Friday, December 4, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Mandalorian' - The Mandalorian Helps Grogu Send a Message Using the Force in 'Chapter 14: The Tragedy'

Disney+'s The Mandalorian - Episode 2.06 "Chapter 14: The Tragedy"

The Mandalorian and the Child travel to an ancient site.

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 14: The Tragedy" was written by Jon Favreau and directed by Robert Rodriguez

The audience never truly knows what to expect from any given episode of this drama. The narrative could quickly arrive to a consequential place in the overall story. Or it could be distracted by some adventure that further bonds these characters to each other and the people they meet along the way. That's part of the appeal of the show. It is unexpected because it embraces episodic storytelling structure. That means it took a couple of episodes for Mando to find Bo-Katan and then a couple more to find Ahsoka Tano. And now, Mando and Grogu land on Tython to potentially reach out to any other Jedi in the galaxy. It's the mission that Ahsoka tasked him with. She was reluctant to train Grogu. She sensed that he and Mando had formed a strong bond. She knows just how precarious those relationships can be for a Jedi knight. She was also on her own mission. One that couldn't be delayed in order to take on a Padawan. That may not mean another Jedi will rise to the occasion. Nor does it mean Grogu even wants this training. Mando sees it as beneficial because he rejoices at every display of Grogu using the force. It's an incredible feat. He comes from a community that celebrates and cherishes its warriors. As such, it's foolish not to seek out training for this gift. Grogu has the skills. He was trained before. This is the mission for Mando. And yet, the audience doesn't know exactly what Grogu sent out into the universe once he was placed on the Seeing Stone. It means he is cut off from Mando for a little bit. An impenetrable field of the Force engulfs him. It means Mando has to engage in battle with the outsiders who quickly join him on this planet. The first arrivals aren't the Imperial troops who have been tracking the Razor Crest either. Instead, more than one group of people have been following the Mandalorian on his journeys. It's a relief that the narrative didn't have to contrive a reason for Mando and Grogu to return to Tatooine in order to run into Boba Fett once more and learn about what happened to Fennec Shand. That clarity arrives on this distant planet. It's also confirmation that Temuera Morrison truly is playing Boba Fett. He survived the Sarlacc Pit just like his armor did. The two were separated. He seeks out Mando because he is in possession of the armor that has been in his family. He saved Fennec when she was left for dead in her previous encounter with Mando. They are beholden to one another. And yet, these two sides are forced to work together once Stormtroopers descend on the planet eager to capture Grogu. It's mostly just an excuse to highlight their skills in battle. Boba doesn't need his indestructible armor in order to prevail. In fact, it's probably useful that the show highlights just how skilled he is when he only has a staff as his weapon. Meanwhile, Fennec more than proves her reputation of never missing a shot. Mando is sidelined just long enough for this clarity to come. And yet, this story is building towards Grogu being taken and imprisoned by Moff Gideon once more. That is how the season wants to intensify the narrative. Mando has been charged with his protection. He has to reunite Grogu with his people. And now, his traveling companion has fallen into the hands of the Empire. It's a daunting image for Boba. It reveals that the Empire was never truly destroyed. Gideon can run his experiments hoping to create even more powerful weapons in his arsenal. Right now, that includes Grogu. The young creature is strong with the Force. It tires him as well. His natural state makes him a target. He isn't trained enough to protect himself fully. And so, it's up to Mando to save him even though the Razor Crest has been destroyed - with the Beskar staff being the only thing salvageable from the wreckage. That means he too will have to rely on others to succeed in this endeavor. That means the narrative is starting to present a case for all of these disparate parts coming together for something incredibly consequential even if Mando doesn't know the full picture of what's at stake. It's effective buildup that dazzles with the various action sequences and the emotional beats afterwards.