‘The Mandalorian’ Season 2 Episode 3 Recap: Everything Is Business
The following post contains SPOILERS for Chapter 11 of The Mandalorian.
This week’s episode of The Mandalorian begins with a spaceship landing on a planet. This is not a typical Star Wars landing, where a gleaming vessel gracefully descends as its wings fold and its landing gear emerge in a gracefully choreographed dance. This time, the Mandalorian’s ship, the Razor Crest, has been heavily damaged in its travels, and it doesn’t so much land as it falls. Reentry blasts its hull with roaring fires. Cargo teeters and totters as the ship lurches through the atmosphere. The radio blares a warning that crash is imminent. At the last second, the Mandalorian fires the thrusters and slows the ship — which then staggers over and falls into the waters next to its intended landing pad.
Even more than the impressive creatures design and intense blaster battles, this is what I look forward to week after week on The Mandalorian: It is maybe the most relatable thing the Star Wars galaxy has ever produced. It’s not about a kid with incredible powers on a mythical quest. It’s not about a fearless princess ferrying galactic secrets. It’s not about the granddaughter of an evil wizard, or the bravest fighter pilot in the galaxy. It’s about a surrogate father trying to get his kid from point A to point Z while dealing with the same sort of hassles we all deal with. His ride is a piece of junk. It breaks down. The mechanic who fixes it does a crappy job. The people who offer to help him demand something in return. When Mando fulfills his end of the bargain, they still want more. Meanwhile, his kid won’t stop shoving things in his mouth no matter how many times he tells him to stop.
There are battles for the fate of the universe, but they’re mostly at the margins, like this week when Mando’s quest to find more of his kind brings his face to face with Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and she recruits him to help her raid an Imperial supply ship in exchange for valuable information. Otherwise, The Mandalorian is much more granular. It’s about the tedious and transactional nature of life. In the Star Wars galaxy as well as our own, nothing is free and everybody has a price.
Consider all the different arrangements Mando makes in this episode. He lands on the watery moon Trask, and needs to pay someone to fix the Razor Crest. He completes his mission to deliver the Frog Lady and her unfertilized eggs to her waiting mate; he tells him to look for information in a nearby restaurant. Mando orders chowder for Baby Yoda, but the waiter won’t let them both sit at the table without ordering something for himself. Instead, Mando offers him credits in exchange for information. That leads Mando and the Child to another deal, and then another — when Bo-Katan and her Mandalorians claim they will point them in the right direction in exchange for assistance in their attack on the Imperial freighter.
There are times during this week’s “The Heiress” that Pedro Pascal’s Mandalorian acts bravely, but almost none where he acts heroically. He never fights to free slaves or right a wrong committed by some heinous villain. He’s basically just trying to pull off the Star Wars equivalent of getting your kid to daycare on time while your co-workers keep hitting your up for help with various projects.
During the first season of The Mandalorian, I wrote about how the series was a great story about how hard it is to be a dad. This year, the show seems even more elemental than that; less about fatherhood and than life in general. Nothing goes easy for the Mandalorian. Maybe he never takes that mask of his off because if he did everyone would be able to see how close he is to breaking down in tears at any given moment out of sheer and utter frustration.
Gallery — The Mandalorian Season 2 Posters From Around the World: