Warning: This article contains spoilers for Chapter 12 of The Mandalorian
Coming off of one of the best episodes of the series, Chapter 12 of The Mandalorian was absolutely phenomenal and some might even argue a better episode than last week. Although not the episode we expected, this delivered on all cylinders and really showcased the potential this series has.
After his run-in with Bo-Katan and her Mandalorian allies, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and the Child must return to Nevarro in order to seek repairs before going to meet with Ahsoka Tano. Here he finds old friends Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) as well as a revived Nevarro full of prosperity. While the Razor Crest gets repairs, Din’s old friends ask our hero to aid them in destroying an Imperial facility still active on the planet. With the help of Mythrol (Horatio Sanz), the trio invades the facility, only to learn that it is a front for nefarious activities relating to the Child. Action ensues and the squad is able to destroy the factory. The episode ends with Din off to find Ahsoka and Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) being informed that a tracker has been placed on the newly-repaired Razor Crest.
Truthfully this episode was fantastic. I believe the standout here is the directing by Carl Weathers. I am so glad that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni asked Carl Weathers to step in and direct this episode because he did such an incredible job. The action flowed really well and there were a lot of beautifully composed scenes and shots throughout the episode. Performances were also a highlight for me, with all of the cast shining in their respective roles. I thought that Weathers himself was really the standout of this episode both from a performance and directing standpoint.
As for the story, seeing a revived Nevarro makes me question just how much time has passed during the course of this series. It is sometimes hard to tell, but it is clear that there has been a major change on the planet and while this could have happened quickly, it appears it has been a long time in story since the season one finale. I also thought that Cara Dune had a really touching scene at the end with the New Republic pilot (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee). There are rumblings that she may get her own series, and while her off-screen behavior may change those plans, this scene definitely appeared to pave a path for her own spin-off in the future. I would also like to note the subtle character arc we are beginning to see for Din Djarin himself. We see him remove part of his helmet to eat and drink in this episode, most likely a direct result from his meeting with Bo-Katan. I fully expect him to be comfortable revealing his face to others by the end of this season, if not Season 3.
Let’s talk about the major reveal of this episode though, the Empire’s plans for the Child. Going into this episode, I expected nothing but filler, yet I was met with a lot more plot progression than I ever would have expected. From what I can gather in this episode, it appears that at least Moff Gideon’s remnant of the Empire is looking to revive the Emperor and needs the Child in order to do so. When The Mandalorian premiered last year, one of my theories was that the Child was wanted by the Empire for his slow aging as well as his high midi-chlorian count to revive Palpatine. At least the latter is confirmed in this episode, with Doctor Pershing’s (Omid Abtahi) hologram citing an “m-count”. We even see the early stages of Palpatine’s clone in the bacta tank in this episode.
So what does this mean overall? We cannot be certain yet. If I were to speculate, Moff Gideon serves as an early member of the First Order and/or the Sith Eternal, as seen in The Rise of Skywalker. He seeks to clone Sheev Palpatine as instructed in Palpatine’s Contingency plan. As we know from the final film in the Skywalker Saga, the Emperor’s plan was not fully successful, as he required life support machinery despite his successful cloning. This would lead me to think that in the future Din Djarin will be successful in preventing Moff Gideon from recapturing the Child and using its life force for evil. I hope to learn more about Gideon’s role in Palpatine’s plan and to see if Gideon is even aware of the First Order being created in the Unknown Regions or if he is just another Moff struggling to hold on to the remnants of the Empire. Only time will tell.
Ultimately this episode was so much more than the filler episode I expected. This was masterfully crafted and I look forward to seeing Ahsoka Tano in live-action directed by Dave Filoni.
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!