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EPISODE: “Chapter 12: The Siege” – Written by Jon Favreau and directed by Carl Weathers.

SYNOPSIS: The Mandalorian rejoins old allies for a new mission.

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REVIEW (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE): After last week’s chapter, “The Heiress”, we learned that Mando was going to meet Ahsoka Tano, bringing the fan-favorite character out of animated STAR WARS lore and into live-action. But, did you really think it was going to occur in the very next episode? As any well-crafted television series would, the reveal of a major moment like that must be teased for as long as possible. So while we are likely to see Ahsoka next week (Chapter 5 is written and directed by Dave Filoni who created Ahsoka), this week brings us another mission of the week tale. Before you groan and roll your eyes, know that this week also features some familiar faces from season one.

“The Siege” opens with a group of Aqualish criminals ransacking an old Mandalorian covert. Before they can get away, Cara Dune (Gina Carano) storms in and takes them out. Communicating with Greef Carga (Carl Weathers, who also directed this episode), we learn that Dune is Marshal of Navarro and keeping the peace. Still in need of repairs, Mando and The Child trying to fix the ship in a comedic moment that lightens the mood before a pretty serious chapter. Knowing they need a pitstop, Mando heads to Navarro. They are greeted by their friends who offer to repair the Razor Crest in exchange for some help. They leave The Child in a classroom where we see the kid covet a classmate’s blue cookies. Heading to Carga’s office, we see Mythrol (Horatio Sanz), the first bounty Mando collected in the series premiere. Carga’s former accountant who embezzled, Mythrol is working off a 350-year sentence at his old job.

The mission turns out to be taking out an old Imperial outpost on the other side of the planet. Supposedly running with a skeleton crew, Mando, and the team head for the base to overload it with lava and destroy it. When they arrive, they break in and find a larger number of stormtroopers than anticipated. Taking them out carefully, the team makes their way towards the core of the base. Mythrol successfully initiates the overload but as they make their way out, they find odd experiments and realize this was a research facility. Triggering a hologram from Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) citing their use of The Child’s blood in their tests. Due to his high midi-chlorian count, we can assume these are Force-related experiments. Mando departs via jetpack to make sure The Child is safe, leaving the rest to get to the speeder.

Pinned down, Cara Dune commandeers an Imperial cargo ship and they bust out of the base. As lava begins to overtake it, a group of troopers on speeder bikes pursue Cara, Greef, and Mythrol. They fire back and take out the speeders before TIE fighters take their place. Narrowly evading the TIE fighters, it appears they are about to be destroyed when the newly repaired Razor Crest comes out of the sky and destroys the Imperial ship. It is a very cool action sequence that blends a heavy amount of CGI with some cool angles that look a lot like the speeder chase from RETURN OF THE JEDI. Everyone celebrates and The Child vomits up his blue cookies. Rather than stay, Mando bids farewell as he heads for Corvus and Ahsoka Tano.

Back at Carga’s office, Captain Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) asks about what led to the Imperial base being destroyed. He asks about the Razor Crest but Greef Carga plays dumb and says “this isn’t Coruscant”. The Captain seems dubious but still leaves. On his way out the door, he talks with Cara Dune and says they could use official support in this sector but Dune says she is not a joiner. They discuss Cara’s family she lost on Alderaan and the Captain leaves a Republic badge behind if she changes her mind. We then shift to an Imperial ship in space where one of the mechanics on Navarro confirms they activated a transponder on the Razor Crest. An Imperial officer then heads to Moff Gideon and confirms that they are tracking Mando who is still in possession of The Child. As Moff Gideon vows to capture the asset, we see the room is full of Dark Troopers.

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STAR WARS UNIVERSE REFERENCES: The first aliens we see are Aqualish, a baboon-like species first seen in A NEW HOPE. In the classroom scene, the protocol droid can be heard explaining about the Kessel Run area of the galaxy including Coruscant and the Akkadese Maelstrom. Mythrol’s land-speeder looks to be a similar model to Luke Skywalker’s. We see an Imperial code cylinder in use. The hologram of Dr. Pershing references M-count which refers to Midichlorians. Captain Teva mentions The Core Worlds, the main planets of the system. The Dark Troopers at the end were first seen in the video game Star Wars: Dark Forces. The lab technician in that scene wears an insignia for the Imperial Department of Military Research first seen in the 1989 Star Wars role-playing game.

COOLEST SCENE: The escape from the Imperial base was by far the best action sequence of the series so far. Seeing speeder bikes heading down a canyon while the Razor Crest comes out of the sky was an excellent use of CGI and really well edited. Nice job, Carl Weathers!

FINAL VERDICT:  There have been rumblings of tensions behind the scenes of The Mandalorian concerning Pedro Pascal. The rumors said the actor would be featured less prominently as this season went on but I couldn’t see how you can make a series about The Mandalorian without The Mandalorian. This episode has the least amount of screentime for Mando of any in the series. While it works into the plot, the second half of this episode is heavily focused on Cara Dune and Greef Carga. This could be laying the groundwork for a spin-off series or it could be a coincidence. 

Whichever the case, “The Siege” features a lot of teases for what is coming. Moff Gideon certainly has a lot of plans and now he can track the Razor Crest which means we will see him potentially showdown with Mando and Ahsoka shortly. But aside from those few minutes of juicy details, the rest of this episode didn’t live up to the rest of this season so far. It was nice to see old friends again, but Mando needs to stop treading water and move forward. (7/10)

NEXT ON THE MANDALORIAN: Chapter 13 premieres Friday, November 27th at 3 am EST on Disney+.

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