STAR WARS – THE MANDALORIAN [Season 2 Premiere Review]: Yak Face.

Travis Moody

I figured it would be fun to write this review of The Mandalorian‘s Season 2 Premiere from a collector point-of-view. Because — why not? — I’m always in A Toy Kinda Mood. Chapter 9 instantly tracks everybody’s current favorite Star Wars characters, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and The Child (um, Baby Yoda) through a dark passage, complete with bright red druid eyes and properly timed Halloween vibes. Gamorrean Guards take over the squared-circle at NXT this week, and they’re seemingly more ripped and Crossfit-trained the one’s we last saw guarding Jabba’s Palace, who would eat craft service pastries whenever George called cut. An official Star Wars wrestling ring would be something, but that Gamorrean Swanton Dive though…

The Season 2 premiere definitely focuses in on a lot more of Djarin’s gadgets and abilities. In the first scene alone, Mando shows off his remote darts, with the assumption that these were more lethal than the weapon’s previous strength of paralysis. And if you like electronic gauntlets that come equipped with numerous sheath-blades, bruh’s got you covered. Bye-bye, gangster grunts of Gor Karesh (John Leguizamo). That grappling hook sure came in handy, too (grrrrrrr).

Mando def saves his coolest trick for last, which required being swallowed whole by a carnivorous reptile before an intense phase-pulse blast courtesy of his trusty Amban rifle, thus jet-packing away from the literal jaws of defeat. It’s so great that the show closes with two suns, and the father of Boba (Jango Fett) turned son of Jango (Temuera Morrison) stalking from the shadows…

You might want to reconsider.

So a helmet-less Boba Fett action figure will be both Timothy Olyphant and Morrison? Sounds like an SDCC@Home II Hasbro Pulse Exclusive Star Wars Black Series Deluxe thing-a-ma-jig to me. Now, I take you back to the last time we caught Djarin “talkin’ scrap” with Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), the wise-cracking shipyard repair mechanic, which was just last week. I noted with the “Meme” clip how I’d never pay “500 credits” for the HasLab TVC Razor Crest

Well, $383 dollars and an instant panic to find room for a 3-foot long plastic vehicle later, the Meme goes the other way, but who could blame me after seeing that downright jaw-dropping paint job and all the extra unlockable goals (Flight stand! Exclusive.. Jawa! OK, still no LED’s??). Oh, hi R5-D4! Thanks to your appearance, your fellow R5 droid-in-arms probably won’t be a Galaxy’s Edge pegwarmer any longer.

Speaking of purchases, how many of you would grab a diorama of that perfect Tatooine lay-out we see as Mando rides his chill speeder into town? Fam, those townsfolk were none too pleased to see Mr. Djarin. Shame on them– I love how he just cruises on in, ever so nonchalantly. Why Mando gotta be so cool…

This is also the section of the show where we see the intense Western influence. Mando is a man about the space town, a Clint Eastwood with shiny armor, and we even get the piping flute notifications when the Marshal, Star Wars: Aftermath novel’s Cobb Vanth (Olyphant), shows up at dawn, and nearly has a “Justified” showdown with our boy until the sand dragon searches for some Bantha-spiced supper. But tell me Timothy doesn’t appear like a cross between a “Good” Walking Dead Negan and your favorite Comic-Con Boba Fett Cosplayer?

Christmas Tree Shops Exclusive.

Vanth’s presence takes a few minutes to get used to, especially when you realize that he’s not the Holiday Trooper! But as the two cowboys gallop through the CG sands of Manhattan Beach Studios, we get a pretty awesome — and a very much-needed — origin tale of how Vanth became Holiday Boba Fett, met a few druids via the Sandcrawler (from A New Hope), and found a deal on his shiny new Sarlacc-survived duds. Now that we love Vanth, we love him even more when he refuses some boiling pisswater from a handful of Tusken Raiders. Yeah, good luck finding those in stock now.

It’s also apparent that The Mandalorian loves its campfires, as yours truly Moody briefly played a Klatooinian Raider meddling around one in Season 1. If you find that now discontinued Best Buy exclusive AT-ST, get one, because it’s gonna be worth meeeeeeeellions someday when Dave Filoni (Okay, Central Casting) ever decides to give me a better role. You can thank me later.

Now we enter slight Game of Thrones territory. In a scene slightly reminiscent of “Beyond The Wall” (Season 7, Episode 6), Vanth and Djarin spend the day gathering unlikely heroes, uniting sparring factions, gathering supplies and artillery, and planning full tactical on.. a Krayt Dragon. Welp, there’s our next HasLab, complete with LED acid-vomit effects since the Razor Crest sadly doesn’t look to have any lights and sounds. Oh, and speaking of LED’s, hurry and grab a Black Series Boba Fett Helmet if you still can, because, hell, Vanth got himself one and, you know, scalpers.

The cinematic quality of the episode, highlighted by scenes that take place entirely in Star Wars’ Outer Rim, is top-notch. Jon Favreau delivers his keen film directing sensibilities to the forefront: sweeping camera pans, lots of high-angled, shift-focus crane action, and the signature still frames of George Lucas (we even see the classic “swallowing” effect of the frame during a scene shift!). The Krayt monster itself looks menacing, and you wouldn’t know exactly how fracking lengthy broheem is until Cobb ‘n Din hilariously discuss “scale” with their own lil’ sand diorama, complete with mini-bone dragon and Sand People-represented pebbles. I wonder if this will wind up a Target exclusive?

Chapter 9 = 4.75/5 Mando Mondays.

-Travis Moody

You can catch Baby Yoda in all its The Mandalorian Season 2 glory on Disney+ right now.