The Mandalorian Reunites With a Few Familiar Faces in Chapter 12, “The Siege”

The poor Razor Crest could really use the ship equivalent of R&R. So let’s see what happens on its next stop!

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Summary

The hyperdrive on the Razor Crest isn’t working, so Din has to head back to Navarro and get it fixed. Once there, he finds that the planet has seen a major turn around since he left, thanks in no small part to the work of Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano). They agree to fix his ship up like new if he’ll give them a hand with a local problem: The Empire still has one leftover base on the planet, and it is the only thing that stands in the way of Navarro being prosperous. They need to sink that base into the lava flats beneath it, and don’t perceive there being much issue, as it only has a skeleton crew.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, chapter 12, The Siege

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

The bar where the bounty hunters used to meet is now a school, so they drop Baby Yoda off there. The Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) Din captured in the very first episode is now working off his debt by keeping Karga’s books, so he drives them all to the base. It turns out that there’s a lot more than a skeleton crew around, and what’s more, the base turns out to be more than weapons storage—it’s a lab. They find a message from Doctor Pershing (Omid Abtahi) that’s only three days old, sent to Moff Gideon, so now they know he’s alive. Pershing has been using the small sample of Baby Yoda’s blood on what appear to be a set of bodies being grown in vats. He claims that he tried for a transfusion, but the bodies rejected the blood and he’s out of samples.

Din’s group gets the base sinking into lava and he jetpacks away to grab the kid, knowing that he’s not safe anywhere if Gideon is still alive. Cara, Greef, and the Mythrol make their escape in a Trexler Marauder. They are pursued by scout troopers on speeder bikes, which Greef dispatches using the Marauder’s cannons. As the base goes down, four TIE fighters lift off and pursue the group. Karga manages to down one, but there are three more on their tail. Thankfully, the Razor Crest is repaired and Din takes care of the other TIEs for his friends. They ask him to land for a celebratory drink, but he doesn’t want to risk it now that he knows they’re in more danger from Gideon, so he leaves Navarro. The New Republic’s Captain Teva shows up to ask Karga and Dune about what just went down with the base exploding, and they both feign ignorance about the whole deal. Teva offers Dune a place in the New Republic, saying they could use her help. When she refuses, he places a Republic medallion (communication device?) on the table next to her, and tells her he’s sorry for everyone she lost on Alderaan.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, chapter 12, The Siege

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

What no one knows is that one of the mechanics working on the Razor Crest was employed by the Imperials to plant a tracking beacon; now Gideon will always know exactly where Din and Baby Yoda are.

Commentary

Okay, real talk: How much time has passed here? Because if you’d asked me last week, I would have said it’s been maybe ten days since the end of season one. But looking at Navarro, I’m more inclined to think it’s been months. Like, at least six months. You couldn’t convince me of less than four. Maybe those months occurred before the start of the season? But also, then Din’s ship is entirely fixed up in what appears to be less than a day? Uh-huh. This timeline is getting a little messy…

That Imperial base gave us a lot more information in regard to what Baby Yoda was being used for and how and why, and it brings me back to one of my theories from last year—that this may be all about cloning Palpatine. Granted, it looks as though Moff Gideon is also maybe attempting to make his own Force-powered army (we see rows of bodies on his cruiser at the end of the episode), but the vats that we see inside that lab look awfully similar to what we get in The Rise of Skywalker. So the real question is, are these goals related? It’s possible that Gideon is acting on his own steam, and this has nothing to do with Palpatine’s resurrection. It’s possible that all of his work will be plundered by the First Order at some point, giving them access to his resources. It’s also possible that he is part of the First Order before they’re entirely up and running; his officer tells the mechanic that puts the tracking beacon on the Razor Crest that there will be a place for them in the “new era”, which sounds more like First Order talk to me.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, chapter 12, The Siege

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Regardless of the reason, this experiment is just wild, y’all. So they took a bunch of Baby Yoda’s blood to inject into clone and/or constructed bodies in the hope that it would maybe give them Force powers probably? Even though they’re not similar species, they think that this would do it because… oh no, midi-chlorians. It has to be about midi-chlorians, right? Because if they are the way the galaxy detects Force-powers in the blood, then that’s probably what you’d be using the transfusion for.

