‘The Mandalorian’: A Surprisingly Possible Redemption Arc
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 7, “The Believer.”]
If you went into Episode 7 of The Mandalorian thinking it’d be where Mando assembled his Moff-Gideon-destroying Suicide Squad, well, you’d be wrong. But that doesn’t mean there’s not still plenty to enjoy in the penultimate episode of Season 2 featuring the “mission of the week” format for which the show is known.
Mando (Pedro Pascal) and his squad spring Mayfeld (Bill Burr) in the opening minutes — they need him for his knowledge of Imperial codes and clearances. But in order for Mayfeld to do his job and get the coordinates to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), they’ve gotta get him to Morac’s secret mining hub, where he can access in internal Imperial terminal. Easy, right? Yeah, no. But it brings out a side of Mayfeld we’ve never seen before, and wait, is he actually… a good guy?
All the Same
Mando and Mayfeld sneak into the mine in a transport disguised as Troopers, while the rest of the group stays behind. While they drive, they pass several exploded transports; turns out, the material they’re moving, rydonium, is highly volatile. With that in mind, Mando tells Mayfeld, well, to drive steady.
Mayfeld, being Mayfeld, won’t shut his mouth en route. When they pass a group of villagers, he starts waxing poetic about how “Empire, New Republic, it’s all the same to them.” He compares Mandalorian conflicts to the war against the Empire and says that’s the same, too, and the only difference between those raised on Alderaan and Mandalore is what you believe. Oh, and that both planets are gone, he adds. He believes he and Mando are, at their core, the same — after all, he says, just look at how far he bent the rules now that The Child’s in danger.
Well, Mayfeld and Mando run afoul of a band of pirates who try to explode the rydonium. Sans beskar, Mando struggles a bit with them, but the goal is accomplished…and then four more groups appear. Thankfully, the duo is saved by TIE fighters and Troopers, and they proceed to the hub. Mayfeld notes the irony: “Never thought you’d be happy to see Stormtroopers.”
As one might assume, that’s not the only snag they encounter. Turns out, one of the Imps in the room where the terminal is located is Mayfeld’s old commander from his Empire days, and he’s not sure (but he’s pretty sure) if he’ll be recognized. Desperate, Mando demands Mayfeld give him the data stick, and he’ll get the coordinates himself. “That won’t work,” Mayfeld says, “in order to access the network, the terminal has to scan your face.”
And yet Mando proceeds to the terminal, data stick in hand. He first tries to do the scan with the helmet on, which results in an error; he takes it off (gasp!) and gets the coordinates he needs. But nothing’s that easy. Mayfeld’s old commander walks up to Mando and asks for his designation and TK code, and Mando freezes. Mayfeld steps in to rescue him and it looks like they might break free, but the commander wants to get them a drink for being the only crew to bring in rydonium that day.
That’s where things go sideways. Mayfeld starts to grill his old commander about all the thousands of losses they sustained on a particular operation years ago that Mayfeld was part of. The commander maintains those lives lost were necessary because, in the end, people think they want freedom, “but what they really want is order,” he says. “And once they realize that, they’ll welcome us back with open arms.”
Next Stop: Moff Gideon
Mayfeld doesn’t think so. He shoots his commander, which, of course, draws over a bunch of Troopers. He and Mando go out the window and up to the roof where, thanks to some nice sniping from Cara (Gina Carano) and Fennec (Ming-Na Wen), Boba (Temuera Morrison) picks them up in Slave 1. Mayfeld’s not done yet, though — from the ship, he explodes the last of the rydonium. “We all have to sleep at night,” he tells Mando.
His bravery — and good shootin’ — is rewarded. Cara and Mando, wearing his beskar armor again, let him go. He leaves, a free man. Cara asks Mando what’s next, and, from the last few minutes of the episode, “what’s next” was sending a threatening transmission to Moff. In it, Mando flips Gideon’s words, telling him he “has something [he] wants” and that The Child “means more to him than he will ever know.” Gideon looks a little nervous, and that reaction’s more than fair. Don’t mess with Mando!
- I didn’t know I needed a redemption arc for Mayfeld, but I guess I did. He’s a good guy at his core, maybe. Couldn’t Mando and crew have dropped him off on a different planet, though? Some of those Empire folks definitely survived, and unlike Mando, Mayfeld wasn’t wearing a helmet for most of his time in that base.
- I got chills when the commander talked about people “needing order.” Yep, that was definitely a First Order reference.
- The concept art at the end of the episode showed Cara and Fennec fighting together, and I’m kind of bummed we didn’t get to see that.
- I really expected Mando to swing by and snag Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and her squad. Mando knows she’s looking for the Darksaber, and I think he knows, after Episode 3, that Gideon has it? Now I’m wondering if Bo-Katan and her Nite Owls will just randomly show up in the finale and meet up with Mando to get Gideon — or not.
- Rating: 4/5. I was hoping for more than just a “mission of the week” story before the finale, but this was still a good story and a fantastic guest appearance by Bill Burr.
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