For all of its action, its tight-as-a-drum storytelling and stunning special effects, there’s one problem that continues to beset The Mandalorian – a lot happens without a lot really happening.
That is to say, plenty of action occurs, with wonderfully realised set-pieces making the most of the Star Wars style, incorporating minor characters and putting them front and centre. And yet, apart from discovering that Baby Yoda has a penchant for eating the eggs of an endangered species, things haven’t much moved on since the opening episode.
Mando and Din Djarin is still looking for a Jedi, so that he can deliver Baby Yoda to someone who will care for him. He knows that he needs to find some other Mandalorians in order to track down the mythical Jedi, and while he’s spent the last two episodes not finding any, episode three finally brings him into contact with a trio of his kind.
In Chapter 11: The Heiress, Din is on some sort of Sea World, rubbing shoulders with the Mon Calamari aka the kin of Admiral Ackbar. The show briefly turns into Pirates of the Mandalorian, before Din’s new friends make their entrance, in typical fashion – with Mando on the edge of certain doom, he is yet again rescued at the final moment.
The trio of Mandalorians introduce themselves, make reference to Star Wars Rebels’ Darksaber, insist Mando help them on their quest and then fly off. Crucially, they utter the name of the Jedi Mando needs to find. And it’s a name all Clone Wars fans will be extremely excited to hear.
And that’s just it – a reference to a sword, a Jedi and a quick shot of Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon are all nice touches and undoubtedly set-ups that will later pay off, but they don’t serve the short term narrative. Instead, we’re treated (and we really are treated) to cinema-quality action as we wait for the meatier stuff to occur.
Probably the most interesting element of this episode is the brief exchange Din has with the leader of the new Mandalorian troupe; Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan tells Din in no uncertain terms that he needs to reconsider his roots. But before this point develops, he flies away. Leaving yet another set-up dangling for a future episode to deal with.
It’s not a chore to get through The Mandalorian. Far from it – it’s huge fun, again and again. The attack on an Imperial ship in particular is deftly handled by director Bryce Dallas Howard, and depicting events from the perspective of the bad guys is a typically simple yet smart move we’ve come to expect from the show.
Yet, the stakes are surprisingly low. Once Mando is done helping, he’s back to flying towards his goal but with one minor piece of extra information. What the other Mandalorians are up to in the bigger picture remains unknown, and we may never find out, which makes much of the action superfluous to the story.
Still, with stuff like Titus Welliver chewing on the scenery as an imperial officer hellbent on protecting his cargo, there’s a lot to enjoy here. We just have to wait a bit longer for the pay-offs.