The Mandalorian season two, episode three, “The Heiress” came out on Friday, November 13. I know I am late to the party tuning into this episode, and I even feel more behind the eight ball after finishing it. “The Heiress” has a ton of tendrils linking back to the television shows Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and I for one of knowledgeable enough to understand I don’t get any/most of them.
With that being said, let’s dive into “The Heiress” and why it may be the cream of crop thus far this second season.
First thought that came to my mind as the Razor Crest entered the atmosphere of its primary landing was that a predominantly aqua-based setting makes all the sense for where this frog couple should reunite. It was super sweet to see them huddle up in the crowded square and embrace. It was quite obvious that the characters in costume, and I loved how the practical effects, while as cheap as they may have looked, made it seem so endearing.
All of the species moving around the bustling port seem to ignore Mando as he orientates himself with the area…that is all but one. We get our first Sasha Banks siting!
But before we learn about her, Mando brings himself and Baby Yoda into another cantina. There he hooks up with another stranger for another deal that involves a bit too much trust to feel comfortable. The keeper of the bar, who was pointed out by the frog couple, introduces Mando to a pirate who says he can take the bounty hunter to more of his kind. NATURALLY, while on a boat sailing what was only supposed to be a couple hours, the Mandalorain is betrayed. DUM DUM DUMHHHHHHH! Who could have seen it coming??
Okay, but seriously, when Baby Yoda’s carriage is kicked into the water and the teeth of a monster grab it like a pistachio nut, I was taken aback. Mando throws himself into the monster infested water but is caged by the pirates who are after his beskar armor. He is getting stabbed and trying not to drown when three different Mandalorians drop out the sky and just take it to the pirates. They rescue Mando from the depths and, most importantly, manage to get Baby Yoda back safely in one piece.
We think we are going to get a nice head nod of appreciation and celebration…but instead get some DRAMAAAA (queue classic high school voice). The three newly introduced Mandalorians remove their helmets, with Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) leading the action. Mando is SHOCKED, and what ensues after is a great little bit of subtle meta culture context. Bo-Katan Kryze says that the way Mando has been raised is extreme, like a religious cult persona. Mando, who has only known his way of living, is offended and literally leaves them in the dust when he takes off on his jet pack back to the mainland.
This is just super smart by writer Jon Favreau. In a world as vast as Star Wars, but in a story so singular like The Mandalorian, there are different point of views within such a small culture. With Mando having lived such a singular, lonely, isolated lifestyle, he just doesn’t have an immense knowledge of the world. Sure, he has travelled to different places and can speak in different languages, but those are tangible things to learn. The more subjective cultural touchstones are more difficult for him to adapt to, and this sudden realization that his way of life is not universal amongst his kin has to be earth shattering to him.
The group of new Mandalorians and Mando eventually sit down for a drink, and another agreement is made. Mando must help his kin get weapons for their revolution against the remnants of the empire. They are to hijack materials on a ship that is just stuffed to the gill with stormtroopers and led by an Imperial Captain, PLAYED BY TITUS WELLIVER! (I love him in Amazon Prime’s Bosch and recommend that show to everyone).
Alright, queue the action and flashbacks to the setting of the Death Star. Credit to director Bryce Dallas Howard for hitting so many nostalgia buttons. From the old alarm going off in the hallways to the constant ducking behind walls for bullet protection. Personally, so many shots reminded me of Star Wars: A New Hope before Princess Leia leads the heroic group into the garbage dumpster.
Alright, we can fast forward through the group of bounty hunters just annihilating and key in on some central plot points. The audience is reintroduced to the malice of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) via hologram. The last time we saw him was in the season finale of season one, and the last image we saw was him holding the Dark Saber. Well, that weapon is even more relevant now. Mando and the audience learn that the entire reason for this hijacking of this ship is so that Bo-Katan Kryze can learn where Moff Gideon, and the Dark Saber are. She wants the weapon as a catalyst to take back her home, which she is convinced is not destroyed like most people think. The Dark Saber belonged to the first Mandalorian Jedi and is a symbol of hope as well as a dangerous weapon. While it is in the hands of the empire, hope is being held hostage through fear and repression.
There are so many future plot points planted in this episode. Bo-Katan is from The Clone Wars and Rebels, and she tells Mando that his quest can be completed by finding Ahsoka Tano, who is another massive player from the TV shows. Now the audience knows that Mando is not alone, we know the expect person he is going to meet and where this mysterious Jedi is (City of Calodan on the first planet of Corvus). We are for sure going to be seeing all three of these Mandalorians again because Bo-Katan welcomes Mando to join her group in fighting to take back their home that was decimated by The Purge. Are we setting up for a massive final battle on the hallowed ground that led the to near extinction of the entire Mandalorian culture?
“The Heiress” being a title of this episode also puts extra focus on Bo-Katan and the connections to other parts of Star Wars cannon.
In the end, this episode is exceptional TV. There is so much packed into a small, tight, 37 minutes. Plot points are planted, unknown cultural differences are pricked, and the distinct look of the show itself blooms. The little subtleties like having Bo-Katan and her cohorts’ armor being hued in blue make The Mandalorian such an appreciative watch.
P.S. Just some stuff that I have to add in quickly.
- For how much everyone was excited to see Sasha Banks…she had like zero lines of dialogue.
- Baby Yoda was just attacked on so many fronts this week. Eaten, attacked by an alien from the soup and then nearly gnawed on by a translucent spider. Just what is happening?
- We have not seen Baby Yoda exercise its power yet, and I think that will be coming shortly.
- Nice for the frog family being able to extend their species and family line
- The electronic version of suicide cyanide executed by the Imperial Captain was an awesome touch
- Credit to Katee Sackhoff for a wonderfully, truly sassy delivery of “This Is The Way”.