By Charlie Lebwohl ‘23, Contributing Writer
Though the series is not without its faults, The Mandalorian is overall an enjoyable watch for many of the same reasons the first Star Wars movies were. Season two sees the Mandalorian trying to find a Jedi to train Baby Yoda – taking the Mandalorian to a giant dragon, a frog-lady, a cave on an ice-world filled with gigantic spiders, a group of fellow Mandalorians, Ahsoka (a Jedi), an ancient Jedi temple where Baby Yoda is captured by a team of robot-soldiers, an Imperial mining plant, and finally back to Baby Yoda, who is in the custody of the main antagonist, Moff Gideon.
This plot summary underlines probably the biggest issue with The Mandalorian: pacing. The plot can feel meandering and a few episodes in season two feel like filler. For example, the entire frog-lady arc bears almost no significance in the story and offers little character development. In fact, the only memorable scenes from that arc are of Baby Yoda eating the frog-lady’s tadpoles. I didn’t mean “memorable” in a good way.
But what’s worse than being memorable for the wrong reasons? Being forgettable. Aside from Pedro Pascal’s excellent acting, which especially comes through on the two emotional occasions the Mandalorian removes his helmet this season, most of the acting in the series is underwhelming. The decision to cast the voice actress for Bokatan from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated TV series, in The Mandalorian was a mistake, for example.
Overall, though, Season 2 of The Mandalorian is excellent, despite its glaring weaknesses. None of the original Star Wars movies blew audiences away with their airtight plots, deeply moving acting, or expertly choreographed lightsaber fights, yet they were wildly successful. The Mandalorian succumbs to these same issues, but that’s part of what lends it its charm.
It also successfully incorporates canon into the series without being overwhelming. Disney didn’t get it right with The Force Awakens, which was a remake of A New Hope, or with The Last Jedi, which was too subversive, or with The Rise of Skywalker, which was plain-awful in general. And yet, The Mandalorian strikes a perfect balance. The fan-service isn’t overbearing; it invokes a certain sense of nostalgia, like when we see Boba Fett drop his signature Seismic Charge on a pair of Tie-Fighters, or when we see an admittedly clumsy CGI recreation of Luke tear through some robot-soldiers. It’s clear that the series was made with Star Wars fans in mind, and as a fan, it’s hard not to geek out whenever a familiar character or object makes an appearance.
Aside from the occasionally shoddy acting and some storyline issues, The Mandalorian is a fresh take on Star Wars that is a delight to watch, especially for Star Wars fans.