Naturally, there are spoilers here.
The third episode of The Mandalorian season 2 brings Bryce Dallas Howard back to the director’s chair. And gives the Mandalorian new friends and foes on his quest to return the Child to the Jedi. In the previous episode, he agreed to take the unnamed frog lady to Trask in exchange for information leading to the whereabouts of a Mandalorian covert. They crash land and, after paying to have his ship repaired. The Mandalorian starts paying for information to take him on the next part of his quest.
Mando is led to a Quarren sea captain who offers to take him by boat to the other Mandalorians. It’s a double-cross, though. They want to kill Din Djarin and steal his beskar armor, and even worse. They don’t care about The Child and kick him and the pram into the mouth of a nasty sea creature. Fortunately, they’re rescued by the very same Mandalorians he sought. Coming to his rescue is Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff, reprising the role she originated on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and reprised in Star Wars Rebels), Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides), and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado, better known as Sasha Banks from the WWE).
They ask the Mandalorian for his help in stealing a Gozanti-class Imperial ship full of weapons and, in exchange. They will tell him where to find a Jedi. But they clash over Mandalorian culture and customs. It’s revealed that Din Djarin was raised in an extremely zealous religious cult called “The Children of the Watch”. Reluctantly, despite their differences, he agrees to help them and they board the ship. But Bo-Katan isn’t there just for the ship. She wants information that will see her ruling Mandalore once more. And that means taking the Darksaber back from Moff Gideon.
They’re able to take the ship and Bo-Katan learns what she needs. So she gives Din Djarin the name of a Jedi and the planet he can find her on: Ahsoka Tano at the city of Calodan on the forest planet of Corvus.
Will we see her in the next episode? It seems likely.
One of the single biggest questions posed by The Mandalorian is what actually happen to the Mandalorians? We’re told of a great purge and the Night of a Thousand Tears. We see Moff Gideon wielding the Darksaber, an artifact that was wielded by the true leader of Mandalore and last seen in the hands of Bo-Katan Kryze in Star Wars Rebels, just before the events of A New Hope.
We got our first hints about what happened in this episode. As Din Djarin agrees to have a drink with these new Mandos, it’s revealed that Mandalore is, allegedly, a dead world and that everyone who goes there dies. But Bo-Katan thinks that’s just propaganda and is working to reunite the Mandalorians against the Imperial holdouts to take it back.
Bo-Katan reveals that the Empire is financing their marauding with the plunder of Mandalore and she intends to take that back, too. It’s unclear why the New Republic wouldn’t aid in this effort, though Mon Mothma was a big believer in disarming the New Republic as they grew larger, to assuage threats that they could ever become a new Empire.
The larger question is whether or not Din Djarin — and what’s left of the Children of the Watch — would be willing to unite under a Mandalorian like Bo-Katan Kryze. This episode establishes that there’s every reason Din would consider Bo-Katan and the others to not be “real” Mandalorians because of their propensity for taking their helmets off. On top of that, Din Djarin bristles at Bo-Katan altering their deal. Initially, he was recruite to help get the weapons, but she forces him to help with taking the entire ship.
This episode also takes Moff Gideon’s ruthlessness one step further. He orders his officer (played by the latest Deadwood alumni to join the cast, Titus Welliver) to destroy the ship in a suicide mission in a bid to prevent the Mandalorians from taking possession of it.
Bryce Dallas Howard has been a delightful surprise in the episodes she’s direct thus far. Like “Chapter 4: Sanctuary,” this episode features the aesthetic of an old fishing town. In her first episode, the focus was on shrimp farmers. In this episode, there’s a much larger scale: an entire shipping port on the water.
Howard has proven adept at storytelling, blending suspense and comedy with ease. Consider Kostas Reeves’s first appearance and disappearance, or the sequence with the Imperial “capturing” the Mandos in the cargo control room. She’s able to time the jokes and suspense in such a sharp way that it brings a smile. She can also bring the moments where you want to raise your fist and just say “Hell, yeah!” Like the Mandalorian cavalry coming to the rescue against the second band of Quarren.
