The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian – Season 2, Episode 1 Recap, “Chapter 9: The Marshal”

Dept. of Bigger Fish

The MandalorianDirector | Jon Favreau
Season 2 | Episode 1 | 54 minutesWriter | Jon Favreau
Chapter 9: The Marshal
The Mandalorian is drawn to the Outer Rim in search of others of his kind.

The Mandalorian is back baby! And let me tell you that this episode is the perfect example of everything I want this show to be. One part Spaghetti Western, one part Kung Fu, but yet unmistakably Star Wars.

This second season premiere leans hard into its genre roots, and tells that age old story in which a mysterious stranger rides into a sleepy town and helps its hangdogged villagers fight off some great evil. (See: The Magnificent Seven, Unforgiven, etc.) Only here it’s not some rowdy moustachioed bandits but a massive fucking sandworm. Eat your heart out Denis Villeneuve! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Okay. So where were we before all of this?

When we last left our hero, he was flying off into the sunset, seeking out more of his people, in his quest to return The Child from whence he came. He had gotten himself some shiny new Beskar armour, a jetpack, and even a new sense of purpose with that Mudhorn signet that the armourer carved into his spaulder.

The Mandalorian

This season picks up almost immediately where we left off, with Mando and The Child on an undisclosed planet, on their way to meet Gor Koresh (John Leguizamo), a seedy pit boss in an underground fight club. Gor Koresh had lured Mando there with the promise of information, but double crosses him and attempts to steal his very valuable armour. One wild – and incredibly entertaining – brawl later, Gor Koresh is strung up to a lamp post by his ankles where he spills the beans and tells Mando that he can find another Mandalorian on… wait for it… TATOOINE!

At this point, we all know what’s coming, but are trying our best to stay calm and stay cool. Tatooine is, after all, were we last saw Boba Fett careen into the mouth of a Sarlacc. Yes. Yes we did. (For the purposes of this recap, I’m ignoring A Barve Like That: The Tale of Boba Fett, the 1996 story by J.D. Montgomery that tells of how the infamous bounty hunter escaped the Sarlacc. I’m not sure where any of that fits with the current continuity. If at all.)

And with that, we’re back to the most famous desert planet in the universe. Where Luke and Biggs were raised, where Obi Wan was hiding out from the Empire, and where Rey decides to pull a Don Draper and become someone else.

The Mandalorian

After some quick banter with Amy Sedaris’ Peli Motto (you remember the mechanic from Chapter 5 who winds up being totally charmed by Baby Yoda), Mando makes his way by speeder bike to Mos Pelgo in search for this mysterious Mandalorian.

Now, Mos Pelgo is the very epitome of a one horse town. It’s an old mining settlement that was totally wiped out by bandits after the fall of the Empire, with residents who feel as downcast and downtrodden as they look. It’s here that Mando meets the man he’s looking for.

Enter Seth Bullock… I mean Raylan Givens… I mean Cobb Vanth. I believe there is now a rule in Hollywood that if you’re looking for someone to play a lawman with rugged good looks, beautiful brown eyes, and a self-important swagger, Timothy Olyphant gets the first right of refusal. And refuse is something he never seems to do. Heck, he’s even playing U.S. Marshal Dick ‘Deafy’ Wickware in the latest season of Fargo.

Enter Cobb Vanth, the Marshal of Mos Pelgo, wearing Boba Fett’s armour! At first I wasn’t quite sure if it actually was, in fact, Boba Fett’s armour. Until Cobb takes off his helmet, places it on the cantina table, and shows us that iconic dent in the top right corner. That simple act of removing his helmet tells Mando that Cobb isn’t a Mandalorian and both men immediately find themselves at odds with one another.

Mando, you see, isn’t best pleased at this charlatan. The Mandalorian creed dictates that only their kind has a right to don the iron skin, and Mando demands that Cobb return the armour or face some good old fashioned pew pew lasering.

If you were looking for a masterclass on how pull off awe, and chemistry, and tension, while both of your leads’ faces are covered in helmets, then look no further than this scene in the cantina between Cobb and Mando. The dialogue is sparse but snappy. Their intensity is palpable. Their presence is immediate.

The Mandalorian

Now, it’s all about to kick off at the cantina when their almost duel to the death is suddenly interrupted when the whole building starts to shake. Yes, it’s a giant sand worm, or as Cobb calls it in order to avoid a lawsuit, a Krayt Dragon. The creature tears through the town, chomps down on a bantha, and disappears back under the sand.

Watching the townsfolk get terrorised once again by this unstoppable force, Cobb decides to make a deal with Mando: “Help me kill it and I’ll give you the armour.”

