I stayed up until midnight to see it. I come to most Star Wars stories hungry for the information and ready to love it. And, I loved seeing Mando and Peli Motto, and like her, I loved seeing Baby Yoda (yes, I know he is “The Child”), and that R5 was in a decent home, and I also enjoy seeing that the galaxy is more expansive than the characters we came to know in the films and TV shows.
As I watched, I enjoyed it but also felt uneasy, disappointed with the macho brutality of the opening scene, even pity for the Gamorrean guards, who likely have no purpose with Jabba gone. But, the galaxy is brutal, so it was consistent. However, some of the dialogue felt unnatural. Scenes dragged on and felt oddly predictable. But, my bias and obsession kept my mind open, but I started to question if I was forcing myself to ignore this bad taste in my mouth from these pieces.
I pushed back a heavy feeling it was this cliched old west conflict between the townspeople and the Tusken Raiders who can’t see that they have this common enemy in the krayt. Then some stranger comes along to show them that and then they decide to join together and destroy it? All along they lived with the dragon, why confront it now – all because some dude wants armor?
Mando speaking Tusken felt awkward. Mos Pelgo looked fake, I felt a forced tension and conflict that I didn’t buy, and maybe I wasn’t supposed to completely buy it. This show keeps us guessing and not even trusting our own inferences and expectations of what should be, so I took comfort in that. Literally and figuratively they continually remind us to look beneath the surface.
The reward in my blind faith was seeing Boba Fett’s armor, but I was offended that someone had the nerve to don it. The Marshal didn’t fit the armor, just as I felt he didn’t seem to fit the show. Maybe it was my love for Boba Fett and the insult of this guy in his armor that influenced the bad taste in my mouth for this character, the same bad taste that the Marshal had for the Tusken Raiders overtly symbolized in his refusal of the drink that they offered him. My judgment of Cobb Vanth may have been as flawed as his judgment of the Tusken Raiders.
I felt sorry for the krayt and angry at Mando for enabling its destruction, that the ancestral armor meant more to him than the dragon’s life. I was uneasy because I had these negative judgments of Mando. The krayt was really was just minding its own business in its native habitat, and I can see the need to bring to light that the miners of Mos Pelgo were taking over the planet’s habitats. I was discomforted by Mando’s lack of respect for the krayt. It seemed inconsistent with how far his character had evolved.
We are meant to celebrate this coming together of the Tusken Raiders and humanoids, but it is in an effort to destroy another living creature who is native to the land. It wasn’t a feel-good moment, and it wasn’t meant to be. The unease was not because it was a badly made episode, quite the contrary. It was well crafted, effectively immersing me to experience conflict and uncertainty about what should be.
I pitied the Banthas — creatures being destroyed in the quest to destroy another creature. All these species and creatures being used by others. I felt such vindication when the krayt ate the raider instead of the Bantha, but then felt unease at delighting in that death. The circle of life; creatures are displaced and displace others, but which displacement is okay, and which isn’t?
That was echoed in the backstory told by the Marshal – how the mining guild filled the void in that town while people were still celebrating the recent destruction of the Death Star. That also served to remind us how short-lived that victory was, and even though it’s glorified in the films, so many outliers did not have the luxury and fanfare of celebrations and an award ceremony that the celebrated Rebels did.
The more I reflect, the more I seek connections that may or may not pan out. Was blowing up the krayt meant to parallel the blowing up of the Death Star? Thousands died there when that exploded, yet we cheered. Certainly, there were atrocities committed in the name of the Empire, those serving the Empire are implicit, but the Rebellion was implicit in deaths and displacements of innocents as well.
I struggled to come to terms with the idea that these united enemies were destroying this sand serpent for armor, to return it to its people of origin. What is a true origin, though? What truly belongs somewhere? But I had to remember the rage I felt seeing the Marshal wearing Boba Fett’s armor – I believed that it has a rightful place.
I knew that Boba Fett was supposed to be in season 2, but I figured the armor was a tease and a way to raise the question of is he even alive if he’s no longer in his armor. What a thrill the ending gave me! I love Baby Yoda, but I was more excited to see Boba Fett at the end than I was to see Baby Yoda at the episode’s opening. Baby Yoda’s is so yesterday.
The ending seemed to resolve ideas and dissolve the misgivings that I had, and I immediately wanted to watch it again (but refrained so I could get some sleep, and maybe feeling compelled to re-view it was what they were setting me up to experience.)
The creators of this series are very talented, so they must be aware that a viewer might get the impressions I did. Perhaps, they were simply appealing to a target audience besides me (What?) I am compelled and obligated to revisit those initial reactions, especially when the ending was so gratifying.
People often rely on first impressions and often miss out on opportunities to build community because of bad first impressions. We have that belief in our society that first impressions are everything, and that doesn’t give people grace. That mantra doesn’t allow people to be fallible creatures who might have bad days or may make bad choices. First impressions aren’t always wrong, but maybe it tells us not to react so quickly, to deny someone or something more time to reveal their nature.
Wishing for the best in a person, place, or thing we meet is to have hope, to know that the first impression is not enough and that we should be slower to judge before we’ve had a second take and time to reflect. (After all, how many gazillion times have I watched the Star Wars films only to find more morsels to digest?) With that in mind, and before I go on to read any other reviews and declare a judgment made, I will open my browser, log onto Disney Plus and take that much-anticipated second (and third, fourth, fifth, etc.) look.
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