***WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for Season 2, Episode 3 of The Mandalorian!***
The third episode of The Mandalorian‘s second season — “Chapter 11: The Heiress” — was a bit shorter this week (only 35 minutes), but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in a deepening of [Manda]lore. Fresh off their ice spider adventure from last week, Mando (Pedro Pascal), Baby Yoda, and Frog Lady (Misty Rosas) finally make their way to Trask (a port/fishery planet) after drifting through space. With the landing array shot, Mando brings the ship into the atmosphere manually.
The Razor Crest nearly burns up, but Mando (with some help from his amphibious passenger) nearly lands the vessel without a hitch. Unfortunately, there's an engine mishap at the last minute, and the ship drops into the water. A multi-legged crane apparatus fish it out, and we get our first good look at Trask, which is mostly populated by Mon Calamari and the squid-faced Quarren.
Since the Mon Calamari is once again getting the time to shine in the Star Wars universe, I'd be remiss if I didn't drop an “IT'S A TRAP!” here. Admiral Ackbar is still alive in this pre-sequel trilogy timeline, of course, and while he didn't make an appearance in “Chapter 11,” his famous catchphrase still applies. What am I talking about? Well, Mando pays a Mon Calamari dock worker 1000 credits to fix his ship, only to get lackluster bodywork in return. That transaction was a scam or, to quote the good Admiral, a trap.
Anyway, Frog Lady enjoys a touching reunion with her husband (John Cameron), who fertilizes her (remaining) eggs, allowing the croaking couple to continue their genetic line. Upon their arrival, Mando is briefly watched by a cloaked figure, who later turns out to be Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks), a member of the Nite Owls, the elite Mandalorian unite led by Bo-Katan Kryze.
Remember when I said this episode deepens the lore? What makes this episode so cool is that it ties directly into Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the animated series created by Mandalorian executive producer/writer Dave Filoni. “The Heiress” refers to Kryze, one of the last true Mandalorians looking to restore the planet Mandalore to its former glory by sitting on its throne. Kryze is played by Battlestar Galactica‘s Katee Sackhoff, who originally voiced the character in Clone Wars and Rebels, thus marking a notable jump to live-action.
That is just insanely awesome and a mark of the production's reverence for what's already been established. That said, I got way ahead of myself there. Once on Trask, Mando heads to a local tavern where he buys some chowder for his ravenous young charge (the chowder, it turns out, bites back in a small recreation of the Dianoga-trash compactor scene in A New Hope). The tavern's gruff Qaurren proprietor says he can help the bounty hunter find more of his kind and the Star Wars mythos does something it rarely (if ever) does: hits the high seas.
Mando and Baby Yoda book passage on a fishing barge, but as always, is double-crossed by the greedy Quarren fishermen (squid people?) trying to get their slippery hands on the valuable Beskar armor. The Child and Mando are nearly drowned and eaten by a mamacore but are saved by Kryze, Reeves, and Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides). At first, Mando is utterly relieved to be reunited with his kin…until Kryze removes her helmet, which, as we know, is a big no-no in the Mandalorian creed.
Here's where things get a little tricky: the Mando we know and love is not a true Mandalorian after all. He's actually a Child of The Watch, a group of religious zealots that splintered away from mainstream Mandalorian society. “Their goal is to re-establish the ancient way,” explains Kryze to an obstinate Din Djarin. He's not ready to hear any of it. He jetpacks back to port with BY and is nearly killed by another group of Quarren, led by the barge captain's brother.
Kryze and her associates save Mando's hide for the second time, and the group makes peace over a drink. At the table, Bo-Katan explains that Trask is a black market hub where weapons are bought and sold with Mandalore's plunders. The last of her line and a veteran of the Great Purge, Bo-Katan aims to take those weapons and reclaim their homeworld. She asks Mando to join the cause, but he claims that it's a cursed planet, “anyone who goes there dies.” Besides, he needs to reunite Baby Yoda with the Jedi.
In need of another lead, Mando agrees to help Kryze, Reeves, and Woves raid an Imperial weapons ship in exchange for intel on where to find the elusive space wizards. It's a rather dangerous mission to Mando asks Frog Lady to babysit, and for once, The Child learns the value of new life that he's been trying to gorge himself on these last two episodes. And so, the raid begins, delivering another excellent action sequence that brings in Harry Bosch himself, Titus Welliver, as the ship's stone-faced captain.
Side note: Ludwig Göransson's score for part of this sequence reminded me of a little bit of John Carpenter's music for the 2018 Halloween reboot.
The Stormtroopers are no match for the Mandalorian pirates (after all, we are on a water planet). “They couldn't hit the side of a bantha,” remarks Woves, yet another self-aware crack at how Troopers can't aim for sh**. The group ends up securing the weapons while Captain Bosch calls up Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and asks for back-up.
With the ship overrun, Moff denies the request and tells his loyal followers to commit suicide and crash the ship for the sake of the Empire (the old ways die hard). Bosch even bites down on a kind of suicide capsule, Nazi war criminal-style, but not before Kryze interrogates him about the whereabouts of the Darksaber, which we know is in Gideon's possession. The Darksaber holds great cultural significance for the Mandalorian people, as Tarre Vizsla forged it, the first Mandalorian to become a certified Jedi.
Bosch's plan to crash the ship and kill everyone on board fails as Mando and Reeves steady the vessel. Kryze and her crew plan to jump into hyperspace, but Mando, his mission unfinished, cannot join them. Grateful for his help, Bo-Katan tells him to head to the city of Calodan on the forest planet of Corvus. There, he will find — are you ready for it? — AHSOKA FREAKIN' TANO! That's right, Anakin Skywalker's former Padawan from Clone Wars and Rebels is making the jump to live-action, and if the reports on anything to go by, she'll be played by Rosario Dawson. Is this real life? This show is a literal candy store for Star Wars fans and proof that despite the rather disappointing sequel trilogy, there are still worthy stories to tell in this world.
Mando and Kryze trade a “this is the way” (a sign that both characters have discovered a form of mutual respect for one another) and, as per usual, Mando picks up Baby Yoda from Frog Lady daycare — where the eggs have started to hatch — and blasts off. Calodan and Ahsoka, here we come!
Directed by the returning Bryce Dallas Howard, “Chapter 11” deftly balances an expansion of the world and overall story arc while still delivering on The Mandalorian action we've come to expect from the series.
For our coverage of Season 2 thus far, click the links below: Review/Recap: