As we reach the midpoint of the 2nd season of The Mandalorian, the show answers some big questions and sets the stage for an epic finale.
Titled, ‘The Siege’, this episode comes to us from none other than Apollo Creed himself, Carl Weathers! Though this episode got off to a slow start, it soon found it’s footing when Weathers brought to life one of the more exciting action set pieces we’ve seen so far. Which is saying a lot, considering Weathers has very few directing credits to his name.
After gaining a new lead on the whereabouts of the Jedi, thanks to Bo Katan, Mando starts his trek to the planet of Corvus. On the way, he takes a detour to the planet of Nevarro to repair his ship. There he catches up with old friends Greef Karga and Cara Dune. Since the assumed defeat of Moff Gideon, Cara Dune has taken up the mantle of “Marshall”, and has brought prosperity to the planet. Even adding a school in the process. But there still remains an Imperial outpost on the planet, which Greef asks Mando for assistance in destroying.
When they carry out the mission they find out the outpost is actually an Imperial laboratory. Which is testing the blood of “The Child” on different people because of his high “M-Count”. They escape the outpost and engage in a chase with speeder bikes. And at the end, we see Moff Gideon learning of the location of Mando as he stands amongst mysterious black “Stormtroopers”.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
The Mandalorian is always chock full of references, but the ones I particularly enjoyed started in the beginning when we entered into the school. Not only was it cool seeing a protocol droid that resembles the likes of C-3PO, but the droid also references the moons of Kessel and the monster within it called the “Maelstrom”. Which is the monster Han flew the Millennium Falcon through after doing the Kessel Run.
THE PHANTOM MENACE
When Mando finds the lab, they find out the Empire is testing on individuals with a high “M-Count”. “M-Count” is likely a reference to “Midichlorians”. Which are microscopic lifeforms that live within everyone and contribute to their level of “force sensitivity”. It was cool to see it referenced because it is a George Lucas creation. And we know that in the Lucas scrapped sequel trilogy, he would’ve delved deeper into the “Whills”, which are heavily connected to the idea of “Midichlorians”.
Lucas first brought to light the idea of the Midichlorians in The Phantom Menace, when Qui-Gon Jin tested Anakin’s force sensitivity by extracting a sample of his blood. This was met by heavy pushback from fans, but personally I always thought it explained pretty well why some people were more powerful than others. Either way, I’m fascinated to see how Favreau expands on them in The Mandalorian.
At the end of the episode, we see Moff Gideon standing amongst black Imperial stormtroopers. They looked like Purge Troopers, which first appeared in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. And they also loosely resembled Death Troopers, which first appeared in Rogue One.
Thanks to subtitles, we can confirm they are indeed Dark Troopers, which are a group of elite troopers from Legends that appeared first in Dark Empire comics and later in videogames such as Dark Forces and Jedi Knight. Each of these stories had different interpretations of what a Dark Trooper is so it’ll be interesting to see how they’re implemented into the show.
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
Admittedly, upon the first watch, this wasn’t my favorite episode of the season. But the more I think about it, the more I realize how important this episode is and how it sets the stage for the rest of the season and the series as a whole.
MEDAL OF HONOR
Near the end of the episode, after the dust has settled with the speeder bike and tie-fighter chase, we see Cara Dune confronted by an X-Wing patrol pilot. The same pilot that confronted Mando in chapter 10. They reminisce about Cara’s home planet, Alderaan, and he gives Cara credit for her military prowess. Their conversation culminates with the republic pilot giving Cara a medal of honor of sorts. It’s a great moment, but I couldn’t help but ponder the larger implications. The pilot alerts Cara of something bigger happening in the outer regions that the core worlds aren’t brothering themselves with. And he mentions he could use her help in the fight.
This ties into the idea of why the Resistance was formed. In a book called Bloodlines, it explains that the reason Leia formed the Resistance was because the New Republic was trying to demilitarize the Rebellion because they didn’t see the danger of the First Order. This seems very in line with what the pilot mentioned the core worlds not believing in the looming danger of the fragmented Empire. And although the Resistance wasn’t fully formed until about 20 years after the Original Trilogy, this could be setting the stage for the beginnings of the Resistance. Maybe even an appearance by General Leia and Mon Mothma. The Mandalorian has other fish to fry, but it seems to drop a lot of details of the current state of the galaxy. And I bet it’s for good reason.
The subtle “namedrop” of Midichlorians answers some big questions we’ve had since the first episode of the series. As we see the Imperial scientist, Pershing, makes another appearance over hologram. He was last seen in the first episode, being played by Omid Abtahi. What this tells us is that not only were the Empire successful in extracting “The Childs” blood, but they were testing it.
This ties into the larger picture of the saga. We know Palpatine had his hands in many nefarious matters, including a plan called the “Contingency“. This plan incorporated “Project Cinder” which was a way to ensure the Empire’s survival in the event of his death. And since Palpatine did make a return in The Rise of Skywalker, it stands to reason that he would’ve been searching out ways to ensure his immortality. We saw some of this in the World Between Worlds, as featured in Star Wars Rebels. So maybe Moff Gideon knew about the Emperor’s plans and is picking up where he left off.
Another idea (which I think is more likely), is that Moff Gideon wants to become a force user through scientific means. He already has a lightsaber, now all he needs is the ability to harness the force. And a good way to do that is inject himself with Midichlorians. But as we see with the deformed bodies in the bacta tanks, the science isn’t there yet. Also, there’s a possibility that Gideon is interested in injecting Midichlorians into Stormtroopers. We saw the “Dark Troopers” lined up at the end there, maybe he wants to enhance his enforcements, much like with what was done in the Dark Empire comics. There are many possibilities, but what I love is that this show keeps getting less and less predictable.
Ultimately where I think this season will go is, Mando will find Ahsoka, and when he does, Moff Gideon will be on their trail. This will put the crew on the run in which they will have to combine forces to fight against their imperial adversaries. This is where Bo Katan and her crew of Mandalorians come back into the fold. And maybe even Ashoka and Sabine Wren will aid Mando in the fight as well. We know that the next episode is directed by Dave Filoni and is 2 minutes shy of being an hour-long (thank the maker). So I’m certain next episode Ahsoka and Sabine will make their live-action debut. And when Gideon inevitably finds them, the bantha poodoo will hit the proverbial fan.
It’s crazy to think, but where we’re at now seems like the season finale and we’re only halfway through. I can’t imagine what the last 4 episodes of the season have in store for us. This season already has outdone the 1st, and I’m extremely excited to see where things go.
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