When the resurrected IG-11’s original programming kicks back in and it starts shooting indiscriminately, they shut it down and take its parts to the Anzellans, a team of tiny (like six-inch high) droidsmiths, who tell Din he needs a memory circuit they don’t have on Nevarro. But to leave the planet, Din and Grogu have to evade a band of pirates.
It’s that kind of episode: the Mandalorian and his amazing, ever-expanding to-do list.
Favreau and Famuyiwa make these chores breeze by with a few zippy scenes and set pieces. On Nevarro, Din lends a hand to the High Magistrate Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) — the former head of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild who has helped transform a formerly lawless community into a thriving trade hub for the new Republic. When those pirates show up and start making demands, Din lends his gun to a Wild West-style shootout in the streets. To repay him, Karga takes him to the mini-mechanics. There, he peers through their front entrance and repeats everything the little guys say in their broken English, while they fend off Grogu’s attempts to hug them. (“No squeezie! Bad baby!”) It’s a funny bit of schtick, cleverly staged and shot.
This episode’s most exciting and visually stunning sequence, though, is the escape from Nevarro, which sees Din deftly maneuvering the N-1 through an asteroid belt, using the rocks to hide his movements and to obstruct the still-furious pirates. Din and Grogu end up whooshing into hyperspace to slip by the rogues’ mother ship, infuriating their king, Gorian Shard (Nonso Anozie) … who will surely return later this season with revenge on his mind.
Our heroes’ final stop this week is on Kalevala, a planet near Mandalore, where they find a near-empty castle and an embittered acquaintance: Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), the fallen Mandalorian political leader. She resents Din because she believes his ultra-orthodox order, the Children of the Watch, helped destroy their planet’s society as much as the Empire did — and because Din was successful where she was not in retrieving the Darksaber, the symbol of Mandalorian authority.
So, at the end of this chapter, this is where we leave the Mandalorian: standing before someone who has been both an ally and an enemy, and asking for help. If Din is all about following the rules and checking things off lists, Bo-Katan believes that ridding her people of all the old Mandalorian myths is the only way to move into the future. Even more than Din’s mission to redeem himself, this may end up being the driving conflict of Season 3. Our man may need to take off his helmet again to see the path forward clearly.
This is the way
I think the “Star Wars” series “Andor” is one of the franchise’s most sophisticated and artful products to date; but I did enjoy returning to the lighter, cornier, more old-fashioned adventures of “The Mandalorian.” Where “Andor” has kept droids and puppetry to minimum, this show practically fills the frame with weird little critters. It’s a delight.
Favreau and Famuyiwa (and the “Mandalorian” effects team) have a lot of fun coming up with quirky visual gags: like when we see Grogu in the background of a shot in Karga’s office, using the Force to spin around repeatedly in a swivel chair, and the small droids who travel behind Karga at all times, keeping his cape from touching the ground.
Much less funny: when Din quips, “Now that’s using your head,” after a droid crushes the rogue IG-11 with a heavy bust of Karga. Even a catchphrase spouting ’80s action hero would reject that clunker.