We’ve reached the halfway point of the second season of “The Mandalorian”. And this episode, while missing the live-action debut of Ahsoka Tano, still delivered a fast-paced adventure while also revealing more about the Empire’s plans for The Child. Strap yourselves in because there are going to be spoilers. And be careful to keep the blue cookies down as we spin through another recap/review.
The episode picks up directly after the end of the last one, with the Razor Crest barely navigating through space. I have to give it to the writers for making this decision. It would have been easier for them to allow the ship to reach its destination but with as out of shape as the ship was, it wouldn’t make that journey. Instead, we are able to revisit Nevarro, the setting for the major events of Season One. The moments on the ship between Din Djarin and The Child were priceless. In some of the behind the scenes features I’ve watched, the creators (Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau) discussed pulling inspiration from “Lone Wolf and Cub”, a Japanese manga (comic book) and film series. Scenes like the one of Din and The Child sharing a meal together in the battered Razor Crest bring that inspiration to life and ground the story as these two characters become more and more comfortable with each other.
“The Siege” also brings back two characters from Season One that played a big part in the finale: Cara Dune and Greef Karga (played by Gina Carano and Carl Weathers, who also directed this episode). If you’re looking for commentary on the Gina Carano situation that has been brewing for a few months now, there’s plenty of available resources on the web and I would encourage you to Google those to form your own opinion on the matter. My take on it is very simple: I don’t agree with her politics but that doesn’t mean she should be fired for them.
Since we last left Nevarro at the end of Season One, much has changed. Where there was once a town not unlike Mos Eisley (“a wretched hive of scum and villainy”), we have a thriving town with a school and the potential to be a trading hub for the Outer Rim worlds. Except the Galactic Empire is still there, in a base that utilizes thermal energy for power. So, it’s up to The Mandalorian and his sidekicks to take out the base. The majority of the episode is taken up with the titular siege on the Imperial compound, which allowed for plenty of action that kept the tension moving throughout. Carl Weathers is an old-school action hero (look no further than his participation in the original “Predator” and “Action Jackson” for his bona fides). Carl’s direction of the episode kept the focus on moving the story forward and placing the side characters in just enough peril before the “big damn heroes” moment at the end.
The main goodies from this episode, though, are the reveals of the Empire’s plans for The Child and for how they hope to regain possession of it. First, we find in the Imperial base a cloning facility, with a holo-recording of Doctor Pershing explaining that the blood he took from The Child in the first season was not enough and they will need more for the cloning procedure to work. The creatures that were being developed are called Strand-cast and the most notable character that is in the series is Snoke.
Yes, that Snoke. As in the Empire is trying to create Force-Sensitive clones.
This is how Filoni and Favreau are tying “The Mandalorian” into the wider Star Wars narrative. The reveal that the Empire needs The Child for their experiments into cloning Force-Sensitives sets up the depths of evil that the Empire is willing to sink to in order to resurrect Darth Sidious (which we know they will be successful at). It’s also laying the groundwork for the First Order, the resurgent Empire of the Sequel Trilogy films. And then the episode ends with Moff Gideon (played with such understated malice by Giancarlo Esposito) standing in a room full of Dark Troopers. Things are about to get difficult for Din Djarin and The Child. And I can’t wait to see where this leads.