TV Review: ‘The Mandalorian’ Chapter 12: “The Siege”

Joseph Braverman reviews The Mandalorian, Chapter 12: The Siege, in which the Mandalorian reunites with old friends and takes on an old imperial base.
User Rating: 6

School is back in session this week! Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and the Child are having technical difficulties getting the Razor Crest to fly them to their next destination: the forest planet of Corvus, the current location of ex-Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson). After Baby Yoda literally gets his wires crossed, Mando resigns himself to the fact that in-ship repairs just won’t suffice. Having just escaped the dangers of Tatooine, Mando decides on a safer and friendlier familiar pit stop. That’s right, much to the Child’s cooing pleasure, the pair is headed back to the volcanic yet presumably Imperial-free Nevarro.

During our heroes’ time away, Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers, who directs this episode) have been busy bringing back class and order to this Outer Rim planet. With Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) — still presumed dead —  and his legion of stormtroopers gone, Nevarro’s capital city can begin to rebuild as a liberated, functioning, crime-free society. With Dune as Marshal and Karga serving as administrator, the two bring peace to a part of the galaxy that’s never experienced it before. The philanthropic duo hopes Nevarro will set an example for the rest of the system to follow suit. Moreover, they hope there’s no government oversight from the New Republic, which has recently sent out patrol units to monitor the sector for Imperial Remnant activity (and keep an eye on autonomous worlds like Nevarro).

Upon arrival, Din learns that saying hello to old friends sometimes comes with strings attached. As payment for Karga’s ship repair services, Mando must travel with Dune, Karga, and his former bounty Mythrol (Horatio Sanz), to the far side of the planet. There, the foursome plan to destroy the last remaining Imperial stronghold, a reactor housing an enormous weapon arsenal. If that firepower were to find its way onto the black market, it would set back all the hard work done to rehabilitate Nevarro’s criminal reputation.

While Daddy Mando is once again doing favors that distract him from his main quest, Baby Yoda is placed in a “Get to Know Your Galaxy” classroom. What’s the use of formal education if you can’t learn while snacking on cookies? The Child uses his Force abilities to essentially steal a kid’s lunch meal, munching on what looks to be neon blue macarons. Even though the pandering gag is predictable, it certainly evokes sentiments of wry amusement. Baby Yoda is one sly, unapologetic, sneaky thief — and we can’t get enough of his food cravings!

Unfortunately, despite some reverential tributes to the original trilogy’s skirmishes, this is easily the weakest chapter of the season and the most disappointing of the series since “The Gunslinger.” Adding insult to injury is a glaring continuity error, where a person on set is caught in the background of a shot. For a side mission featuring so many revelations, there’s so little on the innovation front. Confrontations and objectives feel derivate, and while it’s refreshing to have Baby Yoda and Mando offscreen for a noticeable chunk of time while secondary characters helm the action, simplistic chases and shootouts inspired by better material simply don’t make for groundbreaking television, let alone Star Wars.

Unsurprisingly, the reactor plant is far from vacant, and it’s a front for a secret lab with some intriguing findings. Upon accessing the mainframe, a holographic message appears: its sender is Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), who viewers will recognize from the previous season as the doctor overseeing the Child’s care in captivity. It turns out, The Client (Werner Herzog) secured Baby Yoda for Moff Gideon so the former ISB officer could draw blood and infuse it into clones. Cara, Greef, and Din see tanks filled with dead humanoids, likely clones preserved for experimentation.

Furthermore, at the conclusion of the episode, Gideon is standing in a room aboard his personal destroyer that’s filled with Dark Troopers (which haven’t been seen in Star Wars lore since 1994’s Dark Forces PC game). Hanging in bays ready to be deployed, these super-soldiers were advanced droids in the non-canonical video game, but here they might be closer to clones imbued with Force (or Force-dampening) abilities. Is this what Baby Yoda’s blood is used for and still sought after, or is there a larger goal in mind when deriving higher “M-counts” (a likely reference to the loathed midi-chlorians, cellular organisms that measure a lifeform’s Force attunement)? Like, say, reviving an evil Force-wielding emperor from the dead using clone technology? Either way, “The Siege” presents some shocking discoveries that feel more suited for an inventive chapter that doesn’t rely on past Star Wars scenarios for narrative blueprinting.

The Mandalorian Season Two is currently airing on Disney+

6
Fair
Written by
Joseph Braverman is a 31-year-old film school alum from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Digital Media. He considers himself one of the biggest Star Wars fans in the galaxy, living by a golden rule that there is no such thing as a “bad” Star Wars movie. Joseph lives in Los Angeles, CA, and enmeshes himself in all things entertainment, though he’ll occasionally take a break from screen consumption to hike in Malibu or embark on new foodie explorations. Vehemently opposed to genre bias, he feels strongly that any good film is worthy of Oscar consideration. Joseph is also a proud member of the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.

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