***WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for Season 2, Episode 4 of The Mandalorian!***
It took a season-and-a-half, but The Mandalorian is finally giving a hoot about Baby Yoda's education. After the run-in with Bo-Katan Kryze, Mando returns to Nevarro, where it all began. The Razor Crest is in desperate need of repair and the only, which means our hero doesn't have many options to choose from.
Luckily, he's still got some friends left in the Outer Rim, mainly Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers, who also directed this week's episode written by Jon Favreau).
Before I get to the crux of “Chapter 12: The Siege,” I want to acknowledge the adorable opening in which Mando tries (and fails) to get Baby Yoda to repair the ship's wiring. It's just another lovely instance that shows us how far their relationship has come. Moreover, the introductory scene is sure to remind the average viewer of a time when they too spent quality time with their parents, fixing stuff around the house…or at least trying to, anyway.
Ok, let's get down to business…to defeat…the Aqualish! Because that's what Cara Dune does in her re-introduction to the series. As the new marshal of Nevarro, she cleans up a den of Aqualish bandits and frees their dinner: a ferret-like creature that actually looks pretty normal as far as Star Wars creatures go. If the thieves look familiar to you, cast your mind back to Episode IV when Obi-Wan sliced off Ponda Baba's arm in the Mos Eisley Cantina.
Shortly thereafter, Mando lands on the planet, where Dune and Karga warmly greet him. The latter orders his best mechanics to fix the Razor Crest, but as the group walks into town, one of the mechanics looks back at them. Pretty sus, if you ask me. Karga has some business to discuss with Mando, but before they can get down to brass tacks, the Bounty Hunters' Guild leader drops The Child off at a local classroom (located in the former offices of Werner Herzog's Client from last season).
Class is in session, and it's being taught by a protocol droid (the same model as C-3PO), who is teaching the children about Coruscant, Corellia, Kessel, and the Akkadese Maelstrom — just a few places we've been to throughout the series thus far. Karga plops Baby Yoda in an open seat, and almost immediately, the eternally hungry little one steals another kid's cookies by using the Force (the first time he uses his overt powers this season). I mean, it's cool that BY is getting a proper education now, but come on, Mando, you need to teach your adopted son that thievery is wrong. What would Frog Lady say?!
Over at Karga's offices, Mando reunites with a character we haven't seen since the first episode of Season 1: Mythrol (played by SNL vet Horatio Sanz). You may recall that the slippery, blue-skinned alien was the first bounty ever collected by the show's titular protagonist. Well, after being frozen in carbonite, Mythrol is now working off his debt (several centuries of it) as Karga's personal assistant.
Karga and Dune tell Mando that they need (what else?) his help in destroying an old Imperial base on Nevarro. They say it's pretty much abandoned, but with the Empire still having any foothold on the planet, Nevarro will never be 100% safe. If they can get the base's reactor (powered by the planet's free-flowing lava) to blow, they can establish Nevarro as a firm trading hub for the entire sector.
It's basically Mando's lot in life to get roped into crazy schemes, heists, and raids at this point, so he agrees, and the group sets off in Mythrol's speeder. They get into the Imperial base and find it more heavily supported than Dune and Karga previously thought. Once again, displaying their reputation as terrible aimers, Stormtroopers are dispatched in the obligatory action set piece (you won't hear me complaining, though. I love em'!).
The core is set for detonation, but then the raiding party makes a horrific discovery. This isn't some rinky-dink old base; it's actually a lab where gruesome experiments are taking place. Like ***** trying to destroy evidence before fleeing a concentration camp, some Imperial grunts attempt to delete any data. Still, they're blasted before they can wipe the drives completely.
Our heroes discover a hologram of Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), informing Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) that despite some promising signs, all of the experiments have failed far. If they are to proceed, they need more blood samples from Baby Yoda, as he “highly doubts [they'll] find [another] donor with a higher M-count.” Yep, you heard that right, Star Wars fans. Welcome back, midichlorians!
The real question is: what kind of twisted result is Gideon trying to achieve with The Child's DNA? As CBR surmises, the nefarious plan may be centered around the goal of creating an army of Force-sensitive soldiers, not unlike the Cuis clones. It's not a bad theory by any stretch of the imagination and helps play up the parallels between the Empire and the Third Reich. After all, the ***** were obsessed with the concept of a “Master Race.” An unstoppable battalion of grunts powerful in the Force (particularly the Dark Side) is Gideon's best bet for restoring the Empire to its former glory.
Mando insists that this transmission must be old because Gideon is dead, but Mythrol delivers some bad news: the message is only three days old. Knowing that Gideon will get wise to his presence on Nevarro, Mando rushes back to the city center to make retrieve Baby Yoda.
Meanwhile, Dune, Karga, and Mythrol make a daring escape from the base, only to be chased by Scout Troopers (shoutout Return of the Jedi) and a slew of TIE Fighters. Karga can blast most of the enemies out of the sky, but his guns end up damaged.
At the last minute, the Razor Crest flies out of nowhere to take on the TIE Fighters. Thanks to the recent repairs, Mando can really put the ship through its paces; it's like watching a master at work as he weaves and blasts his way through the skies above Nevarro.
Oh, and Baby Yoda is buckled in, still munching on those pilfered cookies. Once the last TIE Fighter is taken care of, The Child spits up on himself. To be fair, it was a bit of a disorienting ride. Not wanting to linger too long before Gideon catches on to his whereabouts, the bounty hunter and his young charge take off once again.
After all the action, Karga is questioned about the explosion by Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), the New Republic pilot we saw two episodes ago. Karga denies knowing anything specific about the base's destruction and helps cover Mando's tracks when Teva insinuates that the Razor Crest was recently on-planet. Suspicious but satisfied, Teva steps outside and has a short exchange with Dune, stating that she'd make a valuable recruit to the New Republic.
Dune declines the offer, and Teva states that he knows something is going on in the Outer Rim, but the New Republic can't do jack squat about it “without local support.”
He goes on to remark that Dune is from Alderaan. “Did you lose anyone?” he asks, a rather indelicate inquiry as that entire planet was blown to smithereens by the first Death Star. As expected, Dune answers: “I lost everyone.” Teva tells Dune he's sorry for her loss and leaves her a medal encrusted with the Rebellion logo.
CUT TO: Moff Gideon's ship (menacingly cruising through space in a shot that recalls A New Hope). One of the mechanics that fixed Mando's ship informs Gideon's people that a tracking device has been implanted on the Razor Crest, which, as we know, is now headed for the city of Calodan on the forest planet of Corvus. Oh, brother — Mando is gonna lead Gideon (who's got some sort of Darth Vader-looking army of…is it droids?) not just to Baby Yoda, but Ahsoka Tano as well.
It's kind of hard to believe that we're already halfway through Season 2, but time flies when you're having fun, and so far, The Mandalorian has not disappointed one bit.
For our coverage of Season 2 thus far, click the links below:
Review/Recap: ‘The Mandalorian’ Gives Arrakis A Run For Its Money In Epic Season 2 Premiere
Review/Recap: ‘The Mandalorian’ Pays Homage To Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ In ‘Chapter 10: The Passenger’
Review/Recap: ‘The Mandalorian’ Hits The High Seas In ‘Chapter 11: The Heiress’