In terms of pure revelations, Chapter 11 of The Mandalorian may be the show’s most significant episode yet. Short of introducing the Child in the first episode, the characters and ideas introduced this week have the potential to shake the world of Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) to the core. They might just change the galaxy too.
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Chapter 11 of The Mandalorian is called “The Heiress,” and it picked up right where the last episode left off, with the Razor Crest barely holding together, floating through space toward Trask. After a very intense crash landing onto the planet, followed by the ship falling into the water which required a claw machine to get it out, Frog Lady was reunited with her husband (aww) and Mando had a lead on these other Mandalorians.
Any planet that has huge cranes that can fish fallen spaceships out of the water is pretty damn cool, and Trask is exactly that. It has a little twinge of Corellia’s industrial aesthetic, but with a slightly more old-school, almost ancient fishing village vibe. That’s certainly why Frog Lady said it was a rare planet where she could procreate, and why it’s inhabited mostly by aquatic-looking species such as Mon Calamari and Quarren. There’s also a mysterious woman spying on Mando (Mercedes Varnado, aka WWE superstar Sasha Banks, as seen in the trailer).
In the local bar (it’s always a bar, isn’t it?), Mando meets a lovely, sweater-wearing Mon Cal who introduces him to a particularly mean-looking Quarren. The Quarren tells Mando he can take him to others he seeks on his boat. Unfortunately for Mando…it’s a trap! The Quarren and his crew attempt to feed both he and the Child to a vicious mamacore (the third scary beast in as many episodes this season) in order to steal his beskar. The scene was downright terrifying as the mamacore swallows our dear Baby Yoda and his pram whole, and Mando fights to not drown as the Quarren stab at him. All is lost until the cavalry arrives — in the form of three Mandalorians, one of which looks awfully familiar to Star Wars animation fans.
We’re talking, of course, of Bo-Katan Kryze, a Mandalorian heiress (now you get it?) voiced by Katee Sackhoff on The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and now played by the actress in live action. She and her team — Koska Reeves (Varnado) and Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) — save Mando from the Quarren and immediately shake his world when all three take off their helmets in a fascinating, pivotal moment. Season one of The Mandalorian spent significant time establishing the cultural mythos around mask-wearing in Din’s history as a Mandalorian. But Star Wars fans have seen many other people wear the armour, from Jango Fett to Sabine Wren and others, and they all took off their helmets. What was the disconnect? Bo knows.
She explains that while she’s actually from a long line of Mandalorian blood, Mando is “a Child of the Watch” (as we saw in the flashbacks to his childhood last season). That, of course, is the notorious Death Watch — a terrorist group that broke away from the reformed Mandalorian society seen in The Clone Wars that wanted to reestablish the old ways of their culture. As you can expect, Mando doesn’t take kindly to basically being called a cult member and flies away. But Bo-Katan, Koska, and Axe are incredible badasses and, a few hours later, they once again save Mando from even more Quarren, at which point, he finally decides to actually listen to them.
Bo-Katan explains that she and her team want to steal weapons off Trask to help them restore Mandalore. She and Din have different ideas of what happened on the planet but only one of them was actually there. Nevertheless Din, at least at the moment, has no interest in Bo’s plan to go back to Mandalore. He just wants to safely return the Child to the Jedi. Bo makes him an offer, saying she knows a Jedi and can help, but only if he helps her on their mission.
That mission? Hijack an Imperial cruiser full of dangerous weapons. After dropping the Child off with his Frog-friends, Din joins up with the Nite Owls for an extended action scene that’s pure Star Wars: Mandos spraying blaster fire everywhere, mowing down Stormtroopers left and right, it’s an insanely fun sequence. It all leads to the head of the ship — referred to only as Captain (Lost’s Titus Welliver, though you may know him better as Bosch these days) — following orders from Moff Gideon himself to kill his remaining crew and destroy the ship. Despite a bit of a turn by Bo-Katan, who “changes the terms of the deal,” Din’s bravery helps the Mandos gains control just in time, so they can safely take the weapons away to help their battle to rebuild Mandalore.
