The Mandalorian: Season 2 Review
Ye gods, it has been hard for me to avoid spoilers for Mandalorian Season 2. Even though I deliberately avoided every article, every review, still things would slide by on my Twitter feed, and then boom spoiled.
So two of the "biggest" reveals -- well, okay, three -- were basically spoiled for me before I even started rewatching Season One.
I...well, I hate that, so I'm going to be very careful here. The first part of my review will be completely spoiler-free, promise.
The second part will have spoilers, but I'll label it in huge header-style letters first, so if you haven't seen Season Two yet, you can stop before you get there.
Season Two is a huge improvement on Season One.
In Season One, the episodes were very much disconnected, both tonally and plot-wise. It felt like the kind of show that a network that 20 years ago would have been shown out of order on a network, because they thought no one would notice.
Season Two finally gets its plot arc together. Each episode flows naturally from the last, and builds on it, till the final episode feels inevitable, instead of weirdly tacked-on.
As a result, every single part of the writing is stronger. The dialog is better, because it has a purpose. The individual plots are better, because they're not mucking about, they're building to a conclusion. And we get to see more character moments from Mando, learning more about him, and how he changes over the course of the Season.
Basically, everything that was missing from Season One is finally in place.
And thankfully, they don't throw out the elements from Season One that mostly worked. They revise them a little, perhaps, but amidst the new cameos and characters, it felt good to see them tying into locations and events from Season One. It made the whole thing seem more grounded, more real.
So what's not to like?
Well, I'll save the details for the spoiler section, but basically they still don't know what to do with Moff Gideon other than have him be SO EVIL, LIKE REALLY EVIL, HE WEARS BLACK AND EVERYTHING CAN'T YOU SEE HE'S EVIL?!!
And they can't seem to think of a good name for something Imperial other than to call it "Dark," which makes me think they drank the Dark Kool-Aid in their Dark Treehouse while wearing their Dark Hat (and listening to Dark Music) just a little too much. It's not scary at this point, it just sounds uncreative (and a little racist, to be honest).
Finally, after all the buildup I heard online about the last episode, it was a complete and total letdown. Plot-wise, character-wise, and ending-wise. Just meh.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
This next part of the review has spoilers! If you don't want 'em, skip out now. I'm going to give you till the count of 3.
"Dark" Troopers? Seriously? That was the best name they could come up with? The scariest name?
And what's scary about them? They have better armor than stormtroopers, they're kind of strong? I mean, really, how are they a frightening force?
They're obviously there so that the only thing that can rescue our heroes from them is a Jedi. Which is...so frustrating, and feels like a lost of wasted potential.
Ditto Moff Gideon. "I'm done with the Child, you can have him"? And then Mando just believes him? Mando, who a few episode earlier we saw shoot an enemy that claimed to be disarming? Mando, who we've seen call in a New Republic hit on an entire base? That Mando?
I don't buy it, not one bit.
I feel sorry for Moff Gideon. They have him strutting around in that ridiculous armor, which he has no business wearing in the first place, spouting villain dialog which goes nowhere and does nothing.
Dear god, I just remembered: "Dark Saber." Jesus Wept. What a horrible name for a MacGuffin.
And then Luke shows up, and he doesn't sit down to chat, doesn't explain anything, just this dude in black comes up and says "Give me the child," and Mando just hands him over, no problem.
They've taken the ship. Why not have Luke stay for a bit? Discuss his plans? Get to know the Child?
Oh, it's because de-aging CGI is expensive? Well, gosh, maybe they should have had some other Jedi come in and take the Child.
Like, oh....How about Qi'Ra? No computer-based aging required. We know she was working with Darth Maul, so her being a trained Sith is possible. And she can pretend to be a good person, at first, who's willing to take the Child.
But having someone actually evil, actually, interestingly evil, take the Child gives us a plot engine for Season 3, and a cliffhanger for all of us who've seen Solo.
Instead, Luke's flown in, taken the Child, end of story. What's left to do?
Oh, the whole rule over Mandalore thing? That's so obviously a fake problem, I don't...I don't really care.
I might care, if Mando had to try to protect the Child while getting involved in a plan to retake Mandalore and put what's-her-name on the throne. That'd be interesting.
But that ship's sailed, hasn't it?
So for me, the final episode was just a big letdown. Going out with not a bang, not even a whimper, but more of a sigh.
I think the first five episodes of the Season are fantastic. But things start to wobble in Episode Six (it was good to see Boba Fett kicking ass, sure, but did Mando really need to throw himself at that force field three effing times?), and then completely come apart in the finale.
I don't know if I'll watch a Season Three. Having established their show once, and fixed it the second time, then thrown it all away, what's there to draw me back?