“The Mandalorian” Chapter 10 Review! SPOILERS!


Without Timothy Olyphant around to steal all his screentime or hog his spotlight, Baby Yoda successfully reclaims his spot as the true star of The Mandalorian – apologies to Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), our actual Mandalorian protagonist, but there’s simply no way he can compete with the adorable pint-sized little green alien. But under Peyton Reed’s so-so direction, nobody wins: not Djarin, who is forced to spend much of the episode cleaning up after his tiny sidekick; not Baby Yoda, who isn’t yet the Force wielder many of us expected him to become after the first season’s finale; and not The Mandalorian as a whole, which seems to have settled quite comfortably back into its usual routine and doesn’t look likely to shake things up anytime soon.

The Mandalorian

If I absolutely had to choose a winner from today’s episode, it would be Amy Sedaris, who returns for what I truly hope is not her final appearance this season. The episode picks up on Tatooine where we left Din Djarin last week – speeding back to Mos Eisley with Boba Fett’s armor in tow and no closer to finding any Mandalorians (though, as I and many others have noted, he may not have to find any, since possessing Boba Fett’s armor might unintentionally bring them to him). Sadly, he doesn’t actually run into Boba Fett, whom we saw last week watching the Mandalorian from afar: instead, after a brief but humorous scuffle with a group of bounty hunters who are still looking for Baby Yoda (something that doesn’t alarm Mando nearly as much as it probably should, since it could mean his Imperial enemies are already on his trail again), he and the child make it back to Mos Eisley and meet up once more with their lovable mechanic Peli Motto (Sedaris), who is even funnier and more roguishly charismatic than she was last week, or in season one – a quip about roasted Krayt dragon meat goes over particularly well, and I have to give Sedaris props for keeping a completely straight face while speaking in a frog-like alien language. She has quickly become an indispensable asset to The Mandalorian, and there’s no reason why she shouldn’t take on a larger supporting role. Hopefully, with Boba Fett presumably still on Tatooine, Din Djarin will have to return there eventually.

This week, her impact on the story is critical, as she points Djarin in the direction of a friend (the aforementioned frog alien, played by Misty Rosas) who has a tenuous but possibly vital connection to some Mandalorians on another planet – where the frog lady herself is headed on a personal mission of her own, since she has an entire tank of her eggs that need to be fertilized and a husband waiting for her return. It’s unclear what she’s been doing on Tatooine all this time with her eggs, and whether the Mandalorians that her husband supposedly knows will turn out to be frauds like Cobb Vanth, but it’s the best lead Din Djarin’s got. And so he, Baby Yoda, the frog lady, and a tank of frogs as yet unborn set out, quickly leaving Tatooine behind and heading into more frigid climates. Sorry, Boba Fett, your time will come. Hopefully.

The Mandalorian

The mission goes badly, as one would suspect, and it’s not long before Din Djarin’s ship, the Razor Crest, crashes into an icy cavern. Remember how we saw this in the trailer, and some of us (a.k.a. me) thought this planet was Hoth, and some of us thought it was Ilium, the ancient kyber crystal planet of the Jedi? Yeah, no. It did turn out to be the home of hundreds of thousands of giant ice-spiders though! You can imagine how I, an arachnophobe, absolutely loved that! Soooo much better than finding some silly old kyber crystals, or Jedi temple ruins, buried beneath the ice. For those who want to know more about these spiders (why???), you’ll be pleased to know they are a new addition to the Star Wars universe, but their design is borrowed from the giant spiders that were once intended to inhabit Yoda’s planet of Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back (and would have fit in perfectly there, considering it’s the same movie that gave us starship-eating space whales, parasitic space bats, and bloodthirsty space yetis), but which eventually became the almost indestructible Krykna of Star Wars: Rebels. Luckily, these particular spiders are much easier to kill than Krykna, but no less nightmarish – they come in all different sizes, move at high speeds, and their leader almost takes down the Razor Crest. Luckily, Din Djarin and his passengers are rescued by some quick intervention from a pair of New Republic X-Wing pilots who were previously chasing the Razor Crest but who come back to help out – and both pilots are super cool cameos. Dave Filoni, one of the top creative minds at Star Wars and a director on The Mandalorian, is one of the pilots, reprising a cameo role from season one (clearly competing with Peter Jackson’s carrot-eating man in the Middle-earth Cinematic Universe for most times a director can cameo as a single character in their respective franchise), but the other pilot is none other than Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, whom I recognized immediately since I happen to be a massive fan of Kim’s Convenience, the popular Canadian sitcom in which Lee stars.

