Warning: Spoilers for Season 2, Episode 6 of "The Mandalorian" below
Wow. Just wow. There's a lot to unpack in the latest installment of "The Mandalorian" on Disney Plus and it will leave you with a lot of different emotions to process. No other sci-fi show is currently, consistently generating this amount of buzz after each episode and it's testament to the quality of the writing of this show that it dominates social media trends for days after it's aired.
We begin with the Mandalorian, a.k.a. Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) having a bonding moment with the Child, a.k.a. Baby Yoda or now, as we learned last episode, Grogu. They're on their way to the planet Tython, in search of the ancient ruins of a temple that has a strong connection to the Force. Ahsoka Tano instructed him to place Grogu on the seeing stone at the top of the mountain so that Grogu may choose his path. If he reaches out through the Force, there's a chance a Jedi may sense his presence and come searching for him.
Upon reaching the ruins, he places Grogu at the center and nothing happens. Slightly frustrated, Djarin looks around in case there's a switch or a lever or something. And then we get our first of many Reasons to Gasp in this episode, Slave 1, Boba Fett's (Temuera Morrison) ship, last seen in live action in "Attack of the Clones." Djarin isn't happy with the situation and wants to leave, but a Force energy field has surrounded Grogu and the process of his calling has begun. The Mandalorian tries to grab the child, but is thrown back by the energy field. Reluctantly, he goes to investigate who might be onboard that ship.
Before long he's pinned down by sniper fire and he comes face to face with the Fett. Turns out the sniper fire was coming from none other than Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) who was last seen left for dead in the desolate Tatooine desert in the first season episode "Chapter 5: The Gunslinger." So it was Fett we saw at the very end of that episode. He rescued her and it seems she's had some quite extensive repair work done. As a result, she is in his service.
Fett says that he's been tracking the Mandalorian, whether or not that's a result of Moff Gideon's doing is not made clear. Regardless, he explains that he's not there for Grogu or for Djarin, he is there to get his beskar armor back. This is the armor that Djarin was given by Cobb Vanth in the premiere episode, "Chapter 9: The Marshal."
According to Wookieepedia, "Fett survived his fall into the Pit of Carkoon, and escaped the Sarlacc. Some time before 9 ABY [After Battle of Yavin], he was separated from his Mandalorian armor, which eventually ended up in the possession of roving Jawas. The armor was sold to Cobb Vanth in exchange for a camtono of silicax crystals, who later gave it to the Mandalorian Din Djarin in exchange for his help killing a massive Krayt dragon.
"I want my armor that you got from Cobb Vanth on Tatooine," Fett says. And since Fett was also on Tatooine, we can only assume that he didn't actually know Vanth had it, but because he was tracking Djarin, he learned afterwards that this was where it had been.
And then comes something interesting. Up until now, "Star Wars" canon has been such that Boba Fett was not Mandalorian. Fett wore Mandalorian armor, even though he wasn't from that planet. Consequently, the government of Mandalore disavowed any connection to him, claiming he was simply "a common bounty hunter" who acquired the armor through unofficial and illegal channels. In the "Clone Wars" episode "The Mandalore Plot" (S02, E12) Mandalorian Prime Minister Almec tells Obi-Wan Kenobi, "How he acquired that armor is beyond me."
However, "The Mandalorian" has reshaped "Star Wars" lore slightly, and now being Mandalorian is as much of a creed as it is a race.
"The armor was given to my father, Jango, by your forebears," Fett says. "In exchange, I guarantee the safety of the Child as well as your own."
And so, in effect, Fett's record has been cleaned up and his reputation remade. No longer is the Fett family to be considered disrespectful, two-bit criminals in "Star Wars" canon, they now acquired the armor through traditional channels. And we shall see more evidence of this later on. However, the jury is still out on whether this change in his backstory is better; we rather liked the mercenary, all-about-the-money past he previously had.
At this point, what appears to be an Imperial assault ship descends to the surface and a squad of Stormtroopers pours out. Djarin races up the hill to the temple ruins and once again attempts to pull Grogu out from the Force energy shield, but he's once again thrown back and unable to reach the child. The attack comes thick and fast, Imperial troops swarm all over the hillside.
Shand tries to pick them off using her sniper rifle, while Fett using his gaffi stick, gives an incredible display of Tusken fighting skills, often completely smashing Stromtrooper helmets. The Imperial troops deploy a mortar and finally, it's so good to see them actually using infantry support-style weapons. And as a result of this, we even see a brand new style of Stormtrooper — a Mortar Stormtrooper — that looks like the Incinerator Stormtrooper, first seen in "The Force Unleashed" videogame and then in the first season finale, "Chapter 8: Redemption" but with yellow markings instead of red. There's even a cameo role for the E-Web heavy repeating blaster, also last seen in the Season 1 finale, thankfully though this one didn't require a contrived introduction before it opened fire.
The whole battle is pretty spectacular and director Robert Rodriguez gets a chance to show what he has become so very good at, thrilling, set piece action sequences.
Fett finds himself near the Razor Crest so he seizes the opportunity to grab his beskar armor, good job too as we'll see very shortly. Shand is showing what a seriously kick-ass character she is as she more or less singlehandedly staves off wave after wave of Imperial troops. And then another assault craft lands and even more troopers pour out.
