Warning: This is the Way to our The Mandalorian season 2, episode 4 review which contains major spoilers – turn around to avoid having the new episode ruined!
Let’s start by dealing with Gina Carano. There have been some calls from fans to dismiss her from the show following some unsavoury Twitter activity. Rather than wading into that debate, I simply hope we do not revisit Carano’s character Cara anytime because… well… she’s not very good. Her performance as the smirking badass is incredibly one-note, with every line delivery playing the same. Nowhere is this more distracting than her final scene, when we discover the former Empire brute came from Alderaan – the first planet destroyed by the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope. That’s some huge emotional baggage to carry around. Yet, none of that comes through as she reveals: “I lost everyone.” The New Republic trooper replies with another slightly clunky line, “I’m sorry for your loss,” but thankfully composer Ludwig Göransson’s on hand to do the heavy lifting with a nostalgic cue.
Now that’s out of the way, we can talk about “The Siege”, which continues The Mandalorian formula of having Mando being diverted from his main quest, only to find himself helping someone else in need. This one’s another fun adventure with familiar friends, and one that contains a scene that’s pure catnip for Star Wars fans.
As well as a returning Carano, Carl Weathers – Apollo Creed! – is back as the formerly double-crossing Greef, who needs help taking out an Empire base. Along for the ride is Horatio Sanz’ blue Mythrol, the bounty from episode 1. He quickly becomes the joke of every scene, with Greef (still one of the show’s best characters) taking a few hundred years off Mythrol’s sentence for each semi-heroic act. It’s much-needed relief when the other three central characters are some of the more serious people in that galaxy far, far away.
“The Siege” of the title quickly gets underway – with Baby Yoda left to cause mischief at a school – and the action starts. As with everything in The Mandalorian, the production values are high, though seeing Mando blast his way through another corridor of Stormtroopers is deja vu from last week. Still, the revelation that comes from the invasion has my Star Wars-loving brain whirring away. That brief message from Omid Abtahi’s Dr. Pershing holds so much information, helping everything about Moff Gideon’s plan slot into place.
It appears, now, that the remnants of the Empire are trying to create a new leader – one with a high-Midichlorian count. In the lab, there are a few failed experiments, similar to those seen on Exegol in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and we can presume the Empire’s either trying to make a new body for the Emperor or a new creature for the still-surviving Emperor to control; the same thing that becomes Snoke. That Jon Favreau has been subtly setting up Baby Yoda as the key to unlocking the sequel trilogies secrets has my sensory response module in overload, and hopefully, by the time this show’s over, it will leave us reappraising the final part to the Skywalker saga as some of our biggest questions get on-screen answers.
That scene is no doubt the highlight of the episode, showcasing Favreau’s deft hand at still adding forward momentum to Mando’s story while also taking him on an adventure that initially has very little to do with the overarching story. What’s more, there’s no time to think as Greef, Cara, and their blue friend are chased by Stormtroopers on speeders and then in ships. Yes, Mando saving the day is an obvious finale – I asked myself “Where’s Mando?” during the chase sequence which, of course, had me thinking “he’ll have their back” – but seeing him burst onto the scene with Baby Yoda along for the joy ride made the climax a treat. While The Mandalorian may be predictable at times, there’s no denying its a joy to watch.
Come the aftermath, a red repair alien turned out to be working for the Empire – who could have guessed from that lingering shot on him earlier in the episode?! Moff Gideon’s up to something villainous with those black-clad bad guys. We can fully expect them to turn up on Corvus just as Mando finally meets Ahsoka Tano… unless he gets distracted again. I really suspect he might.