And so we begin this week’s quest. As Cobb and Mando ride off into the dunes in search of a dragon to slay.

It is at this point, that the episode offers a fantastic flashback into the origins of Cobb Vanth. As the both of them ride into the deserts of Tatooine, Cobb tells Mando the story of how his town was overrun by Mining Collective slavers the moment that the second Death Star blew up. “Power hates a vacuum and Mos Pelgo became a slave camp overnight.” I really do enjoy these short segues. I love how they give you a bite-sized look at the impact of the fall of the Empire on the universe at large. (Chapter 4: Sanctuary, the Bryce Dallas Howard helmed episode in Season 1, did something similar in showing us the plight of the villagers on Sorgan.)

It is ironic that an intimate, character driven show like The Mandalorian has done more to open up the Star Wars universe than the movies ever did. Their mistake was to shrink the narrative down to a size so small that everything in the universe revolved around the Skywalkers.

The Mandalorian

The third act of the episode then plays out like a great Western. Cobb and Mando reluctantly team up with a den of Tusken Raiders and make their way to the abandoned Sarlacc pitt where the massive Krayt Dragon has made its nest. (Cobb Vanth: Lived on Tatooine my whole life. There’s not such thing as an abandoned Sarlacc pit. The Mandalorian: There is if you eat the Sarlacc.)

There’s always a bigger fish.

Qui-Gon Jinn

Upon discovering just how big the creature actually is, Cobb and Mando realise that they’re going to need a lot more help to take it down. They recruit the Mos Pelgo villagers and a plan is hatched involving a large amount of explosives.

The climactic battle with the Krayt Dragon is better than anything we got from the final season of Game of Thrones. It is a fight that takes on a variety of forms. From a cavalry charge to an aerial assault, it is a sequence that is smart, that is cinematic, that is heroic.

Once the deed is done and the dragon is defeated, Cobb gives Mando the armour and sends him off on his way. Meanwhile, the Sand People are stripping the Krayt Dragon for meat and discover, inside its carcass, a Krayt Dragon Pearl (Knights of the Old Republic?).

The episode closes with a mysterious silhouetted figure, standing atop a cliff, and watching over the desert dunes of Tatooine. Given that he’s played by the legendary Temuera Morrison, I think it’s safe to assume that he is, in fact, Boba Fett!

The Marshal was picture perfect and a great way to open this second season of The Mandalorian. Jon Favreau doesn’t just understand what the fans want, he knows how to deliver a blockbuster cinematic experience within the structures and strictures of the small screen. These 54 minutes are such a deft display of his skills as a filmmaker that I am now truly convinced that Star Wars has never been in better hands.

Bring on Chapter 10!

The Mandalorian

Calamari Flans

  • Did Baby Yoda get cuter? I think he might have gotten cuter.
  • Cobb Vanth’s first appearance was actually in Chuck Wendig’s 2015 novel Aftermath.
  • Before he even took off his helmet, I love how you could immediately tell from his voice and swagger alone that Cobb Vanth was Timothy Olyphant.
  • Was Cobb Vanth riding around on one half of Anakin’s pod racer?
  • Baby Yoda, riding shotgun on a speeder bike, with the wind in his face is the image I didn’t know I needed.
  • At 54 minutes, this is the longest episode of the series so far.
  • Was Obi-Wan making the noise of a Krayt Dragon to scare off the Sand People in Star Wars?
  • Was one of those Gamorreans, Thok, from Masters of Teräs Käsi?
  • Who wants a Cobb Vanth spin-off? Right here. Me. This guy. I do. That’s who.
  • Can we please talk about Ludwig Göransson’s score? Because I’m not even sure what genre it falls under. It’s built on the foundations of a Western, with a little bit of Indiana Jones adventure, and a smattering of jazz thrown in for good measure. Star Wars has, for far too long, sounded the same. And the music of The Mandalorian brings a freshness that I, for one, have been craving. It is, hands down, some of the best scoring on television right now. (Don’t even get me started on Michael Giacchino’s hastily cobbled together score for Rogue One! He was going for different but ended up sounding like a whole load of nothing.)

The Mandalorian, Season 2, is now streaming on Disney+. You can read all about why we loved the first season of The Mandalorian here.

Uma has been reviewing things for most of his life: movies, television shows, books, video games, his mum's cooking, Bahir's fashion sense. He is a firm believer that the answer to most questions can be found within the cinematic canon. In fact, most of what he knows about life he learned from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He still hasn't forgiven Christopher Nolan for the travesties that are Interstellar and The Dark Knight Rises.

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