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 fifteenth episode – Chapter 15: The Believer. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.

Sheila Wright

For someone being released from prison, Mayfeld certainly asks a lot of questions. It was nice to get some of Space Bill Burr’s…errr…Mayfeld’s backstory, fun to see him almost sh*t his pants upon seeing Mando, but also and feel for him having to recall his Empire days.

Gee, I’m glad that Fett had time to sand, prime, and paint his armor, while the baby waits, But, that matte finish looks great! Time to earn some scratches and dings. I never doubted his badassery. He never needed action to show it–the armor said it. Plus, he was the only hunter to find Han and wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion to Vader without Vader threatening him in return.

Discussing who was to join Mayfeld in infiltrating the base was comedic and gave great bits about each character. Why each would blow the mission gave some quick answers about them and showed them as misfits and goofs, raising more questions and adding dimension to them. I love that the show ties up loose ends, then creates more wonderful mysteries and loose ends.

Oh, my heart, to see the lengths Mando will go to get Grogu back! Some people didn’t like seeing him helmet-less in the 7th episode (also) of season 1 (right?), but it adds to his character to see vulnerability under the Beskar. When he handed the armor over, I feared, “Something’s gonna happen to it.” (In some episodes, the foreshadowing is too blunt, but I was wrong.)

Mayfeld just does not shut up, which makes him seem more like “Space Bill Burr” and not Mayfeld. However, him being that way allowed for more backstory, and he’s such a contrast to the silent Mando and his mouth ends up saving Mando. Pointing out that some in the galaxy don’t side with the Republic or the Empire didn’t need to be said; the details imply it enough.

Seeing the thermal detonator (the preferred detonator of Rebel princesses) was a sweet touch. And, for a powerful Empire, they buy some crap munitions–shows how little they care about troopers. A helmet-less Mayfeld seemed like a big mistake, but seeing him and others without them furthered their humanity, giving a needed contrast to the Rebel propaganda in the films.

A badass and a smart ass walk into a bar…I paced when Mayfeld walked in/out of the cafeteria and was so uncomfortable for Mando. The reference to TPS reports, other bits of comedy, and the mention of Operation Cinder brought some relief, but I panicked with each critique of the Empire. It perfectly slowed the pace to set up the only end there could be to that conversation.

Of course, the women come to the rescue. Cara and Fennec with their rifles was a majestic scene complemented by Boba swooping in, the sonic charges heightened the thrill. Mayfeld’s shot was some beautiful redemption. It concluded this character’s story enough but again left loose ends if they need to bring him back again.

No matter how weak and vulnerable Mando might look without his helmet, he is a true Mandalorian warrior. Just like Boba had no fear in confronting Vader about their deal, Mando has the same cajones in confronting Moff. “In yo’ face, Moff.”

There was such an authentic, original trilogy feel to this episode. I had a moment where I was telling a 12-year-old me, who thought Return of the Jedi was the end of Star Wars, that, despite those who bullied her for liking a “boys movie,” that her love for Star Wars was real, worthy, and that reconnecting with the galaxy as an adult will be so thrilling. This show and all the ones planned make me question if this is all real life or if this is some fever dream.

Another amazing episode.

Sander de Lange

After so many amazing highly filled Chapters it was a fresh breath of relief that this week’s episode was shorter and without huge revelations or huge returning characters. Yes, we had a return of Mayfeld, but that hardly is in the leagues of Boba Fett, Ahsoka and Bo-Katan, right? Still, it was nice to see Mayfeld again, and seeing how much his character has developed since then with a lot more background story of him being told in the episode.

With this being a more calmer episode with Mayfeld joining Din Djarin’s group while they are on a mission to find out where Moff Gideon’s cruiser is, you are still having one that is filled with action. For those of you who think that the last few episodes that Din Djarin was sidelined in favor for all those big names, and who even say that Season 2 is nothing but a backdoor pilot for all the new series…well this episode sure puts the focus on the Mando and him kicking a lot of butt in this episode in a great fight scene.  And calmer means this was not a filler episode also, as the story drives along nicely, setting us up for what will be a great finale next week!

