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Recap and Review of The Mandalorian, S2E1: Chapter Nine “The Marshal”

After what seems like years of waiting (thanks, 2020) season 2 of The Mandalorian is here. And dude—what an opening episode! “The Marshal” is a great, self-contained reintroduction to the show. Let’s jump right in.

Recap of The Mandalorian, S2E1: “The Marshal”

The episode opens on the Mandalorian and the Child walking through the smoggy, heavily graffitied streets of an unknown city. The bounty hunter known as Din Djarin is admitted by a forbidding Twi’lek into a club hosting a Gamorrean vibra-axe fight. The biggest eye face sitting ringside is the Abyssin gangster Gor Koresh.

The Mandalorian needs to find others of his kind to complete his quest—without their help, he cannot return the Child to his own people. Koresh knows where to find more Mandalorians but attempts to rob Djarin’s shiny, increasingly rare beskar armor. The stickup goes sideways thanks to Djarin’s wrist-loaded whistling birds, which make short work of Koresh’s goons. 

After fighting off the thugs and lassoing the two-timing crook, the Mandalorian gets the information he needs. According to Koresh, there’s a Mandalorian on Tatooine. Quieting his skepticism, Djarin heads to Mos Eisley to check for leads. Peli Motto (a local mechanic we first met in season 1) directs the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda to the forgotten mining settlement of Mos Pelgo, deep in the Dune Sea.

Their journey across the sweltering desert flats is aided by a band of Tusken Raiders. The Sand People direct him to the desolate town. When Djarin steps into the local cantina to ask for leads, the bartender doesn’t know what a Mandalorian is. He has seen armor like that before, though, and Djarin turns to see a person wearing the most famous beskar in the galaxy: the armor and weapons of the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Djarin prepares to talk business but stops short when the man removes his helmet. This is no Mandalorian; this is Cobb Vanth, the marshal of Mos Pelgo, who came into Fett’s armor thanks to some enterprising Jawas. Vanth used the beskar and its weapons to drive the Mining Collective, a local criminal enterprise, out of town, and has protected his people with it ever since.

The Mandalorian is infuriated by Vanth’s nonchalant appropriation of Fett’s armor and demands that he hand it over or die. The impending shootout is averted only by the appearance of a legendary krayt dragon. Vanth offers to hand over Boba Fett’s armor in exchange for the Mandalorian’s help killing the monstrous dragon.

Killing a krayt is easier said than done, however, and this particular beastie has plagued the Raiders and Mos Pelgo for many years. Djarin and Vanth can’t do it alone; it will take their united efforts, the hardy inhabitants of Mos Pelgo, and the Sand People to take the dragon down. The Raiders will draw it out of its lair onto beds of buried explosives placed by the miners of Mos Pelgo and badda bing badda boom, no more dragon.

The monster is nigh invulnerable, though, and even a close-up attack by Djarin and Vanth is unsuccessful. The Mandalorian finally lures the krayt into eating explosives-laden bantha but is swallowed whole in the process. Djarin forces his way out of the krayt’s maw, detonates the payload now inside the dragon’s belly, and ends a leviathan that has haunted the Dune Sea for generations. 

No wiser as to the Child’s origins but now in possession of some of the most famous beskar in the galaxy, Djarin and the Child return to Mos Eisley to retrieve the Razor Crest and continue their quest. Their travels across the wastes are watched by a mysterious robed figure armed with a Tusken gaffi stick and primitive slugthrower. The watcher turns as the episode ends, revealing a familiar face.

Review of The Mandalorian S2E1: “The Marshal”

“Boba Fett? Boba Fett?!” Han Solo’s confused question in Return of the Jedi perfectly sums up this first episode of The Mandalorian’s second season. Jon Favreau has established Din Djarin and the Child as the heart and soul of the series, respectively, but you wouldn’t know it from “The Marshal.” The shadow of Jango Fett’s only son/sarlacc snack looms across the entire episode. 

Starting with Gor Koresh’s reference to a Mandalorian in the “city” of Mos Pelgo, Boba Fett is inescapable. His prestige seems to be reflected in Djarin’s reaction to seeing Cobb Vanth wear Fett’s famous beskar. (Does Djarin know who Fett is? His nonplussed reaction to Vanth’s casual disregard for his armor’s history indicates that he does.)

That final, forbidding shot of a scarred Temuera Morrison would seem to indicate that Boba Fett is indeed alive and well. Koresh was partially right—there is a Mandalorian on Tatooine, but Cobb Vanth isn’t him.

So what does this mean for season two of The Mandalorian? All this Fett fever is a symptom of Din Djarin’s larger goal: to find the Child’s people and return him to them. While Baby Yoda is the driving force of the story, there’s not much going on with him here. We get lots of reaction shots, close-ups of his cute little face, and some cooing and other sound effects, but that’s it. Djarin cares about Baby Yoda and has proven willing to do anything to protect him; how does Boba Fett figure into that?

All of the speculation over Fett’s future in the show will inevitably attract attention away from a great standalone episode of The Mandalorian. “The Marshal” is a great example of one of the show’s greatest strengths: its ability to tell a single compartmentalized story within the framework of a larger narrative.

But beneath the “monster of the week” storyline is depth and complexity. Djarin doesn’t find what he set out for; he returns empty-handed to the Razor Crest at the end of the episode. Larger forces beyond Djarin’s control continually impact and complicate the his simple quest. 

Since Djarin is a surrogate parent for the Child, let’s look at his quest through that lens. We all want our children to survive, be happy, and grow up to be a Jedi, right? It’s easier said than done, though; you can’t raise a child in a vacuum, and introducing them into the wider world outside your home can be a terrifying prospect.

The path to successfully raising a child is labyrinthine, littered with mistakes, and packed with people whose intentions are murky or downright hostile. As Baby Yoda’s protector, the Mandalorian walks that path.

Some quick hits and notes from “The Marshal”:

  • It’s always good to see Peli Motto’s band of clumsy pit droids bring a little Episode I humor into the show.
  • That was John Leguizamo? Sid the Sloth sure has grown up.
  • This proves that Boba Fett’s backpack actually works as a jetpack and rocket launcher (and not just as a choking hazard for kids).
  • Cobb Vanth’s speeder appears to be salvaged from one of the engines of Anakin Skywalker’s podracer—the colors and even the sound effects match up! There are some visual differences to be sure, but it’s dang close to little Ani’s racer. 
  • The Tusken “dogs” were a nice nod to Attack of the Clones.
  • The Vanth storyline was a little cheesy in the best, spaghetti western kind of way. “It’s just a matter of time before it grows tired of banthas and goes after a couple of you townsfolk or even, so help us, the school.” (Crowd gasps, mutters, shakes their heads)
  • The krayt dragon is a monster heard but never seen before in Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi scared off some Sand People while saving Luke Skywalker way back in 1977’s A New Hope. We also see the acid they can spew a weapon and their legendary pearls, which make the krayt a prize for only the bravest hunters. 
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