I had a sneaky feeling that this week’s episode wouldn’t take us to Corvus just yet, but instead would see us pit stop at a familiar locale instead. And what do you know, that’s exactly what happened. While we have to wait a little longer to see Lady Tano’s live-action debut, this week’s detour to that meeting turned out to be anything but filler.
Directed by Carl Weathers himself, who co-stars in this episode as Greef Karga, along with Gina Carano’s Cara Dune, the episode sees Din return to the planet Nevarro in order to repair his ship, which is being held together by ropes at this point. The ship is so badly damaged that Din tries to get Baby Yoda to try and help with repairs in what must be the funniest scene in the series to date. It seems like The Child is starting to understand some concepts of language but not enough to do what Din wants, which results in the little guy getting zapped. While taking a break, we see Din take a sip of a drink and lift his helmet up ever so slightly in front of Baby Yoda. He hasn’t decided he’s going to remove his helmet just yet, but after his confrontation with Bo-Katan last week and learning about how his way may not be the way, he seems to be challenging his strict upbringing just a smidge.
Upon arrival at Nevarro, which has a school and markets now, Karga and Dune enlist the expertise of Din while the Razor Crest is being repaired. The trio, along with Horatio Sanz’ Mythrol, infiltrates an Imperial complex in order to completely liberate the planet and opening it up as a trading hub in that corner of the galaxy. Fair deal, only the complex isn’t some near-abandoned outpost: it’s a lab. And it’s here where we get some nuggets of information that make the overall plot a bit more clear. We learn from a hologram recording from Dr. Pershing (the guy with the glasses from season one) that the lab has been working on transfusing the blood from the Child to a host and that they specifically wanted the “M” count (midi-chlorians) to be transferred as well. We see foggy pods full of failed…somethings (clones, perhaps) and we learn that the hosts rejected the transfusions, while Pershing only took a small amount of Baby Yoda’s blood in season one, to prevent it from dying. Is Gidon seeking to become force sensitive? Or does he have something else in mind?
What’s interesting now is that all the footage from the trailer has been revealed, meaning the second half of the show is a total mystery to everyone. We have no visual cues to theorize about and there are actually a lot of moving pieces now. We have Din on his way to a former Jedi, who may be able to help The Child out in some sort of capacity. But the Empire also has a tracking beacon on the Razor Crest and his wellbeing and safety are now in jeopardy. Gideon looks like he has a squad of Dark or Death Troopers from Legends on standby and the lab that our heroes blew up were staffed by scientists bearing the Kaminoan sigil, implying cloning is definitely going on here.
The obvious and easy answer is that the Empire is working on bringing Palpatine back and/or working on the Snoke shells, but that seems too easy. Gideon doesn’t strike me as the kind of individual who wants to bring his boss back to life; he’s a warlord and is thriving on his own. I much prefer the idea that he’s building a unit/army of Force-sensitive beings or to enhance his own “M” count. Gideon tells his subordinate that he’ll be ready for Mando and the camera pans to show us that he has a small army of what looks like Dark or Purge Troopers from Legends on standby. Upon learning that The Child is in danger, Din rushes off to save him and hops on the now-fixed Razor Crest to take out some TIE fighters (all with Baby Yoda cheering in the co-pilot seat).
Overall I thought the episode was pretty fun and intriguing. I particularly enjoyed the sets and locals and, addressing a criticism I’ve had about the show in the past, the episode actually gave us scenes without Din in it. I’ve lamented that the series needs to pull away from Din and show us what’s happening with other characters, namely Gideon, at the same time. And while I think this episode will be the exception, not the rule, it was nice to have a scene between Cara and Captain Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) and a separate scene featuring Gideon abord what looks like an Arquitens-class command cruiser (but correct me if I’m wrong). The only true downside of the episode is Sanz’s portrayal of the Mythrol. Just like Amy Sedaris’ character on Tattoine, I find these comedians to break the flow and their humour just doesn’t land for me. Likewise, I found there to be a bit too much action and too little meaningful dialogue, but this is a minor gripe. There was enough intrigue set up but it seemed to pivot back to the action quickly. But thankfully, this detour didn’t feel like unnecessary filler. Time will tell when Gideon resurfaces, but now that there’s a tracker on his ship, it could be anytime.