Every time an episode of The Mandalorian lands, Fantha Tracks will be giving their responses, and here are our initial gut feelings, deep dives and thoughts on the eleventh episode – Chapter 11: The Heiress. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.
When live action Star Wars was announced to become a reality, never could I have dreamed that I would be watching something as rich as this. Chapter 11 delivered the goods on so many levels. When Katee Sackhoff tweeted last year to say she worked on something she never dreamed possible, I hoped it was live action Bo Katan!
This chapter was like a live action episode of The Clone Wars, capturing all the magic of that show and ramping it up. Katie was fantastic again in the role and left me screaming for next Friday! Incredible to see Quarren and Mon Calamari in this episode; now THIS IS STAR WARS!!!
Sander de Lange
Season 2 was described as The Empire Strikes Back to A New Hope‘s season 1 by the makers, and so far three episodes in that really seems to be the case. Chapter 11 is yet again a milestone for the series and clearly shows no signs of slowing down and giving us a breather with a filler episode or two like we had in Season 1. And no, you people who thought that the previous episode was a filler are in my humble opinion mistaken, as character development is also a way to drive the story forward. And it drove us to this, the Mandalorian meeting more of his kind and reaching another pivotal moment in his journey to find a safe haven for the Child.
Of course we have to address the big reveal that these Mandalorians are Bo-Katan Kryze, who is busy to reclaim her Darksaber and getting rid of Moff Gideon so she can restore a Mandalore to the throne. It raises more questions on what exactly the state of that world is, and begs the question; is Filoni is playing the long game, and will we see Mandalore in live-action as well? Sasha Banks isn’t the rumored live-action Sabine, but considering that we are gearing up to see Ahsoka Tano, it is still likely that Sabine is not far behind and how great would it be if she would be played by Tiya Sircar who voiced her in Rebels?
Back to the episode, it was not just the return of Bo-Katan that made the episode great. The monster of the week was a nice one with the mamacore and it was lovely to see the Mon Calamari appear in the series alongside their Quarren brothers. But then again, I am biased as the Mon Calamari are among my favorite alien species. The heist for the Gozanti-class cruiser was a wild ride of action and shows us that stormtroopers can hit their target! It is only too bad for them that their target was wearing Beskar armor and came with some thermal detonators. So yeah, the Razor Crest may be limping and damaged, but the same could not be said about this series and the state that is in.
After the last episode that I felt was a bit of a filler, this one smashed it. From the reentry, where you finally get a ship that’s having problems with burning up in the atmosphere, to all the callbacks to the EU legends.
Dave Filoni really shows that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to seamlessly bringing Clone Wars and other legends material into the story, and seeing Bo Katan was just so cool. I also felt it heartwarming that Frog Lady and her husband did get their first offspring, and that the Child hadn’t eaten them all. All in all it was a great episode to start the weekend with.
I had to start this over—I was trying to say too much. Bryce Dallas Howard crushed this episode, as did the casting group and everyone involved. Thank you all. So much was amazing but I’ll call out a few specific items that gave me chills and further-entrenched my love for this series.
“This is more than I signed up for,” was said by Din Djarin to Bo-Katan Kryze in this episode. It was the exact same line from Cara Dune to Djarin in Howard’s episode from Season 1. It’s amazing to watch the hero grow and be humbled, in a positive way, along the journey.
Oh, yeah. Seeing Kryze was amazing and Katee Sackhoff was perfect—morphing from merely vocal chords in The Clone Wars animated series into the warrior armour of her Clan. What was even more chilling? A triumphant but determined Kryze sending Djarin to Corvus to find Ahsoka Tano. This is where the fun begins, indeed!
I loved the role of the combative and traitorous Quarren. The Mon Calamari in the Trask port as well, and the unbelievable job by actor Titus Welliver (yet another Deadwood veteran) as an Imperial Captain, more afraid of facing an upset Moff Gideon than taking his own life.
