The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 3 Review: Chapter 11 – The Heiress
A familiar Star Wars character returns as The Mandalorian gives us a standalone episode interspersed with Imperial plotlines.
The Mandalorian continued its episode of the week format but tried to go a bit further in The Heiress by drawing connections to some of the larger Star Wars lore. Arguably, the biggest of these was Katie Sackhoff’s return as Bo Katan from the animated series The Clone Wars, further cementing the connected nature of all Star Wars stories. And it helped that this week’s central narrative involved the Imperial troops as opposed to a disconnected monster. Oddly enough, despite the closer linkages to Star Wars mythology, I found myself enjoying this less compared to the other weekly quest episodes that have aired thus far.
Getting right down to business, Mando makes a rough landing on Trask and reunites Frog Lady with her Frog Man. The touching reunion is handled well by returning director Bryce Dallas Howard and I found myself wishing for more of their scenes together, which we certainly get. Mando however, is off to pursue another lead where some Davy Jones esque pirates offer to lead him to others of his kind, only to feed Baby Yoda to a mamacore and trapping Mando as he jumps to his rescue.
That’s when three Mandalorians actually make an appearance and, in true kickass fashion, rid the ship of its inhabitants pretty easily. Mando just about begins to trust them when they remove their helmets, revealing one of them as Bo-Katan Kryze. Bo informs Mando that he was raised by a cult of watchers who live by some pretty traditional and ancient rules of the Mandalorian ways, which is where Mando’s insistence on not showing his face comes from. In contrast, Bo and her clan embrace the more modern ways where showing one’s face isn’t frowned upon. It drives an interesting contrast between the two ways, slyly hinting that Mando himself may have been indoctrinated into his beliefs and brainwashed into a certain way of life when in reality, ethical codes and a solid moral compass may matter a lot more than old, dated principles of action.
Bo continues her quest from The Clone Wars to take over Mandalore and retrieve the Darksaber. As an initial step, her clan have been snatching Imperial weapons to build up an arsenal and seek Mando’s aid to assist them in order for them to give Mando his next clue. Again, seeing them fight, they really could have done without Mando largely but plot convenience requires Mando to assist them to complete the standalone story. They even take yet another dig at the Stormtroopers’ pathetic aim and make short work of them, until Bo gets greedy and decides to take over the whole ship instead. That’s when Mando learns another lesson of the new ways: the word of a Mandalorian is not as sacred as he holds it. Bo changing the terms of their arrangement does infuriate Mando deep down but his desperation in reuniting The Child with the Jedi is what persuades him to carry through.
These are some intriguing contrasts drawn between the previous episode and this one. The Child was busy eating creatures in the previous episode, whereas he finds himself being eaten by them in this one. And Mando stood up for what’s right as he held up his end of the bargain, which again was in contrast to what the other Mandalorians do to him. It seems that Mando is gradually getting acclimatized with the idea that his ways are no longer relevant and the Galaxy has evolved an modernized to be more liberal in these matters. Finally, The Child forms a bond with the Baby Frog that hatches and is visibly pained upon being separated from them.
This episode’s action sequences invoke the Stormtropper battles that were the staple of original trilogy Star Wars movies. There’s nothing particularly enticing or thrilling about them but Titus Welliver makes a strong impression as an Imperial admiral who is fully onboard with Moff Gideon’s instructions and commits suicide before letting himself be captured. The tension in the cockpit is palpable and Howard really perpetuates that fear of the Empire; despite most of it having fallen, Gideon has probably scrounged and scavenged a few bits here and there to pose a last stand. The aerial shots meanwhile continue to be breathtaking and the details on the Imperial ship’s design are indeed admirable.
Despite all the effort, the episode as a whole felt too structurally routine, following familiar action beats and low-stakes battles. There was never any sense of impending danger as the previous episodes managed to convey so well. Eventually, Katan does give Mando the location that he seeks and sends him off to meet Ashoka Tano, yet another fan favorite character from the animated shows that should tantalize geeks enough to ensure their return for the next episode.