Fett-ch Quest - The Mandalorian: Chapter 14
The time has finally come. The Original Mandalorian, Boba Fett, is back. At last, the dedicated fans can cry out with glee, because their idol that looked so cool originally is now more relevant than ever. But is he still cool?
Chapter 14: The Tragedy sees Mando and Grogu (still weird, right?) travelling to Tython to continue their search for a Jedi. The scenes with the pair on the ship before arriving are genuinely sweet to watch, and it’s nice to see Mando embracing happier reactions to Grogu’s antics. It’s also quite foreboding as it’s typical for reluctant family dynamics to soften like this right before a tragedy (oh, look at that, the name of the episode...)
However, it’s once they arrive at the temple the true set up begins. Grogu is placed on the seeing stone and the force manifests around him whilst he meditates, calling out for a Jedi. This leaves Mando unable to reach Grogu which is instantly a problem as the infamous Slave I flies overhead. Here we go.
As per usual, the effects team have done a wonderful job at bringing Slave I into the modern age, but more impressively is what the make-up team have done with Boba Fett (Temeura Morrison). The man looks messed up, covered in scars and chemical burns (which is perfectly understandable) he’s still able to maintain an air of intimidation around him. He’s also exchanged his notable blaster for an unconventional staff (just wait until he uses it, it rivals lightsabers I swear).
The confrontation is simple- Boba wants his armour back and Mando says it’s against the creed. Honestly, the tension here is good, but the episode later undercuts this by having an easy solution to prove that the armour belongs to Boba. It makes these scenes feel just a bit pointless, especially as there are dynamics that are later mentioned which I would have loved to have seen explored. They later mention how Boba’s father (Jango Fett for any uncultured swine who doesn't remember the prequels) was a Foundling just like Mando and Grogu, but do inevitably do nothing with this revelation.
What this scene also takes time to establish is the return of Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), the deadly assassin from season 1. This meaning we finally have confirmation of the theories of who the shadowy figure standing over her body was all the way back in Chapter 5: The Gunslinger. They also show that Boba saved her and gave her cybernetics to help her stay alive, which she in return serves him. Hang on a minute…
Characters back from the dead, showing how they survived, confirming fan theories?
How is Boba here? I think a lot of fans will want this answer and if they expect to see it here, they will be disappointed.
No time for that now, because Empire ships start arriving and a fight is about to ensue. Boba and Mando make a deal: protect the child and the armour is yours.
The siege of Stormtroopers attacking the mountain and having Boba and Fennec fight them off is just a series of highlights. Robert Rodriguez’s direction works incredibly well in tight locations, allowing the tension to build and the odds to overwhelm at times. Also, the choreography is just brutal. We see Stormtrooper armour shattering, boulders crushing soldiers; hell some don’t even make it off their ship in time to fire a blaster. It’s a rare scene for this show to have such constant action without Mando, adding even more to the tension and dread (looking at you, episode’s title…)
Eventually, Boba dons his iconic armour after taking it from the ship. It’s definitely a look that will receive mixed reactions from people. The fact that only the top half of the armour is salvaged means that we will never have the full iconic look of the character back. That, and with age comes a bit of a gut so the character can look a bit cosplay-like (dad-bod).
Personally, I love this look. The armour being worn over the cloak makes his character keep his aged persona as well as the monk vibe that matches his more aggressive combat style. But most importantly is that he kicks ass in all of these scenes.
Ultimately, the tragedy occurs, and Grogu is captured by Dark Troopers (shocker) and The Razer Crest gets destroyed, leaving us with some meaningful moments of Mando scouring the wreckage and finding the small ball that connects the two characters. Yet again, it’s a great example of the camera angles being able to demonstrate Mando’s emotions in ways that due to his armour, he cannot.
The stage is now set for the final two episodes with Mando, Boba, and Fennec needing to break Mayfield (Bill Curr, from Chapter 6: The Prisoner) out of a New Republic Prison in order to track down Grogu, who is in the possession of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito).
While I think that having the final two episodes of this series be more side quests runs the risk of fatigue (because I won’t lie, the structure of the show just being one mission after another is getting slightly tiresome), at least these quests are linked in a stronger narrative. It’s not a case of ‘do me this favour, and I’ll give you information’, but actually doing things to be able to achieve a greater cause, and change the team dynamic for the end battles to come.
The final shots of the episode show us Grogu using the force to throw some Stormtroopers around, using up his energy and then being stunned. Esposito takes his usual malevolent energy and just amplifies it massively in this scene, swinging the Dark Sabre around, taunting the poor child and just enjoying himself. I completely forgot that my favourite Admiral (Thrawn) was even mentioned in the last episode because Gideon is close to stealing the show.
Chapter 14: The Tragedy is an utter triumph (in contrast to its name). Rodriguez utilises the small scale of the location to great effect for this story. With strong performances from the main players, an excellent premise brimming with tension; which was well executed, and paves the way for what promises to be an excellent finale to come.
This episode currently stands atop the mountain on a force-sensitive stone as likely mine, and many others' favourite of the season.
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