Mand-galore! Din Djarin teams up with fellow Mandalorians!
If you’re a fan of The Clone Wars or Rebels then Chapter 11 (The Heiress) would’ve no doubt whet your appetite for all things Star Wars (just like The Child taking a glance at those Frog-lady's precious eggs)
Chapter 11 provided what the previous chapters of season two had been lacking; leads. And what exciting leads they are!
*The following article contains spoilers for The Mandalorian: Chapter 11*
The episode begins with a fiery entrance (Revenge of the Sith style) to the coastal planet- Trask. The Razor Crest narrowly slips from the platform and falls into the waters before being clawed out by an AT-AT style crane. Judging by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s standards, I’d call it another happy landing...
The landing itself was also a slight homage to Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 which if you watch side-by-side, then you’ll definitely see the similarities. But why did the director do this? Well Ron Howard's daughter, Bryce Dallas-Howard directed this entire episode, just as she did for Chapter 4 of season 1, which at the time garnered mixed reviews.
But I think it’s safe to say this episode excels above that in so many ways.
When they leave the Razor Crest Mando pays a hefty fee for repairs, while moments later we get a sweet moment between the Frog-Lady and her lover Frog-Man as they reunite. Their warm embrace is just what every viewer wanted to see. A happy little ending for the frog folk.
Mando is then directed by the overjoyed Frog-Man to a nearby inn where Mando is told he can locate more of his kind…But for a price.
In a new change of scenery we see Din and The Child on a ship, and not the space kind... But there’s something fishy about the venture as Mando is betrayed and The Child is pushed into the mouth of a Sarlacc-style sea creature held captive in a pool at the centre of the ship. Mando jumps in but they close the hatch to leave him trapped!
If only Admiral Ackbar was the Mon Calamari Din met at the docks, then he might’ve warned him of what was to come.
For an instant, it's a worry that this episode would be about his escape from this dreadful situation. However, out pops three fellow Mandalorians who, with all guns blazing, free Mando and rescue The Child.
From here the episode amps up the action and intrigue, especially when the rescuers are shown taking off their helmets. Clone Wars character, Bo-Katan turns out to be the leader of this group of Mandalorians, who goes on to explain why Mando and his creed are so committed to keeping their helmets on. As a member of The Watch (or was it Death Watch?) they were a rebellious cult with the aim of establishing the ancient way of Mandalore.
As we know with Mando he has no patience for other people’s stories so he cuts to the chase. Bo-Katan wants Mando’s services to help seize Empire weapons so she can retake her home planet of Mandalore to which Din reluctantly agrees after being promised the location of a Jedi to take The Child to.
But for now, The Child needs someone else to take care of him and his bottomless stomach. So he’s sent to the care of the familiar frog-people, where we hope eggs won’t be on the menu. Especially as one hatches just as The Child arrives. Be sensible now Child; something he’s reminded to do by Din who is progressively transforming into that fatherly role.
The mission itself sees the four Mandalorians land on the Empire vessel mid-flight, taking out Storm Troopers with ease- they really couldn’t ‘hit the side of a bantha’ if they tried. The action is well-staged and reminiscent of classic hallway shootout scenes of the franchise.
Eventually, Bo-Katan reveals she wishes to siege the ship, which is more than Mando initially agreed to. This is where our next big reveal arrives. Bo-Katan needs the Dark Saber, now in possession by Moff Gideon, to re-take Mandalore. She believes the captain on board will know where to find the ruthless member of the Galactic Empire. But Moff Gideon, aware of the situation, appears by hologram and indirectly orders the captain to firebomb into the surface. Fanatically the captain shoots both pilots and takes the wheel.
However, the Mandalorians, as expected, seize control and truly emphasise how well these skilled warriors can perform in combat. A wonderful spectacle for sure.
As Din departs the ship he is told the information he requires; arguably the biggest reveal of the episode, that Ashoka…that’s right, Ashoka Tano is the Jedi Mando he will seek out.
While watching this episode I was delighted to see some leads, at last, come to fruition. It’s now just the question of where they will take us?
Prior episodes were engaging but simply mini-stories that had no big direction to the overarching narrative.
With the coastal setting, it was easy to get strong Jaws vibes in Chapter 11. I soon asked myself was this series going to be a Star Wars parody of classic horror pictures? I was gladly mistaken!
In just 33 minutes it’s difficult to believe how much we learned from Chapter 11. We know more about Din Djarin’s people, we saw a live-action Bo-Katan and may even see a live-action Ashoka Tano soon too!
There were many expectations ahead of this episode and it certainly lived up to it. After Chapters 9 and 10 I wasn’t sure, but now I’m confidently at the edge of my seat awaiting the mid-point episode of the season. So fire up those thrusters Mando; if only the week could go as quick as light-speed!
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