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The Mandalorian

The Marshal (The Mandalorian - S02E01) - Live Action Series

Series: The Mandalorian

Title: Chapter 9 - The Marshal

Season: Two

Episode: 1

Original Air Date: October 30th, 2020

Runtime: 52 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

"Wherever I go he goes" SPOILERS.

A Mandalorian and a child walk into a fight club and then this happens...

The Mandalorian is back! Season 1 was a huge hit for Lucasfilm and is incredibly popular among most fans. So how does the first episode of season 2 stack up? Well, it's another winner, but maybe not what you expected. Anyone who expected that the series would be all about Din Djarin finding Baby Yoda's (aka "The Child") home would be wrong. Instead the season opener is all about how to hunt and kill a Krayt dragon on Tatooine with Baby Yoda merely providing some cute reactions to the various shenanigans happening around him, and there are quite a few of them in this episode.

Justice for Zuvio

The Mandalorian is in search of other Mandalorians who can help him with finding the child's home planet, and that search brings him to some seedy planet where creatures with red glowing eyes lurk in the dark side alleys. Here the Mandalorian enters a fight club, because some alien apparently has info on the whereabouts of a Mandalorian. Of course the alien, played by guest star John Leguizamo, double crosses the Mandalorian, because what he wants is the precious Beskar armor. And if you watched the trailer for the season you know what happens, the Mandalorian takes them all out of course. The alien, bargaining for his life, tells the Mandalorian where another of his kind can be found: on Tatooine. Din Djarin then leaves the alien behind, but the scary monsters with the red glowing eyes advance on him and will certainly eat him alive, how nice!

R5-D4 lives a happy life

So back to Tatooine it goes, a place we had already visited in the first season. We meet a few old friends, the mechanic Peli Motto and her three pit droids take care of the Razor Crest in their hangar bay. And we also find out that a bad motivator was not the end of R5-D4, who now works for Peli. Peli points Din Djarin in the direction of the old mining town he's looking for: Mos Pelgo, the place where the mystery Mandalorian was sighted.

Mos Pelgo

And it doesn't take very long for Din Djarin to find the mystery Mandalorian in Mos Pelgo. It turns out he is the town marshal and he looks a lot like Boba Fett.

Boba lives?

The episode doesn't even try to play tricks on you though and it is quickly revealed that the mystery Mandalorian is no Mandalorian at all, it's Cobb Vanth who acquired the Boba Fett armor from Jawas when they saved him from certain death in the desert, something first mentioned in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy . The episode then spends a few minutes on Vanth's background and we learn that virtually the minute the Empire pulled out from Mos Pelgo some mining corporation took over and turned it into a slave labor camp. Vanth barely escaped but once he got Boba Fett's armor from the Jawas he killed the miners and has kept the peace ever since. But it turns out things are not that peaceful actually... because a Krayt dragon is haunting the place and terrorizes the area.

Meet Cobb Vanth, portrayed by guest star Timothy Olyphant, the man who owns Boba Fett's armor

Vanth and the Mandalorian come to an agreement: Vanth will hand over Boba Fett's armor to Din Djarin if he helps him get rid of the Krayt dragon. What could ever go wrong?

Not available as a toy

So Din Djarin and Cobb Vanth head out on their bikes. Cobb actually uses something cobbled together from an old pod racer (Hasbro: this would make for a great set!), and they eventually encounter a tribe of Tusken raiders.

The Mandalorian knows how to talk to Tuskens

Since some people in Star Wars seem to be linguistic geniuses, Din Djarin can communicate with the Tuskens, something we already learned in season 1, and we find out that the Krayt dragon is also terrorizing the Tuskens who want to kill the beast as well. So an alliance is forged and now the rest of the episode, roughly half of its quite long running time, is dedicated to eliminating the Krayt dragon, which is, as you can guess, not an easy task.

The show still has the sweeping vistas and great cinematography

The Tuskens know where the Krayt dragon lives, he's inside an old Sarlacc pit. After a very unlucky Tusken gets swallowed whole by the Krayt dragon (instead of the sacrificial Bantha that was offered) a plan to take out the beast is formed. The citizens of Mos Pelga and the Tuskens will work together. This is an uneasy alliance at first, because the Tuskens also attack the town from time to time and Cobb Vanth has killed quite a few Tuskens as well, but the enemy of my enemy is still a friend in a certain way, so the people of Mos Pelga agree to help.

It is Krayt hunting season

So how do you take out a Krayt dragon? It turns out you need a lot of explosives. A trap is prepared for the creature and explosives are buried in front of the mouth of the cave. The only weak spot of a Krayt dragon is its belly, so the explosives in the ground will hopefully take the creature out.

It is Tusken Raider hunting season

Only they don't. The explosives however successfully manage to make the Krayt dragon really angry. The creature is not only the size of a tall building, it can also spit acid from its mouth.

