WARNING: Spoilers Ahead for The Mandalorian Season 2
So, did anybody else notice how the first FIVE episodes of The Mandalorian season 2 follow a very identical formula? Mando needs specific information/resources so in order to get this/these information/resources he must do a favor for/strike a deal with a specific group of brand new characters that’ll likely involve him in a dangerous mission. This unequivocal fact could make-or-break some fans who have started paying attention to the repetitive nature of this season of Disney’s #1 streaming program, and while I would say it ultimately damages the quality of the season to noticeable capacities, it’s nowhere near enough to completely snap the enjoyment of seeing eight anthological-like episodes bombarded with K9-leveled set design detail and world building facets. The simplistic aroma of the Mando + Baby Yoda dynamic amusingly flies on as well, working its way up to a still mildly interesting storyline with little complexion — remember, “complexion” doesn’t necessarily mean “good.” It’ll likely have the Star Wars fanbase satisfied alas after being terrorized by the past few Disney feature-lengths that prioritized insanely scatterbrained plotting and excessive stakes over old-fashioned hero arcs.
I think it’s reasonable to infer that season 2 of The Mandalorian is much more keen on manipulating nostalgia to provoke the potential of the program. Knowing Disney’s track record, the company will jump on any product they make that becomes popular to evoke as much financial opportunity as they can. So, whenever the second season isn’t bringing back old characters or jabbing at references like gunfire to either set up future properties they’re planning to release or simply finding a way to raise their ratings from fans, I’ll admit, there are often some innovative implications that can be spotted in The Mandalorian; some of which I’d even go as far as to say outshine the first season’s endeavors. From warped dragon slaying, to giant alien-spider infestations, to sly commentaries on the evolution of religion (?!?!), and to the abundance of meta alterations to the Rebellion and Imperial lifestyles after the destruction of The Empire, it can be said that The Mandalorian isn’t just mindlessly following the blueprint of what Star Wars has already done before.
To be frank, I can give you easy episode examples to prove this. Let’s start off with “the best for first”: Chapter 13. This piece of the season is the grimmest I’ve seen Star Wars yet visually. It has this muddy, green/yellow tint to it that just puts you into such an uncommonly dangerous environment. The clean special effects, variety in creatures, and attention in ancient architecture is also quite flawless in this episode too; it may just be the most alluring showcase of an atmospherical set piece that I’ve seen in Star Wars history? It more importantly, however, expands on the purpose and relevancy of Baby Yoda/Grogu as an independent character with substance and how he’s not just an aid to Mando’s own arc which many could argue is what Baby Yoda was used as in season 1. Chapter 13, on top of that, offers one of the coolest battles in Star Wars yet: a coinciding battle that involves a western showdown between Mando and an army, and a Jedi duel between Ashoka and a new antagonist, Elsbeth. The episode, additionally, doesn’t suffer from as much of the botched writing conveniences as other episodes in this season do — as a Star Wars piece, in its own rights, it is SUPER pristine. My only major qualm with it is that it does express crucial details often with hefty exposition dumps. Still, would it be fair to say that this is BY FAR the best Mandalorian episode thus far? Yes!
Or, going forward, Chapter 15, for instance, which is this weird balance between Mad Max Fury Road-like action spectacles, western table revenge shootouts, and this oddball arc that Bill Burr’s character has where he spits out some very Bill Burr-ish (no surprises there) type philosophy on the similarities between imperials and any other group hungry for ruling — which, he then immediately retracts by the end of the episode by being sort of a hypocrite? Anywho, watching all those stormtroopers cheer like hardy, friendly teammates; now that was the most surreal event I’ve seen in Star Wars since Chapter 10 — over-hated episode, by the way — when those X-wing pilots pulled over Mando as if they were cops!
Lastly, the Chapter 16 finale…. It’s pretty decent! Predictable and convenient? 100% Jam-packed with fan service porn? 100% But, was it an appropriate way to end off a harmless two season adventure with action-heavy sequences and simple-minded emotional impacts? 100% It’s a cute, Pixar-ish, teary-eyed and <<<corny>>> — sorry fans, it just is; face the truth that you may sometimes fall head over heels for the trickery of storytelling cheese — ending that hardcore fanboys and girls are going to go bonkers over after being treated with sheer storyline conclusion garbage for the past couple decades now with most Star Wars properties.
Then again though, about that fan service, who wouldn’t crave seeing Boba Fett sit on Jabba’s old throne king-style? The shameless TV show plug-in at the end for it made me crack out loud, however. Of course you would, Disney…
Point being, I give the show “creativity” bonuses for how out of the box it can get with its side decorations despite how straightforward its main plot is. Sure, the season can sometimes feel repetitive, the plotting is just prosaic fare, and the dialogue still kind of sucks too. But as far as ***STAR WARS*** standards go, if we’re looking at the franchise’s overall/recent track record, this second season of The Mandalorian is to infinity and beyond in comparison.
Yo, but Mando is probably at the point now where he’s wondering how many more small towns he’s going to have to save. He be like: “Favreau, Filoni, we get it, you like Akira Kurosawa movies. Yes, Lucas did too, we get it. Cool beans, you’re cultured, but I’m done with saving and inspiring these random towns!”
The Mandalorian Season 2 Math:
Chapter 9: The Marshal – B
Chapter 10: The Passenger – B
Chapter 11: The Heiress – B
Chapter 12: The Siege – B-
Chapter 13: The Jedi – B+
Chapter 14: The Tragedy – B-
Chapter 15: The Believer – B
Chapter 16: The Rescue – C+
Final Verdict: B–
“The Mandalorian” season 2 is now streaming on Disney+.