Review: The Mandalorian (Season 2)
Disney’s The Mandalorian has been a hit series and for most the best Star Wars story after Disney’s acquisition of George Lucas’ franchise, along with Rogue One, the critically acclaimed prequel to A New Hope. Today, the series has officially finished its second season and here’s our review of the whole season. Enjoy!
The second season of Jon Favreau’s and Dave Filoni’s critically acclaimed show started off quite strong, with an action packed first episode that foreshadowed in what way this season was going to be different than the first one. Namely, where the first season of The Mandalorian was more about world building, while the second season expanded upon the mythology of the whole series, and that was already foreshadowed with Boba Fett’s cameo in the first episode.
The season went on to feature a lot of cameos and returning appearances, both from old characters (Cara Dune, Greef Karga, Migs Mayfeld, Fennec Shand) and new ones (Ahsoka Tano, Bo-Katan Kryze, Luke Skywalker, R2-D2), thereby expanding The Mandalorian and placing it right into the midst of Lucas’ franchise, rather than portraying it as a detached spin-off from the main series (the first season did that as well, but not like this).
This all, of course, plays a big role in the plot that Favreau and Filoni came up with for the second season. The Mandalorian‘s plot continued being very strong, with the show remaining a rare Star Wars series that has (so far, at least) kept a consistent level of narration throughout its run.
The story, once again, follows Din Djarin, the titular Mandalorian, and “The Child” (Baby Yoda), whose name is revealed to be Grogu, on their adventures in the Galaxy. Mando has to return Grogu to the Jedi (“his kind”) and, like in the first season, they embark on different adventures and meet a plethora of colourful characters that made this season as great as the first one.
The Western-like narration style portraying Mando as a “lone gunman” figure who travels the Galaxy to achieve his goal is still present, although with the expansion of the internal mythology, the scenery was a bit more diversified and, along with that, quite beautiful. We’ve also gotten a glimpse of the expanding universe since the Return of the Jedi, i.e., the feeble, yet certainly present New Republic and its influence in the far corners of the Galaxy, the place where the Republic’s control was always weaker, even in the old days.
The story also has a lot more emotion than the one from season one, which is expected in a way, as we’ve gotten more attached to the characters; in season one, we got to know them and we only just developed our feelings towards them, while in season two – we’ve already developed a strong emotional bond, which is why their stories and adventures affecting us more this time. But even without that element, the stories do carry more emotional weight, especially since the character development of both Mando and Grogu have been executed in a brilliant, if not flawless manner.
And this brings us to the characters, who are the strongest aspect of this season. Namely, season one was more about the story. Certainly, there were characters who got us invested and whom we adored, but the story was more important, since the show wad still developing and we had to get an idea about what the producers and writers had in store for us. In season two, now that the story had been drawn out, we could focus more on the characters, while still enjoying the mesmerizing narrative.
The emotional bond between Mando and Grogu was amazing. The writers developed it in such a dear and exceptional way that it felt real. We all know Mando would come to a point where he would bond with Grogu, but we also knew that he had his principles and that he was, essentially, a bounty hunter. There is honour among thieves, for sure, but is there fatherly love? It seems that there is.
Mando not only risked his life and travelled the Galaxy far and wide for Grogu’s sake, he also did what we thought was impossible – he took his helmet off when it was necessary to do the best for Grogu. Certainly, we know what Pedro Pascal looks like and he did take of his helmet in front of a droid in season one, but it took a lot of love for the kid – as he calls him – to take of his mask and reveal his face in front of many other living creatures.
Grogu also has his own developed, as we got a glimpse into his past, but also his future. Although he is not able to articulate his thoughts like Yoda yet, Grogu was shown to have developed an amazingly strong emotional bond towards Mando, much like a son loves a father. If you add that emotional weight to Grogu’s inherent cuteness that makes him so lovable, you’re certainly going to succeed with making Grogu more than a mascot of the show – a full-fledged character in his own right. And that is what Favreau and Filoni did in the second season.
The other characters also got great stories. Of the episodic roles, we have to state that Timothy Olyphant’s Cobb Vanth was a great addition to the Western-style lore of the show, and his story was brilliantly tied to Boba Fett’s; Bill Burr returning as Migs Mayfeld was one of the best returns in any show ever and we were exceptionally glad to see the character getting his redemption after helping Mando; even the Frog Lady, which was more of a comic relief than a really relevant plot element, was a great addition to the cast.
As for the recurring roles, we were glad to see Gina Carano and Carl Wathers back as Cara Dune and Greef Karga respectively, especially since the former played a large role in rescuing Grogu from the empire. Giancarlo Esposito was once again amazing as the villain Moff Gideon, although we have yet to see how his story develops after such a humiliating end to his arc in “The Rescue”. Seeing Ming-Na Wen return was also great, especially since her character was also developed in a great manner.
As for the additions, Katie Sackhoff was excellent as the Mandalorian warrior Bo-Katan Kryze, and the story we all loved in the animated series was brilliantly included in The Mandalorian; Boba Fett, who also got his redemption in this show, was basically a scene-stealer and we cannot wait for his own story to develop in December 2021; and just when you though that the introduction of Ahsoka Tano, played brilliantly by Rosario Dawson, was going to be the highlight of this season, the f*ckers bring back Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 in one of the most epic scenes in the whole franchise and completely blow our minds. That’s how good the cast was!
All the technical aspects were likewise consistently great and there is really not much to add there. The production design was amazing, the special effects are deserving of an award and look like the best that Lucas’ cinematic franchise gave us throughout the years, and the cinematography was consistently on point. The direction of each episode was also consistent with the tone of the show, but we liked how each of the directors added something of their own, a personal touch, to each episode, making it distinct when compared to the others in the series.
We’d also like to compliment Ludwig Göransson on the score. We all fell in love with the main theme last season, but the variations on that score as well as the new compositions added in this season were absolutely amazing and it was truly amazing listening to Göransson’s work while watching all the other elements we’ve already praised.
And with this, we can conclude our review of The Mandalorian season two. As you had the opportunity to read for yourselves, the second season was a true masterpiece that managed to be even better than the amazing first season. With a slightly different take, but keeping up with the general tone of the show, season two has brought us yet another great story with amazing character development, that managed to connect The Mandalorian and make it, fully now, a part of George Lucas’ amazing franchise. All we can say in the end is – we can’t wait for season three!