be working directly with them.
I’m not buying that theory just yet, mostly because the time frame doesn’t seem to match up. The implication in TROS is that Palpatine has had this back-up cloning plan in place for a while BEFORE his death. Especially since Snoke was created and working to convert Ben Solo from an early age. Not to mention Rey’s Father (implied to be a Palpatine clone as well) would have to have been around already at this point.
Here, it’s clear that Gideon and Dr. Pershing are still working to figure things out and haven’t quite met with success. As such, I don’t think this has any specific relation to what’s going on with Palpatine’s plans in the Unknown regions. I’m not entirely convinced those are clones at all, based on what Pershing revealed in his holo-message:
“Replicated the results of the subsequent trials, which also resulted in catastrophic failure. There were promising effects for an entire fortnight, but then, sadly, the body rejected the blood.
“I highly doubt we’ll find a donor with a higher M-count, though. I recommend that we suspend all experimentation. I fear that the volunteer will meet the same regrettable fate if we proceed with the transfusion.
“Unfortunately, we have exhausted our initial supply of blood. The Child is small, and I was only able to harvest a limited amount without killing him. If these experiments are to continue as requested, we would again require access to the donor. I will not disappoint you again, Moff Gideon.”
It seems clear that Pershing and the other scientists were using the blood of The Child and performing transfusions on “volunteers.” My guess is the people we see in the tanks are the victims of the failed transfusions. Granted they could still be clones (the scientists are wearing the Kamino symbol after all), but I don’t think they’re clones for the same purpose as Emperor Palpatine.
Of course, I could be completely wrong, as some sharp-eared fans have noticed that snippets of John Williams’ “Snoke Theme” can be heard when they look at the beings in the vats. I’m still not convinced, but it’s definitely an interesting connection to make note of.
The goal in these transfusions seem to be somehow transferring the ability to use the Force into someone who can’t. The “M-Count” is a cheeky reference to Midichlorians, which was established in the Prequels as a way to somehow measure one’s connection to the mystical power. It’s something I actually mentioned in my speculation article earlier this week, when discussion Moff Gideon’s ultimate plan.
Speaking of which, we FINALLY get to see Moff Gideon back in the flesh and get a glimpse at what he’s currently working on. Personally, I LOVED seeing a Star Destroyer (Arquitens-Class) back on the screen. One of the things I’ve really loved this season is how they’ve shown more of the spaceships/space action than they did previously. Really helps hammer home the “Star Wars” feel while expanding the scope of what’s possible.
So what in the world is Moff Gideon up to now? I’m still thinking Gideon wants to find a way to use the Force himself. It would be a great way to help solidify his power and crown himself Emperor in the “new era” as his Comms officer mention in the episode. Of course, the experiments also likely have something to do with the figures we get a glimpse of.
The Siege leaves us with Gideon in a strange looking room surrounded by some strange looking figures. Obviously, these are somehow connected to Gideon’s plans for The Child, but there’s no telling HOW they will play into it.
It’s hard to tell exactly what they are, but thankfully, the descriptive text subtitles are a bit revealing. Dark Troopers. They’re Dark Troopers.
Long-time Star Wars fans of the Expanded Universe and video games will know these beings quite well. Featured in the Star Wars: Dark Forces video game (with Kyle Katarn) where they were advanced battle droids that could cause all manner of trouble.
What’s interesting to note, however, is that the iconic design of the Dark Troopers from the game already popped up in Star Wars Rebels. Though they were officially labeled Imperial Sentry Droids, the influence is obvious. As such, it looks like Moff Gideon’s Dark Troopers will take a different approach to introducing them into canon.
In the video game/Legends, Dark Troopers came in three Phases. Some were purely droids, while later models served as Exoskeletons for soldiers to wear, with a few even being cyborg mixtures. Considering The Child/Force connection to Gideon’s plan, I could see these Dark Troopers go the Cyborg route, though there’s just not enough information to go on at the moment.
What Comes Next?
It’s interesting that with the release of The Siege, we’ve now seen ALL the footage released in previous trailers. The entire back half of the season is a complete blank for everyone, which means the possibilities are endless. By all accounts, it looks like the next episode of The Mandalorian will see us travel to Corvus and finally meet up with Ahsoka Tano.
Not only would that bring a major new character into the action, but has the potential to finally get us onto the Child’s endgame storyline. With Gideon delving into Force experiments, it seems like his plans will eventually heat up into something that only a Jedi (or someone who used to be one) could handle.
Since they managed to plant a tracker onto the Razor Crest, I don’t think Gideon will waste any time hunting down Din and the Child once more. This means we could be heading towards a confrontation sooner rather than later, perhaps even putting the Child into a situation that requires rescuing once more.
Feels like we’re in for a whole lot of action and answers coming up soon. I’m interested to see if the other Mandalorians come back into play. As we saw, The Armorer has cleared out of Nevarro, having finished her work there. I don’t think we’re done with her, however, and wouldn’t be surprised to see Din meet up with his old group of Mandalorian brethren. After all, he’s probably wanting to chat with them about that whole “cult” thing.
Easter Eggs/Things to Notice
Today’s episode didn’t feature so many Easter eggs as much as some really cool things to notice. Things that tie together stuff from previous episodes, while giving mentions to other stuff within the Star Wars galaxy.
Mimbanese – One of the aliens who goes to work on the Razor Crest, and ultimately plants the tracking device, is a Mimbanese. They popped up in The Clone Wars, and part of Solo: A Star Wars Story took place on Mimban. Most recently the alien species appears as part of your crew in Star Wars Squadrons.
The Hydian Way – this Hyperspace travel lane started life in Legends, but has popped up all over the place since. It’s a minor mention by the Protocol Droid Teacher, but a cool connecting thread.
Coruscant – the Capitol planet of the Old Republic, which featured prominently throughout the Prequels gets a couple of mentions in this episode! Again, nothing major, but cool to hear it mentioned by characters once more.
IG-11 – The droid from the first season, who went from enemy to nurse droid, makes a sly appearance in The Siege. If you look closely in the background while Din, Greef, and Cara are walking towards the school you can see a statue has been erected to commemorate his heroic deeds.
Chandrila – Speaking of Capitol’s, the teacher droid mentions the New Republic Capitol is currently on the planet Chandrila. This originated in the Star Wars: Aftermath books and notably is the birthplace of Ben Solo.
Hairstyle – This is small, but I thought it was cool to see Rey’s three-bun hairstyle being used by one of the kids in the classroom.
Akkadese Maelstrom – The short scene in the classroom was a wealth of great name drops, including a random mention of the Akkadese Maelstrom which we saw up close and personal during Solo’s Kessel Run in his standalone film.
Captain Carson Teva – Paul Sun-Hyung Lee returns and is documenting the destruction of the Imperial Base for the New Republic. He also tries to recruit Cara Dune, in a moment that would have been more emotionally impactful if not for the more problematic elements with the actress lately…
In all, the mid-way point of The Mandalorian season two was another fun adventure. Packed with action, some great character moments, and humor it’s another solid outing. While not as impactful following the awesomeness of the previous episode, it still gets the story at a point where you can see things coming together.
Can’t wait to see what happens next week!