We get the payoff to several plot threads set up earlier, followed by a pretty big cliffhanger, in this week’s new episode of The Mandalorian, entitled “Chapter 14 – The Tragedy.”
Director Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Sin City) takes the helm of this hit live-action Star Wars series with a short but action-heavy installment set mostly on the planet Tython, where Ahsoka Tano had sent the Mandalorian AKA Din Djarin (played by Pedro Pascal) and Grogu at the end of the previous episode. I’m pretty surprised how fast we got there, given the series’ usual M.O. of throwing in a pit stop or two along the way to any given destination.
Mando places Grogu on the fabled seeing stone and waits for something to happen, but as soon as it does they are interrupted by the sound of a ship approaching, and that ship is instantly recognizable to anyone who has seen The Empire Strikes Back— or Star Wars: Episode II, for that matter. Yes, the Slave I is back, and along with it comes Boba Fett (last glimpsed at the end of this year’s season premiere), now played by actor Temura Morrison, who embodied Boba’s clone-daddy Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones. Fett wants his armor back (why didn’t he just take it back from Cobb Vanth on Tatooine?) and he’s brought along the now-cyborg assassin Fennec Shand (Ming Na-Wen, reprising her role from season one) to help him get it. A showdown between these three mercenaries is interrupted by more incoming ships– Imperial transports carrying wave after wave of stormtroopers.
It’s a literal blast to see Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, and Din Djarin team up against this still-mostly-ineffective soldiers of the Empire, and especially to witness Fett kicking some serious butt in live-action for what is literally the very first time since the character was first introduced more than forty years ago. This extended battle sequence also sees Boba getting his armor back (though he’s now a tiny bit… shall we say heftier?… than he was when we last saw him wearing it), the out-and-out destruction of the Razor Crest (Dude, they finally killed your car), and Mando attempting to retrieve Grogu from the seeing stone only to be thrown back several times by its projected Force shield. Bad timing and the unfortunate abandonment of Djarin’s jetpack gives Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) an opening to send down his Dark Troopers (introduced a couple weeks back) and scoop up poor Grogu as he naps on the stone after exerting all that energy.
It’s looking as though The Mandalorian’s second batch of episodes is going to end with a misfit team up in a similar way to how last season did, and I was excited to see the tease of Mayfeld’s return with the mugshot of comedian/actor Bill Burr on Cara Dune’s (Gina Carano) computer display. And this episode closed out with the cruel image of Grogu in captivity, though he does let loose some of those Force powers on the stormtroopers keeping him prisoner. We also see the Darksaber again and finally get some face-to-face time between Gideon and the 50-year-old infant formerly known as Baby Yoda. Grogu is a donor… but for what, exactly? Considering the other pieces of the puzzle that were revealed in Chapter 12, Gideon’s plan is starting to unfold, but will Mando be able to put together a crew in time to stop it? We’ll find out more next week.
New episodes of The Mandalorian premiere Fridays, exclusively on Disney+.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.