So much action jumps out—especially multi-Mando attacks—but maybe the most powerful emotions and moments were those involving the Child, as he matures and develops under-the-radar.
The Child, always soaking in his surroundings, was exposed to true love and emotional nurturance this episode. He watched the pure joy of the Frog Lady rushing to her mate upon their arrival. He observed, while being looked after by the frogs in their home, the birth of a tadpole—exposing him to the beauty of life (and teaching him that some eggs are more than just a snack). The Child needed to see their exchanges and immediately learned to pet the baby frog, and respect its life, rather than devouring it. This will create a stronger bond with the Force for him—and was hopefully especially important before he meets a certain, beloved Togruta, formerly of the Jedi Order.
OK, I’ve got a hot cup of tea, I’m sitting down listening to The Phantom Menace soundtrack, my head is (mostly) clear and I’m ready to write….but I don’t know how best to coherently summarise what I saw in Chapter 11 The Heiress. Where to start? With the most obvious, the verbal reveal that triggered more cardio than an hour of boxercise as a million Clone Wars fans leapt out of their seats and fist-pumped the air, but the lead up to that – the arrival of Bo-Katan (following Cobb Vanth,in his case from the realms of literature, hers animation) to the live action arena – was every bit as thrilling.
One of the elements of The Mandalorian I enjoy greatly is his endeavour, his willingness to graft and work hard at tasks, and here when he is confronted by three skilled warriors he manages to put that aside, albeit somewhat clumsily at times. They are slick, prepared, well drilled. He is a blunt weapon, thinking on his feet, little prep, but with all the heart in the world. Imagine, being told by three strangers who you believe are just like you that not only do they view you as the religious zealot (they took their helmets off – watch the Child for his shocked reaction to that moment) but they are loose with the truth, changing the deal in true Vader style as the circumstances change around them. Last week we watched Mando stick to a deal made with an amphibian client he had just met and had no loyalty to. His code is clearly something he takes very seriously, while the Night Owls have different goals and ideals. They’re both trying to return something; Djarin to return the Child to his people, Kryse the Darksaber back to her grip where she believes it belongs.
No surprise that ILM absolutely smashed the visuals, and while there are familiar tropes adhered to here (nasty Quarren, Stormtroopers who can’t shoot straight) the action is again next level. It’s hard to accept that this show never leaves the studio, that all of this is shot against a giant video screen in a soundstage in LA. ELO once sang about Strange Magic, and George Lucas made a film with the same name – surely if StageCraft had a theme song, it would be that.
Bryce Dallas Howard – unfairly maligned for her entry into the shows first season – delivers arguably the most satisfying chapter of the entire series so far, balancing character reveals with easy to follow action (a directorial and editorial skill that’s far tougher than it seems), dizzying vistas, great cameos (the great Titus Welliver as a loyal Imperial Captain) and – no surprise – another stellar score from Ludwig Goransson. Howard introduced Cara Dune in season one, and here brings us the live action debut of Bo-Katan, showing that she’s the go-to director for such important character reveals.
The first two immensely satisfying chapters of the second season brought action and adventure, some controversy (The Child and the eggs, an issue surely put to bed with the developments of this episode) and lavish design and effects, but Chapter 11 is where the narrative of the story blasts off like a Gozanti Cruiser. The team of Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau and their judicious choices of directors – something Lucasfilm have admittedly struggled with on the big screen – is paying dividends. This is the show we always hoped we’d get, and as a fan it’s fast becoming one of the most exciting eras of the sagas 40 plus year life. Friday morning 8.00am can’t come around fast enough.
It’s been said many times before, but as this superb series continues, we can truly say: “There’s never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan”. A lot happened in this relatively short episode of The Mandalorian. Din Djarin, The Child, Mrs Frog and her barrel of unfertilised spawn, land unceremoniously in the waters of Trask. It could quite easily have been Mon Cala, populated as it is by primarily the Quarren and Mon Calamari.
