The Mandalorian Makes a Terrible Error in Chapter Fourteen, “The Tragedy”

Well, I suppose this was all bound to happen at some point. Otherwise how are you gonna make that season finale something exciting, right? Spoilers ahead.

Summary

Din and Grogu arrive on Tython and set the Razor Crest down below the seeing stone ruins. They jetpack up to the summit and Din sets Grogu on the seeing stone. Nothing happens for a bit, but then the whole thing lights up and Din cannot physically remove him from the stone. As Grogu does his thing, Slave I shows up. Din goes to confront their guests and finds Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). They insist that he set down his jetpack and holster his weapons so that they can all talk. It turns out that when Fennec got shot on Tatooine, Fett found her and got her fixed up with mechanical parts. She owes a sort of life debt to him, and they’ve tracked Din down because he wants that set of armor Djarin took from Cobb Vanth—Fett insists the armor is his.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 14, The Tragedy

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

As they’re preparing to fight this out, Gideon’s forces find them (due to the previously planted tracking beacon) and a transport full of troopers arrive to retrieve Grogu. Boba and Fennec begin fighting them off while Din tries to grab the kid, but he’s still doing his seeing stone thing, and can’t be reached. The trio dispatch the entire transport of troopers, but another one arrives immediately in its wake. Fett slips into the Razor Crest, retrieves and dons his armor, and continues to take on the next wave of troopers. He manages to scare them off, then blow up both transports, but Gideon blows the Razor Crest to scrap.

Grogu eventually stops using the seeing stone and Gideon sends a team of Dark Troopers to rocket down and nab the kid. They succeed and Fett gets into Slave I to pursue, but Din insists that he not harm the kid. Fett follows and sees Gideon’s cruiser, saying that the Empire is back. When he lands, he shows Din his and his father’s chain code, linking him to the armor. Din notes that Jango Fett was a foundling like him, and that the armor is rightfully Boba’s, claiming their business is concluded. But Fett’s not having it—he won’t leave until they help Din retrieve his child as a way of making good on this exchange. He and Fennec give Din a ride to Nevarro, where he asks Cara Dune (now a New Republic marshal) for info on Migs Mayfeld, who he needs to spring from prison if he’s going to get help taking on Gideon.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 14, The Tragedy

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Commentary

Well, that’s one way of making sure your incoming season finale is properly action-packed.

Thing is, the idea of Grogu “activating” the seeing stone and that turning into some kind of weird energy beam that is impenetrable to Mando dad is plain goofy. Sometimes they pull things like this to make the conceit of a story work and you’ll notice it less because there’s just so much going on, but here it’s just glaringly obvious that it’s silly because… why would it do that? Why would it need to be clear that Grogu was “using” the seeing stone at all? It’s all about the Force, he could just meditate without anything appearing to happen. They put it in there so that there’s an obstacle to Djarin getting the kid back when he needs to, then it conveniently subsides at the exact moment required for Gideon’s droids to nab him. Which is pretty sloppy on the writing side of things.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 14, The Tragedy

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

This show also has a real bad habit of deciding that certain episodes are just “action” episodes, and giving us a lot of great eye candy with practically no story at all. My issue here is that there was a lot of background seemingly omitted for no good reason, or worse, perhaps because they keep trying to avoid saying concrete things for fear that they might need to overwrite them later. They had plenty of time to fill—why not tell us how Boba Fett escaped the sarlacc pit? It’s only one of the greatest legends in the Star Wars canon, and one that would have been amazing to at least hint about. What about showing us how Fett repaired Fennec with mechanical parts? I’d love to know who performed that surgery and how and where Fett got the connections and/or credits to pull that off. Point being that there was plenty of material to riff on here that they simply decided to leave off. They could have given us a lot more than what we got in this script.

How about my biggest question—you’re telling me that Boba Fett couldn’t just stroll into Mos Pelgo and strip that armor right off Cobb Vanth’s cooling body? Because there’s no way he’s scared of that guy. So, did he just not know where the armor was? (Seems unlikely given how small Tatooine is.) Did he leave the armor with Vanth because he could keep tabs on its location and didn’t care much at the time? It just seems like a whole lot of work to wait that long, then grab your new half-robot buddy and have to track down another Mandalorian across several worlds to get it back. They followed him all the way to the galactic core for this.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 14, The Tragedy

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

I was glad for confirmation on some things, though: The question of the Fett family legacy, whether or not they could truly call themselves Mandalorian, has been in dispute for some time. With the canon overhaul, the only indication we had was the word of Mandalore’s Prime Minister Almec during the Clone Wars, who insisted that Jango Fett was a radical element unfit to wear his armor. There was no word on their history or where they hailed from, and it was always a possibility that Jango had killed someone and stole the armor from them. It would seem that the Legends canon on this has been restored: Jango Fett was an adopted foundling, which makes him Mandalorian. That armor belongs to the Fetts.

I’m also glad for the fact that they didn’t wind up killing Fennec Shand because that was by far the least satisfying ending of season one. And I sort of love the fact that this alliance with Boba Fett now contributes to a long line of partnerships Fett has (both canonically and within the Expanded Universe) with terrifyingly skilled women.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 14, The Tragedy

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

This episode was a real treat for anyone who’s a fan of the Boba Fett character and has waited literal decades to see him properly in action. A lot was riding on this because within the films, the character admittedly doesn’t do much, and what he does is less than impressive by the end. One major mishap sends him screaming into the side of a sail barge (it’s the goofiest canned scream too, why make it that comical), there to tumble into the sarlacc and be eaten. A pretty ignominious death for a character who inspired so much fascination right from the beginning—for a character who is responsible for the entire fandom’s adoration of Mandalorian armor in the first place.

