‘The Mandalorian’ ushers in it’s season finale with a thought provoking and action packed episode!
Coming to us from director Rick Famuyiwa, this episode of The Mandalorian has a slower, more methodical tempo than the previous chapters. But it’s a welcomed change as the 2nd to last episode of this season. Digging deeper into the lore and mythology of Star Wars, Rick provides a fresh look at the galaxy at large. At first glance, this episode of The Mandalorian was a bit underwhelming, but after a re watch, I couldn’t get it out of my head.
With a captured Grogu on Moff Gideons ship, Mando and his crew set out to rescue him. Trying to find the coordinates to Gideons ship, Mando and Bill Burrs character, Mayfeld, infiltrate an Imperial refinery to gain information on the whereabouts of said ship. Successful, they set themselves on a collision course with the Dark Saber wielding Imperial.
After his appearance in the first season, I enjoyed Bill Burr’s character. There were moments where he didn’t feel like he completely fit in Star Wars. But overall, I’m such a big a fan of him, that I gave it a pass. And I didn’t think he’d ever show up again. But to my surprise he did, and he was even better since his first outing. And I’m betting that’s due to Famuyiwa’s direction, considering he introduced Burr’s character in the first season of The Mandalorian.
This episode took Burrs character places that was unexpected but cool. Playing a more cynical person with a chip on his shoulder, Burr provides a great contrast to Mando. During their transport mission, Mando and Mayfeld have a interesting theological conversation about belief systems. Referencing The Mandalorian “helmet rule”, Mayfeld says,
“Everybody’s got their lines they don’t cross until things get messy.”
This represents the main theme of this episode. Its about what you’re willing to give up for the greater good. Do your convictions matter in the face of opposition? And what are you willing to sacrifice? These reoccurring questions came up later in the episode, and suffice to say they had some great payoffs.
HEROES OF THE EMPIRE
When Mayfeld and Mando successfully fend off the native pirates and deliver the rhydonium to the refinery, they are met with proud salutes and a standing ovation from their Imperial “brethren”. This was interesting to see.
It’s not a new idea by any stretch. At this point with Battlefront 2, Rebels, Lost Stars, and the newly released Star Wars Squadrons. Showcasing the Imperial perspective on the galaxy has become a fad of sorts in recent years in regards to canon. But not so much so in live action. And it hasn’t gotten old. The Last Jedi and Rogue One have both touched on these ideas, but I’ve never seen these ideas explored the way this episode did.
With a scene that felt straight out of Inglorious Bastards, Mayfeld and Mando come into contact with seasoned Imperial general. After Mando decides to take off his mask to obtain the coordinates to Gideons ship, him and Mayfeld get stopped by a general for a drink.
They talk about the nature of what constitutes a neccessary sacrifice if it means the Empire gets to live to fight another day. They talk about ideas of collateral damage and fallen heroes of war. It’s at this point that we find out Mayfeld was at one time an Imperial, with a darker past than we might’ve expected. Referencing one the Emperor’s contingency plans, Operation Cinder (as seen in Battlefront 2). That operation was a way to ensure any Imperial planets did not outlive the Emperor in the event of his untimely demise. It was a sort of rest button for the Empire so it can be rebuilt in the outer regions. Needless to say, it seems like Mayfeld not only took part in it, but lost a lot of men that day. Specifically under the command of the Imperial general sitting in front of him, Valin Hess.
As Hess touts the sacrifices of the thousands of men that died during operation Cinder, calling it a worthy sacrifice, Mayfeld pushes back on that idea. Feeling that the outcome was not worth the lives lost. In the end, Mayfeld loses it and blasts him right in the heart.
It was a cool moment, and it payed off the themes put forth in the beginning of the episode. Mayfeld plays the cynical realist, who doesn’t really have a care in the world, while Mando is the one who harbors deeply held convictions. And in a matter of moments, they both learn something about who they are. Mando learns that he’s willing to bend his rules in favor of a great cause. And Mayfeld learns that there are some moral convictions worth standing by. Mayfeld had compared the Empire to the New Republic, saying they’re the same. But when push came to shove, Mayfeld decided who he’s willing to stand against.
Overall this episode was great. The action was top notch as usual. The acting by Bill Burr was surprisingly great. And Famayuia pulled off some great moments of tension. I liked how this episode highlighted the menial jobs of the galaxy like working in a shipyard. Though I mentioned before, Star Wars is at its best when it incorporates all aspects of the mythology, I also like when it showcases the everyday people, doing ordinary things.
It was also cool seeing Boba Fett with a new coat of paint. And hearing that sweet seismic charge explode again for the first time 2002 was a welcomed treat. I didn’t expect them to bring it back as soon as they did. Also Mayfeld taking a cycler bullet to the refinery was a great moment and further encapsulated his arc. I have no doubt we’ll be seeing him again in a future series. Possibly in the newly announced Rangers of the New Republic.
All in all, great episode. And a great set up for the finale of season 2 of The Mandalorian. With that holo-message that Mando sent to Moff Gideon, their clash is gonna be something to behold. And who knows, maybe there might be a surprise appearance. Many have speculated Luke Skywalker, but I’d put my money on Thrawn!
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