Ben’s Breakdown | “The Mandalorian” – Season 2: Three Episode Thoughts
The Mandalorian, or “Mando” as some people refer to him, has been tasked with returning an infant to his race, or at least to people who can do that for him. The Bounty Hunter/Lone Gunslinger is also being hunted by remnants of the fallen Empire. Their leader, a Moff named Gideon wants that infant. It is of the same species as the elderly Yoda and has already shown a strong ability with The Force. This puts Mando in an award situation but given that he is a man of honor he will at least die trying to fulfill his task.
One of the trickiest things to do with a series that was a smash hit is to prove that you’re not a one-hit-wonder. Too many shows came out with a strong first season only to return and fall prey to what is referred to as the “sophomore slump.” The Mandalorian is not that show.
One of the strongest elements of this Disney+ streaming series has been its connection to the overall Star Wars universe that fans love. Even after the sequel series of movies that met with mixed reactions, The Mandalorian was an instant success because it did what the sequel movies could not, and that was to be fun and respectful towards the older franchise properties. Anti-heroes and underdogs always get sympathy from viewers, and the character of Mando has been no different. So, when the series came back for its second go the showrunners revisited the ingredients that work and landed our bounty hunter on the planet of Tatooine where he meets a Marshall wearing bits of Mandalorian armor. They strike a bargain where the Marshall will relinquish the armor if Mando can help Tusken Raiders deal with their problem involving a Krayt Dragon.
Later, Mando has made a deal to deliver a passenger to her mate on another planet in exchange for information regarding other Mandalorians. However, things don’t go quite as planned due to an unexpected run-in with a couple of X-Wing pilots working for the New Republic. Before all of this is over Mando has an encounter with what he believes to be three Mandalorians, only these three are not what he expected, and the leader of the three happens to be on the hunt for the Darksaber that was taken from her during the Purge on Mandalore. Showrunner Jon Favreau has drawn upon existing elements from the Star Wars universe, from Tusken Raiders in Star Wars IV: A New Hope and the talked about but never seen from the novelization of the same movie, the use of X-Wing Pilots representing the New Republic that further cements the apparent downfall of the Empire following Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi, to probably the biggest moment of all when bringing in the character of Bo-Katan Kryze where she was established in the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels.
Favreau went even further by having Katee Sackoff, who voiced the character in both shows, play the part inside of the Mandalorian armor thus strengthening the canonical ties between the two different properties. And, as a final gift making fans of the franchise geek out with delight, they even dropped the name of Ahsoka Tano who was the first apprentice to Anakin Skywalker but eventually left the Jedi Order sometime before its fall. This would only make sense within this universe because Bo-Katan was friends with Ahsoka on Mandalore before the Great Purge. These are the story elements that bind the universe of Star Wars together. Areas that were missed or dismissed in the sequel series are being honored here because the people who are involved, from Favreau to the staff of directors, every one of them is a fan and their devotion to the series has kept the excitement from the first season through to the first three episodes of this second season making The Mandalorian one of the most exciting shows on television today.
1 thought on “Ben’s Breakdown | “The Mandalorian” – Season 2: Three Episode Thoughts”
I am loving The Mandalorian season 1 and 2. I like that we met characters again when it makes some sense. While there are several people Mando meets along the way I wish would stay with him, in the end it would be a pretty crowded ship and the “lone gunslinger” vibe works for him. Mando and the “child” also get to build their relationship better over time. Humor is not forced most of the time; sweetly subtle. There is a funny scene at the beginning of S2E12 about wires that isn’t for the story but the relationship building. A great example of why this is a well-rounded action/sci-fi series.