Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 6: The Tragedy

This week on The Mandalorian we get an action-packed half hour that sees the dubious return of a fan-favorite character, the reappearance of another from last season and a shocking, senses-shattering "death" in the third act. 

It also dispenses with the side trips, wheel-spinning and padding, finally setting up the plot for the rest of the season. Oh, and as you might have guessed from the title, there's a tragedy as well.

The Tragedy was written by Jon Favreau of course, and was directed by Robert Rodriguez. You may remember him from such directorial stints as El Mariachi, Desperado, The Faculty (a very underrated and under-appreciated little horror film), the Spy Kids movies, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Planet Terror, Machete, Machete Kills and Alita: Battle Angel.

Rodriguez is no stranger to directing action, which comes in handy here, as this week's episode is basically one big battle setpiece.

This episode also featured the highly anticipated return of Boba Fett. Unlike the vast majority of Star Wars fandom, I'm torn on this. I've always liked the character, but his presence here feels like an intrusion to me, as it draws attention away from the star. 

Fennec Shand returns this week as well. If you've ever seen a TV series before, then her appearance here should come as no surprise. Her inevitable return was heavily telegraphed in the final seconds of last season's The Gunslinger, and you'd have to be blind not to have expected her to show up again.

Lastly, this episode features a truly shocking and unexpected development, one that will have a major and lasting effect on the series from this point on. I won't spoil it in the intro, but you can read about it below. Kudos to the producers for subverting our expectations and daring to go there!

Plotwise, this episode sets up the rest of the season, which looks to be a sci-fi version of the Magnificent Seven (or whatever number they choose), as Manny assembles a team to take on Moff Gideon and get Baby Yoda back. Eh, as story arcs go, they could do worse. I'll allow it.


The Plot:
The Razor Crest heads for the planet Tython, where Manny hopes to find a Jedi to train Baby Yoda. Along the way, Manny coaxes the Child to use his Force powers to play with his beloved gearshift knob. 

The ship arrives at Tython, and somehow locates the exact mountaintop that contains the "seeing stone" Ahsoka mentioned last week. There's no room to land on the mountain, so Manny sets the ship down at the base.

Manny uses his jetpack to fly them to the mountaintop. Once there they find a Stonehenge-like structure, with a large, rune-carved rock in the center. Manny sets Baby Yoda on the rock and tells him to start doing his Jedi thing.

Just then Manny hears a ship approaching, and we see it's the Slave 1 (which at this point in time was last seen in The Empire Strikes Back). It lands in the distance, and Manny tells Baby Yoda they've got to go. Unfortunately the Child's picked this exact moment to summon a field of blue energy around himself and the rock.

Manny tries to reach through the field and grab Baby Yoda, but the energy barrier pushes him back. He tells the kid he'll buy him some time and scampers down the mountain. He dives for cover behind a rock just as a hooded figure begins firing at him.

The figure tells Manny he's been tracking him for some time. Manny asks if he's a Jedi or after the Child. The figure then removes his hood and reveals
— to absolutely no one's surprise— that he's really Boba Fett. Um, gasp, I guess?

Fett says he's just after his armor. Manny says he'll have to peel it off his dead body. Boba explains he wants HIS armor— that Manny got from Cobb Vanth on Tatooine. Manny asks if Boba's a Mandalorian, and he says no. Manny says the beskar belongs to the Mandalorians, and refuses to give it up. Boba says the armor belonged to his father, and he wants it back.

Manny asks why he shouldn't just kill Boba then and there. He replies that he has a sharpshooter on a ridge who'll kill Baby Yoda if Manny fires. Manny looks up and sees the sniper is Fennec Shand! Um, gasp again, I suppose.

Boba tells everyone to stand down so they can talk. Manny puts away his blaster, and takes off his jetpack as well for plot reasons. Manny tells Fennec he saw her die back in The Gunslinger. She says Boba found her near death and saved her (apparently by turning her into some sort of cyborg?). She says she's now in his debt.

Boba says his armor was given to his father Jango Fett by his forebears, which makes him the son of a Mandalorian. He says in exchange for the armor he and Fennec will protect the Child, who now has an even bigger bounty on his head than before. 

