Ricky Church reviews the sixth episode of The Mandalorian…
The latest Mandalorian may be titled ‘The Tragedy’, yet it was anything but as Robert Rodriguez directed an action-packed episode that surely made many fans of one particular character quite happy. With crisp action, stunning imagery and a few great character moments, ‘The Tragedy’ is one of The Mandalorian‘s best episodes yet.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room first since there is no way to talk about ‘The Tragedy’ without it. This was the official return of Boba Fett to the Star Wars franchise, played by Temuera Morrison in his first official portrayal as the infamous bounty hunter since he only played his father, Jango Fett, in the prequels and provided voice-over work for the character in George Lucas’ 2004 edit of the Original Trilogy. For a character as beloved as Fett, one of the funny aspects to him is how, despite his deadly reputation, he hasn’t done very much to provide proof of his skill in the films, leaving it to ancillary material like comics, books and video games to show how skilled he is.
Now, after 40 years since his introduction in the Star Wars Holiday Special and his formal role in The Empire Strikes Back, Boba Fett finally lives up to his reputation as he mercilessly (some might say effortlessly as well) took out several Stormtroopers single-handed – and that was before he regained his Mandalorian armour. Morrison gave Fett a level of gravitas he has never quite had onscreen before, putting his skill, cunning and dry wit all on display. One thing fans have loved about the character that has never really translated to other onscreen Star Wars media (save perhaps his teenage years in The Clone Wars) was Boba’s own sense of honour. As the films never delved too much into his character, many writers over the years have painted Boba Fett as an anti-villain, sometimes working for the Empire and other times upholding his own personal code. Morrison conveyed Boba’s personality really well and made the character fit within The Mandalorian with ease.
Aside from Morrison’s Boba Fett, it was nice to see Ming-Na Wen return as Fennec Shand. Though she made an impression, Wen got rather shafted in her single appearance last season and uses every moment of her return to redeem Shand, both in a figurative and literal sense as Fennec and Din Djarin formed an alliance. The reasons she is “in service” to Fett are a little hand-waved away, implied to be more a sense of obligation since he healed her from her near-fatal wound. Her change of heart could have been explored a bit more beyond the surface, but aside from that Wen gave a terrific performance, particularly when it came to the action. Shand’s skills were shown a bit last season, but she really got to stretch her legs as she put her reputation as an expert marksman and fighter to the test. The fact we’ll get to see more of her in her team-up with Boba and Din is a very exciting prospect.
‘The Tragedy’ proved to be a pretty consequential episode for Din and Grogu. The opening minutes where Din braces both himself and Grogu for their potential separation were emotionally charged and felt earned given everything they have been through. The story from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni held a nice balance of action and Force mysticism as Grogu activated the mountain’s seeing stone, connecting with something through the Force. It raises a lot of interesting possibilities about who or what may come for him, but of course he’s in the hands in Moff Gideon, once again played by Giancarlo Esposito who was simultaneously villainously hammy and threatening. The conflict also led to the destruction of the Razor Crest, a moment which felt like a true blow for Din as the ship was his home. The heightened drama created a lot of nice tension, helped by Rodriguez’s direction and his balance for the characters’ development and action.
Boba Fett’s return to the Star Wars franchise in his first official post-Return of the Jedi appearance was nothing short of awesome and meeting the expectations of a reputation fans have placed on him over the decades. Morrison and Wen were great in their appearances, creating a lot of interesting possibilities for how they may play into the final two episodes of the season and potentially beyond. The action was exciting and well-choreographed, delivering some of the best close-quarter moments in the show as the trio fought hand-to-hand or point-blank range throughout the big fight. Rodriguez was a welcome addition to the director’s seat as he used a nice level of detail for the action and characters. Given how ‘The Tragedy’ concludes, there’s no telling what might happen next as Din prepares to rescue Grogu from Gideon’s clutches.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.