The penultimate episode to season 2 has a few surprises but is nowhere near as outlandish as some of the previous episodes.
Beware of spoilers in the review ahead.
Working at a prison scrapyard smashing up larger pieces of old Empire ships into smaller pieces, a prison droid approaches Mayfeld (Bill Burr) and orders him to leave with Cara Dune (Gina Carano). Mando (Pedro Pascal), Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) greet him and bring him aboard Slave I. There they hatch a plan to head to the planet Morak, Mayfeld needs access to an Imperial terminal to locate Moff Gideon’s (Giancarlo Esposito) ship, and he knows that the mining planet has one.
Interestingly ‘Chapter 15: The Believer’ is a tonal shift away from the previous episode. This one is loaded with philosophical introspection and sees Mando realise he is going to need to question some of his own principles in order to see his quest through. When they reach the planet, they realise that in order to sneak inside they’ll need disguises. Mando swaps out his Beskar and even takes his helmet off at one stage, all in the service of trying to save Grogu.
Even Mayfeld, traumatised by his past deeds under the Empire regime, feels the need to “get things off his chest” by killing his former commanding officer and then proceeding to blow up the mining base as they leave. Both actions by both characters come as a surprise, though one more shocking than the other.
As with all the episodes so far this season, there’s also a particularly good action chase sequence. After commandeering a heavy vehicle carrying highly explosive canisters of rydonium Mando and Mayfeld must fight off pirates to get their payload to its destination and sneak into the base. It’s a bit like Mad Max Fury Road with the pirates leaping onto the moving vehicle and Mando having to fight to keep their cargo safe. It’s only at the last minute just as they are about to be overwhelmed that a pair of TIE fighters and a battalion of Stormtroopers come in to save the day. Which in itself also feels a little unnerving and strange to have them be a welcomed sight.
Considering that this is only the second time we’ve gotten to see Pascal’s face in this show, his performance in this is gloriously awkward. He’s forced to have to do the one thing he’s been told almost his entire life to not do. But it’s clear that his earlier run in with Bo Katan (Katee Sackhoff) has left a mark, maybe “This is the way” doesn’t have to be the only way. And his bond and commitment to Grogu has now become his driving force. So much so that he even sends Moff Gideon a threatening hologram almost word-for-word reciting back what Gideon had said to him at the end of season 1.
The biggest disappointment in this episode is the lack of anything significant for Mando’s supporting crew to do. Sure Dune and Shand provide some sniper cover from a high position to enable Mando and Mayfeld to escape. Probably the funniest scene is seeing both Shand and Dune silently nod at each and acknowledge how good a shot Mayfeld is. Their banter is limited and if anything it would’ve been nice to see them all playing a more significant part. However clearly this was meant to be the episode where the extremely silent Mando has to deal with an overly talkative Mayfeld. Also this was the first episode in 15 so far that we have not seen Grogu at all.
Next week’s episode will be high stakes as we reach the season finale, and hopefully we will get to see Mando’s crew of misfits get fully involved in the action. The plan of course, to rescue Grogu from the clutches of the Imperial Remnant. Will they manage to succeed or will we be all left on a horrid cliffhanger having to potentially wait a whole year for the next installment? I would not put it past them to do the latter.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Mandalorian streams Friday nights 7pm (AEDST) on Disney Plus.