The first two episodes of the second season of “The Mandalorian” were adored by critics and fans alike. Could Chapter 11 match the success of the first two chapters?
It doesn’t just match the first two, it exceeds them.
This is the best episode of the new season thus far and one of the best of the overall series. It not only delivers a great contained adventure storyline, it also does major setup for the future of this season and the show.
Previously, we discussed how some fans were disappointed with the relatively little development in the overall story in the first two episodes of the new season. This series, at its core, embodies serialized, adventure-a-week storytelling, but that is a warranted complaint.
That complaint cannot be made any longer. This episode does more to set up future storylines and plot points more than probably any other chapter up until this point. By introducing new characters (who may or may not be new for other, more invested Star Wars fans) and having some well-executed scenes of expository dialogue, this chapter does a strong job of setting up what may come down the line in this hit Star Wars series.
The strengths of the episode are essentially the same as the strengths of previous ones, but are taken to new heights in this chapter.
Revolutionary visual effects have been at the root of Star Wars since the original film released in 1977. “The Mandalorian” continues that tradition. We’re at a point in this series where the visual effects are so good, you can’t tell what’s real and what’s computer-generated. By combining practical, costumed characters and environments with CGI characters and Lucasfilm’s new Volume, this series makes bringing alien planets come to life look easy.
On top of this, the episode does a fantastic job at showing us another side of the galaxy. Creator Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni have discussed how they want to tonally explore the “scum and villainy” of the galaxy through the series. “Chapter 11” hits on that theme yet again. Even the most minor characters in the series are given enough characterization to make them feel real, and for us to understand what their daily lives entail. The environments create an atmosphere that feels lived-in and rough, like we – just like the titular Mandalorian – are visiting somewhere new and unknown.
Of course, another strength of this episode is the action. Every episode this season has had fantastic action, but this one is definitely at the top of the list. With great set pieces, intense situations and slick fight choreography, the fight scenes build story and character while also delivering great spectacle. One of the strengths of “The Mandalorian” has been that none of its action sequences have felt repetitive or unoriginal. That is a common complaint about the Star Wars films, especially in the sequel trilogy – there aren’t many ways to vary a spaceship battle or lightsaber duel, especially when they are between the same characters. “The Mandalorian” has had originality in every episode and does not appear to be losing it anytime soon.
The only flaw for this episode is its runtime and pacing. This is a short episode that includes a lot of information. I think it could have been slower paced in parts and extended certain scenes, as some felt arbitrarily cut off before their natural ending point. Still, this series prides itself on its concise execution and this episode surely does show that, though it could’ve taken its time a little more.
Nonetheless, this is one the best episodes of the series so far. “The Mandalorian” is steadily becoming a must-watch for every – even small – Star Wars fan. This series shows just what makes Star Wars so fun to watch.
Episode Rating: 4.7/5
Season 2 Rating (Thus Far): 4.33/5