The Mandalorian S2E6: The Tragedy

by thethreepennyguignol

Okay, I have a Star Wars confession to make. Long have I tried to keep this a secret (not really), but it’s time – this latest episode of The Mandalorian, The Tragedy, gives me no other choice but to expose myself and beg for forgiveness in front of all the rest of you Star Wars mavens, and people who are just here because Baby Yoda is cute and jetpacks are cool.

I don’t care about Boba Fett.

There, I said it. When I first watched the original trilogy as naught but a bairn, I doubt I would even have listed that guy with the jetpack who got eaten by the pit in Jedi in my top twenty things that I loved about the movies. The insane hype around this character is something that’s always felt kind of…foreign to me? I get that different aspects of the universe appeal to different people, and, after the insane pandering to me personally of last week’s episode, I’m not going to get on my high horse and say that The Mandalorian should ignore that. But Boba Fett? Does nothing for me. Did almost less for me after the backstory that was dropped in the prequel series. He’s a bounty hunter, cool! That’s a nice bit of colour for the story. Can we move on now? As far as characters I cared about in the Star Wars universe, Boba Fett is about on the same level as the Kowakian monkey who sits on Jabba the Hutt’s shoulder; a nice detail, a decent bit of world-building, but not fundamentally that interesting in and of himself.

I’ve been trying to ignore the impending re-arrival of Boba Fett in this show for as long as I could, because truly, I don’t care that much. When I heard that Temuera Morrison was going to be in the second season, I was holding out hope that he might be reprising his role as one of the Clone troopers – retired and living out his life in a post-war story somewhere, navigating what it meant to be created for a purpose for which he was no longer needed or suited.

But no! Of course, it’s Boba Fett. And this week, the inevitable happens, and Boba Fett drops into The Mandalorian in a chaotic episode that honestly kind of sucks.

To my surprise, though, it’s not Boba Fett that annoys me this week. When I woke up this morning and saw his name trending on Twitter, it was with a heavy heart that I trudged towards the aptly-named The Tragedy. But, while I’m still not convinced that I get the hype around Fett any more than I did before this episode started, it’s a solid guest spot for Morrison (and Ming Na-Wen as Fennec Shard, returning from season one). Morrison has a whole lot of presence, and is clearly having a great time embodying the iconic character – he’s tracked Mando down to Magic Jedi Circle Land to reclaim the armour that we picked up in the first episode of the season, and it’s good stuff. Both him and Shard allow for some great action sequences, and I appreciated Morrison appearing not as BOBA FETT, FAN FAVOURITE, LEGENDARY ICON, but as just…some guy who’s really getting in the way of some quality Din-Grogu bonding time.

No, this episode managed to mes it up in other ways. This is the end of our second act, the big moment where we set up the conflict for the finale, and it was always inevitably going to revolve around Grogu getting pinched by Giancarlo Spaceposito and his crew and leaving Din (as well as Fett and Shard) to make chase. But the way The Mandalorian introduced this is just – this is a really mess of an episode, to be honest.

The pacing is all over the place, super-clunky and messy, and sticking Boba Fett into this leaves little time for any organic character introduction for him, the show just pausing to turn directly to camera to explain who he is to anyone who might not know once he’s got his armour back instead of working in something more organic. Grogu is stolen about seven minutes before the end, and leaves Din to run off and start putting together his crew, a little bit, sort of, with Cara Dune before the credits roll. Oh, and then we have to jump back to Grogu and Spaceposito again, to show Grogu chucking about some soldiers before Spaceposito flashes him a badly-animated laser sword and grins evilly, and oh, Boba Fett’s coming to help with the rescue, too, did we mention?

This feels distinctly like an episode of set-up, one that is trying to move all the pieces into the places they need to be before the finale takes place more than it does a story in its own right. I’ve had issues with other episodes this season, but The Tragedy is the first that feels as though it’s not really bothering to tell a self-contained story in its own right – this is very much just a chunk of a story, and when those credits rolled, I was pretty damn unsatisfied. I certainly don’t mind The Mandalorian focusing in on a season-long plot, but I do have a problem with them doing it in such a clunky, ugly fashion. The writing is weak, the storytelling feels lacking, and, as we come into the final few episodes of this season – I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

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(header image via Cinema Blend)