Warning: This episode contains spoilers for season 2, episode 3 of ‘The Mandalorian’
“Star Wars: The Mandalorian” just took its first step into a larger world, and its most recent episode forecast smooth sailing ahead.
“The Mandalorian” aired the third episode of its second season — titled “The Heiress” — Friday morning, taking the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and the Child (Baby Yoda) to the high seas on the planet Trask. Completing the mission set out the previous week, the duo arrive on Trask and immediately search for a bounty hunter. Soon, Mando is reunited with a famous Mandalorian among “Star Wars” fans named Bo-Katan Kryze, who brings him on a short mission.
The episode is packed with everything we love from “The Mandalorian” — cute moments from Baby Yoda, callbacks to other “Star Wars” franchises, excellent cinematography and a wild teaser that sets us on the path for next episode. “The Mandalorian” truly keeps getting better and better, and this episode was no different.
That said, there’s some attention to detail in the recent episode that raises questions for how the show will portray other worlds and cultures.
Here are some takeaways from the recent episode. Again, the review includes spoilers for the recent episode.
The ‘Clone Wars’ callbacks did not feel forced.
The immediate conversation will surround the arrival of Bo-Katan Kryze, a Mandalorian from “The Clone Wars” animated series who made her first live-action appearance in this episode. Katee Sackhoff, who voiced the character, returned for the role, which made the transition seamless. Bo-Katan talked about the darksaber and even mentioned the “Clone Wars” Jedi, Ahsoka Tano, who has become a major character in the “Star Wars” universe.
The biggest fear heading into the new season was that the “Clone Wars” references would feel forced and like pandering to fans. Encouragingly, the references felt like a natural fit for the show. It didn’t feel forced or over the top. We’ve already seen the darksaber on the show in the season 1 finale. We knew then that the worlds of “Clone Wars” and “The Mandalorian” would collide, and this only added more to that plot.
Critics might say the show is bringing “The Mandalorian” closer to a story about the Skywalkers, and it’s not letting it live on its own. That might be true. We don’t need every “Star Wars” story to connect to each other. But isn’t that the will of the Force — to bring people together in mysterious ways? The Force always has a plan. This is the way. “Star Wars” revels in bringing fated individuals together.
They totally got the fishing town, dock vibe wrong.
The newest episode brought Mando and the Child to a docking and fishing port on the planet Trask. Immediately, I thought of the Massachusetts bay towns like Gloucester or Newburyport — small towns on the water where people catch fish and dock ships. These towns are dirty, a little hard and gritty, and not clean at all.
On Trask, all the boatmen seem like they just bought their clothes from a nearby Gap store. The ship doesn’t seem too dirty or scraped up like you’d expect them to be. The grittiness and hard-nosed lifestyle seemed absent from a lot of the people they show on Trask. It’s a small thing — not necessarily a problem for the show overall. But attention to detail can make these worlds feel a little more real. In this episode, Trask felt like a planet pretending to be a harbor — not like one itself.
We got a new look at the Empire.
We get a brief look at the failing Empire in this episode. Cadets and admirals cower as the Mandalorian and his new team of friends capture their ship. But this isn’t your parents’ Empire. The admirals were comedic and lighthearted as they looked to shut out the Mandalorians on their ship. They scrambled for safety. The confidence wasn’t there.
And then, at the end of the episode, the Empire chooses to embrace the motto “Long live the Empire!” and try to crash their ship into the sea. If they can’t have their ship, no one can. This isn’t a mentality we saw in the original trilogy, which, in the timeline, happened five years before this show. The Empire gleamed with confidence. This Empire seems ready to accept defeat.
It’s an interesting moment because it shows the Empire is no longer in control, and it has taken new steps to stay alive, even if that means losing ships in the process.
Fans will be excited for what’s next.
I wouldn’t say “The Heiress” had the best cliffhanger of the “Mandalorian” episodes. That award still might go to the finale of season 1. But still, Bo-Katan ends the episode by telling Mando to head to the city of Calodan on the planet Corvus to find Ahsoka Tano — the famous Jedi from “The Clone Wars.”
I don’t know if “Star Wars” fans could be more excited for this return. Ahsoka has long been rumored to join the show, and she hasn’t been seen since “The Clone Wars” finale (which was one of the best moments in “Star Wars”).
Bringing Ahsoka Tano into the show is a major risk. She is a star of an animated show and won over millions of fans. Bringing her into live-action will be a risk. If she doesn’t work for viewers, or if she feels too forced or too much like pandering, then that’s going to be a problem.
That said, the show brought in Bo-Katan perfectly well in this show. And it provides an exciting outlook for what’s to come.