It’s another week of action-pushing plot beats on Disney’s The Mandalorian, but is that a bad thing? Will audience patience wear thin as the side quests keep on coming? Are the side quests so damn good that it doesn’t really matter?
‘The Siege’ starts as this show often does – with Din Djarin in dire need of ship repairs. Inevitably, in an infinite galaxy, this takes Djarin and The Child to Nevarro, the planet we’ve mostly seen them arrive on.
To the shock of nobody, such repairs will lead him on a mission. This time it’s with familiar faces – Shock Trooper Dune (Gina Carano) and disgraced-magistrate-turned-bounty-man-turned-magistrate-again, Greef Karga (Carl Weathers, who also directs).
As if to spice things up a bit, the team bring along Din’s first bounty of the show, the unnamed, talkative Mythrol, to help them on their quest – to break into an abandoned Imperial barracks. Even less shockingly, the barracks aren’t actually abandoned, and fighting will ensue.
Everything about the barracks is candy for the eyes of Star Wars aficionados. The set design is pure A New Hope, while even the Stormtrooper dialogue – “There they are, blast ‘em!” – harks back to a time when Star Wars was… well, just Star Wars (if you listen really closely, you might catch a brief reference to the much-maligned M word). In a show with a disturbing amount of visual highlights, the shot involving Scout Troopers jumping on speeder bikes and flying off a cliff is something we never knew we wanted to see so badly.
What our ragtag team get up to is pretty basic stuff, and as ever, it’s wonderfully depicted (quite where Carl Weathers’ direction meets with the action and effects units remains to be seen). The difference here, as we reach the halfway stage in the second season run, is a plot development that will not only feed The Mandalorian’s larger story, but one that might well have connections to the sequel trilogy. And finally help us understand why The Child was a target in the first place.
While we’re on the subject of baby Yoda, it’s worth noting that the youngling provides the most interesting character beats, either while attempting to fix the ship in a Groot and Rocket-style sequence, or sitting in a chair at school and eventually throwing up some sweets that Mando, in a properly fatherly fashion, cleans up with his cape.
The episode’s big reveal will pay off further down the line and how much a fan will enjoy The Mandalorian might well depend on patience, and appreciation for throwaway action. This is a show that does a hell of a lot in a short space of time, without often progressing the stuff that the hardcore fans are clamouring to lap up.
Yes, ‘The Siege’ might play out like a video game side quest, as most of the Mando episodes seem to, but it’s one that does finally connect with the bigger game. With Ahsoka Tano’s first live-action appearance getting tantalisingly close, and the action being this much fun, the second half of season two promises to be some of the best Star Wars content we’ve seen.