Just then a dropship appears and lands. Manny runs back up to the mountain (leaving his jetpack behind, again for plot complication reasons). Once more he tries to grab Baby Yoda, but the forcefield knocks him on his ass. Boba and Fennec take position as dozens of Stormtroopers exit the dropship.

Fennec blasts away at the Stormtroopers, taking out twenty or thirty with a single shot each. Boba attacks the rest, smashing their helmets and armor with his Gaderffii stick (!!!). 

A couple more Troopers set up their old standby, the E-Web Heavy Repeating Blaster Cannon. They use it to fire at Fennec, who runs along a ridge and hides behind a large boulder. As they chip away at the massive rock, she pushes against it with her feet. Amazingly she manages to dislodge it, and it rolls down the mountainside like a gigantic bowling ball, flattening Stormtroopers in its path.

Boba takes out several more Troopers, then glances over at the Razor Crest. His eyes narrow as he somehow sees his armor inside the ship's hold.

Up on the mountain, Manny tries once more to get through the forcefield, but it shoves him back again. Just then he sees another dropship land, and even more Stormtroopers pour out of it. He tells Baby Yoda he'll try to buy him some time, and runs back down the mountain. The INSTANT he leaves, the Child finishes his meditation (!). Worn out by the exertion of using the Force, he falls over and passes out.

Manny joins Fennec, and the two find themselves surrounded. They stand back to back, taking out dozens more Stormtroopers. Unfortunately there are too many of them, and the two are quickly overwhelmed.

Just then Boba Fett appears, wearing his old armor. He uses his blaster and his suit's built-in weaponry to wipe out a good number of the troopers. The rest make a hasty retreat.

The Stormtroopers all jump back into their dropships and blast off. Boba calmly targets one of the ships and fires his rocket launcher at it. The lead ship explodes, then falls onto the one below. Both ships crash to the ground in a fiery explosion.

Before the three hunters can celebrate their win, several powerful laser blasts are fired from orbit. The blasts hit the Razor Crest, blowing it to smithereens! GASP! 

Boba hightails it back to the Slave 1 before it's destroyed as well. Manny scans the skies and sees Gideon's Destroyer in orbit, and realizes the Imperials are here for the Child. He and Fennec run up the mountain to rescue Baby Yoda. 

Suddenly four sinister-looking Darktroopers emerge from the bottom of the Destroyer and fly down to the planet. They land atop the seeing stone, grab Baby Yoda and blast off again just as Manny and Fennec arrive. Gosh, if only Manny had some way to... fly. Something like, oh, I don't know, a jetpack.

Fennec alerts Boba, who takes off after the Darktroopers in the Slave 1. He starts to fire on them, but Manny tells him to stand down, fearing he'll hit the Child. Boba follows to find out where they're taking him, and sees the Destroyer. He mutters that the Empire is back. He turns around as the Destroyer blasts into hyperspace.

Sometime later, Manny sifts through the wreckage of his obliterated ship. He finds the gearshift knob (of course), as well as the beskar staff he picked up last week. Everything else was completely destroyed.

Boba shows him a hologram of his chain code, which was programmed into his armor. It shows that his father Jango Fett was a foundling taken in by the Mandalorians. Manny realizes this makes Boba a Mandalorian as well, and that the armor is his birthright. 

Manny says their deal's now complete, but Boba says not so fast. He said he and Fennec promised to protect the Child, so they're in his debt till he's returned safely. 

Cut to the Slave 1 landing at Nevarro City. Manny meets with his pal Cara Dune, who's now become a Marshal Of The New Republic. He asks her to look up info on Migs Mayfeld (last seen in The Prisoner), and she says he's being held at the Karthon Chop Fields detention center. 

Dune asks what he wants with Mayfeld, and Manny says he plans to spring him from prison to hep him track down Moff Gideon. He asks for her help but she balks, saying she has to play by the rules now that she's a Marshal. When he tells her that Gideon has Baby Yoda, she instantly changes her tune and says she's in.

