Greetings from a galaxy far, far away! This week, we continue our journey with Din Djarin (a.k.a., The Mandalorian) and Grogu (a.k.a., The Child), as I review and analyze The Mandalorian S2E7, “Chapter 15: The Believer.” The penultimate episode of Season 2 explores two characters trying to find their place in the galaxy, while struggling with the approaches they have chosen.
Doing Hard Time
The Mandalorian S2E7 opens with a New Republic prison ship, as seen in last season’s “Chapter 6: The Prisoner,” flying over the Karthon Chop Fields. In S2E6, when Cara Dune identified that Migs Mayfeld was serving his prison time on Karthon, I had no idea what a chop field was. It quickly becomes apparent, as the place is strewn with old Imperial equipment. TIE fighters, especially, litter the fields. The prisoners are dismantling the ships. It is an official galactic chop shop, without the stolen cars. This environment looks amazing—another strong technical performance by ILM and the Lucasfilm crew.
A security droid turns Mayfeld, known as Inmate 34667, over to New Republic Marshal Cara Dune. Cara says she is taking him on a mission. That badge has certainly given Cara a significant amount of authority within New Republic territories, even if she is bending several rules to get him out. When Cara takes Mayfeld to Boba Fett’s ship, Slave I, I enjoyed watching Mayfeld’s emotional rollercoaster as Boba Fett approaches. He goes from a moment of fear to relief, when he realizes Fett is not Mando. That, of course, comes crashing down a moment later when Mando actually does approach him.
Deal or No Deal
Mando tells Mayfeld that he will help him find Moff Gideon. It has been a long time since he served the Imperials, but Mando believes Mayfeld still knows how to handle protocols and clearances. Mayfeld initially refuses to help, especially since Cara tells him she will not free him afterwards. When Mando tells him that Gideon has Grogu and this is the only way to get him back, Mayfeld agrees to help. For Mayfeld, there is no deal. It is simply something he must do, as part of his penance.
Watching The Mandalorian S2E7, I was struck by how fast Mayfeld actually agrees to help. Does Grogu’s predicament pull on his heart strings? Does he view it as he has no choice or is at least getting a break from hard labor? Is he preparing to betray Mando, in order to get his revenge after “Chapter 6: The Prisoner”? At this point in the episode, I was convinced it was definitely leading to a betrayal. Later in the episode, when Mayfeld argues he needs to go to the base by himself, I felt even more strongly that was where the episode was headed. To my surprise, no betrayal ever comes. Maybe Mayfeld isn’t just a simple black-and-white bad guy.
Mando and company plan to sneak into the secret Imperial mining base on the planet Morak. This base, where the Imperials are refining rhydonium (a fuel), has a terminal from which Mayfeld can access Moff Gideon’s location. Mando knows he can’t walk into the base in his Mandalorian armor, so he looks to the rest of the crew. Cara is willing, but Mayfeld tells her that face scanners at the base will pick her out immediately. Fennec says she is wanted by the Imperials, likely for assassinating Imperial leaders. Boba Fett responds, “Let’s just say they might recognize my face.”
With no other options, Mando has a dilemma on his hands. He needs to go with Mayfeld, but can’t wear his armor. His creed prohibits him from removing it in front of others, so he has to come up with an acceptable option. Even though it visibly bothers him, Mando decides he will wear Imperial armor. Is it acceptable to change out of his armor, as long as no one sees him do it? Mayfeld even calls him out on this—is it he can’t remove his helmet or that no one can see his face? Later, it only gets worse for him. Mando finds he must remove his (Imperial) helmet to use the computer terminal, as it requires a face scan. For the first time since he was a young child, Mando’s face is exposed to the world.
Fear of the Unknown
Din’s body language and facial expressions throughout the latter half of The Mandalorian S2E7 show just how uncomfortable and, perhaps, afraid he is. He was raised to believe he could never remove his mask without betraying his creed. To do so would mean he could never put his helmet back on—he would essentially be excommunicated. Mando struggles with the choice between his creed and what must be done to save Grogu. He rightfully chooses saving Grogu, but his choice weighs heavily on him.
How does one reconcile one’s basic core beliefs with an imminent need to betray them? The creed has been central to his life. He chose The Way, because it gave him a family and place to belong. If he violates the creed, can he go back? Is The Way the right way, or has he walked the wrong path all along? Mayfeld tells him that everyone is the same and faces this type of dilemma. He says, “Everybody’s got their lines they don’t cross until things get messy.”
