The Mandalorian (2×07 and 2×08)- “The Believer/The Rescue”
Written by: Rick Famuyiwa (2×07) Jon Favreau (2×08)
Directed by: Rick Famuyiwa (2×07) Peyton Reed (2×08)
Welcome to the home stretch.
We open in a scrapyard that apparently doubles as the New Republic prison holding Mayfeld. He’s released in Cara Dune’s custody. While he seems happy to be released he’s first confused and terrified to find that Cara’s running with Boba Fett and Mando. They need him for his knowledge of Imperial codes and procedures to help them get a line on Moff Gideon’s cruiser in exchange for some leniency from the Republic. He asks them to take him to a secret mining base on a planet called Morak.
They’re refining an explosive compound for the war effort. If Mayfeld can get into the facility he can get them the code but much like a Prussian general said, “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” He can’t go in alone and upon entering the facility they’ll be genetically scanned for New Republic agents. That means Cara can’t go with him, Fennec is wanted by the ISB so she’s out and as Boba putt it “He’d be recognized.” That means Mando’s running out of options.
He and Mayfeld hijack one of the Imperial vehicles with Cara’s help then Mayfeld and Mando steal their suits and helmet to get in and after nearly being hijacked and blown up by the locals the pair make their way into the facility. During the trip, Mayfeld seems to be content in poking at Mando, going so far as to question his commitment to the code he’s lived by since he was taken in.
His philosophy is that people will anything they have to in order to survive and the rules they keep to can cast aside.
Inside the base, Mayfeld takes Mando to a computer terminal in the Officer’s mess and yet again another problem crops up. One of Mayfeld’s superiors, Valin Hess, is sitting in the mess and he’s worried he’ll be recognized. So Mando heads to the terminal himself and removes his helmet to complete the security scan. Even better, just when it seems Mando’s gotten away with it that same officer comes over to Mando to check on him.
Mayfeld tries to help him out of the situation but Hess wants to buy the men a drink. All too soon, Mayfeld brings up what he and Hess did during Operation: Cinder. How Hess’ actions and orders led to his entire unit being wiped out along with thousands of civilians and Rebel troops. When Hess shows no remorse, Mayfeld pulls his blaster and shoots the man and all hell breaks loose. They make it to the roof with a little sniper support from Cara and Fennec and Boba gets them off the roof. But as a parting shot Mayfeld proves just how good a shot he is by blowing up the fuel reserves.
Once everyone regroups, Cara is sad to inform Mayfeld that he “died” during the mission and is free to go. So all that’s left to do is go get Grogu… and maybe call Moff Gideon to tell him he’s coming for his ass by throwing his speech on Nevarro back in his face.
The episodes with Slave I chasing down an Imperial shuttle with Dr. Pershing aboard. Cara and Mando board the shuttle and after they determine Grogu is alive one of the pilots takes Pershing hostage. It seems he was on one of the Death Stars and he’s not exactly happy with people cheering the death of millions of his colleagues and he recognizes Cara’s tear drop tattoo as a sign that she’s was born on Alderaan so he eats a blaster bolt shortly after that.
Next up they return to Trask and meet up with Bo-Katan and Koska Reeves which means:
Mando takes Boba with him to meet with them and apparently Boba Fett’s not a member of Bo-Katan’s Cool Kids Mandalorian party. Mando offers up Moff Gideon and the Darksaber then things quickly deteriorate but we do get some cool Mandalorian on Mandalorian action between Boba and Koska before Bo-Katan agrees. In exchange for the cruiser and an assurance she gets to take down Gideon she’ll help.
Now that Mando has his team they plan their assault with a little intel on the Dark Troopers and Grogu’s location they plan their assault and that means Bo-Katan gets to fly the Imperial shuttle. Katee Sackhoff piloting… It’s a bold strategy, Cotton!
With a little help from Boba on Slave I, the team gets on board the cruiser and block the TIE fighter launch bay with their shuttle. You can take the girl off the Galactica but you can’t take the Starbuck out of Katee Sackhoff.
Moff Gideon doesn’t believe overkill is a thing so he orders his people to power up and deploy the Dark Troopers. I can respect it, Moff Gideon. So while Cara, Fennec, Koska and Bo make their way to the bridge Mando is free and clear to shut disable the Dark Troopers. He’s almost successful but one gets through the doors before he can lock the rest inside their storage alcove. Still it seems one Dark Trooper is a serious problem.
In fact, the beskar armor is about the only thing keeping Mando in the fight and the beskar spear is barely enough to take it out allowing Mando to space the rest and make his way to Grogu’s cell. Which is where he finds Moff Gideon. Gideon then explains that he’s more than happy to trade Grogu for his safe passage as well as tells him why Bo-Katan wants the Darksaber.