Which, to quote the late Han Solo: That’s not how the Force works.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, chapter 12, The Siege

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Okay, brief sidebar on this because we gotta: George Lucas introduced the concept of midi-chlorians in the prequels, and a large portion of the fandom has been angry about them ever since. It’s poorly explained in Episode I by Qui-Gon Jinn, because he makes it sound like the midi-chlorians basically are the Force? But they’re not, they’re just an indicator of potential in the Force. Which means that you shouldn’t be able to just “give” someone the Force by giving them midi-chlorians. Not that I don’t love that idea—here, Bobby, we distilled a baby’s blood for you, and now you can drink some midi-chlorian juice and levitate your friends!

The Baby Yoda antics in this episode were the Real Deal Grade A 100% Pure Entertainment of the week, though. Watching the kid learn language bit by bit, watching him electrocute himself by accident, watching him steal cookies (which is way more understandable than stealing precious eggs), watching him throw his hands into the air when dad dispenses a bunch of nasty TIE fighters, watching him get sick from all the airborne flips as dad ineffectively cleans him up. This is all we really wanted. If the whole show was just a montage of things like that, I’d be entirely content. I am fragile and tired this year, and the heart wants what it wants.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, chapter 12, The Siege

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Captain Teva is back, and the show really wants to have it both ways on this “the New Republic are cops” but also “the New Republic are just trying to help” thing, and I need them to knock it off. It’s fine to say that the new government is going through hiccups and maybe doesn’t always handle things well. It’s fine to highlight the bureaucracy that goes hand in hand with building and maintaining a government, and show how that can often impact people on the ground in ways that no one anticipates. But acting like the New Republic are kinda the bad guys from the perspective of small town marshals and magistrates? It smacks of intimating that “well bureaucracy is, in a way, just as bad a fascism”—which it ain’t. This planet used to be run by the Empire. Everything used to be run by the Empire. The New Republic is attempting to unite the galaxy under a representative government that can serve as many as possible, and the Empire was a dictatorship run by a single monstrous individual. These things are not remotely comparable, no matter how inconvenienced and distrustful everyone feels.

If the show is working toward the central characters coming to understand this difference, then that’s a good journey for them to go on. But it doesn’t seem that way at the moment because we’re mired in cowboy tropes, and that’s never how cowboy narratives work; in those stories, the town marshal is always going to be giving the side-eye to the Feds rolling into town. And this is where trying to draw those similarities falls apart—Star Wars isn’t actually the American Old West, and ignoring the galactic history in favor of an aesthetic is… it’s not a great look. Hopefully we’ll start to veer away from this as the show goes on.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, chapter 12, The Siege

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Things and Asides:

  • My favorite thing about this episode is the fact that Karga has undergone a significant glow-up since last season (*blows a kiss to his wardrobe and that gray beard*), but Cara wants no part of that and remains exactly as she is. Both of these choices are correct and beautiful.
Star Wars, The Mandalorian, chapter 12, The Siege

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

  • Carl Weathers directed this episode, and he did a lovely job with it. I’m always impressed when people direct episodes that they themselves are in because you’re adding a whole layer of difficulty onto the process.
  • The trio that Cara took down at the start of the episode are all Aqualish, the same species as Ponda Baba, partner to Dr. Evazan—they’re the two fellas who harass Luke at Chalmun’s in A New Hope. Ponda loses an arm to Obi-Wan’s lightsaber in that fight.
  • So now Cara has a space meerkat, and I would very much like her to name it.
  • The amount of sampling we get of old stormtrooper lines from the Original Trilogy always tickles me. In this one, we got the “Over there! Blast them!” line.
Star Wars, The Mandalorian, chapter 12, The Siege

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

  • We get a continuation of the Star Wars tradition that blue food=space food. In this case, Baby Yoda steals a kid’s cookies at school, and they’re definitely just a pack of macarons. But they’re blue, so now they’re for space.
  • The Mythrol (give him a name???) complaining that there’s no railing around the controls that keep the station powered and secured over lava is an excellent little tweak at the fact that Star Wars hates railings, and the bad guys in particular really have it out for railings, and basically the entire Empire is just one long walkway over a bottomless chasm that you’re probably going to fall into. There are no safety precautions in Star Wars because all technological advances are devoted to destruction. I’ve gone on at length about this before.
Star Wars, The Mandalorian, chapter 12, The Siege

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

  • …they’re gonna make me wait until the end of the season to see Ahsoka Tano, aren’t they? *sigh*

Join me next week after eating too much turkey, probably! See you then!

Emmet Asher-Perrin wants macarons now. Dammit. You can bug them on Twitter, and read more of their work here and elsewhere.

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