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‘The Mandalorian’ season 2 recap – episode 3: ‘Chapter 11: The Heiress’

(Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.)

"The Heiress"

Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard

Disney+

Nov. 13

By Matthew Chu

Nov. 14, 2020 4:04 p.m.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Mando is setting sail into an ocean of expanding storylines.

Season two episode three of “The Mandalorian” continues Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) quest to reunite the frog-alien mother with her husband on the aquatic moon of Trask. After Djarin’s ship crash-lands, the couple reunite in a genuinely heartwarming embrace that feels all the more rewarding after the tribulations of last week’s episode. The main setting in “Chapter 11: The Heiress” also provides a complementary color palette to this season’s planets, blending alien creatures with a maritime aesthetic to create a world that is distinctly “Star Wars.”

[Related: ‘The Mandalorian’ season 2 recap – episode 2: ‘Chapter 10: The Passenger’]

As promised, the frog-like father sends Djarin to meet a Quarren – a squid-like humanoid species – who informs Djarin he must set sail across Trask to find other Mandalorians. On a Quarren fishing vessel, one of the seamen shows Djarin their captive sea monster called a mamacore, before shockingly throwing The Child into the watery pit to be eaten by the beast. With little buildup to this terrifying turn of events, the scene is instantaneously suspenseful and adrenaline-inducing.

A panicked Djarin dives after The Child and the Quarrens immediately seal the pit’s opening to drown the Mandalorian and steal his precious beskar armor. While Djarin often feels like a walking tank in his nigh-invulnerable shell, the sequence creates palpable tension by making his character feel truly helpless. His anxiety over possibly losing The Child also displays a rare moment of emotional vulnerability, revealing a truly parental conscience.

But Djarin is saved when three blue-colored Mandalorian soldiers descend on the vessel and rescue him from the double-crossing Quarrens. After one of the Mandalorians recovers The Child from the mamacore’s mouth, their leader reveals herself as Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), heiress to the Mandalorian throne.

Fans will certainly rejoice over the casting of Sackhoff, who previously voiced the character in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels” animated TV series, and provides a near seamless transition to the live-action world. But for the average viewer, her presence also offers an illuminating juxtaposition to Djarin’s character.

Djarin’s offended reaction to the Mandalorians heretically removing their helmets leads Bo-Katan to explain that Djarin is a child of the Watch – a fringe group of religious zealots who broke away from mainstream Mandalorian society to restore ancient ways. Reframing the protagonist as a radical rather than a prototypical Mandalorian challenges Djarin’s worldview, creating a tense dynamic between two beloved characters intersecting for the first time.

Despite their conflicting ideologies, Bo-Katan promises to bring him to a Jedi if he helps them infiltrate an imperial freighter and steal their weapons cache. It’s yet another quid pro quo deal that Djarin must take to further his quest, highlighting an increasingly obvious episodic formula for the second season so far.

[Related: ‘The Mandalorian’ season 2 recap – episode 1: ‘Chapter 9: The Marshal’]

Nonetheless, the setup makes for an action-packed though predictable heist sequence. Feeling almost like a third wheel, Djarin’s rough and tumble style is contrasted by the effortless coordination of the seasoned Mandalorian soldiers, who clear room after room of stormtroopers with ease.

While the action feels like a shooting gallery at times, the crosscutting between the Mandalorians marching down the corridors and the pilots in the cockpit provides some dry humor as the latter becomes increasingly nervous beneath their poised exteriors. Likewise, when the Mandalorians become trapped in the cargo control room, they jettison all enemy threats in the cargo bay, making for a clever solution to their dilemma.

The suspense escalates when the imperial captain receives a hologram message from his superior, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), who orders the ship to crash, knowing the Mandalorians can’t be stopped. Even in hologram form, Gideon’s dispassionate yet threatening manner of speech helps reestablish his character as a foreboding threat on the horizon.

After blasting their way to the cockpit, Bo-Katan interrogates the captain and demands the location of a weapon called the Darksaber, which is necessary for claiming her monarchical title. The captain insinuates that Gideon possesses it – referencing season one’s ending tease – before committing suicide.

The Darksaber is a relic that has seen various owners across many eras of “Star Wars” canon, and its name-drop here establishes a new chapter in the long struggle to claim the weapon. For new viewers tuning into this narrative for the first time, the saber conflict further thickens the plot as Gideon also seeks The Child.

With their mission complete, Bo-Katan reveals to Djarin that he can find a Jedi named Ahsoka Tano on the forest planet of Corvus. The hint about Tano marks another debut for an animated character that fans will likely be thrilled by – though it remains to be seen if her live action transition will be as harmonious as Bo-Katan’s.

Appreciating Djarin’s proven bravery, Bo-Katan offers him a role in their conquest to reclaim their home planet of Mandalore, but he declines in order to prioritize the needs of The Child. Thankfully, the main storyline continues to move unimpeded, tucking away plot threads like Bo-Katan’s that aren’t relevant now for payoffs in the future.

The story achieves an improved balance of episode one’s worldbuilding and episode two’s character moments, packing these elements into a short but sweet 30-minute adventure. At times, Bo-Katan’s presence relegates Djarin to a secondary character in his own series, but it works as a character-centric crossover rather than blatant fan service, and her concise integration into the episode bodes well for future cameos.

With a mix of humorous wit, impactful callbacks and well-placed foreshadowing, “The Heiress” might just be the boost needed to steer this meandering season in a clear direction.

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Matthew Chu
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