Last year The Mandalorian starring Pedro Pascal was a surprise hit for Disney. While I had every faith it would good I never considered it would have such an electrifying effect on the Star Wars fanbase. For Disney it allowed them to put the waning Sequel Trilogy to sleep. While it also helped attract a new audience to Star Wars. With the help of Baby Yoda of course, one of the best bets Disney ever made regarding merchandising. Today the Jon Favreau helmed series is back with an episode both written and directed by him. While it is not the best outing the episode entitled Chapter 9: The Marshall offers plenty of fun moments mixed with references to past Star Wars events. The episode starts with Mando hoping to get directions to a nearby Mandalorian coven. Only to be betrayed. Of course manages to turn the tables.
So after the introduction Mando and Baby Yoda set off to Tatooine. Star Wars fans will known that the only Mandalorian on the desert planet is Boba Fett who may or may not have survived his fall into the Sarlacc pit. If he did survive there is no guarantee he will help Mando find any Jedi. Instead he could just end up killing Mando to ensure his supremacy amongst bounty hunters. On Tatooine we are not cheated out of the small cameo of Amy Sedaris as Peli Motto, the witty mechanic who took a liking to Baby Yoda. From her Mando receives instructions to scour Mos Pelgo, a lost outpost, for a Mandalorian. Once there the episode goes all-in on the Western gun-slinging theme. At the outpost Mando is confronted by the Marshal (Timothy Olyphant) who just happens to be wearing Mandalorian armor, that of Boba Fett.
Where to go
This episode initially is not clear on the direction it will take. I considered the Marshal’s taunts a sure invitation to be shot. A tense standoff ensues when Mando demands the Marshall remove his armor. It is only interrupted by nothing less than a Krayt Dragon whose behavior and looks appear to be inspired by the Worms from Frank Herbert’s Dune. Which is a nod to the fact that Herbert did sue George Lucas. Despite their earlier standoff they make a deal. The Marshall will hand over the armor in return for Mando’s help in killing the Krayt Dragon. And so, a quest starts, based on the age-old rule of ‘something-for-something’. It will be the first of many such deals throughout the episode. Soon Mando and Marshall team up with a group of Tusken Raiders who despite well-established lore do not attempt to kill the three intruders outright.
Jon Favreau sure did his homework. Mando and Marshall’s time with the Tusken Raiders is a clear nod to Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn while the Krayt Dragon is a reference to Knight of the Old Republic. The combined forces of Marshall, Mando and the Tusken Raiders fail to kill the dragon upon their first encounter. And so the villagers of Mos Pelgo are recruited to aid them. As there is plenty of animosity between the two groups it brings a new dynamic to the story. Meanwhile, through flashbacks we learn how the Marshall became the protector of Mos Pelgo. After the destruction of the Second Deathstar the village was taken over by a mining consortium who killed most of its residents. The Marshall managed to flee and was rescued by Jawas, from them he bartered Boba Fett’s Armor and defeated the consortium.
Krayt Dragon kill == level up
Most of the episode thus comes off as a feel-good story. The quest to kill the Krayt Dragon does start to drag in the final act. Somewhat predictably the dragon evades the next attempt at killing it and a number of raiders and villagers are killed. In the end it is Mando who allows himself to swallowed up along with a Bantha strapped with explosives. Mando just in time manages to evade the explosion that kills the Dragon. After their victory the Tusken Raiders discover the fabled pearl inside the animal’s carcass. The Marshall keeps to his end of the bargain and hands over the armor. Mando leaves the scene considering his quest so far to have failed. As Mando rides into the sunset he is observed by a man on a hill. As the man turns, we see that it is Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett.
Final words on Chapter 9: The Marshal
And so that was it for the first episode of The Mandalorian’s second season – Chapter 9: The Marshal. While this story was fun it certainly did not set the series on fire, for that it was too restrictive in scope and too predictable. But you cannot have an episode such as Chapter 8: Redemption every time. The occasions that Jon Favreau managed some misdirection were the episode’s best. With Mando’s encounter with the Marshall the former was perceived as a bad guy coming to prey on the people of Mos Pelgo. This shows just how good and bad can be a matter of perspective. I keep by my criticism of the second half of this episode. The quest to kill the Krayt Dragon took too long and ultimately did not feel rewarding, even as a fan I noticed the many references.
Mando’s and Baby Yoda’s quest to find a Mandalorian continues and it may just be that they being stalked by one. Next week the series will return with chapter 10. If you liked this exposition on The Mandalorian Chapter 9: The Marshal then please subscribe by filling in the widget on the right!