This episode sees the battered Razor Crest limp to the planet Trask, delivering Mando’s passenger, the frog lady, and her potential brood to their destination. In exchange for the trip, our hero receives advisement on where he might run into fellow Mandalorians in the fishing port town and begins his search. It’s not long before he crosses paths with one of the most important and influential Mandalorians in Star Wars history, taking part in a mission that will provide him the path to the Jedi that he’s been seeking since he was charged with returning The Child to its people.
"I am Bo-Katan of Clan Kryze. I was born on Mandalore and fought in the purge. I am the last of my line."
Let’s just get it out there: Bo-Katan’s depiction on-screen is near perfection, and actor Katee Sackhoff, who’s knocked it out of the park before with her role as Lieutenant Kara "Starbuck" Thrace on SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica, brings her A-game to this role, owning every moment she’s in frame, whether she’s donning her Mandalorian helmet or not. For those just being introduced to the character, Bo-Katan Kryze has previously played crucial roles in both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels animated series. (if you have a Disney+ subscription, do note hesitate to dive in!) Sister to Satine, the Duchess of Mandalore during the Clone Wars, Bo-Katan initially led a revolt against her sister’s pacifist ways, but eventually turned on her co-conspirators and joined forces with Ahsoka Tano to defeat Maul during his occupation of Mandalore. Bo-Katan’s history is also uniquely tied to the Dark Saber that Moff Gideon is now in possession of. A scared artifact to the Mandalorians, the Dark Saber was used by Bo-Katan to unite Mandalore during its Imperial occupation. The Mandalorian series seems to indicate that Bo-Katan’s leadership ultimately failed, resulting in losing the Dark Saber and being unable to stop to the Empire’s “purge” of her world. If this episode is any indication, she’s looking for payback.
Sackhoff was always great at voicing the character, but seeing Bo-Katan standing (and kicking ass) in the flesh is just next level. Sackhoff gives a performance that is the perfect amount of attitude and honor, while the design department outdid themselves with Bo-Katan’s armor. It’s just unbelievably amazing looking, from the paint job to the wear and tear. And much like Mando’s armor and Fett’s armor have demonstrated their unique looks in the previous episodes, Bo-Katan’s suit has its own sleek, yet powerful, look that uniquely defines it and makes her looks like she’s walked right out of the animated series.
Between this and her part in the Clone Wars finale, Bo-Katan might legitimately be the most bad-ass Mandalorian we know of in a galaxy far, far away.
"And you are a child of The Watch"
During the first season, this reviewer had assumed that the different Mandalorian culture - one where helmets were never removed and the warriors hid in the shadows - was a result of survival strategies employed after the purge, but this episode fills us in on quite a bit.
According to Bo-Katan, Mando is part of what’s known as the Children of the Watch. She refers to them as a group of religious zealots who broke away from Mandalorian society with the goal of reestablishing the ancient way. Reacting like a member of the faithful who’s had their faith questioned, Mando simply replies, “There is only one way. The way of the Mandalore” before jet-packing off.
Star Wars mythology has continued to expand and re-written Mandalorian history throughout the franchise’s existence, and this new wrinkle definitely is cause to re-evaluate all we think we know about who the Mandalorians are and who is a Mandalorian. The idea that there are different factions of Mandalorians who believe in different “ways” is nothing new (The Clone Wars saw a battle between Mandalorian pacifists and authoritarians.), and while it comes as a revelation in this episode because it subverts our expectations of what a Mandalorian is during this specific period of the Star Wars timeline, this style of world building seems to be a pattern in the new Disney-era of Star Wars. Advancing past the monolithic depictions of groups like the Rebels, the Imperials, or the Mandalorians, these more recent Star Wars stories argue that Rebellion is filled with contradicting view points that must compromise for the greater good, the Jedi and Sith ideologies are just two of the many interpretations in the galaxy of the power of the Life Force, and that the various clans of Mandalore all have their own opinions of what it means to be Mandalorian. Some might argue that simplicity is sometimes Star Wars’ strong point, but these more layered and complex depictions offer a more realistic and relatable version of George Lucas’ universe, especially as it continues to expand and test the limits of its canon.
Still, as much as things change, things stay the same. While Bo-Katan is a unique character in many ways, she also honors much of the values and themes Star Wars seeks to pass on to viewers in all its iterations. Bo-Katan is someone who’s previously walked a Dark Path, who’s experienced pain and loss, who bears the burden and responsibility of being a “chosen one” to many of her people, and someone who seeks to redeem her sins of the past. As Star Wars seeks with one hand to illustrate the unseen divisions within groups like the Mandalorians or the Rebel Alliance, it use its other hand to remind us that, while divided, its through uniting despite our differences and embracing each other’s uniqueness that we succeed over oppression and authoritarianism. Mando may be disgusted when Bo-Katan removes her helmet and Bo-Katan may tease Mando about his dogmatic replies of “This is the way,” but she also genuinely speaks to him, stating, "Our enemies want to separate us, but Mandalorians are stronger together.” And when we see these four armored commandos in action, there’s no debating that logic.
"There you'll find Ahsoka Tano."
Wow. So, there you have it. The rumors are true, and we’re going there.
