Chapter 12 of The Mandalorian is the best episode of season two thus far, and it should be talked about as the best of the entire series. Titled “The Siege”, this episode was a poster example of nostalgia porn while also being the most serialized and plot-driven episode of the entire season. Much credit has to go to Carl Weathers, who not only stared in the episode but also directed it with a purpose of supreme appreciation for the original Star Wars trilogy.
This episode of The Mandalorian made me squeal and literally jump with glee more than any other. I am warning all you folks now that this post is going to be a gushing love fest and there are zero complaints on my end.
Immediately from the get-go, we learn that “The Siege” is going back to the roots of The Mandalorian by returning to Nevarro and reintroducing the audience to Mythrol (that blue alien played by Horatio Sanz who Mando bountied in S1E1), Greef Karge (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gine Carano). Since we were last on Nevarro, a lot has changed. Following the crash (and we learned presumed death) of Moff Gideon, Greef and Cara have been on a mission to revitalize the planet and their home city; and with much success they have.
Mando lands on the ship for repairs and without fail, his helped is needed. Cara, who is the marshal now, and Greef, who is the assumptive mayor, explain that they need Mando’s help to destroy an Imperial Base that is still on the planet. They deem it somewhat operational with few stormtroopers, and they just want it gone so they can have peace on the planet and be a solid/safe trading port. All seems fine and dandy and not too difficult…
I would like to note here that Cara being called “The Marshal” is a nice callback to S2E1, which was literally titled “The Marshall”. I’d take Cara Dune in a fight over Timothy Olyphant’s Cobb Vanth, but still a nice tie-in.
Before Mando and the crew leave to take on the imperial base, the protagonist leaves Baby Yoda at a school (overseen by a robot, so props to Mando). This sequence is for the kids and the “OMG IT’S SO CUTE” moments. We get our first glimpse at The Force for this entire season and it is Baby Yoda stealing some space Oreos away from a student who would not share. It is beyond cute, and it is really feeding into the motif of the season that Baby Yoda is ALWAYS hungry. Seriously, never stops eating.
So here we go, the chauffer (and comic relief of the episode) is Mythrol and the entire crew is in his land speeder ready to take care of business. There are a few little things about the drive up to the imperial base that really stuck out; the first being the close up shot of the three engines at the back of the speeder pushing our heroes forward. But more comically, when Mythrol beeped his speeder and it sounded like an early 2010s Honda Accord being locked in a mall parking lot. Just a little touch of feathery, easy humor.
As expected, things are a bit more complicated once Mando and crew get inside the Imperial station. There are a lot more storm troopers than expected…and it seems like the base is still operational? But for what I wonder…
Mando and crew are sneaking around the base, and Carl Weathers tabs into original trilogy piggy bank to appease the devote masses. There are numerous little verbal quips between the storm troopers themselves and their superiors, reminding everyone of A New Hope. Not to mention the scuttling of the stormtroopers and the distinct of their boots. Then you get to the center of the station where Mythrol must overheat and queue the destruction of the base. It was nearly an exact setting like what Obi-Wan must trek in A New Hope, and the same geometric patterns from both control panels is a wonderful touch. Also, credit to Horatio Sanz who plays Mythrol, because his “no guard rails” line sounded improvised and it deserves a good chuckle.
With just 10 minutes left to escape the base, the overall plot of The Mandalorian gets a huge spark. The quartet of heroes runs into a room where a pair of imperial officers are trying to save, but eventually destroy some serious data. But what were they trying to salvage?
It turns out this imperial base that was thought to be of minimal significance is much more than it seems. A hologram message from Dr. Pershing (the nervous doctor from season one who was testing on Baby Yoda) notes how all test on volunteer subjects are failing, and that to continue testing the blood of “The Child” on the unknowing innocents would be nothing but detrimental. Through really effective non-verbal communication, it is obvious is Mando is sick to his stomach hearing that blood was drawn from the being he is sworn to protect.
