Ricky Church reviews the seventh episode of The Mandalorian season 2…
The penultimate episode of The Mandalorian‘s second season brought about several exciting and interesting aspects as Din Djarin and his allies tried to discover Grogu’s location. Much of this was due to the return of Bill Burr as the mercenary and ex-Imperial Mayfeld as director Rick Famuyiwa explored the parallels between Din and Mayfeld, their belief structure and one of the central tenets to the Star Wars franchise: redemption.
One thing that has been great about the second season is the various characters and teams Din has met along way. It’s been a nice change of pace as opposed to last season where it was mostly just him and Grogu travelling the Outer Rim with a new partner in nearly every episode. While this season has still followed that format, the characters have felt or been familiar (especially if you’ve followed other Star Wars media like the novels or The Clone Wars) and now Din has found himself a regular group for the second half of the season as we see Boba Fett, Fennec Shand and Cara Dune join forces to rescue Grogu. It’s a very interesting mix of different people and with Mayfeld as their wild card there was a lot for the cast to play off of.
Burr made a nice return to Mandalorian, showing off more to Mayfeld than he did in his first appearance. Whereas season one’s ‘The Prisoner’ had Mayfeld as a cocky and smarmy mercenary, here he is a different man somewhat humbled by his captivity. More than that, though, he expresses his worldview and belief system of looking out for himself and doing what he can to sleep at night. One of the most intriguing aspects to Mayfeld’s presence was how he challenged Din’s own belief system. Din has always said “This is the way”, but as we’ve seen over the course of the series he’s opened himself to more possibilities and perspectives than his sect of The Watch ever allowed, showing as well there is more than one way to be Mandalorian. Mayfeld’s words come to a head at a critical moment in the episode for Din where he had to choose between those very beliefs and what really matters to him in quite a powerful and character defining moment.
‘The Believer’ was a significant episode for Mayfeld too though as he had to literally come face-to-face with his Imperial past. For all of his bluster in looking out for himself and how people do what they can to live with themselves, it is clear he’s haunted by some of the things he’s had to do in the past. The mention of Operation: Cinder was a nice nod to fans who have either read the Shattered Empire comic or played Star Wars: Battlefront II, but even those who hadn’t still got an idea of how terrible it must have been based off Mayfeld’s description and his old captain’s nonchalance at the cost in lives – both civilian and Imperials which were deliberately left for dead. Mayfeld got a chance to redeem part of himself through the impulsive actions he took. Burr’s serious turn with the character was both strong and earned, sticking to a central theme of Star Wars that no one is beyond redemption. Famuyiwa really delivered on the character moments and the fact the door remains open for Mayfeld to return is a very interesting prospect with the newfound understanding Din and Mayfeld have for each other.
Though we didn’t get to see much of Boba, Fennec or Cara, the few moments focused on them were nice as Fennec and Cara actually made a pretty good team. Temuera Morrison had a couple good lines, such as how Stormtroopers would probably recognize his face, and looked quite intimidating in Boba’s newly painted armour. It all spoke again to how interesting this grouping is together with their personalities and how effective they were functioning as a team. Famuyiwa brought some very well-shot set pieces to the episode with the chase and fight atop the transport and the later shootout, bringing a great amount of tension and unease as how Din and Mayfeld would escape both instances. Boba swooping in for a rescue as Fennec and Cara were sniping soldiers was a pretty exciting climax to the episode and makes it only more so when you think about how they’ll work in next week’s finale.
‘The Believer’ was another strong outing for Famuyiwa as one of the series’ directors not just for its action, but for the very strong character moments he focused on. The performances from Pedro Pascal and Bill Burr were quite captivating, particularly from Burr as he got to play around more with Mayfeld’s evolution. The examination of their belief system and how Din and Mayfeld were capable of change really spoke to what Star Wars has been about. With one episode left, the stage is very well set for an exciting and tense finale.
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