WARNING: SPOILERS LIE AHEAD FOR CHAPTER 11 OF THE MANDALORIAN. IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE EPISODE AND READ OUR REVIEW, GO BACK AND CHECK THEM OUT!
This is the way.
Prequel and Original Trilogy Callbacks
As the episode begins, we see our Mando go into a manual entry of the atmosphere. Hearkening back to Anakin’s rough landing of the Seperatist capital ship in the opening scenes of Episode Three. Several shots inside the Razor Crest are also framed similarly to shots of the Falcon from the Original Trilogy. The screens and readouts also feel very similar (including a planetary landing diagram that looks suspiciously like the Death Star). We see the Crest needing to be lifted from the water. It’s reminiscent of Luke’s X-Wing being raised from the depths multiple times in the Skywalker saga.
We also have a bit of a father-daughter connection between the directors. Ron Howard directed Apollo 13, which famously has an atmospheric re-entry. Bryce Dallas Howard directed this episode, which has a bit of a callback to that film.
It is revealed that the ship is being lifted by what appears to be either a modified Imperial AT-AT. Which could also be a reference to the persistent (but somewhat recently debunked) rumor that shipping cranes in the Port of Oakland inspired George Lucas while creating the Imperial walkers.
Did You Hear That…?
Some of the best Easter eggs in the episode are audio ones! The sound when the Razor Crest’s engines failing is unmistakably similar to the Millennium Falcon. The klaxons we hear on the Imperial cruiser are the same as heard on the Death Star. Another audio Easter egg is apparent when Bo Katan again removes her helmet, as the high-pitched hiss of air unsealing sounds nearly identical to when Luke removes his dying father’s helmet in Return of the Jedi.
Trask Somehow Feels Familiar…
Many small easter eggs make the aquatic moon of Trask feel eerily familiar. The Mon Calamari harbormaster is seen wearing a fisherman-style sweater. After our Mando heads to the local inn and tavern, he pays the innkeeper for (yet another) bowl of soup for the Child and some information. In Mon Calamari flan – possibly even the same credits he earned as bounty back in season one from Greef Karga. As Mando proceeds on his journey, we see that the boat from the trailers is a Quarren fishing ship. Complete with pots, cranes, and ropes reminiscent of an episode of Deadliest Catch on the deck.
Mon Calamari and Quarren (Are Jerks)
This episode heavily features ships and the sea/spaceport of Trask. That port is populated by both Mon Calamari and the Davy-Jones-eque, tentacled Quarren. The Quarren are first seen in Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi. And we know from The Clone Wars, those two races are often found to be at odds.
The Quarren prove themselves to be jerks once again, double-crossing Mando for a shot at stealing his beskar armor, and knocking The Child into the water to be swallowed by the “mamacore” (a possible reference to manticores of Persian legend). After our Mando leaves and returns to the port, he is again confronted by belligerent Quarren, only to have the Night Owl crew come to his aid again, dispatching the Quarren with ease.
Alien/Predator References Galore!
We get yet another Alien reference, with an octopus-like creature popping up (almost trash-compactor Dianoga-style) and then attaching itself to the face of The Child. If it was one reference, it might be a coincidence. But after last week’s egg chamber scene and Peli Motto’s resemblance to Ripley among other references, it must be intentional. A heat-vision rangefinder view of the Stormtroopers in the freighter’s hallways is also a possible homage to the “Predator-vision” we often see in that franchise.
“New” Characters, Familiar Faces
Bo Katan’s appearance was probably the biggest reveal in the episode. Her Beskar armor is a nearly perfect match from the cartoons. It flawlessly recreates the armor including the Night Owl sigil that she and her female counterpart wear. I’m super excited to see Katee Sackhoff in live action. Especially so, as she was already the voice of Bo Katan from both The Clone Wars and Rebels. After dispatching the Quarren on deck, she extends her hand to help Mando up from the water. Reminiscent of the scene from season one when a young Din Djarin is saved by a Deathwatch Mandalorian.
Though not implicitly stated, the subtitles let us know that her counterparts are Koska Reeves (WWE SmackDown’s Sasha Banks, or Mercedes Varnado) and Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). While I was hoping for Varnado’s character to be Sabine Wren of Rebels. I wasn’t disappointed with her character in this episode and it only piqued my interest further.
The Darksaber and More Clone Wars Tie-Ins
Bo Katan and the Nite Owls are a huge tie in with both The Clone Wars and Rebels. As is the Imperial Gozanti freighter (also known to be used by Maul’s Shadow Collective) that she asks for Mando’s assistance in taking over before helping him with his quest. After taking over the ship’s bridge, Bo Katan questions the lead officer about the Darksaber.
The fact that Bo Katan asks the officer if Gideon has the Saber implies to me that he did not best her in combat and rightfully claim it. Hopefully we will find out this season if it was taken. As it was taken by the ancestors of Clan Viszla after the death of its creator Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order. I wonder if Bo Katan will try to use it to unite the people of Mandalore once again.
Our Mando is In a Cult…?
Earlier in the episode, Mando questions his saviors after they remove their helmets. Implying that he is of a different clan or creed than they are. Bo Katan states cautiously, “He’s one of them…” and uses the same swear (”Dank Farrik!”) curse we’ve heard Mando use previously. We then learn that our Mando appears to be a part of a fringe subgroup (or even cult). Also, that not all Mandalorians ascribe to the same old laws, perhaps those of Mandalor the Great himself.
Our Mando is described as a “Child of the Watch”. Likely referring to the Deathwatch that broke away from the main establishment of Mandalore. They were exiled to the moon of Concordia for trying to bring back their ancient warrior ways. Fans of the cartoon know that Bo Katan rose to be one of their leaders alongside Pre Vizsla. Though she eventually left the group following his death and their assimilation into Maul’s Shadow Collective.
There’s Something About Those Eggs…
There seems to be a continued focus on the eggs carried by the “Frog Lady”. Perhaps they share the same ruined home world. I found it interesting that we know neither of their names or species, which is rather uncommon in the Star Wars universe.
This episode also sees the return of several weapons from the franchise. Including the reciprocating, double-barreled E-22 blasters first seen in Rogue One and again in Solo. As well as the SE-14 pistol seen used by The Client’s Stormtroopers last season. We see Bo Katan communicate with the bridge using the same style communicator Luke uses on the Death Star in A New Hope. Finally, we also see stormtroopers wield DLT-19 heavy blaster rifles (also seen in A New Hope).
Corvus? Maybe This Won’t Be Easy…
Bo finally reveals to Mando in this episode that he can find the (former) Jedi, Ahsoka Tano, in the city of Calodan on the planet Corvus. While Corvus is not a known world in the new Canon (to my knowledge). It IS the name of the Raider II-class corvette that ex-Imperial Inferno Squad members defected to the New Republic with in the Battlefront video game series. Possibly implying that his journey won’t be as straightforward as it sounds. Mando sets off to continue on his quest, with pieces falling off his ship as he jumps to hyperspace.
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