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The Mandalorian

The Siege (The Mandalorian - S02E04) - Live Action Series

Series: The Mandalorian

Title: Chapter 12 - The Siege

Season: Two

Episode: 4

Original Air Date: November 20th, 2020

Runtime: 36 minutes

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

"Put the red one where the blue one was and put the blue one where the red one was." SPOILERS.

First day on the job

The Mandalorian is the gift that keeps on giving. Chapter 12 "The Siege" is yet another highlight. It's also beautiful to see how all the tiny pieces slowly come together and how things or people that played a minor role before are revisited. In terms of mythology "The Siege" is a major step forward as it more or less confirms fan theories about what the Imperial Remnant wants to do with Baby Yoda. And while some may perhaps disagree, it's also great to see how The Mandalorian provides some much needed background to the sequels. The Mandalorian more and more turns out to be the missing link between the Original and Sequel Trilogy.

Family dinner time!

The episode begins with a sweet and funny scene with Baby Yoda desperately trying to follow Din Djarin's commands as he tries to fix something on his ship that only someone as tiny as Baby Yoda can reach. And while Baby Yoda is once again shown to have some basic understanding of what people tell him he's just a small toddler after all and ultimately fails to properly connect two cables to a board. And while that scene doesn't really add anything to the plot, it's a sweet character scene, as it shows the growing relationship between Din and the Child. That deepening bond is also displayed in a short scene where Din and Baby Yoda have some broth. And I bet I am not the only one who wondered how the Mandalorian does eat, it turns out he's comfortable enough around Baby Yoda to at least lift his helmet a little bit, so he can eat some of the broth.

Space ferrets. The pet Cara Dune didn't know she wanted.

With the Razor Crest in really bad shape Din Djarin has no other choice but to fly to nearby Nevarro where he hopes to get some proper repairs. On Nevarro we meet Cara Dune again who takes out a gang of Aqualish criminals who want to steal valuables from the former Mandalorian hiding space. She also saves a space ferret from becoming dinner and befriends the little critter. That short action sequence once more reminds viewers that Cara is extremely capable and tough, but also kind, there's a soft interior under all the tough exterior.

IG-11 is not forgotten

When Din Djarin lands on Nevarro he is quickly reunited with his friends Cara Dune and Greef Karga. It turns out Nevarro is prospering. Greef is the administrator and Cara serves as the local marshall. Greef orders his men to repair the Razor Crest, probably to the relief of the many thousand collectors who backed the ship.

Someone is very happy to see the Mandalorian

With nothing much to do the gang head to the town center. Here we can briefly glimpse a statue of IG-11 whose heroic self-sacrifice last season helped defeat the Imperials. He is not forgotten! And then we get to see an old acquaintance: the Mythrol the Mandalorian captured in the pilot episode! It turns out he used to be Greef's accountant, but fled the planet after some "creative accounting". Now he's indebted to Greef for the next 350 years and once more works as his accountant. Which is still better than being frozen in carbonite. We then get to see Nevarro's local school. Things have definitely improved a lot since last time we saw the planet. Greef tells Din to leave Baby Yoda with the school kids, since he has something in mind for them to do. Din reluctantly agrees and then learns that Greef needs some help to get rid of the last remaining Imperial outpost on Nevarro.

No guardrails anywhere! Finally someone points out the shocking lack of workplace safety!

A reluctant Mythrol, Din, Cara and Greef drive to the outpost which is located over some volcanic fissure. They want to deactivate the facility's reactor that controls the lava flow, so that the lava will destroy everything. But it quickly turns out that the facility is not the understaffed Imperial base Greef thought it to be. After a still extremely reluctant Mythrol deactivates the reactor they come across many more Stormtroopers than they thought would be in the base. And they must be in the facility for a reason.

Visible filming crew member on set

The gang takes out the Stormtroopers with relative ease, they still can't hit anything and go down with one blast. But then the gang encounters two technicians who are desperately trying to purge data drives. And then the episode hands out some major hints about what the Empire (or what's left of it) is actually up to.

It turns out Baby Yoda blood does the strangest things to people

The Mandalorian and his friends enter a lab where strange misshapen people float in vats. This does looks quite similar to what we saw in The Rise of Skywalker on Exegol when various Snoke clones floated in vets. Could these two things be related? It turns out the question may very well be yes!

Dr Pershing gives his report to Moff Gideon

The gang finds a holo recording of Dr Pershing who had extracted some blood from Baby Yoda in season 1. And we finally find out what it is the Empire wants: they apparently want to give Force powers to people. And for that they administer blood transfusions extracted from Baby Yoda, who has a high "M-Count". The show probably didn't want to spell out "Midichlorians" but it's exactly what it is. However the trials all failed, the volunteers eventually all died. Is it mere coincidence that the dead volunteers in the vats display similar deformities as Snoke? There's even a huge scar on the head. Through Dr Pershing's recording the team also finds out that Moff Gideon survived the TIE Fighter crash and is very much alive. This rings all the alarm bells and Din Djarin heads out immediately via jetpack to get Baby Yoda who is still in school, stealing space oreos from a mean kid who doesn't want to share his snacks.

