This week’s episode of The Mandalorian takes us to an ancient location to encounter old enemies and leading us to the endgame…
Things aren’t slowing down in this week’s episode of The Mandalorian which, despite being the shortest of the season, packs in an insane amount of action. It’s clear we’re heading towards the end of the season and there’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get to it!
Chapter 14, ominously titled ‘The Tragedy‘ picks up pretty much where we left off from the previous episode. Given a location by Ahsoka Tano, Din Djarin arrives on the planet Tython and quickly locates the “Seeing Stone” where he’s to place Grogu (still getting used to that) in hopes that he’ll reach out with the Force. In so doing, he could call down another Jedi who might be able to train him.
This episode if pretty straightforward, but nonetheless impactful. It was great to see us go straight to the next location in this episode without any “pit stops” in between. I was very eager to see Tython, which was first introduced as an ancient location of the Jedi back in the old Expanded Universe stories (later re-canonized in Doctor Aphra).
It looks different than expected, but it’s clear this planet has actual seasons and we’re merely seeing it in a different time period than usual. It’s clear Tython hasn’t seen much action and manages to give off the same isolated vibes as Ahch-To did in the Sequel films.
Once placed on the Seeing Stone, Grogu does indeed reach out with the Force, pulling around him a sort of energy cylinder that can’t be penetrated physically. Whatever Din was hoping to see happen, it’s happening. It’s all well and good until a familiar (to fans anyway) ship arrives…
Guess Who’s Back?!
It’s the Slave I!! Holy crap. I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw it (and I knew it was coming). The iconic spaceship, can mean only one thing: Boba Fett is back. While we saw a glimpse of him at the end of this season’s first episode, fans have been eager to see how that little tease would pay off. Today brings answers, with a load of ass-kicking.
Boba has been tracking Din Djarin with the goal of getting his armor back; the one Din got from Cobb Vanth. He’s here to make a deal, however, and this feels like a decidedly different Boba Fett than what we’ve seen in previous stories. He offers Din a trade: the armor in exchange for helping to keep the Child safe from others.
Boba isn’t alone either, and has brought Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) along with him to help out. So yeah, we’ve got TWO people back from supposed death and decidedly changed for the experience. Both Boba and Shand feel more humbled than in previous encounters, having been given a second chance they seem to want to actually make things right/be honorable rather than only looking out for themselves.
Obviously there are still some unanswered questions here. I mean, if Boba knew Cobb Vanth had his armor, and it’s been five-ish years since his escape from the Sarlaac, why didn’t he get his armor back sooner? He still has a ship, so what was keeping him on Tatooine. Presumably these are things that we’ll get answers to in the upcoming Boba Fett spin-off series that’s filming, but they still make me wonder.
Regardless, Boba and Shand have tracked Din all the way to Tython and it’s a good thing they showed up when they did. Moff Gideon’s tracker has brought the Remnant Empire to the same place, and the trio has to work together to hold off the Stormtroopers and protect Grogu until he’s done.
A Rodriguez Shoot-Out
Robert Rodriguez directed this episode and it’s apparent in just about every shot. It’s no more apparent than in the absolute ass-whipper of a shoot out. The battle against the Stormtroopers takes up a significant amount of the show’s run time and it’s a pure shot of adrenaline.
If you’ve seen any other Rodriguez movies, the action sequences, will feel familiar (in a good way). There’s a personality to the action, managing to get up close on the action, giving every impact a visceral “oomph” without being confusing. The result are a whole bunch of “holy shit” moments as we see Boba Fett be the badass we’ve always hoped to see on the screen. And that’s not to mention the direct homages to Rodriguez’s own gun fights in Desperado (which you should watch if you haven’t).
Grogu, lost in mediation and reaching out, remains unaware of what’s going on and Din has no choice but to try and hold the forces of the Empire back until it’s over. Between the three of them, especially once Boba once again dons his armor (an epic moment that’s pure fan service but works nonetheless), they’re able to send the Stormtroopers packing.
Their victory is short-lived, however, as Gideon’s cruiser joins the battle. Promptly destroying the Razor Crest (man, this ship has been through it this season), Gideon sends the Dark Troopers we saw a couple episodes back down to grab Grogu. Having set his jetpack down earlier, Din is powerless to follow, and any attempts to shoot the Dark Troopers down could hurt the child.
I love seeing the Dark Troopers in action. As a fan of the old EU and video games, it’s cool to see this concept brought to life. I’m glad they’re still basically droids (and thus probably aren’t connected to Gideon’s plans for the Child), though I was hoping their introduction would be a little more…eventful. I mean, they didn’t do much that some basic jetpack troopers couldn’t have done.
My hope is we’ll see them get quite a bit more action in the next couple episodes as Din and friends embark on a rescue mission.
Answers and Legends
As has been the case with most episodes this season, fans are treated to some answers about the goings on in the galaxy far, far away while left with a few more questions. We got some answers about Boba Fett, which itself managed to answer some lingering questions about Jango Fett.
