Original Air Date: October 30, 2020
Writer: Jon Favreau
Director: Jon Favreau
The season opener for the second season of The Mandalorian leads our hero back to some familiar territory as we are given more than one creative nod to Spielberg’s Jaws and other classic Star Wars allusions, especially to A New Hope.
Mando visits a one-eyed Abyssin gangster named Gor Koresh (voiced by Jon Leguizamo), who is gambling over a Gamorrean fight to the death. Mando intends to learn the whereabouts of other Mandalorians to help him seek out a mysterious Jedi Master who can properly care for “Baby Yoda.” When Koresh tries to claim Mando’s armor, Mando unleashes his whistling birds to kill all the guards while stringing Koresh up in exchange for information –he learns that another Mandalorian lives on Tatooine in a remote outpost called Mos Pelgo.
He travels to Tatooine and returns to the same hangar managed by Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris). From here, he commandeers a speeder bike and travels across the dune sea to Mos Espa where he meets the town marshal, dressed in Boba Fett’s armor, named Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant). The two men get into a testy dispute that is quickly interrupted when the town is plagued by a gigantic krayt dragon (the creature whose bones we see scattered in the desert in A New Hope, apparently the prop still rests out in the deserts of Tunisia for tourists to visit lo these many decades later).
At any rate, Cobb Vanth explains to the Mandalorian how the destruction of the second Death Star (as featured in Return of the Jedi) led to the collapse of law and order as a local mining collective took control of Mos Pelgo. Vanth barely escaped stealing a container of crystals. He wandered through the desert until he was rescued by Jawas with whom he traded for Boba Fett’s beskar steel armor. Vanth agrees to relinquish his armor if Mando can help them kill the krayt dragon who is currently living in a remote cave, an abandoned sarlacc pit. In an homage to Jaws, Mando orchestrates a partnership with the Tusken Raiders to kill the krayt dragon (he eventually allows himself and a bantha loaded with explosives to be swallowed in order to detonate the bomb from inside the creature). The ploy works and the Tusken Raiders rejoice upon discovering a rare pearl from the innards of the krayt dragon. Vanth delivers his armor to Mando who then departs on friendly terms.
Meanwhile, off in the distance in the shadow of the dual suns, a heavily scarred Boba Fett looks on before turning to walk away. Thus concludes the episode. I thought this was a fun little adventure, despite being mostly a side-quest which is a bit unusual for a season opener. Nevertheless, this was a terrific installment. In particular, I was drawn to the world-building at the remote desert town of Mos Pelga and its many allusions to classic Spaghetti Westerns.
The Mandalorian Trivia:
- This was the first episode directed by Jon Favreau. Despite being an integral part of the show, he was directing the live action version of The Lion King (2019) when the first season of The Mandalorian came out.
- The character of Cobb Vanth was first featured in the Star Wars: Aftermath novel trilogy, published between 2015 and 2017. The series author Chuck Wendig was unaware that the character would be appearing in the show until fans started sending him messages after the episode aired.
- The R5 droid in this episode same as the droid which was originally sold to Luke and his Uncle Owen in A New Hope.
- The Mandalorian drinks Spotchka again in this episode, an allusion to the first season.
- Sam Whitmore makes a background cameo, voice actor from The Clone Wars.
- The roar of the dragon sound is taken from Obi-Wan Kenobi’s noise to scare off the sand people in A New Hope.
- In this episode, the famous ice cream maker prop makes another appearance in The Mandalorian in Cobb Vance’s flashback.
- There are several allusions to Jaws in this episode, including the slow pan on Cobb Vanth’s face and the manner in which the giant krayt dragon is killed.
- We learn that Mando can speak Tusken in this episode.