Warning: This article contains spoilers for Chapter 15 of The Mandalorian
Bill Burr is back, and alongside him comes the penultimate episode of season two of The Mandalorian. For what this episode lacks in plot progression, it fills with much needed character development and sets up a gladiator match that will surely impress many fans next week. Let’s dive into the review.
Picking up off the heels of last week’s episode, “The Believer” opens with the reintroduction of Mayfeld (Bill Burr), an ex-Imperial sharpshooter turned mercenary, who first appeared in Chapter 6 last season. The prison break many assumed we would be getting this week was no break at all, rather a simple exchange in which Burr’s character is handed off into the custody of Cara Dune (Gina Carano). In order to get the coordinates for Moff Gideon’s (Giancarlo Esposito) star cruiser, he must access an Imperial terminal at a secret mining facility on the planet Morak. Once they arrive, Din must team up with Mayfeld alone in order to get inside, leading to the Mandalorian making some very severe decisions in order to achieve his goals. The two ultimately succeed, with Din sending a final message to Moff Gideon, warning him of his impending arrival.
I am often quick to praise writers and directors on episodes, but I must start by giving praise to Rick Famuyiwa. This episode is not only beautifully directed, it is also incredibly well written. Famuyiwa is a truly talented creator, and like Deborah Chow, I would love to see him tackle one of the many Star Wars series announced yesterday during the Investors Day.
I prefaced this review by saying that this episode lacks overall plot progression, but offers some of the best character development of the season for Din Djarin. While the episode achieves its goal of obtaining the coordinates for Moff Gideon and Grogu, I expected to see the final confrontation or battle begin in this episode, similar to how Chapters 7 and 8 of last season served as a two-part finale, but it appears that Chapters 15 and 16 will be very much two entities standing tall on their own. Viewers will note a very nice dialogue callback however, as Din’s holo-message at the end of this episode is a direct, word-for-word mirroring of Moff Gideon’s speech at the end of the aforementioned Chapter 7.
It is no secret that I have been very conflicted on the handling of the character of Din Djarin this season. While the character has had many highs, he has had just as many, if not more lows. This episode was by far his peak of the season, trending towards an even higher point next week. The show is titled after him, yet some weeks he feels like the least important character on-screen. However, this week Din felt like the main character, with a supporting cast in a story revolving around him, which is exactly what I want to see more of in season three. Famuyiwa does such a wonderful job balancing the character’s action and emotion. Starting with the action, his sequence against the pirates might be his best one this season. He is a scrapper, a fighter who must continue to fight to survive. We see how it affects him to not have his safety net in the form of his armor, and how he still fights to survive and as Mayfeld says, to sleep at night. Din Djarin is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in all of Star Wars.
In terms of character development, it has been clear since his encounter with Bo-Katan that Din would need to remove his helmet at some point this season and I found that this was one of the best ways to do it, to save Grogu. His relationship with the Child has grown stronger than he thinks and it has begun to define who he is as a person. Seeing the discomfort from Din as a result of this is comical, but also shows that his character still has a long way to go before he feels confident removing the helmet the way other Mandalorians do. Mayfeld’s understanding and appreciation of that ultimately makes that character more likable as well, which is why we root for his freedom in the final minutes of the episode.
Speaking of Mayfeld, I found Bill Burr’s performance to be the real heart of this episode. His dialogue with Din Djarin is some of the best of the series, as he raises many good points and while the storytelling trope of “you and me, we aren’t so different” has been done time and time again, there was something about Mayfeld’s backstory and Burr’s performance that really sold me on the exchange. Not to mention his redemption by killing the officer and destroying the mining facility offered a good ending to his story if this is, in fact, the last time we see his character. I also greatly appreciated the reference to Operation: Cinder, which you can learn more about in the campaign for Star Wars Battlefront II (2017).
Someone I have yet to talk about in-detail is Grogu himself. That would be because, for the first time in the series, he is not seen in the episode. While the Child is clearly a massive selling point for the show, I think this episode really highlights how good the series still is without him, something that I believe we may see more of in season three. If Grogu is to be trained, he may have to leave Din for some time next season, although I never expect Filoni or Favreau to abandon the “lone wolf and the cub” storyline or theme for the overall series. Regardless of what the future holds for these characters, I am glad to see that the series still stands strong without the need for Grogu’s physical appearance in an episode.
Looking ahead, we are already on the doorstep of the finale, yet there still feels like there is so much story to tell. I really hope that we get an extended episode next week, the show seems to need it at this point to wrap up everything we’ve laid out this season. Chapter 8 was the longest episode of the first season and I hope Chapter 16 continues this trend. With Chapter 9 being 55 minutes long, I am cautiously hoping for a 58 minute finale in a week. In terms of content, I fully expect to see Din go toe-to-toe with Moff Gideon, beskar spear versus Darksaber. I also expect some form of battle between our supporting heroes and Gideon’s dark troopers. Other than that, I hope we see Grogu use the Force against Gideon, perhaps to save Din, and I do believe we get some form of scene with a Jedi. There has been much speculation to who could answer Grogu’s call and while I am convinced it will be Ezra Bridger of Star Wars Rebels fame, there has been some compelling evidence as of late that Mace Windu may make his return to Star Wars next week.
What did you think of this episode and my thoughts? Let us know in the comments below and on our social media pages!