About this episode
– Episode 4 (of 8), ‘Chapter 12: The Siege’
– Written by Jon Favreau
– Directed by Carl Weathers
Spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2 follow.
The Razor Crest limps through space, its hyperdrive failing. The Child is sitting inside a narrow conduit of the ship. The Mandalorian tries to direct the kid to fix the wiring but he puts the oppositely charged red and blue cables together, and causes a minor burn out. “Well, it was worth a shot,” says Mando.
The Mandalorian and the Child drink soup together. Mando realizes that they’ll never reach Corvus, the location of Jedi Ahsoka Tano, without repairs, so decides to pay some old friends a visit. “How’d you like to go back to Nevarro?” he asks.
In a bar on Nevarro, a group of Aqualish debate how to eat a cute meerkat-like creature, while splitting some ill-gotten spoils between them. A mysterious figure enters the room. “It’s the marshal!” says one of the group, as Cara Dune attacks, taking all of them down in a blaster/knife fight. She tells the meerkat – who’s taken a shine to her – that she won’t be eating it, and collects up the loot, ready to return it to its rightful owners.
The Razor Crest lands on Nevarro, as Greef Karga and Dune walk out of the town to greet Mando and the Child. “Looks like someone could use some repairs,” says Karga. The Mandalorian asks about his credit status, and Karga says he’s sure something can be arranged, and is putting his best people on the job. Karga picks up the Child and carries him back to town as a mechanic (looking rather suspicious) watches them leave.
The town is now thriving and Karga credits Dune with cleaning it up. Mando explains that his ship was damaged in a skirmish with the New Republic, and Karga expresses the opinion that the Republic should leave the Outer Rim alone – “if the Empire couldn’t settle it, what makes them think they can?”
They arrive at the cantina where Karga used to give the Mandalorian his bounty hunting assignments. It’s been cleaned up and turned into a school, where a female protocol droid is teaching the children of the town – the lesson is galactic geography. Karga suggests leaving the Child in the school – the Mando counters that “wherever I go, he goes”. Karga says that where they’re going they don’t want to take a child, and Dune gives her word he’ll be safe. Baby Yoda sits at a table in the classroom, and uses the Force to steal a packet of blue biscuits from a boy in the class.
Karga, Dune and the Mandalorian return to Karga’s office, and interrupt the Mythrol Mando apprehended just before taking the Baby Yoda job. “There’s no registration on the ship but I’m pretty sure it belongs…,” Mythrol says on the communicator, before being cut off. Mando is surprised to see him, so Karga explains that the Mythrol had taken care of his books for years, but went AWOL after a bit of “creative accounting”. Mythrol’s now working off his debt – for the next 350 years.
They have a job for Mando, while the Razor Crest is being repaired. There’s an old Imperial base on the other side of Nevarro – it’s where all Moff Gideon’s troops came from, and is apparently now running on a skeleton crew. Karga says there’s a lot of heavy weaponry that the black market would love to get their hands on. “And you wanna mop up the last of the Imperial force before they do?” states Mando, pointedly. Karga says he just wants the Empire off Nevarro, because then the planet would be safe and could become a trade anchor for the sector.
They drive off with Mythrol at the controls of the speeder. The plan is to cause a reactor overload to blow up the base, with Mythrol keeping the speeder running for a fast escape. Mythrol’s reluctant to get too close, so Karga says he either takes them to the front door and gets a hundred years knocked off his debt, or he walks home alone through the lava flats with whatever’s left in his humidity vest.
The door controls to the base are melted. Mythrol tries to leave, claiming he’s dehydrating, so Karga offers him an extra 30 years off his debt and tells him to grab the flange cutter to speed them up. Mando doesn’t want to wait, however, and tells the others to hold tight before jetting up to a platform. Seconds later a Stormtrooper tumbles down next to them and the door opens. They enter the base.
They find the Mandalorian and a trio of Stormtrooper bodies. “Empty base, huh?” Mando asks. Mythrol spots a mint Trexler Marauder and says they could get plenty for it on the black market, but Mando says its irrelevant because it will soon be vaporized.
