A lot of the predictions I’ve had about The Mandalorian – Season Two are starting to come to fruition. As I had postulated six weeks ago when writing the recap for the first episode, it appears as if Mando and Boba Fett will indeed be teaming up to kick some ass across the galaxy. Also, the back half of the season is shaping up to be much more exciting and story-driven than the first four episodes.
Chapter 14 – The Tragedy sets the stage pretty early on with an almost melancholic scene aboard Mando’s spaceship. On his path to Tython, Mando gets Grogu to test his force abilities by offering him that lovely ball top he is so enamored with. Believing this may be the last time he sees him, Mando gives a rather somber speech about how Grogu needs to train and it’s something in his destiny, blah blah. You can tell even he doesn’t buy it, but he’s on a mission and won’t back down so easily.
As they land on Tython and approach a monument that looks ripped straight out of Halo, Mando places Grogu on a small platform and begins to wait. As Ahsoka told him last week, Grogu would handle the rest…except the rest isn’t happening. Likely out of his love for Mando, Grogu isn’t in a rush to see their relationship end. Still, a ship starts to fly overhead and Mando gets worried, telling Grogu to get the lead out.
Fans of Star Wars lore will immediately recognize this vessel: it’s Boba Fett’s Slave-I. While most definitely a piece of fan service, the frame doesn’t linger like a horny teenager in heat. Mando’s fatherly instinct kicks in and he goes to investigate, which doesn’t end up quite as he expected. Boba (Temuera Morrison) basically cuts him off, firing off some blaster shots to stop Mando in his tracks. After a quick standoff, it’s revealed that Fennec Shand (Ming Na-Wen) somehow survived her tussle with Mando back on Tatooine and is now aiding Boba.
If it wasn’t evident from the first episode in The Mandalorian – Season Two, Boba wants only one thing: the return of his armor. More precisely, it’s actually his father’s armor that was gifted to him. In a nice -and obvious- casting choice, Morrison portrays Boba after having played Jango Fett in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, keeping consistency for fans that have been in love with the character for decades. In exchange for the armor, Boba is willing to help Mando protect Grogu, but things aren’t going so well.
During their staredown, Stormtroopers landed on Tython with the intention of stealing “The Child” from Mando. Without the aid of his jetpack, Mando quickly rushes to Grogu’s side while Boba and Fennec brace for an absolutely thrilling action sequence. This part makes up the majority of the episode’s 33-minute runtime and that’s perfectly fine.
Without too much dialogue or fluff to get in the way, The Mandalorian creates an absolutely fantastic bit of cinematic action that rivals the best of the main Star Wars films. I said something similar in my recap of Chapter 12 – The Siege, which was helmed by actor Carl Weathers. Here, The Tragedy is guided by the masterful eye of director Robert Rodriguez, who has a penchant for explosive action and careful dialogue. Not a minute is wasted, which is a blessing after the weeks of filler episodes.
I’m going to become something of a hypocrite here, but the inclusion of Boba Fett after such a prolonged absence absolutely works in the way I wanted it to. I suppose the seeds needed to be planted so that his sudden appearance wasn’t too jarring, but writer Jon Favreau absolutely understands the appeal of this mysterious bounty hunter. Considering he was the inspiration for The Mandalorian in the first place, this shameless pandering to fan expectations isn’t something I’d do away with. In fact, I love that Boba finally has something more to his legacy than “went out like a punk in Return of the Jedi.”
The moment when he dons the armor and flies in to kick some ass is just *CHEF KISS.* After years of being nothing in extended Star Wars media, Boba practically upstages Mando in his own show. I do hope that settles down a bit for the next few weeks as Boba isn’t the main star of The Mandalorian, but I can accept one episode where he just cuts loose and kills a bunch of Stormtroopers. It’s all I’ve ever wanted from the character.
Anyway, this battle goes on for roughly 15 minutes and while Mando, Boba, and Fennec are basically destroying everyone, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) has some other plans. Flying overhead just out of sight, he orders a shot that completely obliterates Mando’s spaceship. Boba then flies over to his ship while Gideon orders the Dark Troopers to apprehend The Child. We’re going full in on integrating all kinds of obscure Star Wars lore, now.
As the title of the episode might imply, Mando isn’t successful in thwarting Gideon’s plans. He can only look on in anguish as the Dark Troopers take Grogu away, but there is still hope. Boba and Fennec agreed to ensure Grogu’s safety and they aren’t going anywhere yet. After a quick trip visit to Cara Dune (Gina Carano) for some help now that she’s a New Republic Marshal, the scene cuts to Gideon on his Star Destroyer toying with Grogu.
There are some more references to Star Wars Rebels here, but even without knowledge of that animated series, The Mandalorian has finally kicked into full gear. It’s surprising how much this episode feels like a proper film, making me wonder why these seasons weren’t simply mini-arcs instead of drawn-out affairs. I understand there is an actual connective thread between each installment and that Mando needs to find clues around the galaxy, but the intense momentum on offer in The Tragedy just blew me away. Where the hell was this all season?
At least unlike the first season, it seems we’re done with filler episodes. With Mando and Boba now a team, I can almost guarantee that the next two weeks are going to be explosive and entertaining. We’ll also finally get some kind of explanation as to how Boba managed to survive this rather unfortunate fate in the original trilogy, though I would be willing to accept “pure badassery” as the answer.