That one second before you get swallowed whole by a Krayt dragon

After unsuccessful attempts to slay the beast with conventional means Din Djarin comes up with a crazy plan: he will let himself and some poor Bantha that still carries explosives swallow by the Krayt dragon. Maybe the Mandalorian watched too many cartoons on the holonet as a kid? Din Djarin quickly gets rid of Cobb Vanth, so he is not killed, by sabotaging his jetpack, catapulting him to safety. And yes, the sound effects of Return of the Jedi are used here.

It seems cartoons can teach you how to kill giant beasts

So the Mandalorian and the Bantha with the explosives are devoured by the Krayt dragon. But the Beskar armor seems to protect the Mandalorian from the corrosive acid and his crazy plan works. Din Djarin fires his pulse rifle inside the beast so its mouth opens again, he flies out and then triggers the explosives that are now inside the beast. And that does it. The Krayt dragon explodes and is killed.

Cobb hands over Boba Fett's armor

Cobb Vanths keeps his promise. He and Din have become quite friendly over the course of the episode and it's certainly nice to see that you don't always have to kill someone to get what you want on Tatooine.

The Tuskens find a pearl in the carcass

The Tuskens are also quite jubilant when they find a shiny pearl in the remains of the Krayt dragon. It seems everyone is happy, the natives, the citizens of Mos Pelgo, Din Djarin and probably even Cobb Vanth, because he is still alife after this crazy adventure! The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda head back to the ship when we meet a mysterious man on a cliff, who watches as Din races back to Mos Eisley. Who could that be?

Mystery man watches twin sunset

But the episode doesn't leave you hanging here and tells you exactly who that man is.

Hello there, Mr Fett!

It's none other than Boba Fett. Older, scarred, but very much alive. So The Mandalorian settles the debate once and for all. Boba Fett DID survice the Sarlacc Pit, he found a way out. The Jawas somehow acquired the armor from him and Boba decided to stay on Tatooine. Now the big question is: will Boba return or was that just a cameo for fans and the show has no further plans with him?

And that was the first episode of season 2. It's the first episode that was not just written by Jon Favreau, but also directed. As I said earlier it is perhaps somewhat surprising to some that the episode was not about Baby Yoda at all or that no huge arc was introduced, other than finding other Mandalorians and finding out who Baby Yoda really belongs to. No, instead the episode is a self-contained adventure, very much like several season 1 episodes. This is certainly not very common anymore in modern entertainment where most shows have arcs and few stand alone episodes. No, The Mandalorian is still, in some ways, an old-fashioned series where stand alone episodes provide a high rewatchability factor, because you don't need to remember all these plot elements and tiny details to understand what's going on in an episode. Try rewatching an old mid-series episode of LOST and then compare your experience to rewatching an episode like "The Marshal".

The Mandalorian will certainly develop something of an arc, but season 2 will apparently still provide plenty of self-contained adventures. This is actually refreshing in an age where many shows have mostly done away with stand-alone stories in favor of season long arcs.

Season 2 is certainly off to a strong start, if you are happy with the fact that the bigger mythology takes a backseat here and that the episode has a very simple plot: how to kill an almost unkillable beast.

Jon Favreau's deep love for Star Wars continues to show: the various nods, references and easter eggs will certainly delight most fans. And unlike The Rise of Skywalker which poked you in the face quite obnoxiously at times with its cameos and references, The Mandalorian does so in a much more organic way. Is it fan service when we see that R5-D4 is happy and alive? Sure! Does it feel shoehorned in? No. R5 is actually important to the plot, as yet another droid that has a map of something.

I also liked that the show provides more background on the Tusken Raiders. Sure, there are novels, almost all of them legends now, and KOTOR provided a wealth of details about Tuskens, all legends now as well, so The Mandalorian provides the first real look at Tuskens. They aren't just mindless killers that shoot everything that is not Tusken.

Of course we need to talk about Boba Fett. The armor was quite a bit of fan service already. But seeing Boba in the flesh in the last scene will get fans talking a lot. How did he survive? Why did Boba abandon his armor? Does the show have any plans with the character? My guess is "most likely yes". Season 1 has proven that there are hardly any throwaway characters and that fan service just for fan service's sake, without any real impact on the story, is something Jon Favreau doesn't really provide. Each and every reference, call back or easter egg adds something meaningful to the story. So I would venture a guess and say that Boba Fett will probably be seen again.

"The Marshal" is a promising start to the new season. It doesn't really advance the greater story, Baby Yoda is even hardly in the episode and only used for cute reaction shots, but it provides great entertainment. The visuals are also first grade, TV (streaming) has come a long way and what used to be only possible in cinema is now achievable on the small screen as well.

Added: October 30, 2020
Category: The Mandalorian
Reviewer: Thomas
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