‘The Mandalorian’ Season 2 Premiere: A MAJOR ‘Star Wars’ Character Appears (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 1, “Chapter 9: The Marshal.”]
Mando (Pedro Pascal) is determined to reunite the Force-using Baby Yoda with his kind, but in the Jon Favreau written-and-directed “The Marshal,” they find themselves involved in a conflict that has very little to do with their quest.
The result is a fun, mostly lighthearted hour of television that plays up the series’ strengths: its reverence for the wider Star Wars universe, its inclusion of stupendous guest stars (hello, Timothy Olyphant!) and its ability to remain lighthearted while offering plenty of thrills. This is the way, indeed.
Back to Tatooine
Mando needs to find other Mandalorians so he and Baby Yoda can chart a path to the Jedi. This leads them to Gor Koresh (John Leguizamo), a one-eyed Abyssin who runs a fighting ring. Mando starts to bargain with the guy, telling him he’ll pay him for information regarding the whereabouts of his people. Koresh has other plans; his guards draw their weapons on Mando, and he demands his beskar armor. Yeah… not likely.
Mando makes short work of the guards and Koresh’s other henchmen, then he tracks the man down in an alley, ties him up and demands the info from him. The location of Koresh’s Mandalorian? A familiar Star Wars locale: Tatooine. His intel collected, Mando holds to his word and doesn’t kill him. Instead, he leaves the shady alien to be devoured by the red-eyed creatures lurking in the shadows.
He and Baby Yoda head back to Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris) the mechanic who helped them in the first season. He’s looking for a place called Mos Pelgo, but Motto says bandits wiped it out. Apparently, it was once a mining settlement, and Mando’s armor is going to paint a shiny metal target on his back.
A Familiar Set of Armor
Turns out, the “Mandalorian” in Mos Pelgo is the marshal, Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), but he’s no real Mando—although he does wear Boba Fett’s armor(!!!). They have a standoff, but their battle ends before it can begin, thanks to a krayt dragon that tears through the town. “Maybe we can work something out,” Vanth says, and it’s clear Mando is about to get roped into another side quest. If he can help get rid of the dragon, Vanth will give Mando the armor. Needless to say, it’s a deal.
On the way to the creature’s den, Vanth reveals how he got Boba Fett’s armor; when Mos Pelgo was taken over after the Empire fell, he escaped with a bucket of silicax crystals, which he then sold to the Jawas in exchange for those iconic pieces of metal. They head through a canyon, and they’re surrounded by tusken raiders; thank goodness Mando speaks their language. They join forces with the raiders, but Vanth has no love for the masked, grunting beings. They nearly come to blows, but Mando breaks things up with his flamethrower. “If we fight amongst ourselves,” he says, “the monster will kill us all.”
United to Fight
In the end, the monster is much bigger than they imagined—so much so that Mando volunteers Vanth’s town as additional reinforcements. Of course, there’s bickering, but in the end, after an inspiring speech from Mando, the town agrees to help. They all head to confront the krayt dragon; sand person, Mos Pelgoan and lone Mando alike.
The plan is this: they have to hit the beast in the belly, since that’s its only weak spot. They’ll bury their explosives, awaken the creature and get it angry enough to charge, then hit the detonator once the belly is exposed. Like most plans, it’s solid in theory. And like most plans, it goes sideways, fast. The dragon doesn’t charge. It retreats. Vanth offers to hit it, but Mando advises caution. “We only have one shot,” he says. “We have to get it out.”
Wait, Was That Who I Thought It Was?!
Eventually they get the dragon to charge, but the explosives don’t kill it. Instead, it wriggles its way up a cliff and starts to spew acidic sludge on the fighters. Mando and Vanth use the weapons in their armor to try to kill it, but nothing works—and seeing Mando’s armor be totally useless against a creature is pretty horrifying.
Mando himself, though, is far from useless. In the end, he takes out the creature by tricking it into eating a Bantha that was carrying a ton of explosives, then pressing the detonator (he, himself, is briefly swallowed by the dragon, but we all knew Mando wasn’t going to die in the first episode of the second season). The krayt dragon dies, the town is saved and the tuskens cheer their familiar, grunting cheer. Vanth gives Mando back the armor, and says he “hopes their paths cross again,” then Mando and the child head on their way.
Except.. that not the end. A mysterious figure watches Mando as he rides across the desert on his land speeder—and, as it turns out, this man is none other than Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) himself. And yeah, we’d wager a guess that getting swallowed by a sarlacc and spending years on Tatooine hasn’t softened his bounty-hunter heart… and he probably wants his armor back.
- Thought it was cool how Mando’s started to warm up to droids after IG-11’s (Taika Waititi) noble sacrifice. That’s what we call character development!
- Amy Sedaris’ Peli Motto gets the funniest line of the episode; upon seeing the child, she tells Mando, “If this thing ever buds, or divides, I’ll gladly pay for the offspring!” Yeah, as evidenced by Baby Yoda merchandise sales, she’s not the only one who wants one for herself.
- That Boba Fett reveal was wicked cool, although I almost wish we hadn’t known about Temuera Morrison coming back ahead of time. That would’ve made it even more shocking. Since I already knew about Morrison, I was half-expecting Boba to make an appearance since we found out Vanth had the bounty hunter’s armor.
- When it was revealed that the krayt dragon could eat a sarlacc, did anyone else think of Qui-Gonn’s “there’s always a bigger fish” quip from Episode I? Just me? Okay.
- For those who aren’t familiar with the extended Star Wars canon, Cobb Vanth wasn’t created specifically for this episode. He’s actually been around since 2015, where he first appeared as the sheriff of Mos Pelgo in the novel Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. His possession of Mandalorian armor is in the book, too.
- I hope we see Greef Carga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) next episode. While this was fun, there wasn’t a whole lot of forward plot movement, and I have to wonder what Mando’s allies are up to.
- The music continues to be one of my favorite parts about this series; I loved it in the scene where Mando fights Koresh’s guards. Ludwig Göransson is incredible.
- Rating: 4.5/5. While there wasn’t as much progression in the Jedi-location plot as some might’ve liked (and there wasn’t actually a whole lot of Baby Yoda antics, either), this was a solid premiere packed with awesome guest stars, unique locations and a fantastic ending. I can’t wait to see where the show goes next.
The Mandalorian, Fridays, Disney+