For anyone that’s a “Clone Wars” or “Rebels” fan, Chapter 11 is the appetizer before the entrée, or before we have about two more appetizers like a Spanish restaurant, knowing Dave Filoni’s formula. This time around, Bryce Dallas Howard gets to direct an arching chapter introducing the audience to some familiar mentions. I continually find myself watching each Chapter of “The Mandalorian,” checking the episode’s timecode, not because I’m bored but because I want more. There aren’t any shows that I can think of where the episode’s length is a total mystery. Maybe it will be an hour, or thirty minutes, either way; the creators know how to keep its audience hooked.
I’m always refreshed to know that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni don’t adhere to condescending fan service. Nothing is implemented that’s familiar without a purpose. There’s no “we’ll call you Han… SOLO” scenes. A dangling plot thread from last season makes a return. A plot thread that only the hardcore “Star Wars” fans will get. As much as some people I know claim to be “Star Wars” fans, many of them won’t watch “The Clone Wars” because of its cartoon nature. Too bad they’re missing out. Ripped straight out of an episode from “Rebels,” Mr. Favreau conducts a chapter containing the adventurous plot devices that so many of its episodes had.
There’s a hijacking of an Imperial Vessel, an intense shootout, our villains playing chess against our heroes who are playing a game of checkers and just like Mado Season 2’s opener, a big reveal. No, it’s not the one you’re thinking of, or is it? I don’t mean to sound facetious, but spoiling the fun would be disingenuous of me. My complaint about the last episode being needless filler still stands as this is the way the episode structure should have gone, heading straight to Mon Calimari, home of Admiral Ackbar’s people. The reason behind each episode’s varying unorthodox length might have to do with it being a creative decision. Still, more likely, it’s because you can see the money being spent on screen.
Mon Kalimari is a beauty of a planet. Although we don’t go underwater to see the planet in its true Atlantic glory, the surface has the underworld grit flipped upside down to retain the spirit of the original trilogy that Disney has established as their mise en scène. Brisling with a permanently cloudy atmosphere that’s illuminated by orange streetlights come nightfall, Disney has the dough that’s changing the way we view television shows for the future to come. Moments of gasping danger are prevalent, catching me off guard, momentarily making me question if everyone will make it out okay—a rarity amongst Star Wars.
As badly as I want to write a more comprehensive review, I can only drop so many hints until I sound like a pipe-smoking smug Star Wars enthusiast. Just know that the team behind “The Mandalorian” knows how to reward its audience’s patience. There are payoffs to be made, even with a line in the episode almost telling the audience, “we promise that we won’t pull a fast one on you.” There’s no secret that Star War” fans are hard to please. I’m among the few critics that rejected “The Last Jedi” who has a bit of an eye twitch every time he hears Rian Johnson’s name brought up. These guys know how to expand upon a universe in live-action by being a counterpart to their cartoon ancestors.
Perhaps the deep cuts in this chapter won’t win over casuals, but that’s okay; it still will link up to everyone in the end. It’s sweet to watch a show that has no connection to the Skywalkers. The Jedi are here but not just to please everyone who wants to see a glowing lightsaber. I’ve already said enough. My interest will be gauged at how the casual fans will be asking guys like me questions when the credits roll. Hopefully, finally, more folks will start viewing these Star Wars shows I’ve been begging them to watch, further investing the general audience into Disney’s new canon. When making a calculated guess, I suppose the next episode or two will be rifled with complaints about being filler. The writers have made it abundantly clear, though, that they are going to deliver the goods. We may need to have the patience of Yoda going forward. But good things come to those who wait.