The Mandalorian: 2.04 Chapter 12: The Siege
There is a definite feel to Star Wars and a clear idea of whether or not something fits into its universe. It is obviously in the aesthetic, but is also very much to do with the sort of events that occur and how characters react. A lot of it comes from the Republic Pictures serials of the 1940's and '50's, which were one of the main influences on George Lucas. The Siege is absolutely chock full of this Star Wars vibe, which does just enough to save it from being another filler episode and actually helps it to start tying plot elements together, while teasing us with some big revelations about where the series might be heading.
When the episode begins the Razorcrest is still limping along on its journey to find Ahsoka Tano, the Jedi name dropped by Bo-Katan in the last episode. I'll admit my heart sank slightly when Mando announced to The Child that they're not going to make it in their current condition and that that maybe a trip to see some old friends on Nevarro for repairs might be in order. Sounds like another side mission. As Mando would say "Dank ferrick!". As it turns out my disappointment was mostly unfounded, as The Siege is an action-packed romp around, a sort of greatest hits of Star Wars, and drops some major information bombs with its climax.
Nevarro, as you'll probably recall, was the planet where the majority of the first season of The Mandalorian took place. This means Mando is soon reunited with Cara Dune and Greef Karga, played by Gina Carano and Carl Weathers respectively. Weathers pulls double duty on The Siege as he also directed the episode, with mostly successful results. His handling of the numerous action sequences is assured, even if the actual plot seems somewhat arbitrary at times. Put simply, while the Razorcrest is being repaired, our band of heroes go to blow up a supposedly abandoned Imperial base to deny anyone the opportunity to ransack it for parts and equipment. That is essentially the whole plot, which is basically designed to hang a number of exciting action and chase scenes on. It's a good thing then that the action is exciting and incredibly fun to watch, especially a chase involving both speeder bikes and TIE-fighters through a rocky canyon.
Not to be upstaged this episode by all the action and classic Star Wars elements, Baby Yoda probably gets his funniest and most cute moments. From practically electrocuting himself as he unsuccessfully tries to assist in repairing the Razorcrest, to using the Force for stealing what appears to be blue "space macarons", The Child continues to worm his way into our hearts. His best moments for me are as the Razorcrest engages in a wild dogfight with a couple of TIE-fighters, throwing his hands in the air like he's on a rollercoaster and squealing in delight. The payoff to this is a fantastically timed bit of comedy as the inevitable consequences of his behaviour catch up with him and he vomits bright blue macarons down himself. Equally endearing is when Mando assumes his fatherly duties and wipes him clean. Everyone with children can relate to this, and it really shows the bond forming between our titular hero and his little friend.
Some very unexpected, and potentially highly important, events happen when the Imperial base turns out to not be as abandoned as presumed. It also appears that the base is more of a research laboratory, as it contains what appears to be some sort of cloning facility. From a hologram log of Dr. Pershing, last seen experimenting on The Child way back near the start of season one, we learn that the Imperials wanted the blood of Baby Yoda to assist with these cloning experiments. In an almost throwaway line of dialogue Pershing refers to the blood having a high M-count.
This seemingly innocuous phrase did make me groan a little. It seems quite reasonable to assume he was referring to a Midi-chlorian level. You remember Midi-chlorians right? George Lucas' ill-advised attempt to completely undo the mysticism of the Force and infer that it is created by microscopic organisms found in blood. I've never really grasped why Lucas thought that this idea was necessary. Star Wars is a space fantasy, Jedi Knights are space wizards. That's all we need to know. Gandalf can use magic, Tolkien didn't feel the need to explain why. I can only assume Lucas wanted a reason to say that Anakin was spawned by the Midi-chlorians and that in being essentially an "immaculate conception" there was a whole Christ analogy happening. Whatever the reason, he obviously realised people weren't receptive to this idea and they were barely mentioned again in the prequels and Disney wisely ignored them in the sequel trilogy.
Until now. Still, putting my dislike of Midi-chlorians aside, this element does open up a potentially exciting story that could easily tie into The Rise of Skywalker, if that's the way Disney want to take it. The tanks of incomplete clones that Mando finds, do look suspiciously like the ones that Snoke was born in. It is however the scenes at the episodes climax that are the most exciting. After a huge ship passes overhead in a homage to the opening shot of A New Hope, we get a brief glimpse of Moff Gideon overseeing what looks like rows of large intimidating black clad stormtroopers. With the knowledge we now have about why the wanted The Child's blood, it looks like the Imperial Remnant is trying to put together a Force-sensitive Dark trooper army. Exciting stuff indeed.
This second season of The Mandalorian continues to improve on the first, with the main plot and story elements starting to coalesce into a satisfying whole. With the next episode being written and directed by Dave Filoni, it seems inevitable that we are finally going to get a live action Ahsoka Tano (Ahsoka is Filoni's creation) which comes with potentially major ramifications to the story going ahead. I'm personally most interested to see her reaction to The Child, seeing that during Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ahsoka fought alongside Master Yoda on a regular basis. The potential for The Mandalorian to go from strength to strength is strong. Maybe just don't mention the M word.