Nearly a year ago, The Mandalorian, a Star Wars spin-off series, debuted on Disney+ to great acclaim, satisfying critics, longtime fans, and Star Wars newbies alike. The addition of a new character, the Child, better known as “Baby Yoda,” reinvigorated the IP, packing it full of adorable energy, and the show’s titular character, the Mandalorian (Mando), kicked some serious space-ass, protecting the Child from all of the baddies that wanted to scrub the little guy out. This second season, though just a single episode in, promises more of the same Space Western questing that made the first season a success.
When we last saw the Mandalorian and his ward, Mando was tasked with reuniting the Child with what remains of his kind. In order to find the survivors of the Child’s race, he must solicit the help of additional Mandalorians.
After gaining information from Gor Koresh (John Leguizamo, The Pest) the first leg in this journey finds Mando and the Child heading back to Tatooine, to the mining settlement of Mos Pelgo. Here, the pair meet the Marshal, Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant, Deadwood & Justified) who is decked out in Mandalorian armor. Vanth doesn’t have information on the whereabouts of the Mandalorian that Mando is looking for but he is willing to trade away his armor in exchange for some help dealing with the Krayt Dragon whose presence and insatiable appetite plagues the people of Mos Pelgo.
In order to slay the desert leviathan, Mando and Vanth must team-up with Tusken Raiders whom Vanth despises. After an epic showdown with the beast, Mando and the Child resume their journey.
The episode’s final scene features a mysterious onlooker, eyeing the Mandalorian and the Child from the shadows as they speed through the Tatooine desert. Fans of the series will instantly recognize the performer–whose identity will spoil the surprise–portraying the peculiar figure; the inclusion of this character is a bit of a gamechanger and will leave fans eager for more of The Mandalorian.
If you’re looking for a different viewing experience than what The Mandalorian offered last season, you’re going to be disappointed with ‘The Marshal;’ however, if you’re tuning in to get your weekly dose of the Child, then you’ll be pleased. From its ominous opening scene through to it mysterious final moments, ‘The Marshal’ is entertaining and humorous and gives good reason for viewers to keep coming back, week after week. The gargantuan Krayt Dragon–seen first, only as remains, in Star Wars: A New Hope–is the highlight of the episode. The conflict with this leviathan is a large-scale, multi-scene spectacle that, ultimately leads to a satisfying conclusion. But the episode isn’t perfect…
Timothy Olyphant’s performance, as the Mandalorian armor wearing lawman of Mos Pelgo, Cobb Vanth is solid, and his episode-long arc, satisfying. Again though, his inclusion, save for the donning of Bobba Fett’s armor, doesn’t do much for the series.
I have doubts about The Mandalorian, concerned mostly with the formulaic approach sustaining interest, and ‘The Marshal’ only further affirmed my uncertainty. While this RPG-like progression gets the job done, I don’t know how long The Mandalorian’s distraction-of-the-week formula will work without the inclusion of additional depth-of-story. The Season 2 premiere does nothing by way of moving the series, not the plot, forward. One-shot episodes are fine, so long as the connective tissue that links them remains evident and interesting; right now, this isn’t an issue, but if the rest of this season doesn’t raise the bar, it very well may become one.
The spectacle is alive and well, but for how long?
Despite my concerns, I’ll be tuning in for the rest of Season 2 of The Mandalorian, even if only to get in my weekly Star Wars fix.
The Bottom Line
‘The Marshal’ gets Season 2 of The Mandalorian off to a strong start, promising more of the same Space Western questing that made the first season a success. The Child remains adorable, the Mandalorian continues to be a badass, and this episode’s ending, by introducing a new player in this game, generates a great deal of momentum that will continue to carry the series for another few episodes.