Elsewhere, Gideon's Destroyer is cruising through hyperspace. He exits the bridge and enters a cell, where we see Baby Yoda's being held. The Child uses the Force to fling around two unlucky Stormtroopers. He finally slams both against the walls and collapses from exhaustion.

Gideon approaches and compliments the Child on his powers, but says he knows using them makes him very sleepy. He activates his Darksaber and shows it to the Child for no good reason (other than to remind the audience that he still has it). He then orders a trooper to stun Baby Yoda and place him in electronic shackles. Gideon exits, chuckling like a supervillain.

• This week's episode is a scant 31:44— and that's including the recap and lengthy end credits! That makes it the second-shortest ever episode, coming in just behind Season 1's The Child, which was a mere 30:56. For some reason all but two episodes this year have been in the thirty minute range.

• Back in The Gunslinger, Fennec Shand was seemingly killed by wannabe bounty hunteToro Calican (which has to be the Star Warsiest name in history). In the final seconds of the episode, we saw a spur-wearing mystery figure stroll up to her alleged corpse.

At the time I predicted that Fennec wasn't really dead, reasoning that you don't hire someone like Ming-Na Wen for a one-off bit part like that. Turns out I was right! Fennec apparently got better after she died and is alive and well and kicking ass this week.

I also predicted several possible identities for the Mystery Spur Man, including Boba Fett.

I was hoping against hope that the character would turn out to be anyone BUT Fett, but of course it was him, because this show just can't resist the siren call of fan service and navel-gazing. Yawn.

I realize this is an unpopular opinion, but I'm not thrilled by his return. 

I loved Season 1 of The Mandalorian (for the most part), for one very specific reason— because it had little or nothing to do with previously established Star Wars lore. Sure, we saw familiar planets, droids and alien races, but those were all just elements that existed in this universe. There was nary a Skywalker or a Palpatine to be seen anywhere. Heck, Manny had never even heard of the Jedi or the Force until the Armorer mentioned them!

I thought that was great! This is a vast fictional world after all, and it was nice to get a series that explored NEW and previously unseen corners of it!

That all changed this season, as the fan service was turned out to eleven. Peli Motto doesn't just own an R5 droid, she has the EXACT same one we saw in A New Hope! Cobb Vanth owns a speeder bike that's cobbled together from Anakin Skywalkers pod racer. And in the past few weeks we've had the first live action appearances from not one, but TWO characters from The Clone Wars animated series.

And now Boba Fett's back.

I've always been a big fan of Boba Fett, ever since he first appeared way back in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 (don't actually me about the Holiday Special). I'm not exactly sure why though, as he never really did anything of note in the movies. I think I just liked his look, and the fact that his past and personality were a complete mystery (George Lucas took care of that though, giving him a lame origin and backstory in the Prequels). 

In my opinion, adding Boba Fett to the cast of this show is a mistake. Not only does it render his death scene pointless, but his very presence draws the focus away from Manny... forcing him to share the spotlight with a fan favorite character on his own show!

That's not fair to Manny, and it undermines the whole point of the series.

Eh, but why not? Who cares if we saw Boba Fett die in Return Of The Jedi? As Luke said, "No one ever really dies." Bring 'im back! Hell, bring back everyone! Even Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru! Why let a character's death stand or count for something? The more the merrier! Feh.

• While on their way to Tython, Manny calls Baby Yoda by his real name of "Grogu" and laughs when the Child responds. As near as I can tell this is the first time in the entire series that we've ever heard Manny so much as utter even a mild chuckle.

• It's been interesting to watch the steadily growing bond develop between Manny and Baby Yoda as the series has progressed. Manny's become a surrogate father to the Child, who's simple presence has changed him for the better in fundamental ways. He's definitely opened up more emotionally since the kid came into his life.

What's surprising though is how everyone else on the show seems so taken with Baby Yoda. The second Manny tells Cara Dune that the Child's been taken, she instantly drops everything and throws in with him. Heck, even Boba Fett pledges to help get the kid back— even though as far as I can tell he never even saw him!

• This is something I've noticed since he first appeared, but I never brought it up till now— why can't Baby Yoda blink?

