The first episode of Season 2 of the Disney+ original series “The Mandalorian” was very well-received by critics and fans, garnering much hype and expectation for the next week’s episode. Did the new chapter in “The Mandalorian” story deliver on that hype?
In short — it depends.
In last week’s review, we discussed the serialized nature of storytelling in “The Mandalorian,” how almost every episode is a self-contained adventure. Though there are through lines between all the episodes, most of the episodes are “story-of-the-week” type affairs and are independent of the overarching story.
Some fans love this style of storytelling while others Star Wars fanatics do not. Now a TV series is never going to please everybody, but this is the main point of clash in critical response to the overall well-received Disney+ original series.
To dive into Chapter 10, this episode will be a talking point in the discussion of this series’ storytelling structure. The episode picks up right where Chapter 9 left off and does so quite successfully. One of the great things of this series is the fact that it maintains realism in its storyline. Though it has the serialized structure, the titular character and his toddler companion aren’t venturing around the galaxy aimlessly. Each episode, for the most part, leads into the other, though their respective stories aren’t necessarily connected. That being said, Chapter 10 bears little connection to the premiere episode of Season 2, other than the opening, and tells a largely contained storyline. Because of that, critics of the series will be sure to claim that this episode does not develop the overall plot.
While it doesn’t build on the main plotline, it does a fantastic job at expanding the world of the series and setting up the next episode. The plot of the episode deals immensely with the current status of the Star Wars galaxy. “The Mandalorian” is set between the original trilogy and the sequel trilogy, a few years after the second Death Star destruction in the famous Battle of Endor. The Empire, it appears, has been overthrown and the New Republic reigns. The story of this episode deals with the changing times in the galaxy and gives a bit of detail and setup on that front. That being said, the main focus of the episode has little to do with world-building and all to do with setting up future episodes, developing the storyline of the current season. The episode also has some well-executed horror aspects, which may come as a surprise to some viewers. They yet again showcase the ability for the series to shift genre on a dime, showing all the creative possibilities in the Star Wars galaxy.
Like the other episodes in the series, the action choreography is absolutely fantastic. Every fight is orchestrated realistically, showcasing the intelligence and physical abilities of the titular hero. The visual effects, yet again, are insanely good. This may be a bold statement, but I will go as far to say the visual effects are better quality than those for most films. TV series, for the most part, are notorious for bad visual effects due to the low production budget, but big budget series like “The Mandalorian” and “Game of Thrones” are disproving that historical truth. But the budget doesn’t make everything easier either. Due to the series grounded tone, the creatures and environments have to be essentially photo-realistic. This makes the visual effects process all the more difficult, but the artists and designers behind the scenes do an incredible job at delivering on every detail. This episode really showcases their Emmy-award winning work.
All that being said, this episode does struggle with a few things. The main flaw is that its story feels a little jumbled and non-cohesive. There are themes present in the storyline but they don’t feel all that connected, leaving the episode feeling like elements thrown together, without a thematic story. This episode also arguably has the most comedic elements of any one so far, though not all the elements hit. There is one joke that runs throughout the episode, which is played for comedic purposes, though due to the context of the situation it may be difficult to find funny.
Overall, this episode showcases the strengths of the series, explores a new genre, though struggles in a few aspects, making it fall slightly below the previous episode.
Episode Rating: 4.1/5
Season 2 Rating (Thus Far): 4.15/5