Since The Clone Wars, Jango Fett’s heritage (and thus Boba’s) has been thrown into question. An off the cuff line of dialog in the second season of the animated series seemingly threw everything we thought we knew about the character into question. In a conversation with Obi-Wan, Prime Minister Almec on Mandalore says that, “Jango Fett was a common bounty hunter. How he acquired that armor is beyond me.”
Considering the amount of lore filled in for Jango Fett thanks to comics and books in the Expanded Universe at the time, this single line tossed everything out the window. Or so we thought. Today’s episode rehabs much of that, and manages to incorporate some of that old lore.
Boba Fett shows off his “chain code” to prove to Din that he owns the armor. Din learns that Jango was initially a foundling, so not from Mandalore (much like himself), and Boba mentions how his father even fought back in the Mandalorian Civil War. This is a loaded mention.
It obviously can’t refer to the coup we saw take place during The Clone Wars (Jango was already dead), so it has to be something that happened in Jango’s past, before Boba was around. In Legends/EU material, Jango did indeed take part in a Mandalorian Civil War that took place shortly before the events of The Phantom Menace, a war that ended when the Jedi intervened and defeated Jango’s forces.
In the old stories this gave fans a reason for Jango’s mistrust and hatred of the Jedi. Obviously, the quick mention by Boba in today’s episode doesn’t re-canonize all of that stuff, but it certainly opens the door for some of those stories to come back, while firmly placing Jango and Boba back in the ranks of Mandalorian. Up yours Almec!
Setting the Stage
With Grogu captured by Moff Gideon (did you see those itty-bitty baby handcuffs?!) it’s time for Din to gather his friends and rescue his young charge. Funny enough, this is pretty much exactly the setup I mentioned in my big speculation article about where the show was heading.
It’s clear we’re heading for a huge showdown against Moff Gideon, likely aboard his own ship, but to do so will require plenty of help. Boba and Shand have already agreed to help, and it looks like Din will have to bust Mayfeld (Bill Burr’s character from the first season) out of the “Karthon Chop Fields” where he’s been sentenced to serve out his time.
This makes me wonder if we’ll end up seeing the WHOLE crew from Chapter 6 who were left behind by Din, or if we’ll just get more of Mayfeld. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Din track down and recruit Bo-Katan and some other friends to help him out against Gideon. In short, I suspect we’ll see a “rounding up the posse” style episode next week as the finale brings it all to an epic battle.
There’s a lot of potential for more epic action and surprises in these last couple episodes. And that’s not to mention who might come and answer Grogu’s call. He obviously reached out with the Force, as Ahsoka encouraged, but there’s no telling who might ultimately show up. That might be the biggest mystery at the moment and I can’t wait to see how it ends up.
Another thing worth mentioning is how Din Djarin’s mindset is definitely changing. Since meeting with Bo-Katan and learning of different Mandalorian sects his worldview has significantly changed. Everything he grew up learning is no longer set in stone, and we can see that with how he’s more willing to accept Boba’s claim to the armor. The “cult” conditioning is beginning to thin, setting the stage for Din to have further epiphanies.
Easter Eggs/Quick Bits
Cara Dune – Cara pops up quickly once again in today’s episode as Din hitches a ride on the Slave I to Nevarro. Turns out she took the offer from Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s Captain Teva and is now an official Marshal for the New Republic.
Blue Butterfly – Atop the mountain by the Seeing Stone, you’ll notice a few blue butteflies flitting around. There’s been some big speculation about these butterflies (which appeared in Star Wars Battlefront on Endor and in some Clone Wars episodes) which I won’t get into here. Notably, however, in Legends material, blue butterflies were often found in the Jedi Temple gardens…
Mando’a – Big geeks will notice that the text of Boba’s chain-code hologram is actually written in Mando’a, the Mandalorian language that originates in Legends.
Simple Man – Boba Fett’s recitation of his father’s “I’m just a simple man” line is an obvious call back to Attack of the Clones and I can’t pretend it didn’t send a giddy thrill through me.
Mortar Stormtrooper – Before the season kicked off, one of the leaks we saw via collectibles was the Yellow-striped Mortar Stormtrooper. We got to see them in action in today’s episode, which was just kinda neat.
Crazy to think we’re already staring down the final two episodes of this season. Aside from some minor stumbles, there’s no denying that the show’s Sophomore season has been firing on all cylinders. With a more directed story, each episode has filled in important gaps while driving us to bigger things.
So far, the show has done a great job of taking all expectations and shattering them. I knew Boba and Shand would come back in some way, but I suspected it would be on another stop at Tatooine. Obviously, it went in a different direction and I love feeling constantly surprised by the paths the show takes.
Even though it’s the shortest episode of the season so far, The Tragedy packs in tons of story while leaving us wanting more in the best way possible.