THE MANDALORIAN - Season 2, Episode 1 “Chapter 9: The Marshal”
What a huge surprise The Mandalorian was last year. A true Star Wars Western that no other Star Wars in the past was quite like. The dusty settings, rogue-ish heroes, and Magnificent Seven style shootouts were major positives in an action-packed first season that also had plenty of cute moments featuring everyone's favorite green guy. The premiere of that season was very good but had the rest of the season was a little more mixed. Some episodes great (Chapter 8) while others were not so great (Chapter 5) but still a solid way to start off the first live-action Star Wars show. One year later and now we have the premiere of Season 2 which reintroduces us to our boy Manny and his little green guy with one badass, action-packed premiere.
Chapter 9 starts off with Manny & baby green guy seeking help from a shady criminal named Gor (that's my YouTube name!) and ends with an awesome action scene that once again proves that Manny is someone you don't want to mess with. The adventure continues with Manny & Green heading to Mos Pelgo which is the most Western-looking town that's ever been in a Star Wars thing EVER. They're there in search of other Mandalorians but instead finds the town's sheriff Cobb Vanth played by Timothy Olyphant (just in case you were confused if this was a Western or not) in an old Mandalorian armor suit. Manny recommends that Cobb give the suit back to his clan but Cobb refuses which almost leads to a shootout before an earthquake hits the town. As you may expect, this was no earthquake but a giant creature underneath the ground that attacks the town randomly in search of food. Cobb makes a deal with Manny that if he helps him kill the creature then he will give Manny the suit back which Manny agrees to.
A pretty solid and old school premise for an episode that is both Star Wars in visuals but more like The Magnificent Seven or *insert classic Western movie here* in spirit. To the point where you even have the plot point of old enemies having to reluctantly team up to fight an even worse threat. I won't spoil who's the enemy but it's a fun twist on that tried and true plot element. Timothy Olyphant was a surprise guest actor and felts perfectly in this world considering the many Western roles in his past. I also really loved the way they try to handle the creature. It felt more realistic than just run in guns blazing with dozens of soldiers. They try to lore it out and trap it which I found way more interesting than the typical explosions galore. Not to say there isn't plenty of action but I appreciate the slow burn to get to that action and the genuine attempt to make it make some sense.
The visuals in this episode are gorgeous with beautiful cinematography really shining through with locales that fit the alien world so perfectly. One thing that's apparent immediately with this season is the visual effects have been significantly improved. When that giant creature comes out of the sand, it's actually on par with a lot of the special effects we see on the big screen. I almost prefer the effects of Mandalorian over the effects of the newest Star Wars films because this show knows not to overindulge and really focus on making the small cast of creatures look as good as possible. Of course, there is plenty of practical make-up with great costume design as well which is very appreciated but I was very impressed by how much the CGI improved this season.
My only complaint about this episode is that it doesn't advance the overall plot too much which I was kind of hoping it would considering how the last season ended. Besides the final scene, it was all set up for the future episodes which is cool with me but most of the episode felt like filler. This adventure most likely won't be mentioned again in the future. A great start to the season and a very interesting ending but not a lot of plot advancement here. Still, the action and effects are superb, Manny is still a badass, Green is still adorable (even if he had nothing to do), the vistas are still on point, and Timothy Olyphant's Cobb is a great addition to the cast and I hope we do see more of him in the future.
A great start to the season that promises big things with that huge reveal at the end of the episode. I just hope the next episode advances the plot for Manny and Green a little more.