If you watch closely, whenever he supposedly "blinks" his eyes, his lids close maybe a third of the way and then snap back open again. At no time do they ever actually close. 

Is there a problem with the puppet's eye mechanisms? Or are we just not supposed to notice they don't close and pretend they're blinking?

Last week Ahsoka told Manny to take Baby Yoda to the planet Tython, find the seeing stone there, sit him on it and hope a Jedi appeared. Note that she didn't give him any sort of coordinates for the stone (at least not while we were looking), other than a vague "it's at the top of a mountain."

So how the heck does Manny find this one and only stone on top of a particular mountain so quickly? Somehow he flies directly toward it thirty seconds after they arrive!

Heck, the seeing stone even shows up on his planetary scanner! Is it giving off some kind of signal that his ship can pick up? Apparently so!

• Naturally the area around the mystical seeing stone vaguely evokes the design of Stonehenge. I would not have expected any less from the production designers.

• Oh. My. Gods! When Baby Yoda activates the seeing stone, he actually does the "yoga gesture" with his tiny hands!

• Last week I had fun mocking the fact that Manny actually held up an old-timey seaman's spyglass to his helmet visor. I pointed out that n previous episodes we've seen that his helmet has an infrared function, so why wouldn't it have a built-in telephoto ability as well?

Welp, guess what? In this episode he sees the Slave 1 land several thousand feet away, reaches up and presses a button on the side of his helmet. Instantly he zooms in on the ship, close enough to see Boba Fett walking down the ramp!

So why the hell was he farting around with a spyglass last week?

• Boba Fett's played here by actor Temuera Morrison. Which makes perfect sense, since he played Jango Fett in Attack Of The Clones and Boba is a clone of him. This is the first time we've ever seen Fett's unmasked face though.

As I mentioned above, Fett seemingly died in Return Of The Jedi when he fell into the sarlacc pit, where he was to be "slowly digested for a thousand years." Obviously he managed to somehow escape it at some point in the last eight years (this series takes place that long after ROTJ). 

How'd he get out? Apparently that's none or our concern. He just did. I suppose I can accept that, but it might have been nice if we'd gotten a brief line of dialogue mentioning his escape.

Actually The Marshall may have given us a subtle clue as to what happened. Cobb Vanth finds Fett's armor stored in a corner of a Jawa Sandcrawler. So I'm imagining that Fett was stuck inside the sarlacc's throat, and maybe slipped out of his armor and sacrificed it in order to escape. And maybe later the creature spit out the impossible-to-digest beskar, and it laid on the desert floor till the Jawas came by and claimed it. 

I'm guessing he probably wasn't in it for very long, since the Slave 1 was still sitting where he parked it and hadn't been dismantled by Jawas.

Nice Attention To Detail: Fett's face is scared and discolored, looking very much like its sporting severe acid burns. Stomach acid burns!

So how old is Boba Fett? He looked to be about 10 old in Attack Of The Clones, which took place about 22 years before A New Hope. That means he was around 39 when he "died" in Return Of The Jedi. The Mandalorian takes place 8 years after that, meaning Fett's now about 47.

Temuera Morrison's currently much older than that at age 59. I don't think this is a problem though, as you could explain his looks by saying exposure to the sarlacc's digestive acid prematurely aged him.

• When Fett first meets Manny, he says, "I'm a simple man making my way through the galaxy, like my father before me."

This is an almost word for word version of a line from Attack Of The Clones, in which Fett's pappy Jango told Obi-Wan, "I'm just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe."

• Back in The Gunslinger we got a very brief glimpse of Fennec in her full armor. This week we're treated to a much better look at her gear.

It struck me that Fennec's helmet and outfit bear a passing resemblance to that of Zam Wesell, the bounty hunter who appeared in Attack Of The Clones. It's not an exact match of course, but definitely in the same design ballpark. Which I'm sure was the intent.

Star Wars Fandom can be a fascinating phenomenon at times. People are so intent on finding clues and Easter eggs that they'll often convince themselves they see things that aren't actually there.