Johanna Nybelius

This episode was pure fun! It also proves that The Mandalorian works really well, even when Baby Yoda isn’t around. It was a pretty straightforward story; get the band to do a mission, and they accomplish it. It’s well worth seeing for the teamwork, but also gives us some deeper insights, and the fact that the Mandalorian now removes his helmet shows that Baby Yoda is changing him, and he is now willing to break his rules in order to help Baby Yoda. It’s a small scene, but a great way of showing his character development.

I got most happy about the seismic charges though, a great throwback to Attack of the Clones the day after it was announced that Hayden Christensen is returning to the galaxy far far away.

Ross Hollebon

The action sequences in this episode were gorgeous, but I’m taking a more focused philosophical approach to “Chapter 15: The Believer.” I wasn’t sure that Migs Mayfeld would actually appear in this episode—it seemed too convenient, but the former Imperial sharpshooter turned-mercenary did appear, and his role couldn’t have been more impactful, primarily serving as Din Djarin’s foil. I mean, they couldn’t be more opposite based on “Chapter 6: The Prisoner” from the inaugural season, also directed by Rick Famuyiwa, right? In an episode laced with expertly woven drama-building side-glances, hesitations, and the slightest of revealing motions, it was Mayfeld’s obnoxious, often over-the-top ramblings that moved the story—and Mando’s character evolution—forward.

One week after Boba Fett declared, “I give my allegiance to no one,” Mayfeld preaches to Mando about those in power, and if they are really any different from each other. “Empire. New Republic. It’s all the same to these people,” Mayfeld says as he and Djarin drive the Imperial transport, with it’s rhydonium haul, through a depressed, makeshift village of humans—who look back at the duo with contempt.

Once inside the Imperial refinery on Morak, Mayfeld shares even more—after his quick thinking saves a helmetless Mando from being outed by Imperial Officer Valin Hess. The agitating sharpshooter had seen terrible things during Operation Cinder—once again tying other media, Battlefront II video game and Alphabet Squadron novels, to this timeline. He survived the annihilation at Burnin Konn, but at a cost that motivates him to no longer believe in the theory of “greater good.” In so many words, he states that when it is based on retaining or expanding control, utilitarianism is exploited by those in power. This is yet another character and experience that makes Djarin consider his existence to this point and will influence his decisions in the future.

Put simply, through the words of Mayfeld, “we all need to sleep at night,” and that is how he justifies his actions—as he surprises Djarin and the entire team with his actions to thwart the Imperials—when given the opportunity—and disrupt their attempt to sow more chaos on innocent worlds.

(Additional note: It gets no better than Djarin repeating Moff Gideon’s lines right back to him at the end, but with only one change, referring to Grogu as “him” instead of “it.”)

Daniel Lo

Well, we’ve finally got it: The first ever episode of The Mandalorian where baby Yoda (sorry, Lucasfilm) got zero screen time. But what the episode lacked in cuteness was more than made up for with… just about everything you’d want from Star Wars.

Mayfeld really stole the show. I admit he did not make a huge impression on me in season one, but this time around he was a much more interesting character. Within the first four minutes of the episode we learned that he isn’t exactly proud of his Imperial past, which played out dramatically by the end. Perhaps most notably, he is now the only “living thing” to have seen Mando’s face in who knows how long.

I still don’t quite understand why rhydonium destabilizes with speed (maybe the same reason why frog eggs can’t survive lightspeed?) but it did make for a great action sequence. The pirate skiffs were fun to see, and I liked how Mando’s fighting style and general physicality remained fully intact under the tank trooper armor. TIE fighters and stormtroopers “coming to the rescue” was also an interesting change of pace. Somewhat of a side note, the non-trooper/officer humans cheering at their arrival really humanized the Imperials. In slightly different surroundings, they could easily have been rebels.

And of course, by far the biggest bantha in the room was Slave I’s interior. Incredible! Watching the rotation occur on the inside was all sorts of awesome. I admit I still can’t quite fully picture the ship’s layout in its entirety, and looking at old cross section illustrations was not as helpful as I had hoped. I’m sure there will be a YouTube video made about it soon, if not already.

