Ep 1&2 Mandalorian Review: Dinsey+’s flagship Star Wars property gloriously returns

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Din Djarin and the child are back and on the hunt for other Mandalorians following last season’s finale where Pedro Pascal’s Mandalorian was charged with returning Baby Yoda back to his force-wielding kind. The premiere of the second season turned out to be one of the show’s best episode, with Djarin back on Tatooine teaming up with Cobb Vanth, a character first introduced in the ‘Aftermath’ novel trilogy. They’re on a mission to take down a Krayt dragon terrorising the town under Vanth’s protection. It’s a big and bold episode, featuring the show’s trademark attention detail with countless easter eggs and treats for dedicated fans. Jon Favreau (and Dave Filoni) really know how to deploy familiar Star Wars aspects to tell a new story, from using pre-existing novel character Cobb Vanth (and the consequences of who’s armour he’s wearing) to the subversion of having our heroes teaming up with the Sand People (Tusken Raiders). This also continues to be one of the most visually beautiful shows out there; the ‘volume’ technology continues to impress. The episode breaks into an IMAX sequence for the climactic battle featuring some jetpack goodness and all-around coolness.  The show seems to be continuing the trend of the ‘adventure of the week’ style, with this first episode being a bumper one. This premiere is a wonderful re-introduction to Mando and Baby Yoda, fleshing out the world and story and setting up countless opportunities thanks to THAT reveal at the end of the episode. 

Disney+

The second episode, which picks up pretty much immediately after the first, takes a slower and more individual approach. I personally really like that about the show. While the adventure episodes in season 1 were more standalone, this season seems to be incorporating them more into our main characters’ journeys. Our duo is tasked with taking a strange passenger to another planet with the promise of information leading to other Mandalorians. The journey, of course, isn’t straight forward, resulting in an encounter with some rather hostile (and freaky) wildlife. Contrary to what was speculated when the frozen planet was shown in the trailers, it is not Illum. Again, this episode provides more excellent references and inclusions from other Star Wars stories, with the creatures they encounter being from Rebels (and originally from some of Ralph McQuarrie’s unused Empire Strikes Back concept art). They make for some pretty intense sequences and really great action. The episode also has some pretty great comedy too, with Baby Yoda being as adorable (and as slightly murderous) as ever. We also have some pretty neat callbacks to previous episodes, hinting at how everything we’ve seen comes together. 

Overall, from these first two episodes, the creative team are perfecting the adventure format of the first season, adding more continuity and weight to events. This show continues to grow into something really special and the rest of this season promises great things. The characters that are rumoured to appear later on make it seem extra exciting, with it clear with what we’ve seen so far that Favreau and co are avoiding the fears that some had going into the season that we’d lose focus on Mando and Bay Yoda. That has not happened, with us getting some great character-focused moments as well as the show’s most visually stunning sights. An amazing start.

Image Credit: Cnet