Warning: This is the Way to our The Mandalorian season 2, episode 3 review which contains major spoilers – turn around to avoid having the new episode ruined!
She’s here. After months of leaks, The Mandalorian has finally introduced Bo Katan, a character well known to Star Wars fans who have watched the animated series Clone Wars and Rebels. And as with many of these big moments, the results are somewhat disappointing.
The episode starts with Baby Yoda, Mando, and Frog Lady all aboard the Razor Crest as they finally make it to their destination. One crash landing later and they arrive in the fishiest harbour we’ve ever seen in Star Wars. Quite literally. The planet Trask is a plateau de fruits de mer come to life, with Mon Calamari, Quarren (those are the squid heads), and frog people going about their business. I half expected some Gungans to appear for a full house.
The reunion between the two frogs is remarkably touching. We’ve been through a lot with Mando’s passenger and knowing the pains she’s gone through to get here – those spiders really were nightmarish – makes the moment all the more moving. Then comes the cameo we’ve all been talking about since it debuted in the season 2 trailer: a stern Sasha Banks/Mercedes Varnado glances at Mando and Baby Yoda, and then disappears.
Disney has been playing coy about her character, but now we know she’s playing a fellow Mandalorian. There’s still no word on whether the character is Sabine Wren, but her armour’s not as fiery and her hair not as purple as the character’s usual appearance in the animated shows, so it appears she may simply be a different member of the Mandalore race.
Whatever the case, after Mando gets some chowder for his little green pet – plus some information from an Admiral Ackbar-looking fella – the leading duo are on a boat. Seriously, Mando, it’s so blinking obvious this vessel’s full of crooks! Also entertaining is the fact that boats are still a thing in the Star Wars universe when, you know, speeders and ships and hovercraft all exist. No matter which galaxy you’re in, aliens have to fish.
After Baby Yoda gets eaten by an underwater monster, the other Mandalorians quickly come swooping in to save the day. It’s not a particularly heroic moment and feels finished within seconds, not helped by Mando zooming off without his information once Bo Katan – a returning Katee Sackhoff, who voiced the character in Rebels – removes her helmet. In fact, the shortness of the whole sequence takes away any impact, and, as you expect, when Bo Katan quickly arrives to take Mando out for dinner, any chance of that being a brief encounter are soon dismissed.
Thanks to the trio of new Mandalorian, who are rounded out by actor Simon Kassianides, we learn a little more about The Way. Turns out, Mando’s actually part of a very strict cult and Bo Katan poking at Din Djarin makes him appear as even more of an outsider – a loner in the world who suddenly seems very naive to the actual ways of the galaxy. It’s nice world-building, yet Bo Katan comes off more hard-edged than you may expect, and her presence dominates the rest of the episode.
From dinner, the Mandalorians jump aboard one of the Empire’s ships and attempt to take back weapons, hoping to use them to destroy the villainous presence on their home planet of Mandalore. Of course, Bo Katan has other motives, and actually wants to find out the location of the Darksaber, a sacred item within the Mandalorian community that grants its wielder the right to rule Mandalore. She already appears to know Moff Gideon, and the history between the two will no doubt be explored down the line.
That’s perhaps the biggest problem with this episode: there’s a lot of information to digest. Din Djarin’s world is rocked by, not only the presence of other Mandalorians, but the fact that he’s actually a member of a very niche section of them. For non-Rebels and Clone Wars watchers, the entire Bo Katan storyline may feel forced, with so many teasers for what’s coming next that it’s hard to grasp exactly who she is or why we should care. Worst of all is that wig – the first major faux pas from the Mandalorian design team. Yes, she should look like the animated character, but the team could have taken some creative liberties here.
Where the premiere and episode 2 flourished by concentrating on single missions that introduced fully rounded out character who didn’t require hours of research to fully understand, Chapter 11 rushes from set piece to set piece, with Mando becoming a secondary character to the more domineering and, frankly, unlikeable live-action Bo Katan. The fact Fish Lady left more of an impact says it all.
Still, the action’s well done, Baby Yoda remains adorable, and seeing the kamikaze remains of the Empire is exactly why this show is perfectly placed within the Star Wars universe: it’s able to dip into the galaxy’s lore when it needs to. Unfortunately, when it plunges into that lore, The Mandalorian is less successful. Hopefully, the widely hoped-for appearance from Ahsoka Tano will be more impressive.