Some more random thoughts: Boba’s restored/repainted armor looks great, but a little odd that he had left it battle worn during the OT. Where did he get a refill missile for his jetpack? Have we seen troopers salute before, other than after Hux’s speech on Starkiller Base? Speaking of which, the last time we saw a stormtrooper holding a cafeteria tray was on Undercover Boss. It was pretty shocking to see Mando’s helmet off for such an extended period of time and so out in the open, and nicely added to the tension on top of everything else going on. Nice character development, and maybe we’ll see Pedro’s handsome mug more often moving forward. Will his tank trooper action figures feature missing shoulder armor? Cara Dune and Fennec Shand make a great team, despite being on opposite sides of the law. Cara also took top honors for the episode’s funniest moment with her “huh…” in response to Mayfeld’s aim. Boba Fett blowing up the TIE fighters was a great reprise of my favorite-sounding explosion in all of Star Wars. Mando’s hologram message nicely mirrored Moff Gideon’s threats in the penultimate episode of last season. You could say that it rhymes, just as George intended.

Clair Henry

The weeks episode was a filler IMO, enjoyable yes but gripping, no. I’m sure I missed loads of Easter eggs and plot references, but this episode didn’t grab HenryTowers as the previous ones did.

The thing that we all pointed out and admired throughout was Boba Fett’s cleaned up armour. Now that did look smart.

It’s great to see characters come back. Redemption is obviously the theme of the Mandalorian, and to see them work together not just for themselves but for the local population was great.

The ending was the best part and you can sense that Moff Gideon fears the Mandalorian. You know he isn’t going to make it to the end of the series!

Roll on next week and get this party moving again.!

Carl Bayliss

Following the announcement in the Disney Shareholder meeting of a whole host of new Star Wars content coming to Disney Plus, we get another reminder of how the first live action series has really taken the baton and delivered the goods for fans.

We rejoin Fennec Shand, Boba Fett, Cara Dune and Mando in a Rebel junkyard where Marshal Dune has requested Mayfield be released to her custody for his help in locating Moff Gideon. Mr Fett looks to have wasted no time at all in repainting his armour since the last episode and is now looking pristine in his now familiar green and red.

Mayfield tells them of a secret Imperial refinery which will have the terminals they need to locate Moff Gideon, and they set off to hijack a transport (imagine a road version of the train from Solo). They disguise themselves in the driver’s uniforms (think the tank driver from Rogue One in silver/grey – and another Black Series repaint on the horizon!) which leads Mayfield to ask do if Din if his code is not to remove his helmet or not to show his face, setting up a later scene in the process.

En route several other of the ‘juggernauts’ are hijacked by pirates and before too long Mayfield and Din are under attack and again, very similar to the heist in Solo, as their cargo of Rydonium is unstable and highly explosive. But just as things look lost for them, the Imperials descend with TIE fighters, stormtroopers and a return for another Rogue One alumni, the Shoretroopers.

On reaching the refinery Mayfield recognises his former superior officer leaving Din to access the terminal, an act which requires him to remove the Imperial bucket. The officer takes an interest in them as word has spread around the base of their heroics in getting to the base and takes them for a drink. At this point we see the Imperial mantra at its most despicable – as they recount ‘Operation Cinder’ where the officer gave the order to wipe out not only civilians but Mayfield’s fellow troops – all in the name of creating fear among systems so they welcome ‘the order brought by the Empire’. As the office clearly delights in his action this proves too much for Mayfield and he shoots him.

Making their escape via the window and aided by Fennec and Cara sniping from a nearby position, whilst Boba flies in to pick them up. As they make their escape Mayfield take a shot at the refinery and hits some Rydonium causing the destruction of the plant. As they regroup Mayfield asks Cara what happens now – to which she replies it was such a pity he died in the explosion at the plant, allowing him to walk free.

The final moment sets up next week’s season finale as Mando sends a message to Gideon basically saying he’s coming for him, and Gideon looks slightly anxious rather than his usual smug ‘do your worst, you don’t scare me’ demeanour.

This still begs the question who exactly will turn up in the final episode as part of the showdown with Gideon, and will they reunite Mando and Grogu – or could they leave the season on a cliffhanger where they fail in their quest?

Mark Newbold

Of all the season one characters we met last year, who you could be forgiven for not expecting Migs Mayfeld to be somewhat of a saviour, but as this show continually does expectations are subverted and flipped in the best way, and so it is that Mayfeld saves the day.