With the spiders gone, Din Djarin is able to patch up his ship to the best of his abilities, and the little crew continue their journey – notably missing a few of the frog lady’s eggs, which Baby Yoda periodically steals from her tank over the course of the episode and eats. He’s also the reason we get the absolutely-necessary-and-not-at-all-trauma-inducing spider attack, after eating a spider egg. And trust me, I get it; stress eating is in right now. Not sure stress-eating various species’ eggs is quite as popular, but I’ll excuse that. My problem with Baby Yoda over these past two episodes is that he’s done nothing but cause trouble and look cute for the camera. By this point in season one, he had already started using the Force, and everybody had already come up with their own theories about who or what he was, who his parents were, whether Yaddle had anything to do with it, so on and so on. And sure, he’s still an infant; he shouldn’t have to be wielding the Force every few minutes (and we’ve seen how it exhausts him to do so, sometimes). But surely a little bit of Force magic wouldn’t be too much to ask for, at least to keep the conversation about Baby Yoda going? If this season is going to repeat the slow-burn storytelling of season one, it has to do something to make that choice worthwhile. You can’t end your season one finale on a massive cliffhanger and then wait until your season two finale to ever address it! You can’t just introduce Boba Fett and then not mention him again! I mean, you can, technically, but it hardly seems fair.

The Mandalorian
Zero | hnentertainment.co

The closest thing we’ve got to a Boba Fett reveal this week is the return of a season one antagonist, the bounty hunter droid named Zero (voiced by Richard Ayoade), whom the Mandalorian unceremoniously blasted to bits before the droid could kill Baby Yoda. Bizarrely enough, it looks like Din Djarin never had time to dispose of the droid’s various disassembled body parts, since the frog lady finds them sitting in a pile on the Razor Crest and uses them to build herself a translator, making her conversations with Din infinitely easier. It’s really just the droid’s disembodied head that’s been fired up again, so I doubt he’ll be able to cause any mischief, but it’s still something to keep an eye on in the future. Not quite Boba Fett, I’m aware.

But don’t lose hope! Next week, if the frog lady’s information is accurate and her husband isn’t missing or dead by the time Din Djarin reaches their destination, we’ll probably be meeting up with some Mandalorians – or at least people claiming to be Mandalorians, for purposes that could be innocuous…or nefarious. It’s possible they could be characters like Bo-Katan Kryze or even Sabine Wren, but even if they’re not, remember that fraudulent Mandalorians can turn out to be scene-stealers too, as Timothy Olyphant’s Cobb Vanth proved to us all. Fingers crossed, folks; fingers crossed.

Episode Rating: 5/10

“The Mandalorian” Season 2 Premiere! Spoiler Review!


For me, one of the biggest questions coming out of The Mandalorian‘s season two premiere is how to label it in my title headings: because, technically, you’d think it should be season two, episode one…right? But Disney+ lists it simply as “Chapter 9” of the total series, based on the assertion that the entire series is one continuous story. I’ve settled on the more neutral term “Premiere” for now, but I can’t say I fully agree with the terminology used by Disney+. Honestly, the premiere doesn’t feel very much like an immediate continuation of the story so far: under the direction of Jon Favreau, it jumps right back to the style of episodic, slow-burn storytelling that was so controversial (but ultimately successful) during The Mandalorian‘s first six episodes. I imagine that, unless things take a turn quickly, that’s how season two is also going to unfold – but this time at least I’m aware that’s what’s going on, and prepared to wait it out.

The Mandalorian

Favreau’s premiere episode has all the hallmarks we now expect of a typical episode of The Mandalorian: an entertaining side-quest on a backwater planet, and an uneasy alliance between our protagonist, Mandalorian bounty hunter Din Djarin (voiced and sometimes played by Pedro Pascal), and one or two new characters. This time, however, the side-quest is big, elaborate and prolonged – going on for almost an hour – and the episode even includes some flashback sequences to help us become attached to our new characters. Both quest and characters are also slightly more interwoven with our main plotline. Din Djarin and his tiny, adorable companion Baby Yoda find themselves on the planet Tatooine, following the trail of other Mandalorians who can help Djarin track down the whereabouts of Baby Yoda’s people. But that plotline gets put on the back-burner while Djarin tries to unite the bandits of Mos Elgo and the desert-dwelling Tusken Raiders against a ravenous Krayt dragon that has been terrorizing both groups – in exchange for a marvelous suit of Mandalorian armor possessed by Mos Elgo’s charismatic marshal.

