First Impressions of the Mandalorian season two

Last Friday, Oct. 30, the popular live-action series “The Mandalorian” kicked off its second season with an episode titled “Chapter 9: The Marshall.” As with the first season, there was very little promotional material or trailers for the new eight-episode season. The trailer itself did not drop until the month of the new episode’s release, which most likely means that the new season will have plenty to offer in terms of twists and surprises for Star Wars fans.

The episode starts off with Mando still on the hunt to find fellow Mandalorians to help him return the child, commonly referred to by viewers as “baby Yoda,” to his kind. He’s eventually led to the planet of Tatooine, where he visits the town of Mos Peigo and meets the town sheriff, Cobb Vanth. Cobb isn’t a Mandalorian himself, but claims to have obtained the very familiar-looking armor from some Jawas. He uses the armor to protect his town from the deadly Krayt dragon that dwells underneath the sand. 

Mando agrees to help Cobb defeat the dragon in exchange for his Mandalorian armor. In the end, Cobb and Mando team up with the townspeople and some nearby Tuskan Raiders to take down the dragon, and Mando receives the armor. The episode ends with a shot of none other than Boba Fett staring out into the distance, searching for the armour that once belonged to him.

The episode was certainly a very exciting start to the new season. While it did drag in places, the wealth of good action scenes, Easter eggs and unexpected characters from other “Star Wars” media made up for it. Believe it or not, the character of Cobb Vanth actually comes from the “Star Wars” novel “Aftermath” by Chuck Wendig. In the novel, he comes across the armor of Boba Fett, just like in the show. Seeing Boba Fett alive is also a nice surprise because in the comic books, Boba was similarly brought back and given some new storylines.

While all the fan service is nice and all, it unfortunately doesn’t excuse some of the show’s fatal flaws. When looking at any piece of media, whether it be a TV show, book, movie or otherwise, it’s important to take note of any issues so that future installments can be improved to make for a better product. Unfortunately, “The Mandalorian” has carried most of its issues from the first season over to the second. 

The titular Mandalorian himself is not given much more depth or personality. We saw some flashbacks from his past, but the show does not offer us much else, other than the fact that Mando was once a fierce bounty hunter working for a guild and now carries on the ways of his people by caring for this child and trying to reunite him with his kind.

“The Mandalorian” also falters when it comes to staying on track with its plot. Mando himself goes on many missions throughout the first season, but some are very far off from the main plot. For instance, in Chapter 4, Mando and the child decide to settle down in a peaceful town and stay there for a while until it is attacked by raiders. With the help of a character named Cara Dune, they are able to save the village, and Mando decides to leave and find safety somewhere else. To summarize, they end up exactly where they were before.

This isn’t necessarily a bad storytelling device, and sometimes leaving the characters in a desperate situation is a good way to build tension for future episodes. However, not much would be lost if the episode were cut. Unfortunately, this trend is continued by several episodes that proceed Chapter 4, and by the show’s most recent episode, titled “Chapter 10: The Passenger.”

The loveable child, who the fanbase still seems to call “baby Yoda,” shows off his carnivorous side and feasts on some frog eggs while Mando tries desperately to help the mother frog deliver the eggs to her home planet so that he may find the mandalorians he’s searching for. Sound like filler? That’s certainly what it feels like. 

“The Mandalorian” seems to find itself straddling the line between a show that has “Star Wars” fans gasping for air at the sight of actor Temura Morrison playing an unmasked Boba Fett and a goofy series of unfortunate events brought on by the mishaps of the mischievous little child. The show struggles to decide if it wants to be a plot-focused epic or a more of a serialized space western with many individual adventures. There isn’t an issue with having storylines that don’t directly relate to the plot, but when they take up an entire episode of an eight-episode season, it becomes difficult to tell whether or not the plot is being padded.

“The Mandalorian” has a large following, a fantastic soundtrack and great potential in its characters and story. There have been plenty of good episodes, but an equal amount of inconsequential episodes to match. With the new season approaching its third episode, it’s high time “The Mandalorian” got its story straight. 

Unfortunately, with the failure that was the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, many fans are desperate for good “Star Wars” content in any form. I hope that director John Favreau is able to pull it together and turn this show into a more consistently good TV series. There are several episodes left, so I’m hoping that “The Mandalorian” starts taking more significant strides and really delivering upon its epic potential.