Streaming On: Disney+ Hotstar Premium
He's back. Our favourite faceless hero, known only as Mando, returns in the second season's premiere of Disney+'s flagship series The Mandalorian. The first season of the series, created by Jon Favreau, was a thrilling, escapist achievement, that was accessible to newcomers and Star Wars fans alike, and proved that the future of the Star Wars universe may well be far better off on the small screen.
The first episode of season 2, titled 'The Marshal', picks up directly from the events of the season 1 finale, and sees Mando continue on his quest of returning 'The Child' #BabyYoda (who's as aggressively huggable and adorable as ever) to his people, the Jedi. To help find The Child's people, Mando is searching for fellow Mandalorians (as his own tribe got slaughtered at the end of last season) who he hopes will have the knowledge and network to help him get answers. In short, he's in search of his own peeps to help him find Baby Yoda's peeps.
The episode kicks off in a quintessentially seedy Star Wars bar (you think the Star Wars universe has any bars which are just nice…normal…comfortable establishments?). Mando shakes down a source he knows to get information on where he can find fellow Mandalorians. Obviously a fight breaks out so we can get our action fix and watch him do his badass-warrior thing of killing bad guys in style. All of this while Baby Yoda just curiously watches on from the side-lines, which is just plain bad parenting.
Mando's eventually told that he must travel to Tatooine (which you may know as being the home world of both Luke and Anakin Skywalker) where they may be a fellow Mando. On Tatooine he meets Peli Motto (the droid-loving mechanic who we met last season) who directs him to the city of Mos Pelgo – rumoured to be home to a fellow Mandalorian. Watching Mando travel around the desert planet of Tatooine reminds you of the sheer achievement of the show's jaw-dropping scale and visual effects which are easily on par with any Star Wars movie on the big screen.
In Mos Pelgo what he finds isn't another Mando, but instead the town Marshal wearing Mandalorian armour, played by Timothy Olyphant (with perfect hair I might add, despite the fact that he lives in the middle of a desert and he wears a helmet at all times. I can make my peace with aliens and laser swords and baby Yodas, but that hair is just plain unrealistic).
The Marshal claims he found the Beskar armour and has been using it to protect the town, but naturally, this doesn't sit right with the by-the-book Mando who demands the armour back. But, before a fight between the two kicks off, a massive Dune-style sandworm, known as a Krayt Dragon, tears into the town. Turns out it's been terrorising the town's people for ages. Because of course there's an unlikely adventure that awaits Mando so he can do his reluctant-hero-saves-the-day thing.
Mando and the Marshal strike a deal, Mando gets the armour back for helping kill the giant beast. The Marshal also fills him in on how bad the town has had it ever since the fall of The Empire and the destruction of the second Death Star (another hint at The Mandalorian's timeline, which takes place after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens). Written and directed by Jon Favreau, this episode's story is a strong reminder of the show's leaning towards Hollywood Westerns – a lone ranger/space cowboy passes through a small town where he meets the sheriff who tells him of the woes of the towns people and asks for his help.
The Mando, The Marshal and The Child ('wherever I go, he goes' Mando frequently reminds us) set off to find the creature's home where they encounter a tribe of Sand People (Tusken Raiders) who are similarly attempting to slay the beast. The Sand People feature heavily in this episode which tries to give you a sense of their lives and culture, so you empathise with them. A welcome decision considering that, thus far, they're mostly known as the people you previously hated for kidnapping Anakin's mom and then felt sorry for when he turns up to light-sabre-massacre a whole tribe of them including the women and children (remember that? Good ol' emo Anakin).
In an insanely fun, lengthy action sequence, the Sand People, the Marshal and Mando find the Krayt Dragon and devise a plan to lure it out and blow it to kingdom come. By this point it's clear that this season will likely be more of the same predictable key elements recycled in different ways to allow for more self-contained adventures in each episode, while moving towards a larger plot. We've seen this all before – Mando uniting a town's people and readying them for battle to fight a larger enemy (episode 4), in this case being a large ruthless creature living in a cave (episode 2).
It's clear that this season will likely be more of the same predictable key elements recycled in different ways to allow for more self-contained adventures in each episode, while moving towards a larger plot. We've seen this all before. Mando uniting a town's people and readying them for battle to fight a larger enemy (episode 4), in this case being a large ruthless creature living in a cave (episode 2).
The episode ends with the Mando and Marshal parting ways as friends (you know we'll be seeing more of him later this season in true 'Mando-makes-friends-all-of-whom-reunite-in-the-finale style). What did surprise me though, is that, instead of doing the whole 'keep the armour bro, you're an honourable fighter and a good friend and you've proven worthy of it, not to mention you physically need it to protect your town', in a spectacular dick move, Mando actually takes it back.
But of course, that's not all, as the final frame offers a fantastic fan-service cameo of a familiar face which tells us that one thing we can expect this season is the show delving deeper into the Star Wars universe with more known faces and familiar characters. The episode closes with Mando setting off back to his ship while a mysterious figure watches on from the distance, who we can safely assume is Boba Fett. The face we see is of actor Temuera Morrison who played Jango Fett in Attack Of The Clones, and whose son (technically a clone) Jango, was last seen falling into a Sarlacc Pit in Return of the Jedi. Clearly this is the Mandalorian our Mando came here in search of.
In the end, the first episode of season two walks the same tried and tested predictable path, and there's a comfort in that. We could all use a dose of predictable escapist fun right now, so I say, if it ain't broke, why fix it?