After last week’s excellent episode of The Mandalorian and its exciting tease of Ahsoka Tano, I joked that we probably wouldn’t see her any time soon. Don’t believe the hype, she ain’t comin’ next week! Sadly, I was right on that score as episode 4, titled The Siege, goes in a different direction and it’s actually pleasant for doing so. Because this nostalgic episode reconnects Djin Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and The Child with old pals Greef Karga (Carl Weathers, also the director) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano), in a story that is largely about what they have been up to.
Don’t take that to mean the overall story got lost, because it definitely moves forward, albeit incrementally. The point of this episode is building on the blocks established in the show’s earliest weeks. So one of the first people Mando encounters upon his landing (if you can call what the disabled Razor Crest did “landing”) in backwater Nevarro is Mythrol, the alien target he captured in Episode 1, once again played by Horatio Sanz. It turns out Karga, who now sports a little more grey in his beard, and Cara have cleaned the place up while Mando was gone. It’s now safe enough they can leave Baby Yoda behind in a school manned by a protocol droid.
Mando needs repairs on his ship, badly, so this is no social visit. And as is truly “The Way” in The Mandalorian, they’re willing to help but only if he helps them with something big first. In this case, Karga and Cara need Mando’s help to wipe out the last remaining Imperial outpost, in order to be safe from them forever. It’s supposedly manned by a skeleton crew so it should be easy.
This is Star Wars. You think that’s how it went down?
Turns out, there are a lot more Stormtroopers there than expected. And it’s not actually an outpost at all, but a secret lab. Who’s in charge of it? Dr. Pershing, who you may recall being involved in the funny business that brought Mando and The Child together in the first place. Without getting too far into spoiler territory, Pershing reveals that he’s using his blood to create something. And the glimpse we get of it reminds of a certain under-written, Force-powered baddie from the most-recent trilogy of movies. I could be reading that wrong, but then again, maybe not.
Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon rears his ugly head, as well, moving from looming threat to one that is headed straight in Mando’s direction. And now that the Mandalorian is aware of the danger he and The Child are truly in, it’s all the more imperative he find Ahsoka Tano and safety.
In-between all of this is some of the series’ best action sequences, directed skillfully by Weathers. Carano once again steals the show as Cara Dune, who has taken on the job of marshall (not unlike Cobb Vanth from a few weeks ago), brawls with a group of thieving Aqualish (the butt-faced aliens from the Cantina), and guns down Stormtroopers in an armored Dreadnought. There’s a sequence between her and a curious Rebel agent that reads like a dead-obvious tease for her own spinoff, so if the rumors are true I’m down for it. More Gina Carano makes my heart flutter. We also saw a lot of great aerial dogfights in this, with Weathers giving us some unique perspectives of the Razor Crest as it squares off against a squadron of Ties.
While there was a lot of looking backward, this episode did a lot of branching out to the larger Star Wars universe. That curious Rebel agent warns of something big happening, and all of this stuff going on in the Outer Rim is connected. It’s clearly a tease of the beginning of The First Order, which could bring The Mandalorian even closer to the movie-verse than it’s ever been. Again, if Pershing’s secret experiment is what I think it is, and considering he talks about it needing a blood donor with a high “M-count”, which suggests the Force-bringing midichlorians, this series is about to be helmet deep in the Skywalker Saga.
I guess that’s better than being helmet deep in baby vomit. Baby Yoda is a playful footnote in this episode. There’s a great bit with Mando trying to teach him how to properly wire the ship, which goes about as well as you might think. Tried negotiating with a toddler, lately? Later, he uses his Force powers to swipe a kid’s cookies, continuing this running storyline where he eats everything in sight. It’s got to be leading to something, I just don’t know what.
There are going to be a lot of disappointed viewers that Ahsoka Tano didn’t open up the episode, wasn’t the center of the episode, and wasn’t even teased in the final act. She’s a non-factor, and who knows when she’ll finally show up. I’m inclined to think she’ll first appear in the final scene of the final episode, just to drive muthafuckas crazy. Then again, Dave Filoni, who basically created Ahsoka Tano and told most of her stories, is directing the next episode so I could be wrong.