A Review of The Mandalorian (Season 2, So Far)
November 19, 2020
After being left with an entire year away from Baby Yoda and his sidekick, The Mandalorian, the breakout hit series, has finally returned to Disney+.
I distinctly remember the buzz around this show last year – you couldn’t go anywhere online without seeing something relating to it. But once the first season ended and, more importantly, the tumultuous events of 2020 began to unfold, it seemed as though every trace of this show’s online presence evaporated into thin air like a moisture droplet on Tatooine.
Seriously, what happened? I mean, I know a lot of stuff was going on, but did no one even think to watch this again or talk about it or something? I’m not disappointed, just surprised. I guess everyone was just burnt out already? Or maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough.
Well, either way, the program is back on the “airwaves” for its second season. How well does it hold up to the first? Pretty well, I’d say.
If you’ve already seen the show, the episodes of season two we have seen are carrying on the narrative structure and tone that has already been established. Mando is still a loner who goes from planet to planet, helping out locals in small towns to kill their local monster or get somewhere else or whatnot.
In case you haven’t noticed, it is incredibly reminiscent of the old style of cowboy TV shows that used to dominate back in the 50s and before, a reference which itself is supposed to be a reference to the heavy influence the original Star Wars film took from Westerns.
The twist here, though, is that Mando has a plus one, which also happens to be a magical infant.
The show also somewhat loosely weaves together each episode’s plot into a larger serialized story, a practice which has come to be expected from shows nowadays. The Mandalorian’s resistance to fully leaning into the serialization aspect has drawn criticism from many, including myself at times.
However, I think the line the show treads between classic episodic cowboy stories and a larger overall narrative is done fairly deftly. It is certainly unique, a property many streaming shows cannot even begin to comprehend, much less possess.
Although not completely spotless, I think The Mandalorian has a nice formula and is good entertainment any way you slice it. I anticipate the series will probably evolve quite a bit through its run, and I doubt it will function the same way by the final installment. Even in spite of that, though, Season 1 holds up well, and the two episodes we’ve seen so far of Season 2 are perfectly congruent with it.
If you have even a vague interest in Star Wars, I find you’ll have a good time with this. You don’t need any kind of extensive knowledge of the universe, although the show does reward that with some clever easter eggs here and there. (I would recommend at least watching the first three original films before diving into this series, though.)
Have a good time with it.