The Razor Crest limps its way to a new world, and the Mandalorian’s quest continues in Chapter 11: The Heiress, directed by Bryce Dallas Howard. This is the season’s shortest chapter yet, but size matters not. Let’s make like a Quarren and dive in.
One big element to praise: this episode’s locations. The world of this chapter is totally grounded in textures and tropes from our world, but it feels totally fresh to Star Wars. It proves there’s more to explore in the Star Wars galaxy than “desert planet, ice planet, jungle planet, repeat.”
I have only one real criticism of this episode: pacing. Every moment packs a punch, but sometimes the rhythm falls a beat off. It’s a short episode, and it could have afforded to slow down a little more in the middle.
But then, there’s all the good stuff.
This episode has some big answers about Mandalorian lore. And they come from a long-anticipated heroine: Bo-Katan, portrayed by Katee Sackhoff, who also voices the character in The Clone Wars and Rebels.
If you’re a fan of those shows, you probably spent a good deal of this episode cheering and screaming, and you might have missed a chunk of world-building exposition.
After Season One, canon junkies had some questions. Why don’t these Mandalorians remove their masks? What’s with all the “This is the way” stuff? Maybe Favreau just—horror of horrors—doesn’t care about the cartoons?
But the actual answer is: No, Favreau’s probably nerdier than you are. If not, he has Dave Filoni in his corner, and Dave Filoni is definitely nerdier than you.
We learn that Din Djarin was rescued and raised by the “Children of the Watch,” a cultic sect of Mandalorians focused on returning to Mandalorian tradition. There’s likely a connection here to Death Watch, a Mandalorian sect from Clone Wars who likewise clung to the warrior traditions of the past (last year, some fans even pointed out that the Mandalorians who rescued young Din Djarin wore Death Watch armor. But to my knowledge, nobody made the connection between Death Watch and the fundamentalist ways of Din’s upbringing).
But this isn’t just fan service. This isn’t just a quick fix for the canon junkies.
From George Lucas onward, Star Wars has embodied the archetypical “hero’s journey.” Every Star Wars hero, from Luke to Anakin to Rey to Ezra, must take their “first steps into a larger world,” as Ben Kenobi so poetically puts it.
This chapter marks Din Djarin’s first steps.
World-wise as he appeared, his world was insular. His concept of Mandalorian culture—of the whole galaxy, really—was limited to the teachings of one fundamentalist cult.
Now, he’s learning just how big the galaxy is. His meeting with Bo-Katan opens his eyes to a larger story: a story of Mandalorian history; a story of the Empire; a story of the Jedi.
Be mindful of the future (but not at the expense of the moment):
Of course, one of this chapter’s biggest surprises was the Ahsoka Tano name drop. Now, Mando knows exactly where to find the Jedi. But what comes next?
When you combine the trailers, the upcoming directors, and plain old storytelling wisdom, it seems like we might take a detour on the way to Corvus.
The next episode, Chapter 12, will be directed by Carl Weathers, aka Greef Carga (or Apollo Creed, if that’s your speed). The episode after that, Chapter 13, will be directed by Dave Filoni.
If and when Ahsoka shows up, it will almost definitely be in a Filoni-directed episode. He has functional ownership of that character, and it’s hard to imagine him leaving her live-action debut in someone else hands.
I’m guessing Mando’s next stop is Nevarro, where it all began. He’ll reunite with Greef Carga and Cara Dune and possibly enact that prison break we’ve glimpsed in the trailers.
But why return to Nevarro now, when he’s so close to the Jedi?
I think he’s looking for the Armorer. I think Bo-Katan’s words shook him more than he showed. I think he wants real answers.
This week’s chapter also hinted at a larger overall direction for the show. Bo-Katan and her crew are set on liberating Mandalore. If I had to put calamari flan on it, I’d say the show is headed for a major battle on the Mandalorian home planet.
My biggest pipe-dream is that, somewhere down the line, we get a Hollywood-sized space battle over Mandalore. If we’ve gone form Mudhorns to Krayt Dragons after one season, who knows?
Merch we need
I mean, this is low-hanging fruit, but there’s only one right answer. We need a Black Series Bo-Katan figure. The Black Series has been nailing it with Mandalorian figures (if you can find them before they sell out! Speaking of which, any leads on a Mauldalorian figure would be appreciated), and this one just has to join the collection.
Also, they’d better be installing seafood chowder hoses at Galaxy’s Edge.
This show keeps speeding up, and unlike the Razor Crest, it has no signs of slowing down. Be here next Monday for our thoughts on Chapter 12. Maybe we’ll get to talk about everyone’s favorite Togruta?