The Mandalorian S2E3: The Heiress
Look, if there’s one thing that The Mandalorian can do to get me back on side after a slight wobble last week, it’s by peeling open by skull and shoving it’s fingers into the big, squidgy, The Clone Wars part of my brain and wiggling them around until something lights up.
Which is exactly, basically, what this week’s episode of The Mandalorian, The Heiress, delivered to me. If you haven’t seen The Clone Wars (which, honestly, what excuse do you have at this point? Don’t you want to see spider-legs Darth Maul?), I don’t think that this episode (or likely the rest of this season) are going to be prohibitively lore-heavy; in fact, if The Heiress is anything to go by, they’re going to strike a balance between shameless fanservice for people who never got over the expanded universe, and straightforward character introductions and plot movement for those who did.
It’s a difficult balance to pull off, but I’m seriously impressed with how this episode managed to handle the re-introduction of Bo-Katan, an iconic and genuinely fucking fantastic character from The Clone Wars, as played by Katee Sackhoff (who I love so very much that one half of my pen-name comes from her character Kara Thrace in Battlestar Galactica, for the record). She and a group of other Mandalorians (but not like that) help rescue Din and The Child from a bunch of pirates intent on making off with Din’s armour (and honestly, I am a little sad that we didn’t get the full Space Pirate fantasy this episode, if only because the pirate-y reworking of the theme that we glimpsed at the start of the episode was so damn good), and enlist his help on a mission to take an Imperial freight under their control.
Bo-Katan’s involvement in this episode feels like a genuinely organic way to move the plot forward (as she points Mando in the direction of Ahsoka Tano, Queen of my Heart and genuinely the main reason I’m reviewing this season of this show), and a really well-placed treat for fans of the expanded universe; she’s true to her animated counterpart, and Sackhoff brings that steely but not entirely by-the-book command to Katan in a way that just works for me. Bryce Dallas Howard (who directed the best episode of last season, Sanctuary) is back behind the camera again, and she really breathes some watery life into the striking backdrop of Trask, along with a killer action scene as Bo-Katan and her crew take the Imperial freight.
Baby Yoda is, as in all the best episodes of this show, basically a device to keep the plot trundling onward, and only pops up to coo and giggle a couple of times over the course of this tight forty-minute outing. The Heiress is an episode focused on moving things forward, and that feels necessary after last week, but it finds a way to balance that with some indulgence from the past, too.
In terms of fitting The Mandalorian in as a piece of the expanded universe puzzle, this episode might be one of the best yet – and it’s only just getting started. Ahsoka Tano is finally back of the cards, and I am beyond buzzing to see her in her first live-action appearance in the series. Yes, this one might have been an indulgence for the Star Wars geek in me – but if I can’t indulge that here, where the hell can I?
(header image via ReleaseHive)