Djarin finally picks himself up and joins the fight…just as the Force energy field surrounding Grogu disappears. Typical. He joins Shand who has become surrounded and the two fight a desperate battle. Things look desperate until Fett shows up having now donned his armor…and suddenly he's become Boba Fatt. Somehow – surviving in the desert, with all that walking and a minimal food supply for many years – he's packed on more than a few pounds. It wasn't really visible until now, concealed by his roomy robes. Perhaps Morrison could've hit the treadmill in preparation for the role, like Mark Hamill did for "The Last Jedi." It's the same thing with Laurence Fishburne's character in "Predators" – he's the only Special Forces soldier who could still turn into a beer barrel by eating nothing but moss and fungi scraped of rocks.
Between the three of them, they manage to drive back the Imperial ground forces and they retreat in their assault craft.
Fatt Fett uses the rocket launcher accessory he has on his Rising Phoenix jetpack and takes out one of the assault ships.
And then comes the moment that no one was expecting. Indeed, many will have you believe that the "tragedy" of the episode title refers to the imminent kidnapping of Grogu, but to us, it's this moment. A single laser blast is fired from Moff Gideon's Arquitens-class command cruiser high up in the atmosphere, a second or two passes and then it hits and utterly destroys the Razor Crest. No Mon Calamari dockworker, no Ugnaught, not Peli Motto and her army of DUM-series pit droids, not even Greef Karga's best engineers are going to be able to repair it this time. This time it's absolutely, well and truly blown to pieces.
It was a bold, brave move, but it raises a lot of questions. The Razor Crest was a rare thing in the galaxy; it's pre-Empire and as such is considered almost antique. Moreover, a lot of time, effort and energy went into designing something utterly unique that looked both stylish and retro, can the same thing be achieved so successfully again? Then there's the merchandising angle – and that could indeed be the reason this terrible tragedy occurred, but surely Disney isn't that evil, is it? Not long ago, 28,327 fans of the Razor Crest each paid $375 to back the beautiful Hasbro Vintage Collection model – us included, naturally – are we now expected to also invest in a new vehicular icon of the show?
It would be a pity if we never see the Razor Crest again, but it will always remain one of the finest spacecraft designs in contemporary science fiction. Will Djarin somehow end up with Slave 1? Or will Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have the Mandalorian using other recognizable ships, like maybe a YT-2400 light freighter or a HWK-290 perhaps, throughout the third season, before stumbling upon a virtually wrecked, rusty old Razor Crest class vessel in a scrapyard in the season finale? Perhaps the last two episodes of this season will provide us with a clue, we'll have to see.
Meanwhile, onboard Moff Gideon's cruiser, he unleashes the Dark Troopers that we got a glimpse of in "Chapter 12: The Siege" and it would appear that they are in fact a droid version of the Dark Trooper and this is confirmed on Wookiepedia. Not the DT-series sentry droid model per sé, but a fourth degree advanced droid variant of the Dark Trooper, with infantry exoskeleton that features heavy armor, plus powerful weapons and jump packs for increased flexibility and tactical advantage.
Shand and Djarin race to the temple ruins, but they're not quick enough as the Dark Troopers grab Grogu and return to Gideon's cruiser. Fett gives chase momentarily in Slave 1, but pulls away when he sees Gideon's cruiser and frankly, he's lucky to have not been shot down. He lands as Djarin sifts through the remains of the Razor Crest. The spear he acquired at the end of last week's episode survived, that beskar sure is tough stuff. Fett shows Djarin some Mandalorian text that's his "chain code" via a hologram projected from his forearm armor, which in essence tells his history. Naturally, some bright spark has already translated it.
The translated image reads, from left to right: "Foundling, Took into… The year the... Concord Dawn, Mentor Jast, Father Fett, Boba Fett." Concord Dawn is the home planet of Boba’s father, Jango Fett, but of course Boba is a clone of Jango, so technically his planet of origin is Kamino. In short, it's suggesting that Jango was a Mandalorian foundling and even fought in the Mandalorian Civil Wars (although it doesn't specify which side he was on), thus legitimizing Fett's ownership of the armor.
Fett says that until Grogu is returned safely, both he and Shand are in Djarin's service. They fly to Nevarro in Slave 1 where Djarin goes to see the newly confirmed marshal of Nevarro City, Cara Dune (Gina Carano), who appears to be taking her new responsibilities very seriously and as such cannot be seen to get too involved. Djarin asks her to look up a convicted felon named Mayfeld (Bill Burr) who was last saw in the first season episode "Chapter 6: The Prisoner." It seems Djarin feels his skill set could be useful in recuing Grogu, although we're not entirely sure why someone like Djarin needs someone like Mayfeld, especially given he also has the services of Fett and Shand for the foreseeable future.
Back aboard Gideon's cruiser and we see Grogu in a cell, using his rapidly developing Jedi powers to throw two Stormtroopers around like ragdolls. Moff Gideon enters and poor Grogu is exhausted from using all that Force. Gideon shows off his Darksaber, taunting Grogu with it and pulling away when the child reaches out for it. He has the child stunned (using that same alternative blaster effect we first saw in "A New Hope") and shackled.
"When we come out of hyperspace, send an encrypted message to Dr. Pershing; let him know we have got our donor," Gideon says to his Comms Officer. Fade to black.
This is an incredible episode that has you on the edge of your seat throughout. With only two episodes, the mind boggles with where we'll be taken next in this much improved season season.
In other "Star Wars" news, it's been confirmed that the Obi-Wan spinoff series will reportedly start principal photography in Boston and London in January of 2021, two months earlier than initially thought. Plus, Diego Luna has confirmed that the Cassian Andor prequel series is already filming in London.
"The Mandalorian" airs every Friday on Disney Plus. The first season of "The Mandalorian" is on Disney Plus, which is available for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year in the US and in the U.K., it's £6 a month, or £60 a year. It's also available in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, India, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, France and Japan.