At long last something good comes out of 2020! The first episode of season 2, directed by Jon Favreau, finally dropped today on Disney+, and not only did it not disappoint it completely blew every expectation out of the water, or I suppose I should say sands as this episode starts our path through history. Our first stop for Mandalorian S2:E1 takes back to Tatooine! But we will come back to that in a minute.
Din and the Child need to find where he belongs. Whether he ends up with Yoda’s species or the Jedi remnants remains to be seen, but the search begins. Din seeks out a contact in an MMA style gladiator arena. This shouldn’t spoil anything as it showed up in the trailers. Of all things to stand out to me were the Gamorreans in the ring. The only ones we know of to this date are fat, slothy things that could not do more than sit on you. These two combatants were slim and muscular. They really looked different than what we are used too.
Mandalorian S2:E1 – Episodic Threads
This opening scene sets up two things that run throughout the rest of the episode. 1 – Favreau continually takes things we have seen before and reintroduces them to us in new ways. The Gamorreans are a great example, but so was the one-eyed Abyssin Din talks with. Favreau masters the art of fan service/easter eggs. Every time he does it it fits in seamlessly with its surroundings. It does not distract from new followers, but at the same time life long fans are jumping out of their seats screaming “DID YOU SEE THAT?! THAT WAS THE THING! OMG! THAT WAS IT!” (continue rant for 5 minutes). Some of these I will cover in a bit.
The second constant throughout this entire episode centers on the Child. He serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever! Remove him from the entire episode and you lose zilch. So why have him? He steals absolutely every single scene he is in! He sees Din arm his whistling birds, and his face immediately radiates that ‘Oh $#!%!’ look and he closes his carrier. Later it’s everything from a huge smile and flapping ears as he rides a speeder bike to hiding in a spit jar in the cantina. For now he becomes the perfect Disney companion/pet for our hero.
Mandalorian S2:E1 – You Gotta Love Sand!
For the millionth time we return to Tatooine based on Din’s informant. I really like that Favreau included Peli Motto and her pit droids again. Even though the interaction is brief, Din’s reaction to the pit droids shows the impact IG-11 had on him. Upon reaching the forgotten town of Mos Pelga the fan service easter eggs come fast and heavy. From here on expect some SPOILERS.
Din’s informant told him a Mandalorian lived in Mos Pelga. Well, that’s a half truth. A person living in Mos Pelga wears a certain set of Mando armor that fans will recognize even in the dark silhouette that it first shows up in. The marshal of Mos Pelga dons none other than Boba Fett’s armor. Season one teased us several time with the possible fate of Boba Fett. The very first address addresses these rumors perfectly.
There is a reason I mention this spoiler specifically. The Marshal is a man named Cobb Vanth? Does that name sound familiar? It should! In a masterful stroke Favreau pulls from existing canon three years ago! Go back to Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig. He introduces us to Cobb Vanth and shows us how he acquires Fett’s armor from some jawas. Talk about maintaining and drawing from continuity! This begs the question, where was this level of canon use in the sequel trilogy movies?!
Vanth knows immediately Din will want the Mandalorian armor to take back to his people. I really love how Timothy Olyphant plays Vanth – very cool, very collected. After an ‘incident’ Vanth proposes a trade. If Din helps the town end their ‘problem’ he can take Fett’s armor. In the process Din brings in the Tuskens once more, and I love for the first time they are treated as a race instead of savage creatures. They may be savage, but now they are a sentient race too.
Mandalorian S2:E3 – From Amazing to EPIC!
From here on the expectations get left in the sand as Mandalorian S2:E1 goes above and beyond in every aspect. Plenty of action on a scale never seen in Star Wars, easter eggs and throwbacks that leave fans jumping up and down in disbelief….How Favreau pulled off this level of quality boggles the mind. There is one major change in canon, but the change produces such an epic reaction – WHO CARES!
While the episode ends without much lead-in, one thread not only answers some questions but leaves fans begging for more. Let speculation begin on how they will use it. Let the count down for episode 2 begin!