Case in point: When Boba Fett faces off against Manny, he tells him he has a sharpshooter on a ridge, aiming at Baby Yoda. Manny instantly whips around and looks back at the seeing stone in the distance. 

Fans are claiming they can see two figures standing in the middle of the rock formation in this scene. Furthermore, they've they're absolutely convinced that this second figure is none other than Luke Skywalker, who's been summoned by Baby Yoda's powers.

To these fans' slight credit, if you blow up the frame it does kind of look like there are two objects inside the circle of boulders. 

But honestly they could be anything— a couple of boulders, or two tufts of scrub. Unless these fans read spoilers for the rest of the season, why instantly make the massive leap that one of them has to be Luke?

And even if it IS Luke, he's not there when Manny runs back up to the seeing stone a minute later. Why would he appear and then disappear so quickly? Especially if he wants to take in Baby Yoda for training? Wouldn't he hang around till Manny came back to give him instructions? Or to keep him safe from Moff Gideon?

Given how much this series loves its fan service though, I would not be surprised if it turned out to actually be Luke after all!

• Back in The Sin, the Armorer gave Manny's armor a beskar and weapons upgrade. Among his new armaments were the Whistling Birds— tiny but effective target-seeking missiles. 

At the time she gravely warned him, "Whistling birds are a powerful defense against multiple enemies, but they are rare. Use them sparingly,"

Guess what? He's used them in virtually every single episode since, and never seems to run out. So where's he keep finding a fresh supply of Whistling Birds each week? Mandos R Us? 

• Manny's surprised (to say the least!) when Fennec appears, saying he saw her die on Tatooine. Boba Fett says she did die, but he stepped in and saved her. Fennec then opens a convenient flap on her tunic, revealing that she now has a mass of what appears to be plumbing pipe where her guts used to be. Neat!

So I guess she's a cyborg now? Who fixed her up like that? Did Boba Fett operate on her? Or did he drag her to the clinic in Mos Eisley?

• Boy, Fennec Shand's sure changed a lot since last we saw her. And I'm not just talking about her innards!

In The Gunslinger, Fennec was a ruthless assassin and mercenary who did her level best to try & kill Manny and fellow bounty hunter Toro Calican. Later on she tried to manipulate Toro into betraying Manny himself, convincing him that bringing in a wanted Mandalorian would make him a legend within the Guild (Toro eventually took her advice, but not before shooting Fennec in the belly and leaving her for dead).

Then suddenly in this episode Fennec's all about honor, duty and keeping her word. Why, it's almost like she's a completely different character! Yes, I get that she owes a huge debt to Boba Fett for saving her life, but she's also teaming up with Manny like the two of them are old pals instead of bitter enemies. I don't quite understand her drastic change of character.

• While everyone's chatting and getting to know one another, an Imperial dropship lands and disgorges several dozen Stormtroopers.

Note that this dropship looks very similar to the ones seen at the beginning of The Force Awakens (that carried Finn & Kylo Ren to the surface of Jakku). This version isn't identical, but it's pretty darned close, and is obviously meant to be a precursor to the design used by the First Order.

This is yet another unwelcome intrusion of Sequel Trilogy elements into The Mandalorian. As I've mentioned many times, I hated the Sequels with the white hot passion of a thousand exploding suns, and I hate seeing even the slightest trace of them in this series.

• Wondering how everyone seems to be having no trouble finding Manny on this remote, out of the way planet? Because if you'll recall, a couple episodes ago in The Heiress, Gideon had a tracking device planted in the Razor Crest!

• Jaysis, just how many Stormtroopers are crammed into those dropships? When the hatch opens, at least fifty pour out of each one. They're like clown cars!

• I mentioned this back in The Siege, but it's still a valid question— does Stormtrooper armor offer any protection whatsoever? 

Fennec kills at least forty or fifty of them with a single shot each. In fact it almost became comical after a while. Every time she'd fire off a round, down would go another trooper. And it didn't seem to matter where they're hit— head, chest, elbow— it was all the same. One single laser blast and they're instantly dead.