The Mandalorian is back, and Din Djarin is on a mission: find his people, so they can guide him in the ways of being a dad to a Force-wielding little green fella infinitely more popular than him. But Mandalore, a world burdened with such a tumultuous history, is once again...Read more
However, before the mission is complete, Bo-Katan reveals her true desires. She threatens the Captain to find out the whereabouts of her Darksaber, which she somehow lost between the events in Star Wars Rebels and The Mandalorian. We know Moff Gideon has it (as per last season’s finale), she thinks she knows, but she finally finds out for certain, right before the Captain takes his life.
And so, Bo-Katan and her Mandalorians are off to find the Darksaber. But Mando and the Child remain on their own path — a path that, according to Bo-Katan, should take them to the city of Calodan on the forest planet of Corvus. There, they’ll find a Jedi by the name of…
Pause for nerd freak out that we just saw a live-action Bo-Katan tell the Mandalorian to find Ahsoka fucking Tano. AAAAAH. OK. Deep breaths. Everything’s fine, we’re fine down here, how are you? But with that knowledge in his possession, Mando returns to the Razor Crest — which has been awkwardly pasted together with fishing net like it’s the Orca from Jaws — and sets off to Corvus to, we think, change the face of Star Wars as we know it.
“The Heiress” had it all. Plenty of Star Wars weirdness, huge mythological implications, super fun and intense action scenes both in the air and on foot. It was just an excellent episode of television, all helmed by second-time Mando director Bryce Dallas Howard. The only downside is, now we have to wait to see what role Ahsoka Tano (since every other rumour has been true, we can only assume she’ll be played by Rosario Dawson) will have in all this, and what she’ll say when she comes face to face with the Child.
- “The Heiress” was awesome, but it also makes three episodes out of three this season where Mando wants something and has to go off on a side quest that will provide him with a new piece of information for the main quest. The structure is very, very video-gamey, and it works, but three episodes in a row, plus a few last year, is getting slightly repetitive.
- This episode had so many great little Star Wars touches. From the chowder coming out of a tube from the ceiling and there being a face-hugger in the chowder, to a creature like it stowing away on the Razor Crest to attack the Child with kaleidoscope vision. Most of the episode was pretty story-focused, but those little moments throughout were perfect.
- Bringing Bo-Katan into this was amazing, but her history is so rich and epic, it almost doesn’t fit with the show. The same can be said for Ahsoka, and we’ll talk about that in the coming weeks, but Bo on her own could have told Din plenty about the Jedi, the Sith, everything. She’s been through it all. Plus, her plan is kind of massive. She wants to rebuild Mandalore? We wonder if that could become part of the show or not.
- It’s going to be fascinating to see how Mando’s realisation that his upbringing was part of a fringe group of Mandalorians changes his perspective. Will he start taking off his helmet? Was Bo-Katan even being completely honest, given she once fought alongside the Death Watch? It’s going to be a very, very important thing for the show to tackle going forward.
- The whole Baby Yoda Frog Egg thing took a new turn in this episode when, after we assume fertilisation by her husband, Frog Lady’s eggs started to hatch and reveal little baby frogs. They were cute and, thankfully, Baby Yoda only pet them this time.
- If you go back and watch this episode again (which I’m sure we all will) pay special attention to the score by Ludwig Göransson. His scores are always good but this week he took the thing up a notch with a pulse-pounding, kick-arse new theme for Bo-Katan and her Mando pals. Just amazing stuff.
- Moff Gideon signs off by saying “Long live the Empire.” We are curious to see how he took the death of the Emperor and Darth Vader, if he’s off on his own, if he’s trying to rebuild, it’s all very much up in the air. Except, he’s got a Darksaber, and that could change everything, of course.