So this episode is ultimately about giving Fett his due, starting with an unarmored action sequence that sees him brain stormtroopers with a Tusken Raider Gaderffi (or gaffi stick) like they’re made of meringue. He’s so skilled with the thing that the armor crumples like paper mâché, which is pretty brutal, but definitely intended to send a message. (And is also on par with director Robert Rodriguez’s style, which… this episode is so suited to his myriad strengths, it’s glorious.) By the time he gets that armor back on, we’re already primed for it—and it helps that he fills the set out properly, a clear juxtaposition with Vanth’s slight showing. Temuera Morrison is finally given the chance to make good on the promise given in Episode II, the chance to step into the shoes of one of this universe’s most enigmatic entities and make it his own. He’s so right in the role, too.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 14, The Tragedy

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

But more than that, it’s good to see Boba Fett uphold a code quite similar to what I remember reading in those old Legends books. His use in the Clone Wars television series was rough; he was a teenager reeling from the loss of his father, and spent most of his tenure being gullible, petty, and pretty annoying. The character we saw here? That’s the guy I remember from my childhood. It’s good to have him back.

Super curious about where Djarin’s gonna get a new home now because… I mean, that ship was literally all he had, and he was keeping the poor thing together with duct tape. Bye bye, trusty Razor Crest. We’ll miss you.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 14, The Tragedy

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Okay, so the point is that the emblem Captain Teva left behind for Cara Dune is like the New Republic equivalent of a sheriff’s badge? Really? (Did the New Republic just hand him a burlap sack of those, and he flings them at half-amenable passersby whenever he has a feeling about them?) I mean, never mind the fact that the conceit of that is just a li’l silly, how did she run that by Karga and get his a-okay? Because that doesn’t seem like a thing he’d be all that excited about. On the other hand, I appreciate that Cara was trying to hold the line on her new duties, but the instant Din said “so they kidnapped my baby” it was like Auntie Mode: ACTIVATED. Guess that New Republic oath only applies when your nephew’s life isn’t on the line.

Things and Asides:

  • Okay, so they said nothing last week, but the show’s hair stylist revealed this on Instagram—Morgan Elsbeth is a Nightsister. That’s what Ahsoka meant when she mentioned that her planet had been destroyed during the Clone Wars, she was talking about Dathomir—the birthplace of Asajj Ventress and Darth Maul, and home of an entire culture of Force-sensitive witches. That’s why Elsbeth could hold her own against Ahsoka. I’m screaming over the fact that they didn’t reveal this in the episode COME ON.
  • As mentioned above, Robert Rodriguez directed this episode, though you’d probably know him best for this work on any number of low-or-high budget action extravaganzas, including El Mariachi, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Sin City, Machete, and Alita: Battle Angel. Also Spy Kids and The Faculty. You know, depending on what kind of film nerd you are. Pedro Pascal is going to be in his upcoming film We Can Be Heroes, sequel to his 2005 movie The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. The way Rodriguez frames action for impact, carnage, and maximum swagger is always a pleasure to behold, but particularly when he uses it to celebrate one of my personal favorite Star Wars characters.
Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 14, The Tragedy

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

  • This is yet another example of the use of “dank farrik” as some sort of catch-all curse for the universe, so that’s a thing. Uncertain which language it heralds from, though.
  • The planet Tython was known in the Legends canon as the homeworld of the Je’daii Order, which eventually become the Jedi. It’s a deep core planet that originally appeared in a book about Darth Bane, the first Sith Lord. Tython had already been reestablished in the new canon via the Doctor Aphra comics, however, so seeing it here isn’t too much of a surprise.
  • Boba Fett’s comment that he’s “a simple man making his way through the galaxy” is literally him just quoting his dad—Jango says nearly those exact words to Obi-Wan Kenobi on Kamino in Attack of the Clones. Cute, Boba.
  • So the Dark Troopers are now just… Iron Legion robots? Uh. Sure. *shrugs* *shrugs again* *shrugs a lot* Okay, full aside here though, because Gideon also has and employs Death Troopers, and there’s a theory that has gone around for a while in the Star Wars universe—which is that they’re basically zombies. So my question is, are the Dark Troopers full droids, or are they a hybrid? Maybe the next step in the Death Trooper line, being part people, part mechanized? Whether that has anything to do with Gideon’s experiments around Grogu’s powers seems entirely possible. So that’s not good.
Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 14, The Tragedy

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

  • Din is going to spring Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr) from New Republic jail to help him get Grogu back, the very same guy he left on the prison ship at the end of Chapter Six “The Prisoner”. Great. How exciting to see this jerk again.
  • If you have a hard time believing that Din and a small ragtag group can take down Gideon’s forces, I posit to you that there’s a Legends story where Boba Fett takes down an entire Imperial garrison single-handedly to capture one guy. It’s called “No Disintegrations, Please” and it’s great. So, you know, this is totally doable with a bit of planning.

Okay, so we’ve got two episodes left for the season! Buckle up, everyone, things can only get more tense from here.

Emmet Asher-Perrin is going to gaze fondly at their Boba Fett Unleashed action figure for the rest of the day and think about him escaping the sarlacc pit. You can bug them on Twitter, and read more of their work here and elsewhere.

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