Hello, Mandalorian fans! For those who don’t know, I’m Jonathan Marroquin, and I’m here to share my thoughts on each episode of The Mandalorian. In my opinion, not a single second of this wonderful episode was wasted, so let’s get going!
Synopsis: The Mandalorian teams up with ex-Imperial sharpshooter Migs Mayfeld to break into an Imperial rhydonium mining facility, where they recover intel about Moff Gideon’s location.
To start off with, this episode was impressive just because it didn’t have Grogu in it and still left me feeling satisfied for the week. As to why Grogu didn’t make an appearance, the answer is obvious: labor laws! Kids and babies can only work on set so long! Haha. There’s my bad joke for this article.
Rhydonium, which was the explosive substance we saw mined on Morak in this episode, has been in Star Wars before. It’s the same stuff that clone commando Gregor shot at in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, to take out an overwhelming amount of battle droids. He did this to allow the Republic’s D-squad to escape, and the explosion was so large that it led us to believe Gregor was dead until he showed up again in the animated series Star Wars Rebels. Rhydonium canisters were left at the abandoned Republic outpost on Anaxes during the Imperial era, and Hera Syndulla and Sabine Wren went to retrieve it in an episode of Star Wars Rebels.
The juggernauts transporting the rhydonium were also nothing new. We’ve seen juggernauts since Star Wars: Revenge of The Sith (called a clone turbotank), and they’ve been repurposed several times by the Empire. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we saw a juggernaut repurposed as a prison transport. In this episode, we saw yet another use for old juggernauts.
I was surprised that there were shoretroopers, as seen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, among the Imperial forces on Morak, since we didn’t seen any beaches in this episode. While Imperials who once served a specific purpose are now constantly being thrown into new situations, it was still surprising to see a bunch of shoretroopers on a jungle planet. The armor that Mando and Mayfeld had to wear while undercover was also familiar, as it has been used in several different capacities for Imperial transport drivers and pilots throughout the galaxy.
One absolutely shocking moment was when Mando took off his helmet in the presence of other living things (humans, in this case)! For someone who has lived his entire Mandalorian life eating, walking, talking, and sleeping in accordance with the Children of the Watch’s Creed, this is quite the monumental moment in Mando’s story. The fact that he took off his helmet shows how much he cares about Grogu, and the rules he’s willing to break to recover his kid. It’ll be an interesting scene if Mando ever meets up with the Armorer again.
Valin Hess, Mayfeld’s superior officer from the Empire, was absolutely wrong when he said Mayfeld knew his Imperial history. Mayfeld didn’t know the history of Operation Cinder, he had lived it, and it scarred him mentally. Operation Cinder was an Imperial contingency plan for what to do if the Emperor died. It entailed the Imperial remnants putting weather-controlling satellites over several Imperial planets, which caused severe storms that ravaged planets. This seems like absolutely pointless destruction by the Empire, but it served two dark purposes: it purified the Empire, and spread fear of the Empire once again, especially since the “dead” Emperor was still in control of the Empire from beyond the grave. The Emperor decided that if he died, the Empire must be purged, for if an Empire could not protect its Emperor, it was a sad Empire indeed. So to purge the Empire until only those completely loyal were left, the Emperor ordered the unspeakable to be performed: ravaging of Imperial planets. Countless Imperials left either during or directly after Operation Cinder, and they suffered guilt and PTSD for years afterwards. The Imperials who were left retreated into the Unknown Regions, where they evolved into the ruthless First Order. Operation Cinder first appeared in the second issue of the Marvel Star Wars comic book series Shattered Empire, and the story was expanded in the video game Star Wars: Battlefront II.
Finally, I come to my final point: who is The Believer? The article is entitled The Believer, but ‘m not sure who that is. Was it Valin Hess, who believed in the might of the Empire? Was it Mando, who is learning to believe in himself? What do you think?