Dune incapacitates a security officer and they grab his code cylinder. They move through the complex and open the door to the reactor, above a pit of lava. They send Mythrol to drain the cooling lines and set off a chain reaction. The lava pit starts to bubble and they reckon they have about 10 minutes to get out before everything blows.
As Stormtroopers start to mobilize on the base, they find a pair of Imperial scientists purging computer drives. As Mando, Dune and Karga fire their blasters, the scientists shoot the console – they clearly want to destroy every bit of information. They find a row of tanks containing hideously deformed dead bodies, and Dune realizes this isn’t a military base – it’s a lab. Dune tells Mythrol to access the computers to find out what the Empire has been doing.
He accesses a holo of Dr Pershing, the scientist who worked alongside the Client, explaining his experiments. He says: “We replicated the results of the subsequent trials, which also resulted in catastrophic failure. There were promising effects for an entire fortnight, but then, sadly, the body rejected the blood. I highly doubt that we’ll find a donor with a higher M-count, though.”
He recommends that they suspend further experimentation, as he fears the volunteer will meet the same “regrettable” fate as the other test subjects if they proceed with the transfusion. He also admits that he’s run out of the Child’s blood because he could only harvest a limited amount without killing him. For experiments to continue, they require further access to the donor – aka the Child.
Mando says the transmission must be old because he believes Moff Gideon to be dead. Mythrol says instead that it’s just three days old. Now he knows that Gideon’s alive, Mando realizes that the Child is in danger, so he jets back to town to save him. Karga, Dune and Mythrol head back to the speeder but meet Stormtroopers on the way.
Mando works his way back to the reactor core, where the lava is reaching critical. He’s attacked by Stormtroopers but manages to jet back to the surface.
Dune, Karga and Mythrol make it to the surface but are cornered by yet more troopers. Dune makes a run for the Marauder and activates it, driving over to Karga and Mythrol. With all other escape routes blocked, she drives the transport over the cliff edge, landing on Mythrol’s speeder. They head into the canyon with speeder bikes in pursuit – much faster than the transport, they’re on it instantly. Karga mans the gun turret and takes out one of the speeder bikes.
THE MANDALORIAN SEASON 2 RECAPS
The remaining two speeders flank the vehicle and move out of Karga’s range. Dune crushes one against the side of the canyon, but the other climbs on the roof, arming a thermal detonator. Just in time, Karga gets the Scout Trooper in his sights and blasts him.
They think they’ve escaped, but TIE fighters take off from the base and attack from the air. The transport won’t go any faster, and Karga struggles to hit the fast moving targets. When he eventually manages to take a TIE Fighter out, the shrapnel destroys his gun turret.
As they approach the town, they lose the protection of the canyon and are effectively sitting ducks. Then, one of the TIE Fighters is attacked and destroyed by unidentified blasters – they belong to the well-and-truly-repaired Razor Crest. The Mandalorian quickly eliminates the two remaining TIE Fighters. Although the Child loves the rollercoaster ride, he ends up sicking up the blue biscuits he’s been eating.
Karga calls up Mando and asks what he owes him for that impressive flying. “With the repairs, let’s call it even,” he says, cleaning up the Child. Karga asks if he can buy Mando a drink, but Mando says he has to keep moving, to stay ahead of Moff Gideon before he realizes something is up on Nevarro.
Two New Republic X-Wings are parked outside the town. Pilot (and seemingly cop) Carson Teva asks Karga if he can remember anything else before the base exploded. He says no. The Rebel pilot asks about the Razor Crest jumping away, but Karga says he never said anything about the Razor Crest. Teva mentions the transponder log, but Karga says the control droid can’t recognize anything pre-Empire: “The isn’t Coruscant”. Karga says he’ll tell Teva if anything comes up in future – if he’s ever out this far again.
Teva tells Dune she’s done a hell of a job cleaning up the system, and that the records say she’s a great soldier – the New Republic could really use her. She says that she’s not a joiner. He says there’s something going on on the Outer Rim, that they don’t believe it on the Core Worlds, but it’s true. These aren’t isolated incidents [with former Imperials]. They need to be stopped before it’s too late, but they can’t do it without local support. He tells her he fought during Alderaan, and she tells him she lost everyone there. He leaves her a New Republic badge.