Heck, Boba Fett even manages to kill a bunch with what amounts to a large crowbar! Sure, he was a complete badass in this episode, and it was great to see him actually DO something forty years after he was first introduced, but Jesus Christ! He shatters several Stormtrooper helmets as if they were made of vacuformed plastic (which, as you've likely guessed, is exactly what they're made of in the real world).

These troopers don't have glass jaws they have glass bodies!

The problem with these incredibly fragile foot soldiers is that it makes it impossible to take them seriously. When Fennec's surrounded by thirty Stormtroopers, I assume we're supposed to fear for her safety and worry about her survival. That's tough to do when the entire squad can literally be taken out like paper dolls.

• While I'm not particularly crazy about Boba Fett popping up on this show, I have to say it was great to see him finally. at long last, actually DO something! He first appeared in 1980, and pretty much did f*ck-all ever since. He stood around and looked menacing in The Empire Strikes Back, then died like a punk in the stupidest way possible in Return Of The Jedi. As near as I can tell, this is the first time we've actually seen Boba Fett fight onscreen, and it was flippin' awesome! He was a badass!

• Of course the Stormtroopers take five minutes to set up their E-Web Heavy Repeating Blaster Cannon, which was first seen (on the show at least) in Redemption. They need to retool this thing with retractable legs or something so it doesn't take so long to assemble.

• At one point Fennec dives for cover behind a huge boulder. The troopers then use the Heavy Cannon to blast away at the massive rock. Fennec's then thankful she didn't skip leg day, as she's able to press her feet against the boulder and send it tumbling down the mountain, flattening several troopers in the process.

Apparently these Stormtroopers went to the Prometheus School Of Running In A Straight Line From Large Things Rolling After Them.

• At one point Fett spots his old armor in the Razor Crest, puts it on and takes out several dozen more Stormtroopers. 

So is Fett's armor so ill-fitting and look so terrible in this episode? Yes, Temuera Morrison's put on some weight over the years (as have we all), but he's not that big. The chest plate barely covers his torso, like it was 3D printed at 75% actual size. Maybe it shrunk inside the sarlaac pit?

• As the overwhelmed Stormtroopers flee for their lives, Boba Fett takes out their dropships with his rocket launcher. 

For the second time this season we see his rocket launcher used in the goofiest-looking way possible, as he literally has to bend over to activate the farkakteh thing. It almost looks like he's bowing to them! I don't get why he just can't stand up straight, launch the rocket and let it adjust course and zoom towards its target.

• In retaliation, Gideon's ship fires from orbit and completely obliterates the Razor Crest! Hole-ee Crap!

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of audience members cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

OK, I gotta admit, I was NOT expecting that! This is a major development on the show, as the ship was a main character in its own right. It's a move that'll have lasting consequences, as Manny's now minus a ride and a home!

It's also likely upsetting for toy collectors as well.

See, several months ago, HasLab, a division of Hasbro, Inc., crowdfunded a high-end Razor Crest. Why's a BILLION dollar company like Hasbro is crowdfunding its products instead of just selling them in stores like a normal business? I have no idea. Maybe it's to generate collector interest, who knows?

Anyway, this massive, meticulously sculpted ship measures an impressive 30" long, and is in scale with the 3.75" figure line. It's packed with tons of bells and whistles too, including a fully detailed interior, along with lights and electronic sounds.

It also comes with a high-end price tag as well, as it cost a whopping $350 bucks!

To no one's surprise, the high cost didn't deter serious collectors though. The original backing goal was 6,000 units. Haslab passed that goal in the first couple days! Many fans were even buying multiple copies of the ship. It's now sitting at an amazing 28,000 backers! At $350 a pop! Holy cow!

I have to imagine that a lot of these collectors were stunned when they saw this episode, and realized they just spent $350 on a ship that's no longer featured on the show. I don't know if Haslab allows backers to, er, back out of their purchases or not. If so, I bet a lot of fans are feeling like suckers and angrily canceling their orders right about now! And who could blame them? 

• Gideon sends down a squad of Dark Troopers to kidnap Baby Yoda.