The Razor Crest, suffering from an attack of spider-like creatures and numerous crash landings in the previous episode, looked even more ravaged when it was hoisted by an AT-AT like recovery vehicle. By the end of the episode – following ‘repairs’ by a Mon Calamari sporting a sweater I bought from a high street store a few years back – the ‘Crest’ is looking and sounding to be on its last legs, but I digress.
With Mando on the trail of his own kind, he and his little green sidekick are tricked into a watery trap, only to be rescued by The Clone Wars and Rebels fan favourite Bo-Katan. It’s not long before Bo’s helmet, and those of her two companions, are removed – much to Djarin’s annoyance. We then discover that the ways of The Watch weren’t those of folk from Mandalore itself, but there was little time to debate buckets on or off here, and an alliance was soon formed. Bo-Katan will give Mando directions to a Jedi in return for help in acquiring weapons onboard an Imperial cruiser.
Some great interaction between Imperial officers and Moff Gideon in hologram form lead to the plan accidentally succeeding rather than failing and the weapon’s haul could lead to Mandalore being retaken on screen further down the line.
Another great episode for casual fans who are simply enjoying the action and characters seen here. For those who are more invested, seeing Bo-Katan and hearing talk of the Darksaber were palpable, but as the episode draws to a close and Katan reveals the name of the Jedi she is sending Mando to meet is Ahsoka Tano, well, things just got even more interesting.
Bryce Dallas Howard directed this accomplished episode that packs a punch – and a heap of content – in to a relatively short 35 minutes. Unless we get diverted en route, the next episode should bring us Ahsoka in the flesh for the first time. How tantalising is that?
Hopefully those who complained that the last chapter was devoid of all story development (even though there was some) will be as satisfied as an escort at the end of a very busy weekend. Cigarette anyone?
For the third week in a row the story picks-up pretty much where we last left our hero and his ward. After a slow and I imagine uneventful journey to the water planet of Trask we’re treated to a visually stunning re-entry that director Bryce Dallas Howard confirms is a homage to her director dad Ron Howard’s 1995 epic Apollo 13.
It’s easy to understand why we thought that Trask maybe mistaken as Mon Cala as the port is brimming with Mon Calamari and Quarren. This is the first real look at a harbour/sea port in Star Wars and I think they really nailed the look. It felt cold, damp and miserable as well as truly lived in. The only minor, and I do mean minor complaint was the Mon Cal who greets Din looked like he had stolen the clothes of a North Sea Fisherman or shoplifted a jumper from Marks and Spencers, which for me felt a bit too real world for my liking…and no I don’t own any of those jumpers myself 😉
It was interesting to watch Din deride the Mon Cal’s work at restoring the Razor Crest at the end of the episode as up to this point Mon Calamari have always been known to be amazing starship engineers.
I speculated on last week’s Making Tracks podcast that we could be in for a few episodes of fruitless searching for Mandalorians and I was really pleased that it wasn’t long before they made their entrance, and what an entrance! It was pretty much confirmed that Katee Sackhoff was going to be portraying the live action version of her animated character Bo-Katan and it was great to see that the production really nailed her costume. To me, Katee’s performance was a bit more edgy than her animated version, this I felt went to support her desperation in her situation, but you could also describe it as “If Starbuck were a Mandalorian”, not a complaint by any stretch.
Accompanying Sackhoff was Sports Entertainment’s Sasha Banks ( Mercedes Varnado) who makes her first non-WWE related acting appearance, the surprise of the Mando Trio was British actor Simon Kassianides who’s one of those actors who’s been in loads of things over the years and is just recognisable if not for a specific role….maybe this will change. Neither Banks nor Kassiandies had a lot to say with the lion share of dialogue being eaten up by Sackhoff
The early disagreement about the removing one’s helmet goes to confirm a theory I have had for a while in that Din had a fairly strict orthodox Mandalorian upbringing which was definitely at odds of earlier portrayals of the Mandos in the Clone Wars where we see Bo and Co removing their buckets the moment the fightings stopped.
