[Please note: there are some minor spoilers in this review mostly based around actors/characters who are introduced in season 2 of The Mandalorian.]
The much anticipated follow up to the flagship launch title of the Disney+ streaming service, the second season of The Mandalorian continue the story of bounty hunter ‘Mando’ (Pedro Pascal) and The Child. Continuing their rivalry with Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), who is now in possession of the mythical Darksaber, Mando and the Child continue to enlist the aid of various allies across numerous planets in order to deliver The Child to safety. Joining the ever-expanding ensemble cast are Temuera Morrison, Timothy Olyphant, Katee Sackhoff, Mercedes Varnado (aka WWE’s Sasha Banks), Ming-Na Wen and Rosario Dawson, each in various roles from the expanded Star Wars universe.
+ the cast, while ever growing, never feels bloated. Mando and The Child of course get the most of the spotlight of course, but soldier-cum-Marshall Cara Dune (Gina Carano), mechanic Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris, a personal favourite) and prisoner Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr) all get their time to shine. Along with the more spoiler-esque names in the opening above, Richard Brake has a scene stealing role in Episode 7 in my equal favourite episode of the season, along with Episode 1. Timothy Olyphant’s character is basically just Raylan Givens, making all of us Justified fans very happy
+ overall, the action is fast paced and well shot. The Western-genre influences are on full display, as most of the time these scenes are shootouts between the overly accurate good guys, and the ‘seriously how did you even get through basic training’ bad guys. The introduction of the new mini-bosses, so to speak, The Dark Troopers added some much needed stakes (not to mention their banger of a dubstep theme)
– I don’t like Star Wars, so the expansion to include (and/or recognition of) characters features in the extended Star Wars canon is a big turn off for me. I like the much more grounded setting in this TV show, and the fact there were no lightsabres, an over abundance of stormtroopers or mention of Jedi, Sith, Yoda etc. was what I liked the most. Comparable to the teases and foreshadowing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, those who know the names being mentioned will for sure get a kick out of hearing them, but for those of us with no knowledge, that one-second-too-long pause after the namedrop seems like an eternity
– Mando himself felt less important than ever, as every second episode seemed to have a character that was being set up for their own spin off. I’m not above a cheeky backdoor pilot (get your mind out of the gutter, it’s a television term) but this felt more like throwing a handful of things against the wall to see what sticks
– it’s a petty negative, but I do not like Rosario Dawson or Sasha Banks (Mercedes Varnardo) and I hated every moment they were on screen, which unfortunately was at least an episode each. Katee Sackhoff doesn’t usually annoy me, but she really did here, but that was perhaps just her proximity to Varnardo
– I have one big spoiler negative that I won’t write here that I think ruined the finale. Ask me about it
Should you watch this show: This season was really hit and miss for me, in almost a 50-50 split. Up to and including that season ending scene, I think maybe I can just call it quits here, we have an amicable breakup and just remember the good times. It’s not me, Mandalorian, it’s you.