The Mandalorian Season 2 Chapter 14 Review
I'M WARNING YOU RIGHT NOW, SPOILERS FOR THE LATEST OF THE MANDALORIAN ARE BELOW. I SHIELD YOU FROM NOTHING!
OK, YOU'RE WARNED!
IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE EPISODE YET, STOP HERE, GO WATCH IT AND COME BACK FOR MY REVIEW.
OK, those are the formalities officially out of the way. Each week, I'll be posting a quick recap/review of each new episode of The Mandalorian. I'll give a basic play-by-play with some thoughts and speculation about how each episode could figure into the larger picture of this season, and Star Wars as a whole.
So let's get after it.
SEASON 2: CHAPTER 14: "THE TRAGEDY"
EPISODE PREMIERS ON December 4, 2020
DIRECTOR: ROBERT RODRIGUEZ
EPISODE LENGTH: 34 MINUTES
This episode of The Mandalorian, more than any that came before it, combined elements of different eras of the Star Wars mythology together in an action-packed and tense chapter, the sixth one of the second season.
We had strong visual and story elements from the prequel era, original trilogy era, sequel trilogy era, Indiana Jones and - this is a guess - the forthcoming High Republic publishing era.
The episode opens with Din Djarin flying right for the planet Tython, as instructed by Ahsoka Tano at the end of chapter 13. He finds the seeing stone, atop a mountain, where he places Grogu. A blue Force aura quickly emerges around Grogu, who appears to be meditating within this strange effect.
We then see Slave I, Boba Fett's ship, descend from the sky. This puts Djarin on alert, thinking Grogu is threatened. Fett emerges, along with thought-deceased Fennec Shand, who we last saw in chapter 5. All Fett wants is his armor back. Armor that was procured by Djarin back in chapter 9 from Cobb Vanth for helping to slay the Krayt Dragon in Mos Pelgo on Tatooine.
We then see Imperial transports land on Tython and unloading squads of stormtroopers, intent on capturing a still-meditating Grogu. These transports look very similar to the ones we see at the very beginning of The Force Awakens, when First Order stormtroopers land on Tuanul, the village on Jakku that is harboring Lor San Tekka and the map to Luke Skywalker's location. A nice forward-looking design nod.
Shand, a sharpshooter, shows off her skills by easily taking out dozens of stormtroopers, who still seemingly, can't aim worth a crap. There's a wonderful Indiana Jones Easter egg when Shand kicks a boulder down a hill, taking out stormtroopers who, in addition to not being able to aim, also aren't very fast. At least, not as fast as Indy is at evading a boulder rolling downhill after them.
Fett's fighting sequences here really stand out. He is quite a bit older than we've seen him before, but his fighting style is ferocious. He wields a Tusken Raider gaffi stick with brutal efficiency. As a bounty hunter, Fett didn't appear to have any particular allegiance to the Empire, as we knew him in the original trilogy days. But as seen here, he seems to carry a particular disdain for stormtroopers. Temuera Morrison adds in severe facial expressions during these battle scenes, which add a nice amount of viciousness to his performance.
Just when Djarin, Fett and Shand have chased off the stormtrooper legion, a blast comes from the sky and destroys the Razor Crest. Yep, Djarin's ship is obliterated by a single blast from Moff Gideon's Imperial cruiser. All that's left is the Beskar spear, given to him by Ahsoka. What are the odds that spear comes in handy for him over the course of the final two episodes of the season?
Adding to the implications of the aptly named episode, four of Gideon's Dark Troopers, hinted at back in chapter 12, fly down to the seeing eye spot and abduct Grogu, taking him back to the cruiser. These troops appear to be a new design, not exactly like the Dark Troopers from the 1990s LucasArts video games that originally utilized the names.
Djarin, Fett and Shand then depart Tython for Nevarro, where Djarin enlists the help of Cara Dune - now a New Republic Marshal - to locate Mayfeld, last seen in chapter 6, in an attempt to locate Gideon's cruiser.
The episode concludes on the cruiser. Grogu is in a holding cell, Force-tossing a pair of stormtroopers off the walls and briefly choking them. Gideon then ignites the Darksaber and taunts Grogu with it. Another stormtrooper stuns Grogu while Gideon instructs his officers to contact Doctor Pershing, informing him they have "the donor."
Robert Rodriguez is the first first-time director of an episode in the second season of the show, and he delivered on a jam-packed chapter.
This episode completes the connection with the end of chapter 5, when an unknown person is seen walking up to Shand's presumed-dead body. That shot pretty much ensured we hadn't seen the last of Shand, and Internet speculation at the time was that Boba Fett was the one standing over her. That is confirmed here, as Fett and Shand and formed a partnership, one that now includes Djarin.
Tython was a striking setting, and I enjoyed Djarin's layman's view of the mountain's spot and the Jedi/religious meaning it holds. I hope Tython becomes a common environment in the forthcoming High Republic publishing series. It's set 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, which qualifies it for its "ancient" label used in this episode. It's also striking to consider this place, a deeply meaningful place for the Jedi of years past, to be deserted when Djarin and Grogu find it. Jedi have been, with the exception of Ahsoka last week, correctly and necessarily absent from the series.
Only two episodes left in this season. With Grogu in custody, Djarin and his new allies ready to break out a prisoner and the Empire's larger plans kicking back into high gear, anything can happen.
I live in Michigan and have been an unconditional fan of Star Wars and Indiana Jones for decades. Follow me on twitter @bmonastiere
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