The action throughout this episode is fast and efficient which I sometimes feel lacks from Din’s own fighting style. I haven’t over analysed the fighting to see if Saha Banks was able to use any of her signature moves. For all of Din’s awesome skills he still comes across as naive, both with the Quarren captain but also Bo-Katan. He has a code of conduct that for the most part he follows rigidly and I think that gets him unstuck at times but that naivety helps drive the story along.
Bo-Katan being on her own quest for the Darksaber really starts to fill in some blanks, although not many at this point, about how Moff Gideon gets the Darksaber but also how at odds and displaced the Mandalorians are in the galaxy. Will we see a conclusion to Bo’s story this season? My hope is that at least we get to see a face off between Bo-Katan and Moff Gideon. With the Moff’s haunt for The child still on going this means that the fate of Din, Bo and Gideon are linked.
There’s some touching moments with The Child and the Frog Family. The Frog family mark a contrasting difference of a more normal family life that Din can’t give The Child. It was heartbreaking when Din returned to collect him as you could see the disappointment in Baby Yoda’s face as he’s leaves the Frog Family and their spawn….and I’m pretty sure after the birth of one it wasn’t anything to do with The child being hungry.
After last weeks episode I was left wondering what the importance of the Frog Lady is, no one is Star Wars is placed for no reason and as it turns out she fills an important role this episode; The Baby Sitter. It’s one thing for Baby Yoda to be plunged into peril by his proximity to Din as they go about their quest but for Din to knowingly take the Child into danger such as heist on the imperial freighter would be a serious lack of judgement so who better to leave the child with than the frog lady who you’ve only just met but by her own display of protectiveness over her own eggs, and not to mention being a good shot with a blaster makes her a good protector whilst Daddy Din is out liberating arms to help his beleaguered people.
Over all the episode is fast paced full of lots of action and for the Star Wars Fan full of links and Easter eggs to animated series. The risk was how to do this without the need for loads of endless exposition or alienating the more casual viewer by referring to characters and events that have happened off screen or in another series. I think this episode straddles it very well.
The question is do we meet Ahsoka Tano or are left waiting for Dave Filoni’s directed episode in two weeks time? Either way the series continues at a pace and now I think I need a lie down….got a light?
Pause to freak him out, because we just watched a chapter of The Mandalorian in which we see Bo-Katan coming to live-action life, and telling the Mandalorian to find Ahsoka Tano. RRRRRRRRAAAAAH! Okay, pause to breathe, and put your head in place.
The Heiress has everything we like about the franchise, all the Star Wars madness, monsters, huge implications in the mythology of the series, action scenes so intense both in the air and on the floor that the chair holds us. It was an excellent episode of the series, directed by Bryce Dallas Howard. The only downside is that now we have to wait and see what role Ahsoka Tano (since almost all the other rumors are true, we can only assume that she will be played by Rosario Dawson) will have in all of this, and what will be your reaction to getting face to face with the Child.
So let me tell you why I spent most of this episode yelling, laughing, leaping from my chair and then fist-bumping the ceiling. Well, there’s a single answer, to be fair – THIS EPISODE WAS SIMPLY AMAZING.
I came away with several emotions from this episode, so let me just list a few and please excuse the Capital Letters of Excitement.
1 – I never trusted Quarren, and now I remember why.
2 – I saw Bo-katan before I saw Katee Sackhoff, and that’s a testament to not only amazing casting but a great actress… AND IT KINDA HELPS SHE VOICED THE CHARACTER ANYWAY!
3 – Mon Calamari have some proper excellent jumpers.
4 – What incredible effects throughout; it’s like watching a movie every week.
5 – Jetpacks!
6 – Laser battles!
7 – Monsters!
