This week ‘The Mandalorian’ does classic French cinema. A large portion of the episode revolves around transporting explosive materials in a truck across bumpy terrain. This is lifted straight from Henri-Georges Clouzot’s ‘The Wages Of Fear’ from 1953 (or William Friedkin’s far less successful remake ‘Sorcerer’ from 1977). But don’t worry, this homage is spectacular.
Rick Famuyiwa returns to direct his third episode of the show, this time he has sole writing credit, and he brings back Bill Burr’s character Mayfeld from his previous episode. Famuyiwa doesn’t hang around with his storytelling and following the template of recent episodes this chapter zips along.
Last weeks cliffhanger that Din is going to spring Mayfeld from a New Republic prison is resolved before the opening credits. The main story revolves around infiltrating an old but still operational Imperial facility to find Moff Gideon’s location. Again there will be accusations that this is all filler but it makes sense that Din will have to find out where Gideon is and his beliefs are challenged again which is developing his character.
Djarin adopts the disguise of a tank trooper to enter the Imperial base and his changing of helmets is questioned by Mayfeld. Mayfeld points out that there is a difference between not removing your Mandalorian helmet and not showing your face. The foundations of Din’s beliefs have been chipped away this season and this leads to the helmet coming off for the second time in the series during a moment of crisis. Final we get to spend some quality time with Pascal’s face and he is allowed to emote properly.
Bill Burr has stepped up his acting game from his previous appearance. His character has clearly been through some shit and you can see it in his eyes when he is sharing a drink with a former commanding officer. We get a mention of Operation Cinder, which is one of the main plot points from the ‘Battlefront II’ game, from the officer (played by Richard Brake, a great addition to the ranks of sneering Imperial officers) and the revelation they he killed thousands of his own men to take a planet. This literally triggers Mayfeld who shoots the officer and this leads to a great escape sequence.
You have Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) sniping various varieties of stormtroopers from a hill top while a freshly painted Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), looking better than he has ever before, swoops in on Slave 1 to rescue Din and Mayfeld from the roof of the facility. The scene finishes with the return of the greatest sound effect in history, Slave 1’s seismic charge.
The episode wraps up with Din sending a message to Gideon setting up the season finale to be a Star Wars version of ‘Taken’. I cannot wait.
It’s worth pointing out that Grogu doesn’t appear in this episode proving that this is more than just the ‘Baby Yoda’ show.
I’m not saying that ‘The Mandalorian’ is better than the films but I would love to see it on the big screen.