For those who are unaware, Ahsoka Tano is a former Jedi and padawan of Anakin Skywalker. She was first introduced (and promptly rejected by fans) in the animated Clone Wars movie that led into the animated series by The Mandalorian collaborator Dave Filoni. Ashoka (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) quick reversed fan opinions over the course of the series, becoming a popular fan favorite character. Her popularity has only increased with further appearances in Star Wars: Rebels, various novels and additional content, and as one of the Jedi voices Rey hears during the climax of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Actor Rosario Dawson (Daredevil, Sin City) has expressed interest in portraying the character in live-action, and rumors have been flying for sometime that Ahsoka would be making an appearance in the second season of The Mandalorian. It seems safe to assume that we can now consider those rumors adequately confirmed.
There’s a ton to speculate on where Ahsoka (who once claimed she was “no Jedi” prior to Star Wars: A New Hope) is in her journey, especially given that we last saw her heading to the Outer Rim with Mandalorian Sabine Wren (who’s momma used to run with Bo-Katan back in the Clone Wars days) in search of long-lost friend (and Jedi student), Ezra Bridger. While my personal belief is that The Mandalorian Season 2 is introducing these characters as a lead up to an Ahsoka-focused, live-action Disney+ series. That said, I will leave the theorizing to others for now.
Finally, as a soon-to-be father of twin girls, I have to express my enjoyment with the continued inclusion of fascinating and varied female characters in the Star Wars universe over the past few years. As someone who grew up idolizing characters like Ellen Ripley, Buffy Summers, and Sarah Connor, I absolutely love that characters like Bo-Katan, Ahsoka, Sabine, Rey, Rose, and others have been given the room to not only follow in Leia’s “footsteps,” but tread even further.
As many Fanbase Press readers know, throughout 2020, the staff and contributors of Fanbase Press have committed themselves to an initiative known as #StoriesMatter which examines the important and powerful role stories play in human culture. While it’s certainly been said before, representation matters. It’s a message that needs to be shared again and again, because it’s not only important that young girls grow up seeing a variety of complex female characters, but it’s just as important that young boys grow up seeing powerful and capable women in roles of authority without feeling threatened, challenged, or viewing it as unusual.
- Bo Katan kicks so much ass. Same goes for her “theme” by composer Ludwig Göransson.
- Woah! They have tea in Star Wars (and you can buy them here)!
- Let’s be honest… Everyone was afraid The Child was going to eat that tadpole in front of his parents. Admit it.
- What’s this “Dank farrik” bit that keeps getting repeated this season? Well, it’s a fun, new Star Wars expletive to use on your friends! Wookieepedia defines is as “an exclamatory expression used to express anger or frustration.” Time to incorporate it into the vernacular!
- It’s an interesting reveal that our Mando believes the planet of Mandalore is cursed. This, and the news that he’s part of a group that walked away from the other Mandalorians in favor of “the ancient way,” really highlights how little we still know of Din Djarin’s beliefs and view of the galaxy as a whole. Generally, he seems to be a heroic and honorable individual, but he’s also shown prejudices (like his hate last season for droids) and lack of knowledge (like his missing info regarding who the Jedi were/are). Is Din a fundamentalist within the Mandalore community? How will he view other Mandalorians outside the Children of the Watch if their goals don’t align? Does he have any love or kinship for the Mandalorian home world? It seems there’s still much to learn about our Mandalorian hero.
- The setting of Trask’s black market port was an interesting one not seen previously in the Star Wars universe. A galaxy far, far away’s answer to Deadliest Catch, it was an especially visually thrilling moment to see Mando hanging out on the deck of fishing vessel cruising through the choppy waters.
- So, the rumors surrounding Sasha Banks’ role were greatly exaggerated. I will admit that I was unaware of Banks prior to casting, and while I was not incredibly impressed with some of her line readings, her physical presence was on point. Whether shooting Mando a mysterious glare or sucking down a tentacle with extra attitude, Banks’ posture and facial expressions gave the character immediate personality and I’d be surprised if we don’t see her pop up again in this series or elsewhere in the Star Wars universe.
- It’s interesting how much the power of the Mandalorian armor has been a constant thread this season. The season started with someone attempting to take Mando’s armor and a demonstration of the power of Fett’s armor in others’ hands. This episode sees a group of Quarren attempting to murder our hero and take his beskar. It seems that in a post-purge universe, the Mandalorians are not only warriors known for their iconic armor, but targets of those who would strip them of such for financial gain.
Final Verdict: This is easily one of the best episodes of The Mandalorian so far. Favreau and Filoni continue to weave the mythologies of Star Wars together in this impressive series with the help of top-notch directorial talent like Howard who seems to be having an absolute blast. I think it will be easy to see the impact this episode has by watching how many across social media pledge themselves as new fans of Bo-Katan in the coming days.
Directed by: Bryce Dallas Howard
Written by: Jon Favreau
You can find my reviews of the previous episodes of The Mandalorian Season 2 at the following links:
‘THE MANDALORIAN: SEASON 2, EPISODE 1’ - TV REVIEW (THERE BE KRAYT DRAGONS HERE…)
‘THE MANDALORIAN: SEASON 2, EPISODE 2’ - TV REVIEW (ROUGH RIDE)