I mentioned this back in The Siege, but it's worth a brief recap. The Star Wars: Battlefront videogame featured three different types of Dark Troopers, all of which were droids. But then in the Dark Forces and Jedi Knight videogames, and in the Dark Empire comic books, the Dark Troopers were elite cloned soldiers who wielded the Dark Side of the Force.

Given the fact that The Siege featured Doctor Pershing talking about injecting Baby Yoda's blood into test subjects, I assumed that the Dark Troopers we saw here on the show were the cloned human variety.

Nope! They're just plain but powerful droids here, as in the earlier videogames. 

Plot Trickery Alert: During his initial standoff with Boba Fett, Manny takes off his jetpack and lays it down against a rock. A bit later when the Stormtroopers land, he leaves the jetpack for no good reason and sprints up the mountainside to rescue Baby Yoda.

Boba Fett still HAS his jetpack, but was conveniently sent back to his ship for reasons.

This was all an obvious way to hobble the two Mandalorians so the Dark Troopers could easily capture them. 

• When Fett sees Gideon's destroyer in low orbit, he gasps, saying the Empire's back. Fennec scoffs at this notion, but Fett says, "This isn't a spice dream."

George Lucas was apparently a huge fan of Dune, as Star Wars cribs many, many elements from it. Things such as desert planets, moisture farms, sandcrawlers, sandworms, the Jedi Mind Trick (along with the Jedi themselves) and of course spice— were all borrowed from Dune.

In Dune, a substance called "spice melange" (or spice for short) was produced only on the planet Arrakis. The spice was used by Guild Navigators to fold space, but it could also prolong life expectancy and activate various psychic abilities in humans. Taken in large doses, it also had a narcotic and hallucinogenic effects.

Based on Fett's line, apparently The Mandalorian's copying this aspect of the spice as well.

• Manny sifts through the shattered remains of his beloved ship. Of course he JUST HAPPENS to find the gearshift knob in middle of the massive crater. What are the odds? It and the beskar staff he got from the Magistrate are the only two objects that survived the explosion. I assume the knob must be made of beskar as well. Tough stuff, that!

• In order to justify reclaiming his armor, Boba Fett activates the chain code imbedded in his gauntlet as proof of ownership. Believe it or not this simple little scene is packed to the rafters with info and lore.

First of all, someone with way more time on their hands than I have translated the Aurebesh displayed here. It reads, "Foundling, took into. The year the. Concord Dawn. Mentor Jast. Father Fett. Boba Fett."

So what the hell does that any of that mean? Welp, the "foundling, took into" bit indicates that Jango Fett was a foundling, who was adopted into a Mandalorian covert. "Concord Dawn" was the home planet of Jango.

"Mentor Jast" is likely a reference to Jaster Mareel, who in the novels and comics was Jango Fett's adoptive Mandalorian father. 

The "Father Fett" and "Boba Fett" bits probably indicate ownership of the armor. 

For decades now fans have debated as to whether or not Boba Fett was a true Mandalorian. This scene would seem to settle the argument, as Jango was a foundling, which makes Boba a Mandalorian by proxy.

• It was great to see the Slave 1 again. I've always liked its unusual look, which is like nothing else in the Star Wars Universe

For years there were rumors that the ship's odd profile was inspired by street lamps near Industrial Light & Magic headquarters, but apparently that's not true. According to ILM art director Nilo Rodis-Jamero— who designed the ship— he patterned it after a radar dish. I guess he'd know!

As much as I like the Slave 1's design, I have to admit it seems a little awkward. Because of its vertical configuration, it has to "lie down" in order to land. That means any time Boba Fett touches down on a planet, he ends up on his back!

• Manny returns to his favorite planet Nevarro, where he asks his pal Cara Dune for help. We see that she's now a Marshal of the New Republic. Hmm...

In the third act of The Siege, Captain Teva offered Cara Dune the marshal job, but she turned him down. He left her a badge though, which she stared at meaningfully until the scene ended.

I assumed this scene was laying the seeds for a lengthy Cara Dune story arc that would be resolved sometime next year. Nope! Since there're only eight episodes per season on this show, they ain't got time to spend on secondary character storylines. Apparently Dune made her decision, contacted Teva and became a marshal in between episodes, all while we weren't looking!

