The Mandalorian

"Chapter 12: The Siege"

3 stars

Air date: 11/20/2020
Written by Jon Favreau
Directed by Carl Weathers

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

So, then: Is Moff Gideon building the First Order? And do those failed cloning experiments we see in the Imperial base on Nevarro have anything to do with the creation of Snoke or the resurrection of Palpatine? Those intriguing questions, along with the possibility of The Mandalorian tying into the larger Star Wars lore as a bridge between the original trilogy and the sequel trilogy, provide some chewy bits in what is primarily an entertaining hour (well, 39 minutes, including credits) of pyrotechnics.

I also get the sense that all those black suits in Gideon's metal wardrobe have a significance that goes beyond the film scope of my knowledge of Star Wars lore. When this series shows me something that seems to be appended with exclamation marks (see also: Darksaber) and I'm not sure why, then I have to assume I'm missing a few details. Either way, he's a Man With a Plan.

Those details provide some intrigue following an action show that hurtles from one big set piece to the next. Mando arrives on Nevarro, site of the very first episode's opening scene, where he's reunited with Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano), who enlist Djarin in a plot to infiltrate and destroy a nearby old Imperial base; they're joined by Mythrol (Horatio Sanz), who was recently freed from carbonite and lends some comic relief.

Since there isn't much to scrutinize besides the action, I'll say that some of this is really great — like the extended centerpiece where our heroes, in a tank-like Imperial transport, are chased through a ravine by TIE fighters strafing them. On the other hand, a lot of the shoot-em-ups on the base feel needlessly protracted and overly reliant on clichés where our heroes are vastly outnumbered and yet somehow able to overcome insane odds because stormtroopers are so incompetent.

For comic relief, which "The Siege" deploys effectively, we get Mythrol reluctantly bumbling his way through the action, and also Baby Yoda enlisted by Mando in a classic game of "red wire, blue wire," which ends with a comic electrocution (don't worry, he's okay). Also, a cute scene where the little tyke gets put in a classroom and uses the Force to steal his classmate's candy.

Previous episode: Chapter 11: The Heiress

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16 comments on this review

Yanks
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 9:37am (UTC -6)
Thanks Jammer!!
Leif
Sat, Nov 21, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -6)
Thanks so much for revieiwng this Jammer. Inalways find your reviews entertaining and therapeutic and often enlightening. As an aside, Woukd you PLEASE consider reviewing Doctor Who at some point. Or going back to finish Andromeda? It got better at the end.

Hope you and family are well.
John
Sat, Nov 21, 2020, 6:54pm (UTC -6)
Yeah, Doctor Who should be doable in a weekend or so. There's only about 38 seasons. Get on it Jammer!
Dr.Franklin A. Booze
Sat, Nov 21, 2020, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
I found myself getting annoyed in this episode with how stupidly incompetent storm troopers are. I know this has always been the case, but something different would be appreciated.
Dave in MN
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 12:54am (UTC -6)
I'm not a huge Star Wars expert, so does anyone know:

#1. Can the Darksaber be used only channeling the Dark Side?

#2. How much of the Empire is left over? I get the impression that the Outer Rim is a No Man's Land, but it still appears like the Empire has vast resources. The Republic controls the galactic center, right?

#3. What was I seeing in that last shot? Are those droid Mandalorians standing in alcoves? They looked vaguely Darth Vader-esque. (I thought of the Borg).

Anyways, other than the narrative shortcut of this one base happening to still exist on the other side of the planet, this was refreshing. Everyone behaved logically and that planet felt like a real alien place.

Baby Yoda is .... yeah, he's super cute and I love him. That scene with and the wires was fantastic: I'm astounded a pupoet can be so expressive and realistic.

Unfrozen Blue Fish Alien was very acted well, imagine my shock when I looked up the actor and saw it was Horatio Sans from SNL (of all people). I didn't think he was capable of that kind of nuanced performance, but I guess I was wrong.

Excellent scripting and direction. The cross fades don't come across as kitschy like you'd think they would. Sometimes a wipe really is better than a hard cut. The editing here is airtight.

Kudos to the composer for using more orchestral forces this season. I know Favreau wanted a more industrial type feel to the soundtrack, but the show feels the most Star Wars-y when a symphony orchestra playing a neo-romantic score swells in the background.

This is really enjoyable escapist fare.

⭐⭐⭐½
John
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 2:36am (UTC -6)
"I found myself getting annoyed in this episode with how stupidly incompetent storm troopers are. I know this has always been the case, but something different would be appreciated. "

Well, they've managed to hit Mando several times, which is something. Unfortunately this only further demonstrates their stupidity, because shouldn't they learn their blasters are ineffective against his armor?
Leif
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 3:23pm (UTC -6)
@ John lol I don't expect Jammer to do Doctor Who quickly. I figured just doing the revived series starting in 2005. I honestly forgot about before that because I've never seen it. That mightbe more doable over several years and his kids would probably like thst show too.
Leandro
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 4:00pm (UTC -6)
@Dave

1) Darksaber doesn't rely on the dark side at all; it is a symbol of the leader of Mandalore and was used at various times by multiple characters in Rebels and Clone Wars, including Bo-Katan herself. Red lightsabers, on the other hand, are the result of "bleeding" a lightsaber crystal using the dark side.