In yet another solid, enjoyable episode from go-to director Rick Famuyiwa, Mando continues his hunt for Grogu, with a freshly painted Boba Fett and Fennec Shand still very much onside and Cara Dune busting out Mayfeld from his rusty service to society on the Karthon Chop Fields. Their mission is a tough ask; get information from a secret Imperial remnant facility in order to track down Moff Gideon and Grogu, but to his ever-sass talking credit, Mayfeld delivers far beyond expectation. His info on the facility on Morak was correct, his intuition getting into the base on point (all based around a very satisfying ground vehicle chase that evoked Solo: A Star Wars Story and Raiders of the Lost Ark as the rhydonium threatened to destabilise and ferociously explode.) In short, he was The Believers star player.

Not only do we get to know Mayfeld better, his own terrible experiences scarring him far deeper than any physical cuts ever could, but also Din Djarin himself. Not only forced to remove his armour and entrust it to Cara, he also has to remove his trooper helmet when Mayfeld freezes upon seeing his former commanding officer. That chance meeting was certainly a plot convenience, but it lead to the most intense scene of the chapter as Din – Pedro Pascal skillfully conveying his discomfort, nerves, and shame at removing his helmet – and Mayfeld telegraphing his intentions to Mando and his superior, who still doesn’t catch on until all hell breaks loose.

As we arrive at the final chapter of the season far too quickly, we have to wonder whether or not Din’s hugely satisfying holo message to Gideon will be played out in Chapter 16, or if the hunt for Grogu stretches on into the third season. I’m hoping for the latter; Mando’s affection for the kid is blindingly obvious, and while Star Wars has plenty of fractured father and son relationships it’s healthy and heartwarming to see one so clearly built upon positive emotions. Din wants what’s best for Grogu, wants to teach good lessons, just as the Mandalorians took him in after the death of his parents and did the same. He’s paying it forward, but it’s clear from his determination and demeanour that anyone who gets in his way is going to pay as well.

Paul Naylor

From references to Mike Judge’s classic ‘Office Space’ and Boba’s handy work with a paint palette, this episode was a joy to behold. I am pretty sure this is the first chapter since The Mandalorian began that does not feature The Child – although he is referenced.

Mayfield proved more than his worth and the fact he was legally sprung from prison (scrapyard duty anyone?) by Marshal Cara Dune, opens up all sorts of possibilities down the line. I am thinking Rangers of the New Republic might follow this kind of theme.

Boba Fett’s reintroduction last week in his reclaimed costume hinted at a new look – ravaged armour and all. I was therefore surprised to see him stroll down the ramp of Slave 1 this week in what at first glance looked to be a cheap and nasty Ruby’s Halloween cosplay. I soon warmed to the bold, bright hues. After all, Mando strove to improve his look in Season 1, so why not the same for our original Mandalorian ‘hero’?

Three highlights for me:

1) Heroes welcome – Mayfield and Mando dodge pirates to get the volatile cargo to the Imperial base and receive the same sort of welcome reserved for Luke and Han in A New Hope. Good or bad guys, it’s all about your point of view.

2) Man in the mask – Mando looked uncomfortable in his trooper disguise, especially the mask. I liked how his confrontation with the pirates revealed Din’s faith in his armour. He quickly realises his disguise is no match for Beskar and switches tactics.

I loved the face scan sequence. He tries to get away without removing his helmet to access the Imperial ‘internet’ but begrudgingly removes his helmet to gain entry.

Hats off – or should that be helmets off? – to Pedro’s awkward performance with the bucket off. He looked uncomfortable the whole time. Subtle, yet brilliant.

The exchange with the creepy Imperial officer was great, especially when Mayfield tries to get him and ‘brown eyes’ away to fill out some TPS reports. Got to be an ‘Office Space’ reference, right?

3) Seismic charges – one of the standout cinematic moments in the prequels, for me, was in Episode 2 when Jango deployed seismic charges from Slave-1 to take out Obi Wan’s Jedi Starfighter.

When Boba used the same tactic in Chapter 15 to wipe out TIE Fighters I was overjoyed. That disappearance of sound followed by misaligned noise and imagery us a wow.

I watched Attack of the Clones straight after. It’s never looked better.

Sergio Lopes

Chapter 15 of The Mandalorian, the penultimate episode of the season, called “The Believer” and, similar to last week’s episode, started unexpectedly. It was not in my head that in five minutes, Mayfeld got out of prison and an amazing new adventure was about to begin.

