By George Bate
Warning: This review contains spoilers for Chapter 12
The second season of The Mandalorian crossed the halfway mark this week with an action packed, surprisingly revelatory episode directed by Greef Karga himself Carl Weathers. After being informed of the location of Ahsoka Tano, Din Djarin and The Child attempt to journey to the Jedi, but struggle to do so with the badly damaged Razor Crest (blame the Mon Calamaris). Knowing that the ship needs repair before journeying to Corvus, Djarin returns to Nevarro, a planet frequently seen in the show’s debut season, to visit some old friends and repair the Razor Crest.
Chapter 12: The Siege begins with another adorable moment between The Mandalorian and the Child, something this season has excelled at some far. It’s easy to dismiss scenes like Djarin directing the Child as he tries to repair the ship or the two eating together as merely being cute little moments, but there’s quite a lot of dramatic, understated weight to these scenes. Seeing the bond between the seemingly cold bounty hunter and his de facto son is truly heartwarming and serves as the emotional anchor of the show so far. The quick glimpse of Djarin underneath his helmet was an interesting little moment as well, potentially hinting at a change in heart regarding wearing one’s helmet following his conversations with Bo-Katan.
Chapter 12 also sees the re-introduction of Cara Dune and Greef Karga. Dune’s first appearance this season, handedly dealing with a couple Aqualish goons, was, as one would expect, badass. With the little passage in time between seasons 1 and 2, it’s interesting to see how the relationship between Dune and Karga has developed and how each of these individual characters have grown accustomed to new, more legitimate roles. Chapter 12 also saw the reappearance of the still unnamed Mythrol, played brilliantly by Horatio Sanz. Sanz delivers his lines to perfection and provides some great humor in the episode, especially when he’s bantering back and forth with Carl Weathers’ Greef Karga.
The central objective of this episode plays very much like a video game mission, and that’s not a complaint whatsoever. As we’ve noted in previous reviews, one of the highlights of The Mandalorian is its ability to balance more story-oriented episodes full of massive implications to canon with more contained, seemingly inconsequential one-off episodes. And The Siege, akin to season 1’s The Gunslinger or The Prisoner, does the latter very well. Djarin, Karga, Dune, and the Mythrol travel to an old Imperial base on Nevarro to destroy it and, in turn, wipe out the remnants of the Empire entirely from the planet, allowing Karga to turn it into a trade anchor for the sector. What proceeds is a really entertaining, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. Director Carl Weathers expertly navigates some brilliant action sequences. This is emphasized by the incredible dogfight between Din Djarin’s Razor Crest and several Imperial TIE fighters in the episode’s final moments, possibly one of the series’ best action sequences yet.
Perhaps most shocking in Chapter 12 was the way in which it furthered the show’s central plot and teased what’s to come. Djarin and his friends come across a lab in the Imperial facility containing several deformed Strand-Casts. A transmission from Doctor Pershing details how he conducted a blood transfusion using The Child’s blood, but that the experiment is rejecting the blood. Pershing makes note of the Child having a high “M-count,” referencing midi-chlorians. This entire sequence is filled to the brim with intriguing story hints. Is the Strand-Cast in the background a proto Snoke or even a Palpatine clone? Is Gideon trying to use the Child’s blood to create Snoke or resurrect Palpatine? The scene leaves a lot of questions to ponder, but the intrigue doesn’t stop there. The episode’s conclusion with the traitorous Mimbanese planting a tracking device on the Razor Crest and Gideon standing amongst a room of, what looks to be, Dark troopers was definitely something to behold. It looks like Gideon will begin to play a bigger role as the season progresses and, especially with this role entailing the incorporation of Dark troopers, this is something we’re really looking forward to.
There’s little to complain about in The Mandalorian’s twelfth installment. The middle of the episode, in which Djarin and the others raid the Imperial facility, is alright, but nothing mind blowing or particularly novel. The episode’s action excels more so when the chase begins as this is more exciting and dynamic than the hallway combat in the facility. Chapter 12 also poses a few questions that we may not ever get the answers to. These are more nit-picky, but still worth pointing out. After Chapter 8, did Gideon really think it was a good idea to continue experimenting on Nevaro? If he did and he has such an army at his disposal, wouldn’t he have already sought his revenge against Karga and Dune by wiping their town off the face of the planet? It just seems a little odd and illogical that Gideon would not have either relocated his lab or destroyed Karga and Dune’s town already.
Either way, Chapter 12 is a thoroughly entertaining installment of The Mandalorian. With thrilling action directed by Carl Weathers in his Star Wars directorial debut and the return of characters, including Cara Dune and the Mythrol, The Siege is a great contained episode with many intriguing hints as to what is to come.
Images courtesy of Lucasfilm & Disney+