Minor spoilers for Chapter 11 of The Mandalorian follow!
With the last two weeks of fans debating whether the opening episodes of the new season were filler, almost literally begging for plot progression, The Mandalorian has just delivered what is undoubtedly one of the most important entries of the entire series with Chapter 11. Driving the story forward in a huge way while continuing to live up to, and surpass, the standards of the show, The Heiress satisfies in every way. Old and new fans alike will come to agree that it stands as a grand highlight of the Disney+ epic as a whole.
The third episode of The Mandalorian’s sophomore season picks up directly after the last, with the titular Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and his child bringing the Frog Lady to her beloved companion. The Frog duo hold up their end of the bargain, but the bounty hunter soon finds himself tricked by pirates hoping to steal his armor. This conflict calls attention, leading him to come face to face with three others of his kind, lead by Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff). Having succeeded in finding more brethren, the Mandalorian joins them on a thrilling mission in exchange for information.
The Mandalorian has taken a lot of criticism for its storytelling methods. The series has a very standalone format, with all the episodes sort of feeling like separate Star Wars shorts. While this helps the individual episodes greatly, allowing for each one to truly be their own thing, it has gotten plenty of flack due to a slow advancement of the plot. Well, to all the people who have been angrily tweeting about how The Mandalorian needs to progress soon, you need not wait any longer. However, this episode isn’t just exceptional because of its place in the grand scheme of things – it’s exceptional because it brings a spectacular adventure complete with great characters, excitement, and incredible visuals.
Bryce Dallas Howard returns to direct her second episode, having helmed Chapter 4 in season one. Though that episode was also a really good addition to the series, it’s clear that Howard has been able to hone her craft and thus improve it, delivering superior results. It would have been very easy for her to return and do everything exactly the same as before, if not similar. But instead, she does something different and it pays off in a big way. Her two episodes tell very different stories, and as such, they both take different strides to translate them. However, Howard implements much of the same spirit in both chapters, putting a significant touch on the series that will surely advance as she, hopefully, continues to direct.
Howard’s episodes of The Mandalorian continue to create peak moments for the show, and it’s extremely clear that her talents in the director’s chair are not to be ignored. Every detail is meticulously crafted, to be expected for an episode as important as this one. It becomes evident very quickly that everyone involved – whether it be Howard directing, Jon Favreau writing, or Ludwig Göransson’s scoring – is at their A-game, pushing themselves to their limits.
It would be easy for this episode to feel bogged down after the nature of the previous two, but that is far from the case. The first two episodes can be extremely fulfilling, but there is a very obvious sense of relief the second Bo-Katan and her allies enter, as the audience realizes that the lead is reunited with fellow Mandalorians. On the other hand, The Heiress could have disappointed under the huge pressure, with all the hype regarding the continuation of the ever-expanding narrative. Luckily, it does not disappoint in any major way, being able to craft a superb Star Wars story that is exciting for all.
Despite its grandeur, the episode continues to give what is at the heart of The Mandalorian, precious moments rooted in character. Getting to see the Frog Lady’s journey pay off in a satisfying way feels incredibly good to watch. Her opening scene, even with the next thirty minutes of insanity, still stays with the viewer after the credits roll, which is something that can’t be said for a lot of shows that aim to balance great thrills and genuine heart. The Mandalorian lets viewers build connections with the unlikeliest of characters, such as the Frog Lady who isn’t necessarily crucial to the main plot. Yet, they still get the story they deserve, and that is the true strength of the show.
Going into the second season, fans were met with a horde of casting news. Huge characters from the universe were revealed as newcomers, many of whom also making their live-action debuts. One of these characters is Bo-Katan, and her break into live-action is nothing short of perfect. Unlike Ahsoka Tano, who has been recast for the show’s purposes, Katee Sackhoff reprises her fan-favorite role from The Clone Wars and Rebels, and it’s truly awesome finally getting to see her dawn the armor on screen. Transferring a character from one medium to another can be very trivial to pull off, and The Mandalorian could have easily flopped this. Unsurprisingly, Bo-Katan travels seamlessly from animation to live-action, and that is due in part to Sackhoff as no one else could have portrayed the character better.
The Heiress will surely cement an impact on the series. Moving forward, it’s almost a definite that upcoming episodes will find themselves being compared, as far as quality goes, to this chapter and for very good reason. This entry manages to bring together everything fans love about The Mandalorian, being able to build an astonishing, cohesive narrative that is filled with tension, mind-boggling effects, and an overall sense of absolute amazement – leaving anyone watching on the edge of their seat, mouth agape in pure awe.
There is very little negative to be found in Chapter 11 of The Mandalorian. Many had their doubts, but creator Jon Fravreau brings together multiple narratives into one converging epic, setting up a huge future for the show going into the next five episodes of this season. It’s somewhat obvious that the next episode will be another more self-contained story to avoid progressing the plot too quickly, though this is completely fine as The Heiress will surely quench the fanbase’s thirst for answers and major moments for a bit more time. This episode should definitely get fans even more hyped moving forward, as the season halfway point arrives, kicking things into a bigger sea of possibility.