Incidentally, the ex-Imperial is the highlight of this episode, while talking about how the people of Morak do not care whether they are under the rule of the New Republic or the Empire, subjugation is not the freedom of any government agency and there is always someone in search for power. Who is good and who is bad when you are in control anyway? All of this done to think about the complex politics of Star Wars and understand why “The Believer” was called that. Mayfeld has a lot more to show us about this and soon he will have a chance to prove it.

I have to admit that it is still shocking to see the Mandalorian without the helmet, we are used to this character in that immovable Mandalorian helmet; seeing him with a face for more than a few seconds gives the show a completely different, more human feeling. Furthermore, the story so far has done an excellent job of explaining how important it is not to show your face to people, the simple act of taking off the helmet tells you everything you need to know about how much he cares about Grogu. Pascal’s performance here, while seemingly simple, was able to tell an extremely emotional story as well.

And the whole episode was based on obtaining information, which meant that the main thrust of the story has stagnated a little. However, the action was as exciting as ever, we learned more about Mayfeld’s past, and seeing Mando’s soft side helped add a welcome depth, including involvement in Star Wars politics. In addition, the final piece of the puzzle is now set and we are ready for what is sure to be an epic end of season two.

Mark Mulcaster

A whole episode with Mayfeld? Well, I thought, this probably isn’t going to be a stand out episode. After chapter 6 of The Mandalorian I wasn’t fussed if we never saw him again. But by the end of this episode I was disappointed he wasn’t going to be remaining with the rest of the Slave I crew for the rescue of “the little green guy”

I was going to say that this weeks episode was without any big reveals and on the bigger picture perspective I was correct; no resurrection of characters we thought were dead and no hints of bigger plot points for potential new Star Wars series, but of course though we did see a rare Din Djarin in the flesh, yet this episode was a solid action filled episode which acted as a nice connective intermediate chapter between last weeks drama and the climax of season 2.

The plot for this episode was simple; use Mayfeld to get Moff Gideon’s location by using a computer terminal in a Imperial refinery. Pretty simple right? Throw in that most of the crew are already flagged by the ISB and so a ‘fresh face’ is needed and that creates for an interesting plot point.

What lengths will Din go to find Grogu? What is he willing to put on the line or what aspects of his character is he going to have to sacrifice.  There’s some very astute scripting in this episode and the planet and conversation made me think less of the Japanese films that have been heavily referenced and influenced this series but back to the themes of the original trilogy in respects of its commentary on the Vietnam War. It’s hard to not see Mayfeld as the disenfranchised Vietnam vet who realises that intergalactic theatre matter very little to those planet side. It also harkens back to the Finn and DJ conversation from The Last Jedi.

For the first time this season we’ve had the Mando rely more on his natural fighting abilities and not simply deflecting blaster bolts in his bezoar. It reminded us that this dude can really fight and also that both his female companions can snipe with some awesome marksman skills by both Cara Dune and Fennec Shand.

Boba Fett’s role in all this was understated and well balanced, I’m sure that the creatives wrestled with how to utilise Fett without letting him eat up the screen with his presence. The answer was let the Slave I do the talking and let the ladies do the blasting. It was great seeing more of the Slave I and I loved the clever design mechanics of seeing the ship rotate round and anytime we get to make an homage to the brilliant sound design of Ben Burtt and his sonic charges is going to be fine with me. I’m also guessing there’s a spray booth on Slave I enabling Fett to give his armour a nice facelift. I quite liked that as I was never a fan of the fisher price “my first jetpack” paint scheme so having that revert back to the green was welcome by this Fandalorian.

So far there hasn’t been a action sequence in this series which isn’t leant itself to make a brilliant computer game level and this episode is a classic example of that.

In last week’s episode of Making Tracks, Mark raised the question about what would The Mandalorian look like without Grogu in the picture and this week we may have got the answer. Whilst I know that the Slave I crew aren’t likely to stay together beyond next weeks episode it certainly gives you a glimpse in what an ensemble cast could bring to this series without relying on Baby Yoda for the cuts and comic relief. In all this was a solid episode with simple storyline that enables character growth.

Brian Cameron, Mark Newbold and Mark Mulcaster discuss The Believer on Good Morning Tatooine

Mark Mulcaster and Mark Newbold discuss The Believer on Episode 67 of Making Tracks

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