On a new-look Star Destroyer, a junior Imperial officer receives a message from the mechanic who fixed the Razor Crest. He says, “The device has been planted as you requested.” The officer tells the mechanic they’ll be well rewarded in the new era. The officer finds Moff Gideon to tell him the tracking beacon has been placed on the Razor Crest, and confirms The Mandalorian still has “the asset”. “And we will be ready” he says, as a scientist monitors racks of what appear to be new-look Troopers.
Aside from the fact that ‘The Siege’ is a slightly misleading title – who’s laying siege to who? – this is another brilliant instalment of a show that rarely puts a beskar-plated foot wrong.
With an Outer Rim world, Imperials, the New Republic, memorable returning characters, some amazing action sequences and plenty of mythology, it’s like someone’s taken the best bits of Star Wars, shaken them up, and watched them fall (almost) perfectly into place. If this episode isn’t quite as accomplished as its predecessor, it’s mainly because it’s not quite so brilliantly paced.
From start to finish, you couldn’t be anywhere but Star Wars. The Imperial designs are remarkably faithful to the original trilogy, but even when you close your eyes, the sound effects do the work for you – the sounds of the speeder bikes and the Razor Crest’s faulty hyperdrive take you right back to the original trilogy. Meanwhile, the speeder chase through the canyon and the Razor Crest’s TIE Fighter dogfight are worthy heirs to that galaxy far, far away’s tradition of exhilarating set-pieces.
But while it’s fun having another adventure with the returning Cara Dune and Greef Karga – after just 12 episodes, the show has built an impressively memorable array of recurring characters – the episode is most notable for its Imperial entanglements. We now know for sure that Dr Pershing’s experiments involved injecting Baby Yoda’s blood into test subjects, with hideous results. Presumably the Imperial remnant is trying to create an army of Force-powered bad guys, but things clearly haven’t quite gone to plan.
With the Empire now having a tracker on the Razor Crest, however, the sights are well and truly on Mando and his young companion. If they find Ahsoka Tano in episode 5, don’t be surprised if the Imperials are close behind.
Force the facts
- We first saw Karga’s Mythrol accountant in the season one premiere, when Mando captured him and froze him in carbonite. When he says he’s still unable to see in one eye, it’s a nod to Han Solo’s post-carbon freeze blindness in Return of the Jedi.
- The astro-geography lesson gives some important background information on that galaxy far, far away. After the fall of the Empire, Chandrila (home of Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma) became the capital of the New Republic. By the time of The Force Awakens the capital is Hosnian Prime – one of the worlds destroyed by the First Order’s Starkiller Base.
- The Hydian Way the protocol droid teacher mentions is a major hyperspace route across the galaxy. Kessel is a spice-mining world that gives its name to the infamous Kessel Run Han Solo mentioned in A New Hope. He negotiated the Akkadese Maelstrom the teacher refers to when he completed the Run in Solo: A Star Wars Story.
- The scientists in the Imperial base are wearing similar uniforms to Dr Pershing, with the same Kamino insignia on their sleeves. (Kamino was the home of the cloners in Attack of the Clones.)
- The “M-count” Dr Pershing mentions is presumably the number of Force-carrying midi-chlorians in someone’s blood. We know from The Phantom Menace that the original Yoda has an exceptionally high number of midi-chlorians – though Anakin Skywalker had more.
- Continuity error! As the Razor Crest dogfights the TIE Fighters, the Mandalorian is briefly flipped – at timecode 29.35, you can see his mudhorn signet on his left shoulder, and his weapons belt on his right. They’re usually the other way round.
- X-wing pilot Carson Teva alludes to the New Republic turning a blind eye to Imperial incidents on the Outer Rim. In Star Wars mythology, this complacency continued for decades, leaving them unprepared when the First Order (formed from the remains of the Empire) attacked. Only General Leia Organa saw the danger, prompting her to form the Resistance.
- The episode is directed by former Rocky/Action Jackson star Carl Weathers who, of course, also plays Greef Karga.
New episodes of The Mandalorian are available to stream on Disney Plus every Friday.