Warning: There are spoilers!
When Jon Favreau decides to do a wham episode, he does not mess around.
Quite possibly the biggest action set piece of this series, “The Tragedy” marks a change for the worse in the fortunes of Din Djarin and Grogu. And I couldn’t be happier with the end result. The stakes of this season have been on a slow boil ever since the first episode and now we are at the point where Din is at his lowest point. This is what good storytelling looks like.
The episode picks up with Din and Grogu sharing some affectionate time in the Razor Crest. I have to say that these moments are my favorite part of the series. Every chance we get to see Grogu and Din bonding is good for me. As mentioned in one of my previous reviews, this series is largely inspired by Lone Wolf and Cub, a series of Japanese films based of a manga of the same name. And this ties into something I heard Dave Filoni say in a Q&A that was recorded after the finale of Star Wars Rebels: Star Wars is about family.
For a moment, forget about the space battles, lightsabers, Force powers, Jedi, Sith, all of that. At its core, Star Wars has always been (and should always be) about family and the bonds that we form with other people. Throughout the course of The Mandalorian, we’ve seen Din slowly but surely connecting with Grogu and becoming attached to him. And Grogu in turn has become attached to his surrogate father-figure. More than anything, this is what makes this show a great series: we care about Din and Grogu because time has been taken to show them become family.
The massive fight scene with the Stormtroopers was well-paced and shot beautifully. Given that Robert Rodriguez was the director, I would expect nothing less. Rodriguez cut his teeth on indie action films like El Mariachi, Desperado, and Machete. But all of that led to the second wave where the Dark Troopers hinted at in episode four made an appearance and they are quite frightening. The capture of Grogu and the destruction of the Razor Crest are exactly what we need at this point in the story. Din needs to be at his lowest point before he can overcome Moff Gideon and potentially save Grogu. It’s a classic part of good storytelling: the hero should win in the end but the villain needs a victory every now and then.
By the end of the episode, I was ready for the next, which is always a good sign. And the return of Bill Burr’s criminal Migs Mayfield is going to be interesting, given what happened between Din and Mayfield in the first season. I am looking forward to the final two episodes to see where this story arc will end and what new avenues it will reveal moving forward.