The Mandalorian season 2 took a nostalgic turn in episode 4, as Disney Plus brought us back to the live-action Star Wars show’s roots. Where last week’s episode was a major treat for fans of The Clone Wars, this one pays homage to George Lucas’ Original Trilogy in delightful style.
Episode 4, titled The Siege, was directed by Carl Weathers, who also plays charming bounty hunter boss Greef Karga. Written by series creator Jon Favreau, it sees Mando (Pedro Pascal) stopping for repairs as he brings Baby Yoda (aka The Child) to find former Jedi Ahsoka Tano.
Let’s get into SPOILER town.
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Cara the Marshal
Mando returns to Nevarro, the Outer Rim world we got to know in season 1. Since we left, Rebel Alliance soldier-turned-mercenary Cara Dune (Gina Carano) has been dispensing justice as Karga’s enforcer, while he tries to transform the place into a respectable trading post.
Mythrol (Horatio Sanz), the first bounty we saw Mando collect, is Karga’s bookkeeper as he works off his debt. It turns out he went on the run after engaging in some “creative accounting” — presumably stealing money from Karga. Whoops.
While the Razor Crest is being repaired, Mando joins them in wrecking an Imperial Remnant base, the final step in making Nevarro safe. The action in this episode is killer — watching them sneak and shoot around the base and take out TIE fighters evokes the imagery of A New Hope, while the speeder bike chase echoes Return of the Jedi.
In a deeper cut, the boxy Imperial Troop Transport that Cara, Karga and Mythrol use to escape is based on a 1979 Kenner toy — the first that didn’t appear in one of the movies. It showed up regularly in CGI animated series Rebels and briefly in season 1 of this show, but this is the first time it’s gotten the spotlight in live action.
Baby Yoda’s midi-chlorians
On the base, our heroes are horrified at the sight of some twisted creatures in test tubes — beings that look like First Order Supreme Leader Snoke and the clones seen in Emperor Palpatine’s lab on Exegol in The Rise of Skywalker.
A holographic message from Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) to Moff Gideon reveals exactly why they want Baby Yoda. They tried to use the blood harvested from the Force-strong little guy to replicate his powers in others, but apparently it didn’t go so well.
“There were promising results for an entire fortnight, but sadly the body rejected the blood,” Pershing says. “I highly doubt we’ll find a donor with a higher M-count though.”
He’s referring to Baby Yoda’s midi-chlorian count, a concept introduced in The Phantom Menace that makes many Star Wars fans grit their teeth because it brought a scientific element to the Force (which had been mystical up to that point). Midi-chlorians are microscopic life forms in the cells of living beings — an individual’s midi-chlorian count determines their ability to use the Force, and can be determined through a blood test.
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Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) is seemingly trying to create Force-strong beings with Baby Yoda’s blood, but it’s unclear if he’s doing this for his own ends, knowingly working the reborn Palpatine or unknowingly doing the hidden Emperor’s bidding. My money’s on the third option — we know from The Rise of Skywalker novelization that Palpatine was having difficulty making Force-strong clones for his consciousness to live in.
It’s likely the experiments Gideon is overseeing will result in the creation of Supreme Leader Snoke, the twisted, Force-strong being who’ll lead the First Order — which is basically the Empire — as Palpatine’s surrogate around 20 years after the events of this show (The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi).
‘The new era’
New Republic Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), is apparently tracking the Razor Crest after saving Mando and Baby Yoda from spidery death. He shows up on Nevarro looking for the ship, but Karga ain’t sayin’ nothin’.
Teva also appeals to Cara’s sense of duty by asking her to assist the New Republic in policing the Outer Rim. We also learn that Cara lost “everyone” when the Empire destroyed Alderaan, her homeworld.
“There’s something going on out here. They don’t believe it on the Core Worlds, but it’s true,” he says, referring to the insidious activities of the Imperial Remnant.
In a shot that directly references the opening of A New Hope, we cut to an Imperial cruiser. One of the mechanics who repaired the Razor Crest also planted a tracker on the ship (again, like A New Hope, because yay 1977) and Gideon is back on Mando and Baby Yoda’s trail. That’ll probably bring trouble their way soon.
Baby Yoda cuteness
The little guy gets some delightful character development here, along with some meme-able moments. In the opening on the Razor Crest, he tries to help Mando with repairs and seems reasonably good at it — I blame Mando for the wire mixup. He also tries to sneak a look at Mando’s face as they sip their drinks together.
It’s also lovely to see him going to school, and using the Force to steal a kid’s space macarons (that kid should’ve learned to share). It’s the first time we’ve seen him use his powers this season, but the reminder was clearly timed with the revelation about the nature of Gideon’s experiments.
He also eats too many space macarons before Mando pulls his fancy flying maneuvers to take down the TIEs, and gets carsick. We’ve all been there! Expect to see “Baby Yoda puking blue” GIFs forever.
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- A protocol droid teaches class, and reminds us about the New Republic’s rotating capital world — it’s currently on Chandrila, the homeworld of former Rebel Alliance leader (and current Chancellor) Mon Mothma. (She uttered the immortal “Many Bothans died… ” line in Return of the Jedi.)
- By the time of The Force Awakens, the capital will be Hosnian Prime, which is destroyed by Starkiller Base.
- “I still can’t see out of my left eye.” Mythrol is apparently suffering from hibernation sickness after being frozen in carbonite. Han Solo was similarly afflicted in Return of the Jedi and was temporarily unable to see — he still managed to beat Boba Fett, though.
- The music that plays as our heroes look at the Imperial test tubes is a little like Snoke’s theme from The Force Awakens and Palpatine’s Teachings from Revenge of the Sith, implying a connection.
- In the episode’s final moments, Gideon appears to be in a room containing previously unseen Imperial armor. It’s hard to make out the details of this armor, but we’ll likely see it in action soon.
Join us for more Easter eggs and observations next Friday, after episode 5 of The Mandalorian season 2 hits Disney Plus.