Mandalorian Chapter 11 Review: For Mandalore

I’d know that helmet anywhere (Disney)

We knew something fishy was going on, and though its disappointingly short Chapter 11 is the episode containing the Star Wars Universe tie-ins that many were hoping for.

***Spoilers for the Mandalorian so far***

Though last weeks episode felt a little unnecessary, the Mandalorian is back on course in his mission to return Baby Yoda to the Jedi and prevent any further frog children murder. Maybe to save the galaxy or something as well, but frogspawn murder prevention was a shorter term success.

It’s not all plain sailing though. A Mandalorian walking around in Beskar and with the most valuable 50 year old baby in the galaxy is a target for many. For once though he may have attracted the attention of someone both he, and the viewers desperately want to meet.

The Way is Wet

We pick up with the three travelers asleep in the Razer Crest cockpit. I fear if this was the last episode it would have started with 10 minutes of Frog Lady snoring but thankfully Bryce Dallas Howard kicks on a little. Displaying great attention to detail and continuity, Mando acknowledges that landing the heavily damaged ship is going to be a hard task, and proceeds to make it look like one. We’ve never really seen the idea of “re-entry” of an atmosphere in Star Wars, and I did wander why it’s only an issue when the ship is damaged? But hey ho it was a nice detail. It was particularly enjoyable to see Mando screw up the landing, the Razer Crest taking a charismatic dip into the grey grey sea of Trask.

See that net on the left? It’s a trap. (Disney)

We get to see a lot of Mon Calamari and Quarren on Trask, and once again its a win for the prop’s department. The decision to go with practical effects undeniably does not enhance realism, but it I get a little warm fuzzy feeling from seeing much loved Star Wars tropes with their original aesthetic. Now we can achieve such a high level of CGI reality, it may be time to stop testing the limits of computer generation, and consider the wider availability of options so as to achieve the director’s vision. Even if sometimes that means a big rubber squid man.

The ship gets pulled out, Mando pays the Mon Calamari dock manager in some calamari currency he had lying about (How does one conduct currency exchange in Star was?) to make repairs to the ship and Frog Lady and Frog Man have a genuinely touching re-union. Frog Man as promised directs Mando to the tavern, and again whilst this show gets so much right the plot could have been written by my Friday D&D dungeon master. Speak to the frog man who knows a guy who can lead you to a recording which describes a planet where you will find the clue you desire. Or something like that.

Tavern is what you expect, lots of fish peoples and an interesting chowder delivery system, along with an adorable live squid that has fun with the Child. Mando gets pointed to a group of fishermen Quarren who pinky promise to take Mando to his people by boat (IN STAR WARS) and absolutely no funny business, honest.

Incase you had been born yesterday, this does not go as intended. The devious, cunning fishermen open up a bay in the ship to reveal a Mamacore (sea monster to you or I) and bash Baby Yoda’s pod in with a stick. Mando’s impeccable survival instincts kick in, and he immediately dives into the cage after it. I keep saying it, but Din Djarin may be the derpiest bounty hunter in the galaxy. One minute he is defeating squadrons of stormtroopers (more on that soon) the next he is being defeated by Fishermen. Come on man.

But luckily the Quarren aren’t the only ones interested in another Mandalorian.

The Heiress

The Mandalorian Learns a New Way in Chapter Eleven, “The Heiress” | Tor.com
You can’t take your masks off there a Pandemic going on (Disney)

Who should turn up but one Bo-Katan Kryze and her team of fellow Mandalorians. For those who don’t understand the significance of this, Bo-Katan is the real Mandalorian deal. Appearing in both Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels as the sister of the last free Mandalorian leader Satine Kryze. This is before it fell into the hands of the Empire (and in between a certain Darth Maul). Retaining her voicing role from the animated series, Katee Sackhoff looks and clearly sounds the part, and it was a huge indication that the Mandalorian is going to align much more with the stellar animated series.

The new Mandalorians deal with the fearsome fishermen and their sticks (lols) and retrieve the Child, before removing their helmets before Din. He reacts as he did with Cobb Vanth, and despite witnessing some major ass kicking is having trouble believing that these are real Mandalorians. “he is one of them” says Sasha Banks (WWE’s own). For fans of the expanded universe, it turns out that Din is indeed part of Death Watch, a group to which Bo-Katan once belonged; a fanatical sect of Mandalore who believe in returning their people to the old, archaic ways.