• Once again, the Star Wars Universe is an interesting, yet puzzling place. They have sentient droids, hyperspace and cloning technology, yet if someone needs information they have to fly to a specific planet in order to access the appropriate computer terminal! I guess there's no internet in this world?

Case in point: Manny wants to find out where his enemy Migs Mayfeld is serving time. Instead of simply hacking into the New Republic database, he needs to personally meet with Cara Dune and have her look up the info for him! Sure, why not.

Manny tells Dune he's needs Mayfeld's help to rescue Baby Yoda. To that end, he plans to spring him from prison. Ughhhh...

I gotta say I'm not crazy about the return of actor Bill Burr (who plays Mayfeld) to the show, as he was one of my least favorite guest stars last season. His acting was passable, but his inclusion felt like stunt casting to me. 

Plus Burr just didn't seem like a good fit. Most characters in the Star Wars Universe have a somewhat formal way of speaking, as they avoid current slang and catchphrases. Then Burr busts in with his Boston accent, and feels way too modern and contemporary. His presence felt very jarring to me.

Lastly, take a look at Mayfeld's mugshot on that screen. To know one's surprise, the Aurebesh letters below his photo spell out "Migs Mayfeld." Is it weird that Aurebesh corresponds exactly to English? The idea of course is that we're looking at an alien language, but every letter has an equivalent in our alphabet— meaning all words in this world are spelled exactly the same as they are here on Earth!

• I dunno why, but I love this shot of Gideon's Star Destroyer (or whatever this model's called) as it cruises through hyperspace. It feels eerie and ominous.

• In the final minutes of the episode, Gideon stands on the bridge of his ship as he stares into the hypnotic void of hyperspace.

Honestly that spectacular view outside the main window makes it looks for all the world like Gideon's watching Doctor Who there on the bridge!

•  Gideon leaves the bridge and storms confidently through his ship. I wonder... are these corridor sets repurposed from the Imperial Base in The Siege? 

If so, then kudos to the production designer for recycling and stretching the set budget!

• Gideon enters a holding cell, where we see Baby Yoda using the Force to toss a couple of Stormtroopers around like limp rag dolls.

At one point he even gestures at one of the troopers and Force chokes him, just like a Sith. Yikes! That's definitely not good!

This isn't the first time Baby Yoda's done this, as he choked Cara Dune last season in The Reckoning. Many fans are convinced this means the Child's got an evil streak in him, and is gonna eventually turn to the Dark Side.

Eh, I don't think so. I think this scene's meant to illustrate just how desperately Baby Yoda needs training from a full-fledged, competent Jedi. At this point his powers are completely undisciplined, which doesn't mean he's evil— he just doesn't know any better.

• As I mentioned in the plot summary, Gideon squats down in front of Baby Yoda, pulls out the Darksaber, ignites it and shows it to him. Note that at no point does he threaten him with it or anything— instead he's like a kid showing off a new toy. He even asks the Child, "Have you ever seen one of these?"

So what the hell was all that about? Was there even a point to that little interlude? If so, it's lost on me. I'm convinced the writers wanted to remind the audience that Gideon currently possesses the Darksaber, and this puzzlingly lame scene was the only thing they could come up with.

One last thing about the Darksaber: As Gideon waves it around in front of Baby Yoda, he reaches his tiny hand toward its ebony blade. Gideon jerks it back, saying, "Ohhh, ah ah ah! You're not ready to play with such things. Liable to put an eye out with one of these."

OK, I get that was a joke, as it's something every parent's ever said to their roughhousing child. Heck, it was even the subject of A Christmas Story! But I get the feeling it wasn't just a joke here, and is an example of some not-so-subtle foreshadowing. Look for Gideon to be semi-blinded by the saber at some point!

• More Attention To Detail: Gideon orders a Stormtrooper to stun Baby Yoda.

Appropriately, his guns fires off an energy ring identical to the one identical to the one that shot Princess Leia back in A New Hope!

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