Season 2 of ‘The Mandalorian’ has so far given me everything I could ever ask for as a Star Wars fan.
This season starts with Din Djarin (the Mandalorian) on a quest to return the child (AKA Baby Yoda) to his people, a race of enemy sorcerers we know as Jedi. To do this, Din must first track down the remnants of his own people who have a long and complicated history with the Jedi. The father-son duo traverse the galaxy together as Din continues to drift away from his self-centered bounty hunter roots all the while subjecting the child to the violence of his way.
Season two, episode one is one of the best of the series yet. There are so many glorious easter eggs for fans of the prequels and the original trilogy, and there’s a reveal in the closing seconds that had me freaking out and yelling at the TV.
John Favreau, the director of ‘Iron Man’ and the showrunner of ‘The Mandalorian,’ directed this episode, and it shows because this is one epic hour of television. The action is insane, and we get to see all kinds of gadgets utilized by Din, my favorite being his recently acquired jetpack. The visual effects are some of the best ever seen on TV.
It’s clear Disney emptied their wallet to make sure this show felt more like a theatrically released movie.
The cast was also excellent, although Amy Sedaris’ character Peli Motto gets on my nerves. Pedro Pascal is great once again, even though we’re never able to see his face. His voice is perfect for the role, but I’m also really hoping we get to see him take the helmet off again. Baby Yoda takes a bit of a back seat in this episode, but still manages to be as cute as ever.
The real standout, however, is Timothy Olyphant. That man is just full of swagger. I know him primarily from his brilliant performance as Raylan Givens on the show ‘Justified,’ and I loved that his character here is pretty similar.
Olyphant really lends to the whole western vibe of the episode. It really feels like a classic wild west movie but set in a galaxy far, far away. There’s a rundown saloon, a Mexican standoff, and a clever twist on the cowboys and Indians trope.
The music is also phenomenal. Composer Ludwig Goransson somehow manages to follow in the footsteps of John Williams while also adding something unique to what we’ve come to expect Star Wars music to sound like. I cannot get that theme song out of my head.
However, the second episode, while it’s unfair to write it off as filler, definitely didn’t live up to the hype of episode one. There are some amazing action sequences thanks again to the budget and to fellow Marvel director Peyton Reed (‘Ant Man.’) Baby Yoda also has a few darkly hilarious moments. Overall, this episode highlighted some of my biggest criticisms of the show.
‘The Mandalorian’ is very episodic. Most episodes are self-contained stories with a few overarching characters and plotlines. This isn’t inherently a bad thing. It just means that in season one, Din might go from brutally taking down stormtroopers one week to getting stuck on Tatooine with an annoying, wannabe Han Solo the next. Not every episode feels equally important. While I did have a blast watching episode two, I found myself wishing it had contributed more to the story.
Overall, however, this season of ‘The Mandalorian’ is off to a phenomenal start. With what episode one sets up and from what some of the rumors suggest, I think season two has the potential to be even better than the first. I have spoken.