There’s also a tenderness here that works to correct some of the heartbreak that occurred in the previous episode, courtesy of The Child’s hunger. We’re given a lovely reunion between the frog lady and her husband, set to a touching bit of music from Ludwig Göransson, and they get an entire arc through the rest of the episode as they’re able to extend their line. They also get wonderful moments with The Child when they’re asked to babysit, and thankfully he doesn’t eat any more of their eggs.
The subplot of the frog couple renewing their line is a fascinating juxtaposition to the Mandalorians. Bo-Katan explains that her line is dead and she is the last of it. Instead of working to live in peace and extend it, she bent on revenge.
I also love that Howard is able to set wheels in motion that make you feel like the universe is moving around the Mando and his mission. Moff Gideon is moving forward on his goals and Bo-Katan is working on hers. This episode implies a lot of story that will likely carry into the future. If there is a showdown with Moff Gideon this season, this episode promises that it will be much larger. And more explosive than if it were just Din Djarin facing off against him. It’s exceptional work.
I can’t wait to see what Bryce Dallas Howard does when she steps out into feature filmmaking. She has serious chops.
What To Look Out For
You’re going to hear the Mandalorians use the term “dank ferrik” throughout this episode. It’s not the first time we’ve heard it. Din Djarin used it in the first episode. There isn’t any official translation that I could find. But in the different instances where it’s been use. It seems to be a Mandalorian catch-all term that means both a relieved blessing like “Thank God”. And a curse one might use like “Jesus Christ.”
Din Djarin’s sect of Mandos is reveal to be the Children of the Watch. As Bo-Katan was a part of Death Watch and they had no problems removing their helmets. This implies that the Children of the Watch were an even more orthodox sect. Even more zealous than Pre Vizsla’s order. Will these cultural differences between the Mandalorians prove to be problematic in the future? It will be interesting to see it play out.
Another fun easter egg is the AT-AT style crane in the port. For the longest time, there was a myth that the AT-ATs were inspired by the container cranes in the Port of Oakland. George Lucas debunked those rumors, but they still persisted. It’s fun to see something very much like those container cranes attached to an AT-AT body and used in the Star Wars universe
This episode also featured a lot of Quarren and Mon Calamari, which makes sense. We first saw both of these species in Return of the Jedi. They would naturally expand to planets that are hospitable to amphibious species. It was also a nice touch that the Calamari Flan that Din Djarin was paid in the first season became useful here in this episode.
I love the dialogue that has life-or-death implications for characters most have never heard of, or don’t remember. Bo-Katan stating that she is the last of her line certainly implies that we’ve seen the last of her nephew, Korkie Kryze. Korkie was feature in a few episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. And there is every chance he might have lost his life in the Purge or really at any point between then and now.
The biggest name drop of the episode, though, comes when Bo-Katan makes good on her end of the deal and offers up the name of Ahsoka Tano. For those unaware, Ahsoka Tano was Anakin Skywalker’s padawan during the Clone Wars and featured prominently in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. At this point in the timeline, we don’t know if Ahsoka has already gone on her quest to unknown regions to seek out Ezra Bridger with the Mandalorian Sabine Wren or not (as seen at the end of Rebels). This could still take place before that or well after. The epilogue of Star Wars Rebels didn’t have any dates on it. And until something in the narrative confirms otherwise. We don’t know anything for sure.
According to the Bo-Katan, Ahsoka is in the city of Calodan on the forest planet of Corvus. These are new locations in the Star Wars universe and can’t offer us many clues for the future. And that’s exciting on its own.
This was a great episode, and my favorite of the season so far. It added to the lore of Star Wars and brought in elements from previous stories without getting in the way of Din Djarin’s story. That’s the careful balance this show must tread and I think Bryce Dallas Howard’s direction and Jon Favreau’s script succeeded.
The music heard in this episode hearkens back to the sort of heist and pirate-themed movies that are being loosely referenced, but also offered the requisite sweetness when necessary. Ludwig Göransson is a master at being able to change the tone of the music on a dime and not lose any of its meaning or grandiosity. He can vacillate between epic and soft and never once jar you out of the episode.
This was just a great time. A home run for the show. I wonder, though, how it will play to folks that are just jumping onto Star Wars stories that aren’t overly familiar with all of these characters and their background. Is Bo-Katan just a cool new character that they’d be interest in learning more about? Or do they get lost? At this point, it feels like The Mandalorian has won a great deal of goodwill either way.