Mando may not know what his future is, with regard to his Creed, but he is focused on rescuing Grogu. He finally has the information he needs to attempt it.
Paying for the Wrong Choice
Just like Mando, Mayfeld wants a place to belong. Long ago, he made a decision to join the Empire. He knew he would find a family there. The Empire told him it was there to keep order. He found out, though, that the price of belonging was too great. The Empire didn’t care about the people it ruled, and it would destroy worlds to maintain its power. It also didn’t care about those who served it. They were merely fodder for The Emperor. Mayfeld saw his friends sacrificed, their families suffer and innocents wiped out.
It turns out that Mayfeld isn’t just another two-dimensional villain. He regrets his part in The Empire’s deeds, and seems to have decided to never trust authority again. He feels it doesn’t matter who is in charge—a few will rule and everyone else will be oppressed. Mayfeld has made himself an outlaw to any government. Although it has come at a heavy price, he at least can sleep at night now.
After escaping from the Imperial base, Mayfeld is ready and willing to return to imprisonment. He has made peace with his place in the universe. Cara and Mando now understand Mayfeld’s past, and that he may actually be a good person. They offer him a chance at a new start, by reporting that Mayfeld was killed when the base exploded. Mayfeld happily walks into the hills of Morak. Will he settle here on this remote world, or will he find a port and head off to another adventure? Either way, I feel confident we will see him again.
As The Mandalorian S2E7 ends, Moff Gideon receives a message from Mando. While shown as a hologram on the communications system, Mando issues a warning to him. “Moff Gideon. You have something I want. You may think you have some idea of what you are in possession of, but you do not. Soon, he will be back with me. He means more to me than you will ever know.” This quote is almost word for word the same threat Gideon gave Mando and crew in The Mandalorian S1E7, “Chapter 7: The Reckoning.”
There is one significant difference between the quotes, besides the associated timetables. When Gideon threatens Mando, he refers to Grogu as “it.” Mando, on the other hand, refers to Grogu as “he.” This subtle difference is extremely important. It tells you everything about the way these two view Grogu. To Mando, Grogu is family. To Gideon, Grogu is no more than a possession or tool—one that will feed the restoration and growth of the Empire.
As mentioned above, The Mandalorian S2E7 left Mando with a dilemma. He has removed his helmet and exposed his face. Once he puts it back on, will the Children of the Watch still accept him? We do see him again with his helmet, but whether or not he can go back is another question. In The Mandalorian S2E3, Bo-Katan told him that only a small group of extremists believed they could not remove their helmets. Will this episode push him closer to more mainstream Mandalorian beliefs?
Thoughts and Theories
- I enjoyed seeing more of how the inside of Slave I worked, when the ship changes from a horizontal to vertical orientation. I also was happy to see Boba Fett’s armor cleaned up and repainted. It looks like it is in peak condition again.
- When the TIE fighters showed up to destroy the final five pirate skiffs, they came really, really close to hitting the Juggernaut. Killing the pirates may have been more important than saving the fuel or even the bridge to the base.
- Until today, I always wondered whether or not guns in the Star Wars universe run out of charge. It makes sense that they do, but I don’t recall seeing that before.
- Was the first shot of the troopers saluting reversed? They were all saluting with their left arms.
- Fennec, Cara and Mayfeld have all been touted as sharpshooters. The Mandalorian S2E7 shows just how good of sharpshooters they all are.
- How did Din’s face pass the face scan? Did it just need a face, as a record, or did it match his face against a database?
- Rick Famuyiwa wrote and directed The Mandalorian S2E7. Last season, he directed “Chapter 2: The Child” and “Chapter 6: The Prisoner.” He becomes the seventh director in seven episodes this season.
Easter Eggs and References
- The Imperial Remnant’s cargo transport Juggernaut is also known as the Imperial Combat Assault Transport. It is in a class of wheeled vehicles, some of which were previously seen in Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. All of these vehicles are referred to as Juggernauts.
- Rhydonium, the explosive fuel being mined on Morak, first appeared in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.
- The Juggernaut driver armor that Mando and Mayfled wear in this episode combines the tank trooper helmets from Rogue One with the mudtrooper armor from Solo.
- The shore troopers (the troopers with the tan armor) seen in The Mandalorian S2E7 first appeared in Rogue One.