Not being able to reconcile this with the beliefs he was raised with, he leaves rather than join Bo-Katan, only to within minutes get cornered by family of the Quarren recently dispatched by the Mandalorians. Not entirely sure why this part was in here, because after another short battle Din is ready to talk. The only reason I can think is that the fight was filmed and in editing they needed a few more minutes to pad the run time, because its basically a repeat of what happened 5 minutes before.

Long Live the Empire

Back in the tavern with some lovely chowder (doesn’t even look cooked), Bo-Katan explains the proposition. She knows where to find a Jedi, and will tell Din if he helps them secure weaponry being shipped by the Empire from Trask’s port. Its the usual favor for a favor, and after making a quick pit stop the the Frog people day care center to drop off the Child, off goes the ferocious foursome.

If I had to make a complaint, once Bo-Katan is introduced the episode is a little obvious from here on out, even if the action scenes are pretty good. The team land on the transport vessel, taking out a number of Empire officers and stormtroopers, cutting between the fight and cockpit. Here we see Titus Welliver cameo as an Imperial Captain (I like him, he should be in more stuff) and a highlight scene where an Imperial Officer hiding out in the cargo bay locks the Mandalorians… in the cargo bay controls. The look on Welliver’s face is priceless as they get ejected out. Bo-Katan kinda backtracks on their deal by changing the mission to capturing the ship, but it doesn’t really change much in reality and only serves as a bit of forced tension.

I was going to get a better picture but the grain is very Star Wars (Disney)

Reading the situation, the Officer calls his superior prompting a short appearance from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Espoito), who denies the Captain’s request for re-enforcements and orders him to crash the ship.

It’s a race for the team to get to the cockpit before the ship hits the docks, and a host of troopers block the entrance. A Beserker run from Mando showing off his fine Beskar armor doing it’s thing, and a couple of detonator’s later they breach the cockpit. It turns out its not all about the ship and weapons, as Bo-Katan grills the captain for the location of the Dark Saber, the adapted lightsaber from the final scene of season 1. For those non-lore buffs, the Dark Saber once belonged to a Mandalorian Jedi, and since has been passed on as a symbol of the right to rule Mandalore. Bo-Katan wielded it at the end of Rebels, and clearly she wants it back.

They save the ship with moments to spare, and the Imperial officer takes some form of electric cyanide pill. Bo-Katan and her team know they need to escape, and the classic “I have my own destiny” scene plays out before she tells Din where he can find the Jedi, Ahsoka Tano. At this point if you listened real close, you could hear the sound of a million Star Wars nerds creaming their pants. I was one. Too much to get into here, but Ahoska Tano was Padawan to one Anakin Skywalker, and played a huge part in both Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. We will finally see her on screen, likely in Chapter 13 which Dave Filloni who created the character will direct.

Mando jetpacks off to retrieve the child, who seems to have not eaten any babies this time. Good job. An oddly slow paced and unnecessary scene sees Din and the Child take off in a badly repaired Razer Crest, and they fly off bumpily towards the Jedi master.

The Way is Short

I really enjoyed this episode, which combined some great, true Mandalorian combat to the degree we have seen in the expanded universe, with some touching moments between characters until now I had thought as a bit of a joke. I genuinely enjoyed the Frog couple, and seeing Baby Yoda and the tadpole at the end was a really adorable experience.

Bo-Katan is an awesome addition to the show, though in Continuity her age is questionable. Her sister was in love with Obi-wan Kenobi and they grew up together, so even if Bo was 10 years younger, would still make her like, 60+ by this point? It’s a nitpick really. The only other criticism I can make is the length, with the runtime cutting off at only 30 minutes, and on consideration it did feel that the scenes were a little rushed. It must have been a production hampered by Covid earlier in the year, and the shorter episodes may be an indicator of that, even if it hasn’t harmed the experience too much.

Still though, a solid episode and back on track. It is so so exciting to know that Ahsoka (who will be played by Rosario Dawson) is on the way soon, and there is no telling where that could lead the Mandalorian, as well as the wider Star Wars television and cinematic universe in the future.

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