Bryce Dallas Howard and Jon Favreau send Season 2 flying into the right direction.
This review contains potential spoilers for Season 2 Episode 3 of The Mandalorain. Check out my review for Season 2 Episode 2 of The Mandalorian.
The new season of The Mandalorian has managed to create small, interesting stories without building directly to the end goal, get Baby Yoda to the Jedi. The third episode, “The Heiress,” manages to change the mold, not necessarily break it. We get another small story that revolves around more Mandalorians, but we get insight into what the future holds and that we are going to see this group again in the future.
“The Heiress” managed to get my heart pumping in more ways than one. Between the suspense of seeing Mando almost manually land the Razor Crest and seeing our favorite, little green friend being swallowed, capsule and all, by a Mamacore, I did not know what to expect next from the episode. Each sequence built off each other and made me excited for what surprise I was in store for next.
Director Bryce Dallas Howard and writer/producer Jon Favreau managed to keep me on my toes throughout the episode. After Mando jumps into to save Baby Yoda, who was rudely shoved into the sea by one of the Quarren Brothers (a group of squid-like humanoids), I expected to see Mando pull off a crazy stunt to save both their necks. Oh, how I was wrong! I got to see something better! A trio of Beskar-clad Mandalorians, two of which bore a familiar insignia for those who have seen Star Wars Rebels, the Night Owls, rescue our favorite duo. Seeing this group save the day was exhilarating, and I knew from that moment there was going to be plenty of action and good progression to the main story.
This trio of guerilla fighters is led by Bo-Katan, portrayed by Katee Sackhoff, a member of House Kryze and a former Night Owl. Following her initial interaction with Mando, a few things are made extremely clear. Mando is apart of a cult subgroup of Mandalorians, known as “The Watch”, who intend to return Mandalorians to the old ways. Whereas those native to the planet of Mandalore tend to not follow the old ways. This is evident by Bo Katan and her crew willingly taking off their helmets in front of Mando, creating an obvious distrust from Mando towards this new group.
After the trio save Mando a second time and have a short interaction, the two groups manage to strike a deal that is sure to play a major role later in the series. The deal is that Mando will help the small group of guerilla fighters take supplies from an Imperial cargo ship, and Bo-Katan will share info with Mando about the Jedi, even though small lines of dialogue you get a sense that she is not fond of them, which is not entirely surprising.
From the moment the new band of Mandalorians are introduced into the series, there are great action sequences that show the devastating power of a group of Mandalorians. These action sequences are neatly spread out to allow an excellent balance of action, suspense, and plot building for not only the episode but also the overall story line. The only subpar action sequence within the episode was when Mando ran into oncoming fire in a stereotypical “willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the cause” moment that is felt overused within action movies and shows. This event felt out of place with how Jon Favreau avoids such unimaginative options. The only way the scene could have felt more out of place is if they showed Mando running in slow motion as he was getting shot.
Following these initially interactions with the new group of Mandalorians, the question that arises is how will Mando’s commitment to the creed of The Watch change as he meets more Mandalorians throughout the series. Will he stay to true the teachings or will he begin to stray from what he was taught?
On top of all the suspense and surprise, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jon Favreau managed to add a few laughs throughout the episode, including the Razor Crest abruptly falling into the water of Trask, the dock worker’s attempt at fixing the Razor Crest, and Baby Yoda being “attacked” by its food throughout the episode. They even keep playing along with the joke that Stormtroopers are terrible shots! On top of it all, we see how idiotic the empires troops are when thinking they are safe from the Mandalorians while inside the cargo bay, which has a cargo door… The inclusion of these small comedic moments adds a special touch to an episode that has serious and intense moments. The lighthearted moments of the episode keep the action from being overbearing and shows that there is more to the series than just blasting storm troopers.
The puppetry costumes used throughout the episode for the fish-humanoid characters flow within the episode and are wonderfully integrated. In an era where CGI is king, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jon Favreau make the “suites” work perfectly within the story. I feel that the aesthetic holds true to the original trilogy and feels more welcoming than that of the modern CGI in Star Wars.
The acting by Katee Sackhoff seems to be too forced, and she is over emphasizing the ruggedness of her character. She is trying to act out the role rather than embracing the role and becoming the character. Her attempts to be sinister and use ominous tones come across poorly and sets an awkward tone. She did a better job acting when there was a sense of urgency from herself and those around her. Specifically, when she is looking for information regarding Moff Gideons whereabouts so that she can take back the darksaber, her ultimate prize.
Some of the best acting in the episode come from the captain and pilots of the Imperial cargo vessel. Their simple dialogue between each other is portrayed effortlessly and has tones that fit their dire circumstance. The pilots are uneasy because their fate is uncertain, and the captain maintains a bold and stern demeanor despite his ship being taken over by four Mandalorians. The captain maintains a composed attitude even following orders from Moff Gideon saying “you know what to do,” meaning he is to sink the ship in the sea of Trask.
This episode does an excellent job of answering questions that have been lingering throughout the series, but also raising new questions that have us wondering what will come next. One of the most exciting answers is that we now know Mando must go to Corvus to meet Asoka Tano. While one of the new major questions that arises is what is Bo-Katan’s group’s ultimate goal? She says that she is looking to take back the planet of Mandalore and that she intends on retrieving the dark saber, but there feels to be something going on that has not come to light quite yet.
As always, we cannot forget about the loveable, green companion. While Baby Yoda’s role within this episode fluctuates, he is still as cute as a button, and we get to see a different side of The Child. After staying with the Frog Lady and her husband, we see The Child interacting with a small tadpole in a loving and endearing manner, instead of wanting to eat it. Will Baby Yoda have a change of heart about eating fish and frog eggs after meeting his new little friend, the Frog Couples child??
The excitement of the first-time seeing Bo-Katan and company coming to Mando’s aide was exhilarating and jaw dropping. Even more exciting is knowing that we will see the return of Ahsoka to the series, giving a newfound enthusiasm for the events to come. This episode did not leave me hungry for more like the past two did, where I felt I needed more, but rather I wanted more. I felt like a child excited for the next episode. While “The Heiress” does not break the mold of “do this side quest to get more information” approach, it is evident that the events that occurred with Bo-Katan will impact later episodes, creating another side story that will be just as key as the early interactions with Cara Dune in season one.
“The Heiress” provides thrilling action and heart pounding suspense, while also providing answers to lingering questions that give direction to what is to come in the series. However, episode 3 still follows the same model of a miniature story within a main story.