Mando agrees to let Gideon go in exchange for Grogu and while Gideon agrees he double-crosses Mando and attack him from behind. Fortunately (for Mando) the beskar is as effective with the Darksaber as it is with lightsabers and Mando’s able to fight back but unfortunately (for Gideon) Mando’s a much better fighter than Gideon and he disarms then forces Gideon to surrender. However, Gideon seems almost entertained but what Mando’s done.
On the bridge, we find out why Bo-Katan was so adamant she defeated Gideon and why Gideon was so entertained in defeat. You see, by defeating Gideon while he possessed the Darksaber, Mando has won the Darksaber and that means the only way Bo-Katan can have it in her bid to unite the clans in her name is by defeating Mando for it in combat. Which means Mando can’t even give it up and he may in fact now be Mandalore.
Even better, spacing the Dark Troopers did nothing to them and they’re re-boarding the ships to kill everyone except for Gideon and Grogu. The Dark Troopers make their way to the bridge and begin to punch their way through the blast doors, literally.
And that’s when things get interesting. A lone X-Wing arrives and unlike previous episodes it’s not piloted by Dave Filoni. No it looks like it was piloted by a Jedi, judging by the way a cloaked figure with a lightsaber cuts through the Dark Trooper platoon like…
Like a Jedi.
I guess Grogu made contact with someone on Tython. Once the Dark Troopers are dispatched Mando opens the door and the Jedi comes onto the bridge and if you thought things got interesting when the X-Wing showed up…
The Jedi removes his hood and introduces himself as Luke Skywalker.
Luke offers to train Grogu but Grogu doesn’t want to go without Mando’s permission and without seeing Mando’s face. He removes the helmet and says goodbye…
I’m not crying! You’re crying!
Talking about finishing strong, eh!
First, “The Believer” was a fun action filled episode and was a good reintroduction to Bill Burr’s Mayfeld character and setting him up for future episode and while it was a good character exploration showing how far Mando’s come and how far he’s willing to go to rescue Grogu it was mostly just a set up for the Finale. So I’m going to follow the episode’s lead and get right into “The Rescue.”
This episode was great, not just for the ending which we’ll discuss but the way so many storylines were brought full circle while introducing new challenges and storylines for them all. We now know that Boba Fett won’t be rallying to Bo-Katan’s flag and that he might not even be considered a Mandalorian to other clans. There’s a huge wedge between Mando and Bo-Katan that is ripe for the picking storyline wise. Moff Gideon is still alive and whoever he was working with or very likely won’t take his capture lightly and that’s just external stuff.
Let’s talk about all they’ve done to Mando himself. By his own words if the takes off the helmet he can never put it back on and he is no longer a Mandalorian. How will that affect him going forward? How will Grogu leaving affect him going forward? He now possesses the Darksaber and is now neck deep in Mandalorian succession politics and if there’s one thing that can go sideways in a big hurry its succession politics. Just ask almost literally any King ever.
As though that weren’t enough, they put Luke Skywalker back on the board!
We learn in The Last Jedi that all of Luke’s students were killed when Ben Solo turned to the dark side and the Jedi are no more after that so does that mean Grogu dies at Ben’s hand? What about Ahsoka or any other survivors of Order 66?
How does Grand Admiral Thrawn or Snoke or Palpatine play into all this and where do they go from here?
We have some hint from the post-credit scene. Boba and Fennec have return to Tatooine, killed Bib Fortuna and (seemingly) taken over the late Jabba the Hutt’s territory. But that must wait for December and the Book of Boba Fett.
So I presume we will just have to wait to see what happens in the Galaxy Far Far Away but until then, May the Force Be With You.
Things We Learned:
- Mayfeld was part of Operation Cinder.
- Moff Gideon has been captured.
- By surrendering to Mando, the Darksaber is now in his possession.
- Luke Skywalker has taken Grogu to train him as a Jedi.
- Mando has removed his helmet, breaking his oath to the Children of the Watch.
- What does Boba Fett plan to do from Tatooine?
- Will Mando be able to justify putting his helmet back on and continuing as a mandalorian?
- Does possessing the Darksaber alone make him Mandalore?
- Will Bo-Katan be able to rally the mandalorians to her without the Darksaber?
- If not does that bring her into conflict with Mando?
- How will the Children of the Watch react to Mando possessing the Darksaber?
- Will Luke Skywalker successfully train Grogu?
- Has Luke been seeking out the remaining Jedi like Ahsoka Tano?
- Will the New Republic get a hold of Gideon’s research into Grogu’s blood?
- Will they make use of it?
- Where does Thrawn fit into this?