The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 Review: Chapter 12 – The Siege
The Mandalorian delivers a fun detour that brings back some familiar Season 1 characters.
The Mandalorian takes a familiar stop to Nevarro to engage in some repairs for his ship – the Mon Calamari did a makeshift, pathetic job. Consequently, the series brings back Season 1 characters Cara Dune and Greef Karga with Gina Carano and Carl Weathers returning respectively, the latter of whom steps up to assume directorial duties. And while the episode is largely a detour serving as elaborate filler, Weathers clearly has fun with the material and the characters as they let out frequent hurrahs and yeahs.
It’s always amusing to me just how small the planets in Star Wars feel like; there doesn’t seem to be much more to them save for a city block or two’s worth of residents. Not all is the same since we last left Nevarro in Season 1 as Nevarro has been reformed by Dune and Karga, who have now taken the mantles of marshal and magistrate respectively, tasking themselves with maintaing order and peace. Of course, as must be the case with every detour, there’s just one hindrance that remains: a remote imperial base that needs to be dispensed with to completely rid the planet of all imperial forces. And without question, Mando must agree to put his life and time at risk to complete the mission, never mind he has somewhere else to be. At least this time, it plays well knowing the shared history that Mando has with these characters.
The titular siege mostly turns out to be a breeze as our characters along with Chapter 1’s Mythrol make easy duty of the stormtroopers. Mythrol also serves as the episode’s comic relief, often trying to justify bizarre decisions and situations with matter of fact statements. Of course the episode can’t end so quickly and the base turns out to be more than just housing imperial forces: it’s home to the mysterious program that Moff Gideon was running that requires Baby Yoda’s blood to begin with. The clone brings back memories of Snoke and it would be super cool if this is simply early days for mastering the program that would have eventually birthed Supreme Leader Snoke and the likes of him in The Force Awakens. It’s also cool to see the infamous midichlorians being referenced and embraced in canon after Star Wars fans despised and ostracized their inclusion to justify anyone’s ability to mend The Force. Baby Yoda has a high m-count and that’s the chief reason why The Empire is after him.
This episode keeps things at the ground level and delivers some exciting speeder chases that evoke memories of The Phantom Menace. The camera work is kinetic, without letting you lose sense of the chase and the ensuing momentum, although it would’ve been better if we didn’t cut to the characters yelling out exclamations of joy every time a TIE fighter or stormtrooper got taken down; that stuff gets old fast. And the stormtroopers are fairly easy to dispense off, in an excellent move to showcase their bumbling nature, a few end up destroying themselves as they tumble over the rocks in following our cor characters.
The Siege is an interesting kind of filler in that it does lend some more context to the overarching storyline by more clearly laying out Moff Gideon’s game plan. By its own, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s competently made and kudos to Weathers for keeping the episode’s flow, editing and running time taut. It’s an entertaining distraction yes, and one that recycles a lot of older tropes – the chases even evoke The Rise of Skywalker although they might be better done and are easier to follow. But fleshing out the larger world a little bit lends The Siege some brownie points that saves it from ranking alongside some of Season 1’s more dismal episodes.
Attempts are also made to plant more seeds for storylines that could have the potential to branch out in their own spin-offs. Cara Dune is the strongest example. Alderaan is brought up as we learn that Dune lost everyone she knew on that planet, which gives her hatred for The Empire and imperial forces a strong motive. I’d be game for a miniseries that explores that planet and the lives its folks lived before being obliterated by the Death Star. And Novarro itself seems like a place we could visit more than once in the future; in fact, it could end up being among Mando’s pit stops.
But Novarro could use some cleansing itself, as some corruption still reeks in. Apparently, The Empire still has spies in that area as we learn one of them implants a tracking beacon on Mando’s ship. This should kick things off into higher gear in the next episode, as soon as the beacon comes into play.