2) The answer to this depends on how much old canon from the Expanded Universe they want to reference in The Mandalorian. Probably a lot of empire left as in EU, but with a weakened New Republic as in the sequels.

3) Dark Troopers, originally from the Star Wars Dark Forces game from the 90s which is no longer considered canon. They're very bad news.
Yanks
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
This was lightyears better than last week.

Katee Sackhoff as... can't remember her name... Seems some Mandalorians take their helmets off :question:

Fighting for the retake of Mandor? I'm sure the dark sword thing will come into play somewhere here.

Nice to see Baby Yoda didn't eat the baby frog person thing. haha

Now Mando has some real intel as to where to go to reunite Baby Yoda with hhis kind.

This is the way!!
Yanks
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 6:39pm (UTC -6)
Sorry, wrong thread...
Dave in MN
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 9:03pm (UTC -6)
@ Leandro

Thanks so much!
MossBoss
Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 2:14am (UTC -6)
Hmmm, I was under the impression this all took place during the same day. So after the Mandalorian jet packed up out of the base there was maybe 5 minutes remaining on the clock? Then how did he jet pack all the way back to town, pick up the kid, and get in his ship (that was completely trashed but got fixed up good as new in a few hours), and then swoop in to save the day so quickly? That had me scratching my head at an otherwise enjoyable episode.
Mal01
Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 12:51pm (UTC -6)
This season so far has not gripped me nearly as much as season 1.

This episode has a mixed reaction from me. Something I liked about season 1 was the subdued and small conflicts, rather than things that could change the entire political climate of the galaxy. I enjoy that Mando is just a tiny part of the galaxy, rather than a Luke Skywalker, determining the fate of the galaxy at large. The story around Mando and Baby Yoda appears to be building to something that will likely be a, "If we don't stop Gideon the Empire will return!"

The small scale of Mando helping a village fight raiders who have an AT-ST and that one vehicle being almost overwhelming to overcome felt so cool in how scaled down it was...and in this ep, the good guys take out dozens of Stormtroopers, several speeder bikes, and a handful of Tie Fighters. It's a big scaling up in stakes and consequences that I'm not sure how I feel about.

So, specific thoughts on the ep:

- I liked the teases of the larger story and what Gideon is actually up to.

- Still iffy about Giancarlo Esposito...not because I don't like him (I think he's one of the best actors in the business and absolutely think he's an imposing, scary villain) but because he is EVERYWHERE right now. I mean, I just finished watching The Boys season 2, and he's one of the chief antagonists of that series, and is even the main antagonist in the next Far Cry game.

- The action/escape went on way too long. By the time the tie fighters came in to pick up where the speeders left off, I had become bored by the nearly silent 10min action scene by that point. I also felt like you could've skipped the speeders and gone right to the tie fighters and it would've yielded the same result.

- Great performances as usual for the most part, but I'm still struggling with Carl Weathers. His acting is basically the same as it was in Predator, but for some reason in this show his wooden delivery really clangs for me. Gina Carano is fantastic, though. My wife has mentioned that she really loves seeing a woman who's actually built and physically impressive in a role like this, as it is (sadly) very uncommon.

- Found Mando's save at the end jarring, only because he had just been at the base with them 10-ish mins ago. This means he jetpacked back to town, got Baby Yoda from the school, got to where his ship was (which was fully repaired, apparently?) and made it back in time to shoot down tie fighters.

- Where is the hooded guy we saw at the very end of ep 1, who had apparently been following Mando on Tattooine? Weird to drop a breadcrumb like that in ep 1 and have it still not paid off by ep 4?

Overall, still an excellent series and probably the best non-game thing SW has done since RotJ (maybe even better) but I really do prefer the quieter feel of season 1.
Mal01
Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 12:54pm (UTC -6)
@MossBoss Had the same thought, as I mentioned in my comment above. Kinda got the impression that the ep made sense more as a two-parter with a big of a time lapse inbetween. It also felt like the pacing dog wagged the story in this case, as the chase scene went on WAY too long, and I think was elongated to make Mando's rescue in the nick of time more believable when they realized the script didn't leave enough time for it to make sense.
Jammer
Tue, Nov 24, 2020, 11:09pm (UTC -6)
Review now posted.
Ian
Tue, Nov 24, 2020, 11:40pm (UTC -6)
I do like The Mandalorian but I'm concerned about it falling into repetitive decline. At the moment the series is very much like Kung Fu where the protagonist arrives at a new community in each episode and solves a problem. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But I hope we can see more episodes where Djarin doesn't do this.

Another thing is the continued ineptness of the Stormtroopers. In the previous episode Djarin was reluctant to join the other Mandalorians in taking the Imperial freighter. But the four of them were able to do it despite the presence of dozens of Stormtroopers onboard. Here in "The Siege" another Imperial stronghold is penetrated and none of our heroes get hurt. Knowing that the Stormtroopers can't shoot and kill their targets really undermines them as a foe and reduces dramatic tension.

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