8 – Why am I making a list?! I could spend an age going on and on about how well this was written, how well it linked with The Clone Wars and even made sense even if you didn’t watch that show, and even managed to expand on The Mandalorian lore itself. How that opening sequence was just stunning and, yes, I loved the subtle Apollo 13 references for obvious reasons. The location was incredible, the fights tense and memorable and the fact that he’s on his way to see my FAVOURITE CHARACTER IN STAR WARS IS MAKING ME SO EXCITED THAT I’M NOT SURE CAPS LOCK WILL EVER BE ENOUGH!
I’m sure there were things in the episode that misfired, or weren’t that great, but I don’t care. I love this show.
After two episodes which have been criticised in some quarters as “not moving the story on”, we have a blockbuster which not only addresses this but introduces some fan favourite characters from The Clone Wars and Rebels.
Still on the hunt for other Mandalorians, Din delivers the frog lady from Chapter 10 to her husband on Trask. He duly indicates that the local cantina is where he can find more info and after a couple of conversations they are on board a sailing vessel heading towards the coven, but along the way they are hijacked as his armour is the valuable asset – and once he’s seemingly beyond hope several Mando’s appear to rescue him.
These turn out to be a small band led by The Clone Wars’ own Bo-Katan – who offers to tell him the location of the Jedi in return for his help on a mission to capture an imperial cargo ship. Season One’s big bad Moff Gideon is reintroduced in hologram form and is every bit as menacing as his previous appearances (and something which seems to be a particular forte of Giancarlo Esposito with similar roles in both ‘Revolution’ and ‘The Boys’).
Upon the eventual completion of their mission, Bo Katan tells Mando the location of one of the Jedi he is seeking, and no surprises it’s Ahsoka Tano.
I reckon we’re not going to see a smooth passage to finding her, but as with season one, I think we have some of Mando’s season two ‘squad’ and we’ll see Bo Katan and chums again before the season ends.
Well that wasn’t filler was it? New environments, new ships, new characters, plot progression, links to Star Wars lore, promises of future fan favourite characters. What was not to love. From the moment the episode begun with director Bryce Dallas Howard paying tribute to her fathers own Apollo 13 movie as show below, I knew we were in for one heck of a ride.
Nice catch!! 100% correct:) https://t.co/J1LSdvetYJ
— Bryce Dallas Howard (@BryceDHoward) November 14, 2020
Fans of Star Wars animation will have found more to love from this movie as it delved deep in the Mandalore storylines told in The Clone and Rebels, but even people with no or little knowledge would have appreciated and understood the introduction of Bo Katan and co.
WWE superstar, Sasha Banks, debuted under her real name of Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado, and did well in what was a supporting role to Katee Sackhoff’s debut as the afore mentioned Bo-Katan Kryze. Their introduction allowed us to learn a little more about The Mandalorian himself, and perhaps laid the foundations of where his character may be heading.
The special effects were raised ten fold in this episode. Film at sea is always complicated, but looked great. The mix or real set pieces and stagecraft mixed seamlessly and the presentation of the Mon-Cal and Quarren was excellent. This episode really lit the fire under the whole series and I hope it kicks on at great speed from here.
THIS IS THE WAY!
Bryce-Dallas certainly knows how to bring Star Wars to the fans !What a fantastic episode action packed and ended with us all wanting more! The only disappointing thing was that baby yoda was refrained and didn’t take an egg away to keep!
The storyline was great and the fact the Katee Sackhoff made her live action Star Wars debut brought joy to my heart! Now, if Denise Crosby could be invited then that’s my sci-fi ladies all in Star Wars complete !
There’s definitely more action coming our way on the search for the darksaber and this clan of Mandalorian and I’m looking forward to this. With the anticipation of Ashoka coming to an episode soon this series is definitely giving all to every part of Star Wars fandom!
BE SURE TO LISTEN IN TO EPISODE 63 OF MAKING TRACKS WHERE WE WILL DELVE INTO THE EPISODE AND WATCH THIS WEEK’S EPISODE OF GOOD MORNING TATOOINE.
- Hardcover Book
- Szostak, Phil (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 256 Pages - 12/01/2020 (Publication Date) - Abrams (Publisher)