Friday, November 20, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Mandalorian' - The Mandalorian Returns to Nevarro to Help Cara and Greef with a Mission in 'Chapter 12: The Siege'

Disney+'s The Mandalorian - Episode 2.04 "Chapter 12: The Siege"

The Mandalorian rejoins old allies for a new mission.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Disney+'s The Mandalorian.

"Chapter 12: " was written by Jon Favreau and directed by Carl Weathers

On one hand, it's appreciated that The Mandalorian maintains an episodic approach to its storytelling. It makes every adventure more self-contained which allows the audience to genuinely feel the thrills in each one as it happens. On the other hand though, it means there are various and random starts and stops to the core narrative. It prevents a sustainable plot from forming. Sure, this episode further intensifies Mando's search for the Jedi while Moff Gideon continues to hunt him down in pursuit of the Child for his nefarious experiments. However, the majority of the running time is spent on Nevarro with Mando helping Cara and Greef destroy an Imperial base. It's important for their future prosperity as a trading post in the sector. This place has changed since Mando was last here. Cara and Greef have made a difference. It's crucial to show just how much communities can prosper after escaping from an oppressive force. This siege is the latest action needed to protect this growing community. And yet, the story is fundamentally about Mando meeting these two friends once more to go on yet another adventure. It is fun. The action sequence where Cara, Greef and previous bounty Mythrol are escaping the base while being chased by numerous Stormtroopers is one of the best the series has produced to date. It's very impressive. It's a spectacle that shows just how well-crafted the special effects and scope of the series actually is. It's still a distraction from Mando's core mission though. He was given information of where to find the Jedi. He has to make this stop because his ship needs repairs. The improvements made on Trask didn't hold together for very long. Baby Yoda can't figure out the wiring either - although it's cute watching him try. All it seemingly takes to get the ship back in working order is to spend a little time at this outpost. It makes it miraculous when the Razor's Crest gets to swoop in to save the day and fight off the remaining TIE Fighters. Again, the action is very impressive. Mando gets to be the hero after several instances where he needed to be the one rescued at the last possible minute. It's a nice change of pace. One that puts the focus of the story on another group of characters. The show clearly has a great deal of affection for Cara and Greef. They are the only characters who could realistically lead their own stories. So much of the narrative burden is on Pedro Pascal behind the mask. It has worked so far. But again, it feels like this pitstop was made just to bring these two characters back into the fold. It's not really of particular service to Mando and his mission. He leaves with repairs to his ship. But he is now being tracked by Moff Gideon. His enemy will know exactly where he is heading. Mando jumps into action the moment he perceives a threat to the Child. He relies on child care from so many in this world. He has to be trusting in that regard. And yet, he sees the horrors that the Empire wants to do with him. His blood is being used for experiments. In fact, the New Republic fears the foothold that the Empire is trying to establish once more in the outer rim. It needs allies on the ground to support their efforts and force this evil away. Cara and Greef succeed in that endeavor. But they aren't fighting hand in hand with the New Republic. They are doing this for themselves. That provides more character dimension to them. This prosperity is theirs to build and embrace. However, it's strange that Mando returns to Nevarro and doesn't see if the Armorer is still around to provide any clarity to the mysteries of the Mandalorian he has just learned from Bo-Katan. That feels like a missed opportunity. It would have centered this story on his journey. The clear directive was to make the focus more on Cara and Greef. That works in the short time. These issues still pop up though while the action and comedic cutaways to the Child remain very effective. And yet, the overall narrative remains a bit muddled to the point where it is constantly suggesting darkness without really confirming just how dire all of this is for Mando and the Child. These concerns may not amount to much as the season continues. Mando and Moff are bound to clash on the next planet. That confrontation may put everything into better context. Plus, Mando eating while the Child can watch may show him letting his guard down regarding his adherence to the Creed. Everything he has learned has made an impact. He's just not going out of his way to immediately change all that he has known and provided him with so much comfort throughout this life.