For his Star Wars directorial debut, Carl Weathers did an excellent job.
The fourth episode of The Mandalorian season 2, titled chapter 12 “The Siege,” was an action-packed affair with plenty of laughs. It also helped to move the storyline forward by showing off a glimpse of Moff Gideon’s master plan.
[Warning: Our recap contains major spoilers for season 2, episode 4 of The Mandalorian.]
The episode opens on Din Djarin trailing smoke — and several pieces of his ship’s hull — as he makes his way to meet up with Ahsoka Tano. Despite the repairs made on Trask in episode 3, the hyperdrive has failed spectacularly and it’s time to stop by a safe harbor for some repairs. Cut to Nevarro, with Greef Karga (Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) waiting in the wings.
While the repairs get made, fans are treated to a delightful vignette inside Nevarro’s old cantina. The site of the massive battle with Moff Gideon and his troops at the end of season 1, it’s been transformed into a one-room schoolhouse. That’s where The Child is plopped down to spend the afternoon learning about galactic geography. But, like the caterpillar from that famous children’s book, he’s still hungry and liberates a package of space macaroons with his mind.
Counter-posed against the fairly grim scenes to follow, it’s a marvelous distraction.
Daycare secured, Din gets roped into another heist. Greef and Cara have taken the little town under their wing, serving as governor and marshal respectively. But, in order to secure their settlement, the Imperial holdouts left in a nearby base have to be cleared out. Packed to the gills with high-end weaponry, it only makes the planet a ripe target for smugglers.
Once inside the base, the trio — joined by the returning Horatio Sanz as the blue-skinned, fish-faced Mythrol from the show’s very first episode — encounters stiff resistance. They make their way to the reactor, set it to overload, and start heading for the exit.
It should be noted here that the entire base, including the reactor control panel itself, looks like it was ripped straight out of the first Death Star. This base has been here on Nevarro for a long while, and that’s what makes the next bit so troubling.
On their way to the surface, Din and company stumble upon a pair of Imperial scientists who quickly try to destroy their work. Once they’re gunned down, the group discovers a series of tanks with mysterious creatures floating inside. While hard to make out, they seem to have the same rounded heads and elongated limbs as the Emperor’s pet project — the Force-sensitive Snoke.
The Mythrol starts tapping at a console, and up comes a transmission from Doctor Pershing (Omid Abtahi).
“I highly doubt we’ll find a donor with a higher M-count,” he says, referring no doubt to The Child’s midi-chlorian levels. Apparently he’s been using The Child’s blood for transfusions into willing subjects, perhaps trying to enhance their own sensitivity with the Force. There’s at least one volunteer still on the waiting list, but the supply has run out.
Din is rightfully spooked, and leaves via jetpack to secure The Child. What follows is an epic chase sequence, with Greef, Cara, and the Mythrol using a commandeered Imperial tank for their escape. They run over stormtroopers, blow up speeder bikes, and ultimately fend off an attack by a squadron of TIE fighters. That’s when Din, in his fully repaired Razor Crest, swoops in to save the day.
The action sequences in this episode are actually some of my favorite in the entire series, especially the dogfighting scene between Din and the TIEs. Rather than bumbling morons, the soldiers in these scenes have a real sense of menace. With the Mythrol and The Child hanging around for comedic relief, the combat is paced exceptionally well. Here’s hoping that Weathers gets more time behind the camera in the seasons that follow.
The episode ends with a lengthy and ominous postscript. The action cuts to an Imperial Arquitens-class light cruiser, also known as a command cruiser. Apparently that’s where Moff Gideon has set up shop. We learn that a mechanic on Nevarro has planted a tracking beacon inside the Razor Crest. The Empire is following Din and The Child all the way to their meeting with Ahsoka Tano — which is expected next week, with the return of director and series co-creator Dave Filoni. But he’s not alone.
Inside the command cruiser, Gideon has a mysterious collection of black-armored … somethings. They’re much taller than regular stormtroopers. Are they modern-day battle droids? New-fangled suits for an elite cadre of death troopers? Or are they a long-lost remnant of powerful, cloned super-soldiers?
We’ll likely find out the day after Thanksgiving, and if we’re lucky we’ll see Mando fighting back-to-back with an actual Jedi.