Tatooine has been explored to death in the Star Wars universe, but The Mandalorian keeps coming back to it because it’s the planet that best exemplifies the series’ general sci-fi/Western vibe. And to its credit, The Mandalorian has at least made it feel fresh again by exploring some new corners of the desert planet besides just Mos Eisley – in this particular episode, the small frontier town of Mos Elgo. The town is run by a motley assortment of bandits, bounty hunters and low-level criminals, but is far from being a hive of scum and villainy. In fact, Mos Elgo seems pretty well-organized and well-governed, and even has a schoolhouse for the kids. It’s also a treasure trove of cool Easter eggs and Star Wars artifacts, such as a speeder bike made from one of the engines of Anakin Skywalker’s podracer in The Phantom Menace.

An alliance with the elusive Tusken Raiders means more opportunities to see just how much the portrayal of the Raiders has changed over the decades: once minor antagonists to Luke Skywalker’s journey, they’re now mostly depicted as sympathetic characters, no different from anyone else trying to aggressively carve out territory on Tatooine’s inhospitable surface in order to survive – and that shift is largely thanks to The Mandalorian, which showed Din Djarin peacefully interacting with them in season one and again in this season’s premiere, both times using sign language communication to strike up bargains with the Raiders. In this case, the Raiders are interested in helping the people of Mos Elgo defeat a Krayt dragon – a huge, carnivorous creature which technically made its first onscreen appearance back in the very first Star Wars movie; as a skeleton buried in the planet’s sand dunes. Now, over forty years later, we’ve finally gotten the chance to see one alive and in action, and it’s spectacularly fearsome (though eventually defeated by a poor, unsuspecting Bantha beast outfitted with explosives).

The season two premiere simultaneously finds room to include surprise appearances from characters we met on Tatooine in The Mandalorian‘s first season, like the human mechanic Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) and her small fleet of pit droids. The unexpected Motto/Baby Yoda reunion plays out just as one would hope, with Motto only half-joking when she asks Din Djarin if she can keep the child. For those wondering, Baby Yoda himself is still as adorable as ever (shocker, I know), and it’s a great relief to have him back after such a long, wearisome year. I just hope he finds an opportunity to exercise his growing Force powers sometime soon, because I’d hate to see him get upstaged by anybody else – and a newcomer has already come very close to doing just that.

The Mandalorian
Cobb Vanth | radiotimes.com

Said newcomer is none other than the Mos Pelgo marshal Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant, currently still trending on Twitter), a character from the Star Wars: Aftermath novels. Olyphant shines in the role, and not just because he gets to wear Boba Fett’s famous suit of armor, bought from Jawas who recovered it somehow from the sarlacc pit where Fett went down. He’s a lot of fun, with a braggadocio and swagger that comes from being able to pass for a Mandalorian, and a disarming, warm attitude. Can he be trusted? I think so, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up again later in the series: especially since he’s unintentionally gotten himself involved in something much bigger than he probably imagined. Vanth is, however, lucky to have been able to give Din Djarin his armor after the success of their dragon hunt, a generous action that will probably save him in the long run – because somebody else, somebody with a personal, irrefutable claim to that armor, is also on the hunt for it…and judging by the assortment of large, nasty-looking weapons this somebody has on their person, I’m guessing they’re prepared to fight for it.

The Mandalorian
Boba Fett | menshealth.com

This somebody is Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) himself, of course; a character I’ve always personally found to be quite overrated, now returning for a chance at redemption after his humiliating “death” in Return Of The Jedi. Although the Boba Fett reveal comes at the very end of the premiere, it’s not exactly a big surprise to anybody who’s been following the production of the series closely, having been reported on some time ago. Nonetheless, it’s still exciting for several reasons: firstly, because it’s finally canon confirmation that Fett escaped the sarlacc pit, something that’s been debated in the fandom for decades; it’s likely confirmation that it was Fett whose shadowy figure we saw in season one, investigating Fennec Shand’s dead body; and it bodes well for what’s to come, as the series begins to dive into the history and lore of the Mandalorian people.

Whether or not Din Djarin stays on Tatooine any longer, I have a feeling that him and Boba Fett will meet up soon: the older Mandalorian warrior seems to have adapted to his new life as a desert nomad, but I’m sure he won’t pass up an opportunity to reclaim his old armor and his dignity – though, if it’s dignity he’s after, he might want to consider fixing or simply discarding his famously faulty jetpack, which malfunctions again while Cobb Vanth is using it. Just a suggestion.

Episode Rating: 7.5/10