I’m getting really invested into The Mandalorian once again! I couldn’t actually tell you why. For the most part, I’ve grown weary of spectacle blockbusters of late. For whatever reason though this show seeps right through my logical analysis into my lizard brain and makes me really REALLY happy!
I already reviewed the season premiere for Geeks Under Grace last week but I wanted to start doing quasi-weekly reflections on the show to talk about it’s direction and storytelling as we go along. You can also check out my reviews of the Series Premiere and the Season 1 Recap at Geeks Under Grace too!
Alas, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to keep that up weekly at the moment. It’s not for lack of trying mind you. I simply don’t know if there’s going to be enough material each week to discuss.
The Mandalorian has already entered the slump that’s inherent to all Dave Filoni Star Wars projects. Outside of the episodes that are specifically designed to forward the plot, Filoni writes a lot of wheel spinning episodes that don’t advance the plot. Thus watching his shows can be a maddening exercise in me screaming at the screen WHEN ARE WE GONNA GET TO THE GOOD PART?!
This was true for The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels as much as it’s true now with The Mandalorian. The only reason he isn’t called out for this trend more often is because he’s a good enough writer that his filler episodes are always fun tangents that spin small details in the Star Wars universe into mini-adventures with well rounded characters and neat worldbuilding ideas.
Minor Spoilers Ahead:
That’s roughly where the second episode of the season is already at. Mando is still running around in circles trying to find another Mandalorian Covent and is down after the first path turned into a dead end. Immediately, the self evident problem of the season at the moment is that there isn’t a major threat yet. We know the Empire is still kicking around and that there are still Bounty Hunters pursuing Mando but that’s about all that’s going on at the moment.
We know that Boba Fett is apparently still kicking around on Tatooine as well but it’s not clear when Mando and Boba are going to have a confrontation this season.
The new episode in question doesn’t really push any of these story arcs ahead by very much. From the outset, Mando is told he may be able to find a Covent of Mandalorians on a swamp planet in the immediate sector. In order to do this, he has to take an alien on board his ship through hostile space at sub-light speed which could result in him getting stopped by pirates or New Republic authorities.
The alien is an expecting mother who needs to deliver her eggs to her husband to be fertilized before she becomes unable to have children and further her line but the eggs will be damaged if they go through hyperspace. Thus the goal of the episode is simple. Naturally, it doesn’t go as planned and they end up crash landing onto an ice planet where they accidently find themselves caught in a massive spider nest that further damages the ship.
Most of this is quite tangential. Even the episode’s nominal stakes end up getting resolved with a few lines of dialog. Most of the actual consequences of the action are resolved by a few jump cuts of fixing the ship.
There’s also a bizarre subplot where-in the Child keeps trying to eat the unfertilized eggs of the alien and Mando keeps having to keep him busy so the eggs can be safely delivered. It’s not clear if this is a one-off gag of setup for a future episode or story arc.
Regardless, this season could use a sense of urgency shot into it’s arm quickly. While it’s clear what the general goals of this season are, the story doesn’t add much drama or stakes to why Mando finding his remaining people will help to fix whatever the long-term threat of the series ends up being.
Even so, Chapter 10 was still a lot of fun! I just wish we could’ve gotten more character growth, story advancement or catharsis by the end of the episode. It’s hard to be mad at a series when you just want more of it by the end of each episode!