Lava canyon run

That leaves Greef, Cara and the Mythrol who have to escape the facilily using more pedestrian means. They steal a transport and make their run back to Nevarro. What follows is yet another big action sequence with Scout Troopers on bikes pursuing the transport, however they are easy pickings. But then several TIE Fighters show up and the transport is in danger of getting blown up when the Razor Crest swoops in for the rescue and takes on the TIEs.

Baby Yoda loves crazy space ship maneuvers!

Much to the delight of Baby Yoda Din Djarin performs some quite acrobatic maneuvers with the all patched up and shiny Razor Crest and takes out all the TIEs. In the end it turns out Baby Yoda does have somewhat of a weak stomach but before that he really enjoyed himself. Is Baby Yoda slowly turning into an adrenaline junkie?

Cara won't rejoin the New Republic Army

With things resolved Din Djarin bids his farewell to his friends and is on his way to Ahsoka Tano. Back on Nevarro the New Republic space cops want to know what happened on the planet when the old Imperial facility blew up. But everyone feigns complete ignorance. Captain Carson Teva, who we have met before, has a chat with Cara and would love for her to rejoin the New Republic military, but she won't have any of that. It also becomes evident that the New Republic and the Core Worlds are completely ignorant about the events in the Outer Rim. The New Republic doesn't really believe that something is brewing in the Outer Rim, only the personnel patrolling the space has some idea that something rather big is happening in the Outer Rim.

A shot that never gets old

When you think the episode is over now the action cuts to an Imperial cruiser slowly entering the frame in what is clearly an hommage to the opening of A New Hope. Only this time it is an Aquitens cruiser (which makes its live action debut here). The ship may very well be a model, using motion control cameras once again to film it, a very old school approach to filming this scene. Either that or they purposefully made the CGI ship to look like a physical model (something they did for Rogue One).

Informants gotta inform

And it turns out that one of the mechanics that repaired the Razor Crest is an Imperial informant. He contacts some cute female Imperial Officer and confirms that the tracking beacon has been installed on the ship and that the Mandalorian still has "the asset".

Moff Gideon just loves it when a plans comes together

Cute Imperial Officer (her official name from now on) immediately reports to none other than Moff Gideon. As it turns out it may very well be that he used the Imperial base on Nevarro as bait, or at least considers it mere collateral, since his real goal is still Baby Yoda.

Dark Troopers?

But the episode has one final reveal left. As the camera turns around we get to see an entire squad of droids, waiting to be activated. And it may very well be that these are Dark Troopers. Very special Imperial battle droids. And with that it becomes obvious that the Mandalorian will have to face some very steep odds when Moff Gideon corners him.

And with that Chapter 12 closes. Another winner, an episode that once again blends comedy, sweet character moments and intense action into an exhilarating adventure. This is what we get every week, but this time Jon Favreau, who wrote the episode once again, also adds in a spicy mix of important reveals about the plans Moff Gideon pursues - and by extension the Empire and maybe even Palpatine himself.

It's becoming more and more evident that The Mandalorian depicts how the Imperial Remnant slowly transforms into the First Order and how it all came to be. Things are still in the earliest stages but it's more apparent than ever that the experiments conducted by the Imperial Remnant will eventually result in Snoke or at least will be instrumental in making Snoke possible. That's some major world building here, and it is much needed after various deus ex machina moments in The Rise of Skywalker that were never explained at all.

What the series also excels in is bringing all the pieces slowly together. Some may feel certain episodes are "filler" but this episode once more proves there really are no throwaway characters or events that hold no meaning. The Mythrol was a great addition to the cast this week. He's kind of the normal guy who just cannot comprehend what he's gotten himself into and thus serves as a surrogate for the viewer. His comment about the missing guardrails was brilliant as well. I mean, who would seriously design a workplace like that?

Jon Favreau must also be praised for effortlessly blending canon and EU elements. The Mandalorian is a huge love letter to fans, but it does all that without alienating anyone who doesn't know what Dark Troopers are and is new to the franchise. Even if you never saw The Rise of Skywalker the revelations about the Imperial experiments are meaningful, prior knowledge is not really needed.

Chapter 12 is also the very first episode that has something like a "B Plot" as the action cuts away from Din Djarin and instead we follow the adventures of Cara, Greef and the Mythrol a bit, with some added Cara character scenes. And no, this has certainly nothing to do with Pedro Pascal walking off the set, because he wants to remove his helmet and no one will let him. It was evidently a dramatic choice. Din needed to get away asap to get Baby Yoda to safety once it was clear Moff Gideon is alive and still after the Child. But the episode could hardly leave the other three character behind and not resolve their situation. Jon Favreau talked a bit about that before the season aired that the show will branch out a bit. With a host of interesting guest stars and recurring characters it's only natural to dedicate some more screen time to them.

I didn't praise Bryce Dallas Howard last week for her great directing job in Chapter 11, she does deserve a lot of praise for that episode and its action sequences. This week's episode is directed by none other than Carl Weathers, who deserves just as much praise. The Mandalorian is that one project where everything just clicks. And so far all the directors did a great job. In my opinion Lucasfilm should no longer look for big shots like JJ Abrams to direct movies and instead give people like Bryce Dallas Howard, Deborah Chow or Carl Weathers a chance at directing a movie. That also includes Jon Favreau or Dave Filoni of course, but first they hopefully make many more seasons of the Mandalorian.

Chapter 12 gets nine points from me.

Added: November 20, 2020
Category: The Mandalorian
Reviewer: Thomas
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