Each week, Anthony Breznican and Joanna Robinson will break down the latest episode of The Mandalorian, and speculate about what’s to come. You can find their thoughts on “Chapter 11” here. Ahead you’ll find their discussion of “Chapter 12: The Siege.” Spoilers ahead …Anthony Breznican: Baby Yoda spent this episode munching neon-blue macarons, but the side adventure that went on without him may be setting the little green guy up as the resolution to one of the biggest mysteries from the Star Wars films. Specifically: just how was the Emperor resurrected after dying in Return of the Jedi?Fans had many quarrels with The Rise of Skywalker, but the omission of this explanation seemed especially egregious and baffling. Now we learn that the remnants of the Empire were engaged in genetic experiments that required the blood of Force-wielders. The blood they drew from Baby Yoda last season led to some of the failed experiments we now see floating inside containment vessels within the base that Mando raids with his old friends Greef Karga (Carl Weathers, who also directed this installment) and mercenary-turned-marshal Cara Dune (Gina Carano). They look a lot like Snokes to me, and in TROS the Emperor reveals that he made Snoke while we gazed over similar botched creatures that resembled Andy Serkis’ twisted and scarred villain.But why grow a Snoke? And was that experimentation what gave Emperor Palpatine his withered but resurrected form?Joanna Robinson: Okay, first of all, I have to ask if you think Baby Yoda’s macarons are blue milk flavored—and also, how long before you think we see them for sale at Galaxy’s Edge? On to less edible subjects: Snoke soup. I love you pointing out to me that this was probably our favorite silken-robe-wearing antagonist from the sequel trilogy. It certainly looks that way. My impression was always that the Snoke tubs in The Rise of Skywalker implied they were early Emperor resurrection prototypes. After last season, I thought Moff Gideon was tinkering with cloning, eugenics, and midichlorians (or M-count, as Omid Abtahi’s Doctor Pershing put it in this episode) because he was trying to turn himself into a Force user. And maybe he is. But the idea that he’s trying to bring back his old boss is intriguing to me for a number of reasons.One thing I really admire about The Mandalorian is the very tricky and complicated job it’s trying to pull off of unifying all the Star Wars properties to make them feel part of one long continuous story. A major complaint about the sequel trilogy, which bounced from J.J. Abrams to Rian Johnson to (briefly) Colin Trevorrow and back to Abrams again, is that several character arcs and story turns felt haphazard and unplanned. In fact, even before COVID shut everything down, Lucasfilm had pressed pause on its cinematic ambitions in order to regroup. In the meantime, it seems, The Mandalorian is attempting the Herculean task of providing connective tissue between the film franchises (that M-count!), the animated series Clone Wars and Rebels (with the return of animated show heroes like Bo-Katan and, reportedly, Ahsoka Tano), and popular video games like Battlefront and Knights of the Old Republic.That kind of sprawling franchise storytelling cohesion is, of course, something Favreau’s former Iron Man boss and current Disney neighbor Kevin Feige pulled off to massive success with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Franchise connectivity is good for business. Every installment of the MCU started to feel like must-see TV because they were all related. Favreau’s roots were really shining through in this episode of The Mandalorian, from the Baby Groot-esque electric work with The Child……to Mando striking a classic Marvel hero landing pose.Follow-up question for you, Anthony: Now that Mando has started flashing a little chin around his adopted green son while they’re sitting down to sip some broth, how soon before we see him go maskless around his kid?Anthony Breznican: Signs point to soon. Din Jarin is slowly revealing who he is, and I think we’ll see his face sparingly. But when we do, it will have significance. It always seems to come with some revelation, as when he saw compassion in the droid IG-11 last season, diminishing his resentment of robots, or his conversation last week with Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan, which showed him that not all Mandalorians are as extreme as his sect. Over time, I think we will see more and more of the armor fall away.Speaking of IG-11, did you spot the statue in the background while Greef and Cara walked with him to the new school? Not only are the townsfolk paying tribute to this metallic savior, but their monument included a baby bjorn!Another thing I liked about this episode was the action, which makes it fitting that it was directed by Action Jackson himself. The shootouts and fights were slick but not overdone, and I enjoyed that the chase itself was a bit clunky. Greef is, let’s say, not a great shot with that cannon, which was actually pretty funny. The humor worked for me too. Horatio Sanz’s Mythrol was the main comic relief here. I did LOL for real when the Mandalorian walked in and his nervous alien shvitzed a big cloud of sweat from his gills. That weirdness is what makes Star Wars work.We also got a little more Baby Yoda grossness. Infants have a habit of spitting up, but seeing him burp out all his stolen macarons (yes, I do think they are blue milk flavored!) was another aspect of what Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni told you about preventing The Child from being too cute and cuddly.Joanna Robinson: As you and I wrote about this week, Gina Carano is currently Star Wars’ most controversial figure. And while I personally feel conflicted watching her onscreen right now, I will admit I took some joy in seeing her execute some flawless MMA-style tuck and roll fight moves and a choke hold or two that would probably get her banned from the ring. Carano’s acting, however, has not really improved, and she’s asked to carry the episode’s heaviest line when she tells Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s Captain Carson Teva that she lost “everyone” when Darth Vader blew up her home planet of Alderaan in the original Star Wars. No wonder she takes joy in stomping on all those Stormtroopers.Now, unfortunately, Mando and the Child are being tracked by Moff Gideon onto the next stage of their journey—which could, hopefully, bring them face-to-face with the long-anticipated Ahsoka Tano.EASTER EGGS
- Constable Zuvio sighting! After getting cut from The Force Awakens, the lawman with the Christmas platter helmet has been popping up in this season, first at the fight in Chapter 10, and now in the lower left corner of the bazaar on Nevarro.
- The protocol droid who is teaching the children mentions the Akkadese Maelstrom, which is the volatile region the Millennium Falcon traversed in Solo during its Kessel Run sequence. The Aurebesh writing on the board behind the droid only say generic things like “Gravitational Vector,” “Key Point,” “Solar Limit” and “Orbital Path.”
- Mythrol mentions that after being frozen in carbonite by the Mandalorian, his left eye still isn’t working properly. That’s a callback to the temporary blindness that Han Solo suffered when he was sealed in the substance in The Empire Strikes Back.
- At the end, we see Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon in a chamber containing some Darth Vader-looking soldiers with black helmets and formidable frames. These are Phase III Dark Trooper droids, first seen in the 1995 video game Star Wars: Dark Forces.
Where to Watch The Mandalorian:All products featured on Vanity Fair are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.More Great Stories From Vanity Fair — The Crown: The True Story of the Queen’s Institutionalized Cousins— A Real-Life Chess Champion Talks The Queen’s Gambit— Prince Andrew’s Most Appalling Real-Life Antics Were Left Out of The Crown— Review: Hillbilly Elegy Is Shameless Oscar Bait— Inside the Obstinate Life of Bette Davis— The Crown: What Really Happened When Charles Met Diana— Diana’s Relationship With Princess Anne Was Even More Rocky Than in The Crown— From the Archive: Bette Davis on Her Failed Marriages and the Man Who Got Away— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.Read More