Wow. Chapter 11 of The Mandalorian blew me away. I watched the whole thing with the biggest smile on my face and immediately rewatched it at least four more times. There’s so much to gush about and so much to speculate on. Major spoilers ahead!
“The Heiress” was directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, and I cannot say enough what an excellent job she did. Despite being one of the shortest episodes with a 35 minute runtime, the amount of content packed into it was mind-blowing. The pacing was excellent, action was balanced out by comedy and serious moments of character-driven tension, and as usual, everything was visually stunning.
The episode opens with a rough landing on the watery planet Trask. The setting is incredibly well crafted — from the gloomy weather to the presence of marine-inspired alien species in their fishermen clothes to the sketchy docks at night, the atmosphere of the sea port city is fantastic.
Mando leaves the Razor Crest in the hands of a Mon Cala shipworker to do much-needed repairs while he gets down to business in Trask. There’s a heartwarming reunion between Frog Lady and her husband, who is able to point Mando towards an eatery for more information on other Mandalorians. While Mando makes a deal for a trip on a local Quarren’s fishing vessel, Baby Yoda gets adorably attacked by his seafood chowder, which feels a lot like rightful karma for the frog egg fiasco in the previous episode.
However, once on the boat, Mando and Baby Yoda are betrayed by the Quarren fishing crew who are after Mando’s beskar armor. But just in the nick of time, a trio of other Mandalorians show up to rescue them. The Mandalorian in charge is Bo-Katan Kryze, portrayed flawlessly by Katee Sackoff, the character’s original voice actress from when she was first introduced in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and later in Star Wars: Rebels. For fans of the animated series who speculated on character cameos in Season 2, Bo-Katan was one of the most hoped for appearances with her own ties to Mandalorian lore and culture and history.
While she’s decked out in her own customized Mandalorian armor and has the warrior skills to go with it, the second she takes off her helmet, Mando assumes she isn’t actually a true Mandalorian. But the tables are turned back on him as Bo-Katan promptly explains that Mando is evidently a member of “Children of the Watch”, a religious cult of extremist Mandalorians who follow ancient, outdated Mandalorian customs. This revelation that he’s been raised by a cult and kept in the dark about the existence of other Mandalorians has Mando reeling and in hardcore denial and he jets off.
Later that evening, Bo-Katan and her friends save Mando from another group of Quarrens again. Mando finally agrees to a conversation and she offers him a deal — if he helps her crew steal weapons from an Imperial freighter and she’ll give him information on the location of a Jedi she knows. He agrees, leaving Baby Yoda under the care of Frog Lady and her husband, instructing him to “mind his manners”.
The mission starts off smoothly with the four Mandalorians landing on the ship via jetpack (a visual I will never get tired of) and are quickly able to get their hands on the weapons stash. But the stakes are raised when Bo-Katan switches up the plan, wanting to take over the whole ship. In response, the Imperials are ordered by Moff Gideon, the villain from the end of Season One, to crash the ship. Even though the Empire is technically gone, the brutality of its regime remains, delivered by its remaining, blindly loyal officers, which is an interesting contrast to Mando’s own blind loyalty to his understanding of the Mandalorian way of life.
But the Empire is no match for four Mandalorians on a mission. The hand-to-hand combat scenes are excellently choreographed and executed. Watching the three Mandalorians plus Mando take down a ship full of stormtroopers with deadly efficiency was a treat to watch. Although you can’t see his face, you can tell that Mando is impressed with their skill and competence in battle. Several times he’s seen trailing behind the others, just trying to keep up, which is an amazing contrast since he’s usually the one in the lead. But he still steps up and gets to make a big heroic move that ends up saving the day.
Mission complete, Bo-Katan gives Mando information on a Jedi she knows before they part ways. She directs him to the planet Corvus, where he can find Ahsoka Tano. Yes, that Ahsoka Tano, the padawan of Anakin Skywalker. Talk about a name drop.
There is so much to unpack and some of the most interesting stuff comes with having an understanding of the history and culture of Mandalore. Watch this YouTube video for a crash course.
First and foremost, Mando and Bo-Katan have an amazing character dynamic that I could gush over for hours. When Mando accuses her of not being a true Mandalorian, that literally could not be further from the truth. Bo-Katan is actually the closest thing the Mandalorian people have to a rightful ruler. She’s the sister of the last true Mandalorian who sat on the throne and even once wielded the Darksaber, the powerful Mandalorian symbol of unity, which we know Imperial Moff Gideon has in his possession thanks to the very end of Season One.
And Moff Gideon knows that Bo-Katan is looking for him and he is doing everything in his power to keep her at arm’s length, as proof by the fact that he’s willing to sacrifice an entire ship of weapons and loyal crew members to keep her from finding him. This second, more subtle plot of a potential Mandalorian revolution could evolve into something more significant with interesting opportunities for Mando if he gets involved later down the line.
But first he’ll have to work through his identity crisis, which I’m really looking forward to watching play out in the upcoming episodes. Mando’s going to have to acknowledge the deception of the cult that raised him and how little he actually knows about the full extent of Mandalore’s tumultuous history. His lack of understanding means he can’t see the bigger picture of what Bo-Katan is working towards. She’s not just trying to give the Empire’s remnants a headache — she’s planning to take back her planet and reunite the Mandalorian people. Luckily, Bo-Katan doesn’t tolerate his ignorance and firmly puts him in his place, probably the first person to really do so as far as we’ve seen (and it’s really awesome).
While Mando deals with his personal crisis, he’s still laser-focused on his quest to reunite Baby Yoda with his kind, and he finally has a solid lead on an actual Jedi — none other than Ahsoka Tano. While I have so many questions, I don’t expect her to show up right away in the next episode. However, I do think there is a pretty good chance of her being in the one after. Chapter Five is going to be directed by Dave Filoni, who worked closely with George Lucas to produce “The Clone Wars” where Ahsoka made her debut and is the mastermind behind “Rebels”, where she showed up again. She’s a fan-favorite character, and Ahsoka’s storyline is Filoni’s creation, so if she were to show up at all, our best bet is Chapter 13, with Filoni at the helm to make sure it’s done right. And honestly, we wouldn’t trust her story with anyone else anyways.
This episode is far and above my favorite of the season so far; I’d even go so far as to say my favorite episode of the entire series. This episode exemplifies how “The Mandalorian” is telling its own story but intimately connecting it into the history and lore of what’s already been established within this huge universe, filling out details and timeline gaps and making the world that much richer. It wove in established characters in a way that furthers Mando’s own personal journey but doesn’t take over the story completely and is still hugely satisfying for fans. It had everything I could’ve wanted and it’s got me unbelievably excited for what comes next!
Jennifer Ng is the opinion editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.