*** Be warned that FULL SPOILERS ARE AHEAD, so if you haven’t watched this episode, don’t read this article. Trust me, you want to go into this one without spoilers. ***
The Mandalorian returned today with a new episode, Chapter 11, and it just might be the best episode of the show yet.
Bryce Dallas Howard returned to direct this episode, and it was amazing. I can’t really discuss much of why without diving into spoilers, which we’ll do in a minute, but I just want to re-iterate that this is an episode that you want to go in with as little spoilers as possible. There are some truly great moments for Star Wars fans.
Let’s dive in to our spolier-filled review!
The Razor Crest arrives at Trask badly damaged from both the crash landing and spiders seen in the last episode, but still flyable. It’s a rough landing, however, as Din Djarin and the frog lady attempt to land without the ship burning up in the atmosphere; and then, ultimately, they wind up landing in the water. The ship is retrieved by some dock workers, and the team sets out. The frog lady reunites with her husband, who directs Djarin and the Child to an inn. There, a Mon Calamari introduces Djarin to a Quarren, who says he can take them to other Mandalorians.
They set sail, and the Quarren brings Djarin and the Child over for a look at a sea creature… but tricks them and throws the Child in the water (in his egg), which is then eaten by the creature. Djarin dives in after the Child, but the Quarrens then seal the hatch, preventing Mando from coming back. He comes up for air and struggles to breathe, as the Quarrens keep pushing him down. At that moment, Bo-Katan Kryze arrives with two other Mandalorians and take out the Quarren, rescuing Djarin. He urgently tells them that the creature has the Child, and Koska Reeves (played by Sasha Banks) dives into the water. Some explosions are heard under the water, and she soon emerges with the Child, reuniting it with Mando.
As Djarin explains his quest, the other three Mandalorians remove their helmets – angering Djarin and causing him to think they aren’t real Mandalorians. Bo-Katan tells him that she is Clan Kryze, and that Djarin belongs to a strict religious sect of Mandalorians, the Watch. Unwilling to work with them, Djarin flies away with the Child.
Later that night, he is confronted by several Quarren, angry at him for killing one of their own. But Bo-Katan and the other Mandalorians arrive, saying it was actually them, and the four quickly take out the Quarren. They offer to buy Djarin a drink. In an inn, they talk, and Djarin explains his mission to bring the Child to the Jedi. Bo-Katan says she knows one, but that Djarin needs to first help them on their mission to retrieve stolen weapons from an Imperial freighter. Djarin drops the Child off with the frog lady and her husband for safe keeping until he returns.
The four Mandalorians infiltrate the Imperial cruiser and face several waves of stormtroopers. They eventually make it to the cargo bay and find the weapons, but Bo-Katan then reveals that they want the whole ship. Djarin is again angry, saying this wasn’t part of the deal, but Kryze simply responds, “This is the way.” They move toward the bridge. Meanwhile, the Imperial officer on the bridge speaks with Moff Gideon via a hologram, and we learn that these Mandalorians have intercepted other shipments. Gideon gives the orders, and the officer kills the Imperial pilots and takes over, intending to crash the ship. Realizing this, the Mandalorians try to rush the bridge but are pinned back by stormtroopers. Djarin charges forward, taking heavy fire, and manages to throw some charges at the stormtroopers, clearing the way.
They take the bridge, and Djarin and Reeves manage to steer the ship and keep it from crashing. Kryze, meanwhile, interrogates the officer, asking whether Gideon has the darksaber. The officer says that if she has to ask, she already knows the answer, and then kills himself. With the ship safely away, Djarin asks Bo-Katan where he can find the Jedi. She gives him the location to go and says that there he will find Ahsoka Tano. Djarin thanks her and leaves, retrieving the Child. He heads back to the Razor Crest, where Mon Calamari had barely fixed the ship, and flies away.
There was so much happening here, but we’ve gotta begin with the return – and live-action debut – of Bo-Katan! Played by Katee Sackhoff (who provided the voice for her in The Clone Wars and Rebels), she returns in all her glory here. It was absolutely incredible, and the scenes with her were just so good. The action sequences were top-notch, seeing four Mandalorians fighting together was amazing, and seeing Bo-Katan back was absolutely thrilling. It’s also quite a relief, as now we know that she’s still alive – something people wondered about when Moff Gideon was seen with the darksaber.
And speaking of the darksaber, that’s really a large part of what brings Bo-Katan into the story here, as her goal is to take back Mandalore… but in order to do that, she needs something that was once hers but taken from her. Fans of the show(s) knew what she was referring to, but in case you didn’t, she makes it clear at the end when interrogating the Imperial officer, asking about the darksaber. It seems that Bo-Katan already knows that Moff Gideon has it, but wants to know where he is. There just seems to be so much backstory there that has yet to be unpacked, between Djarin knowing who Gideon is, and Bo-Katan wanting to find him to retrieve the darksaber. The intrigue with Gideon just continues to build.
But let’s also talk about the fact that it’s no longer secret: Din Djarin will be seeking out Ahsoka Tano!!! Once again, I think that when Bo-Katan mentioned knowing a Jedi fans of the show(s) knew who she was referring to, but she makes it clear at the end, telling Djarin where he can find Ahsoka (in the city of Calodan on the planet Corvus). Before the season began, I guessed that we would see Ahsoka show up in the fifth episode of the season, since that is the one written and directed by Dave Filoni. That seems even more likely now. The next episode is directed by Carl Weathers, so I’m guessing that will be the one where Djarin returns to Nevarro and meets up with Greef Karga and Cara Dune. I’m guessing that Mando returns to Nevarro to get his ship fixed for real, and then will head off in search of Tano. But I’m just so excited to have her name dropped, confirming that she will indeed play into the storyline this season (not that it was much in doubt).
Another nice touch was when Bo-Katan, Kosta Reeves, and Axe Woves removed their helmets in front of Djarin. This was something we knew would likely be addressed eventually, since in season one Djarin makes it clear that he has never removed his helmet in front of anyone, but in the animated shows Mandalorians do it all the time. That background led to a nice moment in this episode, where Djarin concludes that they must have stolen the armor. That is probably reinforced by the fact that he had just recently encountered Cobb Vanth, who had in fact stolen the armor and wasn’t a real Mandalorian. So it is very reasonable for Djarin to think that, but Bo-Katan explains that he belongs to a religious group called the Watch. This explanation is entirely satisfactory to Star Wars fans, but not necessarily to Mando.
But I think a lot of what is happening so far this season is challenging Djarin’s perception of what a Mandalorian really is. In the first episode, though Cobb Vanth isn’t a Mandalorian, it seems that Djarin comes to trust and respect him. So perhaps being a Mandalorian is about more than just the armor? Then in the second episode, the frog lady challenges Djarin on the Mandalorian ways, saying they must keep their word. Then, at the end of the episode, the encounter with the New Republic officers reinforces the idea that doing the right thing is important. So perhaps being a Mandalorian is about honoring your word and trying to help others? Then in this episode, Bo-Katan and the others remove their helmets, but Djarin comes to partner with them and work together. So perhaps being a Mandalorian is about more than wearing a helmet? Djarin is learning what it really means to be a Mandalorian and is being confronted by that on a regular basis, so I’m guessing we’ll see all of that continue to grow and develop as the season goes on.
So yes, overall, this was a fantastic episode, and it was probably my favorite one yet. The action sequences were tremendous, the intrigue and drama was high, the pacing and story was perfect, and the way it tied into a larger storyline was the best of any episode we’ve seen. Plus, of course, there was Bo-Katan. This was fantastic, and it raises the stakes and sets the stage for where we might be going soon.
My grade: 10/10