I just finished watching the first episode of season two of Star Wars: The Mandalorian. The John Favreau written episode was easily the best one they’ve made yet. Maybe I’m riding high on a Star Wars buzz after a long drought. But that felt like the best episode I’ve seen, even after a rewatch of the first eight chapters this week.
This episode was drunk on tropes in a way only great Star Wars can be. “The Marshall” had a strong opening with the fixed Gamorean fight, a moment they sold hard in the marketing for the season. It was extremely effective in putting Mando on his season quest of finding his people to help him. It was also nice to see that John Leguizamo scoop finally get confirmed.
I was elated to see Amy Sedaris return as Peli Motto aka Space Geraldine Antonia “Jerri” Blank. I liked how we saw a familiar face from the first season. Yeah, there was an R5-D4 cameo but I liked how this sequence also reminded us how much Mando grew after the death of IG-11 in terms of droid phobias.
The sweeping shots of Tatooine are some of the best Tatooine shots we’ve ever seen in Star Wars. They were so good. I didn’t expect that quality of beauty in the exposition of this show.
The music was solid as ever. It felt really grounded and more defined than in the first season as the themes developed and it’s totally hittings its stride now. It also sounded like Ludwig Göransson used the Brian May (Queen) pack for Amplitube on the guitars in this episode. Either way, it was rad.
Timothy Olyphant is great in everything he’s in. Bringing his Deadwood cowboy swagger in The Mandalorian was really great. It was neat to see a character from some of the best parts of Aftermath showing up on the screen. I liked the dynamic between Cobb Vanth and Mando which was really solid. From the moment they sit down to the moment Cobb holds up on finger because the ground is shaking, it was solid. Also, that Podracer engined speeder was badass.
The vibe of this episode was right up my alley. The Mandalorian took elements of Dune and Tremors and compressed it into a fun package. It called back to Ralph McQuarrie concepts and 90’s Krayt dragon obsessions (they even did the pearl!). It showed us how people saw the Death Star II exploded and what happened in the…Aftermath.
The story from here is pretty simple in that two cultures have to overcome their differences to ensure their survival. It was a classic cowboy and indigenous people’s tale. They fight the ‘leviathan” and they win.
Let’s talk about Boba Fett stuff. I loved the moment during the end fight where Mando needs Cobb to go so he fires the rocketpack off just like Han Solo did to Boba to “kill him” in Return of the Jedi. R5-D4 was kind of a lame call back. This call back was a really good one and it served the story and made light of the technical defect that cast Boba aside in the lore.
So that was Boba we saw last season. The sound effects and the spurs had me convinced. And I’m very glad Favreau delivered on that implication. The final shot of Boba was insane to see and he looks badass out of the armor. This is the first time we’ve seen adult Boba Fett outside of his armor and I liked it.
On a side note, I enjoyed how the townspeople had the rebel Hoth style hats and costumes. I really hated the costumes from the townspeople in chapter 4 where it looked like 90’s space TV was back. However, I have to say the Tuskens look cool. But maybe it might be neat to start to fill them in a little. They’re all the same and it was totally competent but a design variant could have been cool here.
The opening of the episode saw a dude essentially fed to the dogs. Then we get to another planet and we meet the Tusken Raider’s massiffs which are dogs. Did it serve thematic sense and I’m missing it or did they just have puppies on the brain for this episode? Maybe it did. Maybe it was scarier to see them approach those dogs after we saw dogs eat a dude? Either way, I liked both scenes but questioned if they belonged in the same chapter.
That end battle with the dragon was really beyond anything I expected to see playout so strongly. When I heard the rumors of this sequence it didn’t sound as full-on insane as what they dropped visually. I appreciated when the dragon was supposed to be dead and we as the audience knew that it was not, our heroes also were on the same page as the audience.
Will Boba Fett want his armor back? Why did he wait until now if so? I really can’t wait to see how this plays out next week.
This was my favorite episode yet. Unless it’s that Star Wars buzz getting to me. But it isn’t often I get the Star Wars buzz when I mainline it so much so I’ll take it! What a good time.