Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 2!
This is the way. After nearly one year since the show first premiered, Disney+ and Lucasfilm’s highly-acclaimed series The Mandalorian returned for its second season last Friday. Taking the world by storm last November, the first live-action television production set in a galaxy far, far away was met with praise from both fans and critics alike. Now, after months of speculation, rumor, and intrigue, the first episode of the second season is finally here and along with it, our review.
Season two of The Mandalorian picks up somewhat closely after the events of the first, with us following Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and the Child as they attempt to complete the mission given to them by the Armorer (Emily Swallow) at the end of season one. The Mandalorian must reunite the Child with its kind and he believes that he will need the help of fellow Mandalorians in order to do so. After chasing down a lead at a Gamorrean fight club, Din is tipped off about a possible beskar-armored individual on Tatooine.
Upon his arrival, our protagonist is reunited with Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), who he met during his last trip to the desert planet in season one. She directs him to the lost town of Mos Pelgo, where he finds a marshal by the name of Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), who bears the armor of one of the most infamous characters in all of Star Wars, Boba Fett. After a brief introduction, the two men agree to terms in which the Mandalorian kills a krayt dragon in exchange for Vanth’s armor. Chaos ensues as a result, in which ultimately the beast is slayed, the armor is returned, and our hero rides off into the sunset, watched carefully by none other than Boba himself.
For a season premiere, I found this episode to be very satisfying. Not only did the episode set up the goal and arc of this season, it also gave us a great storyline with plenty of entertainment for the whole family. This starts with the runtime, which was considerably longer than any of the episodes in season one. At fifty-four minutes, this episode packs in a lot and feels more fitting for a series of this stature. This, coupled with top-notch writing and directing from Jon Favreau, makes for a really smooth reintroduction into this world.
The strengths of this episode lie in the performances and heart of the story, something which Favreau excels in. The establishment of Mos Pelgo’s residents and their relationship with the Tusken Raiders was an unexpected but much appreciated side story. The dynamic of the citizens of Freetown needing to trust the Sand People and vice versa in order to achieve a mutual goal, and to have Cobb Vanth be the bridge between the two peoples after learning from Din is great character payoff. Speaking of these two, the performances from both Olyphant and Pascal bring the episode to a heightened level.
I would be remiss if I did not discuss the star of the series and his role in the episode, the Child. Oddly enough, this was one of the elements of the first episode that impressed me the most. Following a much expected boom in popularity after his debut nearly a year ago, the Child, more commonly referred to as “Baby Yoda”, could have easily become a cash-grab for Disney and could have easily been shoehorned more into the episode. However, Favreau does a great job using the little green creature for smart, comedic moments but keeps the focus of the show very much on our hero. I hope this trend continues moving forward even as we begin to learn more about him and what exactly the Empire was looking to use him for.
One subtle detail that some fans might have missed was the aspect ratio change during the final action sequence. During a push-in shot on Cobb Vanth, right before the krayt dragon emerges, the screen switches to full, reminiscent of the way that a film shot in IMAX will expand in a theater during certain scenes. The aspect ratio then slowly reverts itself as our hero rides off into the sunset, making for a really unique technical decision that I hope we get more of throughout the rest of the season.
Overall, I found this episode to be more reminiscent of a side quest or filler episode from season one, but with key crucial differences addressed in the review that make it stand out and hold strong as a first episode of a new season. I never expected a major twist like the original “Baby Yoda” reveal and while I love the reintroduction of Boba Fett, I do not expect that storyline to be continued heavily moving forward, but rather used as a fun moment for fans to be picked up at a later date. Looking ahead, as rumors start to become reality, it appears we have a lot of great character appearances left for this season and I look forward to seeing where our two characters go from here.
What did you think of this episode of The Mandalorian? Where do you think the show goes from here? Let us know in the comments below and on our social media pages!