The article contains spoilers for the fourth episode of “The Mandalorian” season two! In fact, these spoilers are almost as big as Cara Dune’s truly impressive biceps. Check out my analysis of episode three here while you’re waiting to get caught up.
Many fans went into the fourth episode of “The Mandalorian” with the singular hope that Ahsoka Tano, a beloved character from both “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels”, would appear. While the news that the episode would be directed by Carl Weathers, who also portrays Greef Karga in the show, acted as a sign that the storyline would be focused on other characters, there was still the possibility that Ahsoka’s appearance might be treated as a cliffhanger in the last scene of the episode. This possibility did not come true, but Dave Filoni’s role as the writer and director of Chapter 13 will undoubtedly ensure Ahsoka’s appearance in this story’s next installment.
In the meantime, Chapter 12 admittedly features little development for Din Djarin and Baby Yoda; for them, Nevarro is merely a pit stop on the way to pursuing their real goal of finding Ahsoka. However, “The Siege” is far from being the same kind of filler as Chapter 10. This episode drives the overarching plot forward with single-minded determination and expands on our knowledge of supporting characters from the first season.
During the telling of the straightforward storyline of storming a secret base, Weathers combines the themes and genres of many prior episodes. The hallway shots and fight scenes are a callback to Chapter 6, where Din and a group of criminals infiltrate a New Republic jail. Greef also comments on similarities between the New Republic and the Empire, creating a theme which questions the New Republic and its growing power.
The general Western feel of Nevarro and Cara Dune’s role as “The Marshall” also allude to Chapter 9 and even more episodes from the first season. The Western motif of “The Mandalorian” seems to be a touchstone of sorts for this season; even as fans are introduced to characters from the greater universe such as Bo-Katan Kryze and confronted with more science fiction elements such as giant spider aliens, the Western atmosphere that helped to make Star Wars so beloved continues to appear.
Finally, the defining moment in this episode gives Chapter 10 a run for its money in creep factors, and it shows Din that he is currently somewhat ill-prepared to protect Baby Yoda from mad scientists and sorcerers. The laboratory confirms Moff Gideon as the overarching villain of this series, both due to his possession of the sacred Darksaber and his obsession with obtaining Baby Yoda, and it also branches “The Mandalorian” into a genre that has yet to be thoroughly explored on the show: science fiction.
The sequel trilogy, the Legends expanded universe and even “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels” love to remind fans that no matter how many decrepit ships limp across the screen and blasters are used in a duel, Star Wars is science fiction. From clones of varying kinds to time travel, the science in this franchise is loud and proud in its lunacy. Nevertheless, Din is one character who has steadfastly remained separate from the majority of science fiction shenanigans going on in the universe, so the uncovering of the lab alters the mood of the episode and the series greatly.
This scene confronts fans not only with Baby Yoda’s potential to become a Jedi, but also his potential to fit into the larger saga of Force users struggling for control of the galaxy. Moff Gideon, in seeking to create a Force-sensitive army, could easily be acting at the behest of the deeply hated Sheev Palpatine. Fans already know that in the years following the Battle of Endor, Palatine was seeking ways to successfully clone himself and gain immortality. Considering the skill with which Jon Favreau has already begun to weave “The Mandalorian” into the greater Star Wars continuity, there is the possibility that he could also be using the series to set up the events of the sequel trilogy.
This episode sets up the storyline for the long-awaited return of Ahsoka and a possible battle between one of the only Jedi-trained Force users left in the universe and the remnants of a short-lived Sith empire. Next episode will undoubtedly be pivotal in the path of the remaining season and the franchise’s continuity at large, and Filoni’s deep understanding of the storytelling in Star Wars nearly guarantees it to be an instant success.
However, another thing that Weathers sets up in “The Siege” is a continuing storyline for Cara Dune. While Karga seems content to live out his life as the leader of a small, settled area on Nevarro, Cara’s final moments in this episode demonstrate that her path may change in the coming episodes. Fans are reminded of her status as an Alderaanian, and she is even given a musical theme named “Quite a Soldier,” which is similar in instrumentation and chords to “Princess Leia’s Theme.”
Based on rumors of future spin-off series and the conscious actions to introduce conflict into Cara’s story this episode, there is a possibility that Weathers was not only setting up the plot of future episodes of “The Mandalorian,” but also of an entirely new series.
Though it did not beat out Bryce Dallas Howard’s masterpiece from last week, “The Siege” was a carefully crafted episode which gave much-needed attention to supporting characters and gracefully developed the motivations of the villain. With the stakes rising ever higher and Ahsoka’s appearance coming ever closer, it is proving almost painful to patiently wait for the next episode. At least fans have the “LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special” to tide them over until then.