This week, director Rick Famuyiwa returns for The Mandalorian Chapter 15: The Believer. Old fiends become new friends, familiar faces return, and we get to know our heroes just a bit better. Let’s make the jump to hyperspace.
You can watch this chapter two different ways: as an individual story, or as the penultimate episode of a larger season.
As an individual story, this chapter shines. The immediate standout is Bill Burr returning as Migs Mayfeld. He’s not just back to repeat his bit from Season One. Burr brings new dimensions to the character. We discover the real pain beneath Mayfeld’s facade, an authentic emotional backstory that ties seamlessly into previous canon from Battlefront II and Shattered Empire.
This is essentially a character piece. Mando and Mayfeld function as foils throughout as their roles seamlessly reverse.
Throughout the season, Din Djarin has faced challenges to his accepted code. First from Cobb Vanth, the pretender who turned out to be worthy. Then from Bo-Katan, a true Mandalorian who removes her helmet. And now from Mayfeld, who points out the inconsistencies in Mando’s code (when Mando exchanged his helmet for an Imperial disguise, I almost wondered if the show had forgotten the aforementioned helmet-removal prohibition. Again—never underestimate Favreau).
This all culminates in Din Djarin showing his face to save his adopted son. And, ironically, it’s this act of code-violation, for the sake of fatherly love, that motivates Mafyfeld to step up and take a side.
And so Mando starts the chapter with a strict code of values, while Mayfeld had none. In the end, Mayfeld must finally adopt a code of values; Mando must sacrifice part of his code to save his adopted son.
Aside from this thematic stuff, there’s also plenty of plain old Star Wars coolness here. We get to spend some quality time inside Slave I. And, of course, the episode’s greatest moment:
. . . BWOOOONNNNGGGG!
(If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, watch Attack of the Clones.)
But then, you can view this episode as the penultimate chapter of Season Two. In this context, it doesn’t work quite as well.
I’m a big advocate of self-contained character-study episodes. But we’re at a crucial moment. The pace has been building. Grogu is shackled in a light cruiser somewhere. The sudden pause for a side-adventure feels misplaced. An episode like this would fit perfectly in the middle of the season. But here, it does little to tee up the finale.
As a standalone episode, this one holds up to the best of the series. Famuyiwa’s directing once again stands out as some of the best in the show. But as the pre-finale chapter, I was left wanting just a bit more.
Be Mindful of the Future (But Not at the Expense of the Moment)
So what comes next?
There’s only one chapter left in this season. With the announcement of an Ahsoka Tano series on the way, I’m less inclined to think we’ll see Thrawn or Ezra any time soon. But the question still lingers: Will a Jedi answer Grogu’s call?
Some things we know for certain: Mando is on the offense. We’ll finally see some Darksaber action. And, most likely, we’ll see what the Dark Troopers can really do.
Beyond that, there’s little we can say. I’m still inclined to think that this season will end in a dark place for Mando. With Season Three guaranteed, there’s no reason for them to tie things up nicely. They will leave us guessing and talking and wanting more.
And as long as that doesn’t involve hurting Grogu, I’m all for it.
Merch We Need
The merch we need already exists. It’s a custom collectible by Wicked Joyful:
Grab your coffee ‘n’ blastah, and I’ll see you next week for the big finale.