His emoting gets even darker when it comes to light that Moff Gideon is not dead. Rather he is still ticking and aggressively seeking some sort of advantage via that genetic advantages of The Child. Based off all the clues and context, it appears that Moff Gideon, with the help of Dr. Pershing, is trying to scientifically breed force sensitive beings. Baby Yoda is incredibly important to this journey because of its incredible “high M-Count.” Was very intrigued and surprised to have the rather direct reference to the highly controversial concept of midichlorians. Credit to the writers for putting in the show in slang, allowing it to pass over the head of passive viewers and trigger a switch for a more educated watcher.
Mando, Cara and Greef all thought that Moff Gideon had died in the crash at the end of their last meeting. Learning the truth that he is still alive instills some fear and puts panic into the heart of Mando. He immediately departs from the imperial base via his jetpack and heads back to the city to see if Baby Yoda is still sage at the school. We get the shot of him flying over a canyon that was in every single teaser for season two.
Once Cara, Greef and Mythrol leave the exploding enemy base, the nostalgia bomb goes off at a nuclear level. The TIE fighter “WHOOSING” sounds. The cannon locking POV shots. The close-up pilot fighter shots chasing the heroes. The Indiana Jones-esq scene of the old man trying to shoot down enemy ships while the younger version of himself is trying to evade shots of their pursuers…only to have the gun be destroyed and have to look back at the front of the ship with a shrug. The stormtroopers foot pushing down on the pedal was EXACTLY like in Episode VI and such a huge nod to fans who have seen the originals too much. The hero coming out of nowhere to save the day when all hope is loss; Han Solo saving Luke in Episode IV and Mando saving his friends in this one. Seriously that whole entire sequence is nuts. Just Star Wars too an absolute perfect 10.
When Mando comes to the rescue and has the Razor Crest back fully operational there was a sense that the episode would come to an end with he and Baby Yoda (following the roller coaster “arms up” cuteness) flying off to meet the Jedi. BUT NOPE. We are not done.
Let’s log back into Nostalghub for the last minutes of “The Siege”. We get the classic worm angle of an imperial warship floating in space. Then we are reintroduced to Moff Gideon in person as the commander of this military vessel. He is in what looks like a research bay, FILLED WITH DARTH VADER ARMOR? THEY ARE TRYING TO RECREATE FORCE SENSITIVE PEOPLE TO CREATE AN ARMOR OF DARTH VADERS??? This is a type of thing that can make you pause the screen and make sure you are not going crazy. What assured it for me was the red LED screen on the inside of the mask. Just classic Vader. Amazing stuff Mandalorian. I haven’t geeked out about a show like this in eons.
It should also be noted that Mando and Baby Yoda are in trouble. One of the repairer of the Razor Crest on Nevarro planted a tracker for the empire, meaning that Moff Gideon is doing to be following Mando to the site of a long lost Jedi Ahsoka Tano and brace yourself Star War geeks: MOFF GIDEON IS GOING TO FIGHT AHSOKA WITH THE DARK SABER SO THERE IS GOING TO BE MASSIVE CLONE WARS AND REBELS TIE-INS SO YOU WILL HAVE OODLES TO ANALYZE.
What a fucking episode. Just fucking great stuff.
P.S. Just some other stuff that really stuck out to me.
- Mando and crew did not kill the sole human operator of the imperial base security station. The opposite of the what happened in S1E6 “The Prisoner” when Bill Burr’s assassination crew unceremoniously killed an innocent officer.
- The off-roading land speeders cascading down the canyon cliff was cool. Had never seen them fly on non-flat lands.
- Finding out that Cara is from Alderaan is new information, right? Also, leaving that badge for her is foreshadowing something for sure. It is like a business card for help later.
- Baby Yoda fixing the ship in the beginning of the episode was again just a way to show off the practical look of the Child. The fiddling between the wires, Mando getting frustrated…everything there was the cuteness factor.
- We saw Mando eat at the start of the episode with The Child…and have we seen Mando eat before? I don’t think so. Also Baby Yoda was STRETCHING to get a peak under the hood and see the face of his/her protector.
- I finally got far enough in Star Wars: Clone Wars where I was introduced to the Darksaber. So now I want to binge through that show even more to try and catch up and understand everything.
- How much time do you think passed between Mando’s last visit to Nevarro?