- Mayfeld says that he and Mando need to go fill out their TPS reports. This is a reference to the reports Bill Lumbergh, played by Gary Cole, makes his employees fill out in the 1999 movie Office Space.
- Mayfeld (as TK-111) implies Mando, as TK-593, damaged his hearing when his ship lost pressure in Taanab. This planet is where Lando Calrissian made a name for himself within the Rebel Fleet, some time between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Lando and Mayfeld pronounce the planet’s name very differently.
- At the base, we see the all-black uniformed and helmeted Imperial gunners. These troopers first showed up as the gunners on the two Death Stars.
- Mayfeld and the Imperial Officer Valin Hess discuss Operation: Cinder. In comics and books, this operation represented Palpatine’s plan to burn down the galaxy, should he be killed. Burnin Konn was only one of many locations targeted in this operation following Return of the Jedi.
- Boba Fett uses one of Slave I’s concussion grenades to destroy the two TIE fighters chasing him. We first saw these in Attack of the Clones. Apparently, more ships in the Star Wars universe need these.
Memorable Lines from The Mandalorian S2E7
- “I mean, it’s a common courtesy, a common courtesy to tell somebody where it is that you’re takin’ ‘em.”
- “Hey, Mando. Long time.”
- “The minute he gets inside, he’ll tip ‘em off. He’ll be a hero.”
- “Hey, buddy, I might be good at fast-talking, but I don’t think I can explain away a guy in a Mando suit to Imperial guards.”
- “Now, that right there is worth the price of admission.”
- “You should’ve left me in prison!”
- “If we don’t get those coordinates, I’ll lose the kid forever.”
- “You did what you had to do. I never saw your face.”
New Projects Announced
This week, Disney held their investors’ meeting. At that meeting, Kathy Kennedy announced or confirmed 11 new Star Wars projects. Two of these projects are spinoffs of The Mandalorian, and will see future crossovers with the show. As expected, one of the shows is Ahsoka. The other show, Rangers of the New Republic, is new to me. There have been various organizations that used the term rangers in the Star Wars universe, but we will have to wait to see what the term means in this case. Additionally, Kennedy said The Mandalorian Season 3 should debut around Christmas of next year.
There are seven other Disney+ projects that are not directly related to The Mandalorian. Three are live-action spinoffs from Star Wars movies: Andor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Lando. As previously announced, Diego Luna (Cassian Andor) and Alan Tudyk (K-2SO) are returning for Andor. We already knew Ewan McGregor was returning for Obi-Wan Kenobi, but Kennedy announced that Hayden Christensen is back as Darth Vader. Although not specifically stated, I have to assume Donald Glover is returning in Lando. The other projects are The Acolyte (set in the waning days of the High Republic era), The Bad Batch (an animated follow-up to The Clone Wars, showing the adventures of these genetically-modified clones during the rise of The Empire), Visions (standalone anime shorts), and A Droid Story (the story of a new hero, who is guided by C-3PO and R2-D2).
On the theatrical front, Kennedy discussed two movies. First, she confirmed that Taika Waititi is still indeed developing his movie. I was really surprised when Kennedy announced that the next Star Wars theatrical movie would be Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. Patty Jenkins is directing this movie, which will be released for Christmas 2023.
I am quite surprised, however, that Kennedy did not announce a Boba Fett series. With the number and frequency of rumors around such a show, it has seemed like one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood. The rumors may have been wrong, but I hope she was just holding out on us.
This year, there has been a lot of confusion over where Star Wars is headed as a franchise. Yesterday’s announcements make it clear that this is a good time to be a Star Wars fan. The Mandalorian and Disney+ have done amazing things for the franchise. I am excited by the possibilities, and look forward to tuning in (hopefully) almost every week.
A Bounty Captured
The Mandalorian S2E7 “Chapter 15: The Believer” sets the stage for the conclusion to Season 2. It is another strong entry that showed how two of the characters have traveled similar paths, even though their specifics were wildly different. Now, we wait a week to see how it all plays out. Will other characters from this season join Mando, Cara, Fett and Fennec? Will the whole crew survive the season? Might a Jedi show up to save the day? Most importantly, will Mando save Grogu and escape Gideon’s clutches? The countdown has begun, and I eagerly await what will surely be an epic conclusion to this season. I hope you are enjoying this season as much as I am.
If you have comments, theories or other easter eggs I didn’t mention, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
This is the Way.