Bigger and better in every way imaginable, The Mandalorian season 2 blows expectations out of the water with some of the best Star Wars content ever put to screen. With the appearance of new faces and the return of old ones, this season delivered phenomenal episode after phenomenal episode in fine fashion.
NO SPOILERS FOR SEASON 2 OF THE MANDALORIAN
The journey of The Child and Mando continues to be the driving force of the series, with Mando still taking on the task of delivering The Child to his people. It’s hard to talk about the story without going into the specifics of what happens and who shows up, but here goes. This season, the narrative sends Mando to a number of planets, with each episode picking up directly at the end of the last one, to meet with some familiar faces from the wider Star Wars universe and also come across some new characters. What makes his journey so engaging is the bond he shares with The Child, how that grows over time and how it compares to their relationship in season one. These first two seasons tell one cohesive story over 16 chapters and that’s evident in everything from the characters involved to the way certain plot-points carry between seasons. It’s genius storytelling that pays off phenomenally well.
The overall structure of the season has largely been described to be like a video game, and that’s 100% accurate. Once Mando reaches a planet, or objective, he’s met with another mission he must go on in order to progress further towards his goal. This structure works so damn well because every single path Mando takes this season is getting him closer to achieving his task of getting The Child to his people. With the exception of episode two, every chapter in this season is constantly furthering Mando’s journey in a really big way – which results in the wait between episodes being all the more rewarding. There are two key moments in the season where I was 100% convinced that the next episode would be a slower one, perhaps having Mando make a pit-stop to recover from some major revelations. But nope, they just keep on pushing from one big moment to the next, turning this entire season into one of the best Star Wars stories ever seen.
Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni haven’t just hit the ball out of the park, they’ve smashed it half way across the world and through your bedroom window with the miraculous season they’ve crafted. Every single beat is meaningful and purposefully placed to not only further this story, but also set up a number of branching narratives that will play a key role in other Star Wars properties. Some have mentioned the season incorporating a bunch of fan service just for the sake of it. However, every single “fan-service” moment is weaved into the story in a way that makes perfect sense – everything that happens, and everything that shows up here has been teased and set up in a way that works with the time period that the series takes place. This is a season of Star Wars storytelling where everything is near-flawless, with the true genius of Jon and Dave shining through in every single moment. Contrary to the recent trilogy of films, they have a series-long plan – a fact which is evident across every single episode.
When it comes to performances, the season is riddled with unique performances that fit right into the Star Wars universe. I really don’t want to go into the specifics, but there are performances from actors playing some familiar characters that are beyond exceptional. The casting of these characters is perfect and the performances are incredible. One performance I can talk about is that of Pedro Pascal, who plays the masked protagonist. We know that as a character, Mando has grown, but I feel like as an actor Pedro is even more in tune with the character than in the last season. The way he taps into the emotion of the character through the physical language of his performance is fantastic. We don’t see his face, yet we feel everything he is feeling. Not only does he deliver the emotion, he also kicks ass when it comes to the action and delivering the rare one-liner that brings out the lighter side of his personality. Then there’s Giancarlo Esposito who is perfect in the role of Moff Gideon. The way he portrays that menacing character so effortlessly is a testament to his acting abilities. He’s intimidating across every moment and has an impactful presence across the season.
From a technical standpoint, this series has not disappointed… not even once. Visually, the way they manage to craft the vast majority of these worlds using their revolutionary Stagecraft is impressive beyond belief. Combined with the intricacy of the practical sets and costumes, it all comes together in crafting a world that looks and feels real. Much of the locations this season give off that old Star Wars feel, tapping directly into the influences that George Lucas himself followed when crafting this universe. All the writers and various directors behind each episode get the majority of the credit, but one of the undisputed heroes of the series is Ludwig Göransson, an individual who is quickly becoming one of the biggest and best composers working today. Everything from his renditions of the series’ theme to the new pieces of music he crafts for new characters and action-filled moments is just mindblowingly awesome. There are a number of moments where you have to stop and take in the spectacular score playing over some pivotal scenes. His insanely impactful efforts should not go unnoticed.
In the end, The Mandalorian season 2 is a triumph in every sense of the word. Delivering one phenomenal episode after another to craft what is a near-perfect season of TV. Everything from the performances and tight storytelling to the visuals and spectacular score work in unison to create these awesome results. Having Jon Favreau at the head, with “master of Star Wars” Dave Filoni as the Yoda of the production, has lead to the best thing to happen to Star Wars in a long, long time. I cannot stress enough that for any casual or die-hard Star Wars fan, this season is definitely not something you want to miss.
For my spoiler-filled thoughts on The Mandalorian Season 2 – CLICK HERE