Welcome to my latest episode review for The Mandalorian. The reviews will follow my usual format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at the penultimate episode of season 2, Chapter 15: The Believer.
Migs Mayfeld is dismantling a TIE Fighter on the Karthon Chop Fields, when a New Republic security droid remands him into the custody of Marshal of the New Republic Cara Dune. Cara leads him to Slave I, where he meets Boba, Fennec and Din. Mayfeld thinks that Din is here to kill him, but Din explains they need him as he knows Imperial clearances and protocols.
As they leave in Slave I, they explain that Moff Gideon has Grogu, and that they need Mayfeld to get them the coordinates to find him. Mayfeld reluctantly agrees to help and explains that he will need access to an internal Imperial terminal. At Mayfeld’s suggestion, the group make for Morak, which has a secret Imperial mining hub.
Arriving on Morak, Boba goes to scout around and locates a refinery, which is refining the highly volatile and explosive fuel rhydonium. Due to the presence of anti-air guns and a platoon of troopers, the group decide to find a way to sneak in and settle on commandeering one of the juggernauts bringing the rhydonium to the facility, and sneaking in disguised as the drivers. The group plan to commandeer the juggernaut as it goes through a tunnel, however Cara is not comfortable with Mayfeld going in alone due to his past history as an Imperial. However the base is run by the Imperial Security Bureau, so genetic scanning rules out Cara, Fennec and Boba from being able to go with him. With no other options, Din decides to go with Mayfeld.
“If you were born on Mandalore, you believe one thing, if you’re born on Alderaan, you believe somethin’ else. But guess what? Neither one of ’em exist anymore.”
Cara successfully gets into the juggernaut and knocks out the drivers, and Migs and Din take their armour and continue the journey. During their journey, the hear 2 other juggernauts get attacked and blow up, and they eventually come under attack from a group of pirates, who are attempting to open up the containers and blow up the rhydonium inside. While Din gets on top of the juggernaut and holds off the pirates while Mayfeld continues to drive to the refinery, eventually getting close enough for Imperial reinforcements to help fight off the pirates.
Welcomed inside the compound by the Imperials celebrating – they are the only juggernaut to have made it to the refinery – Din and Mayfeld make their way to the officers’ mess. Mayfeld is about to enter and use the terminal, when he recognises one of the Imperial officers inside, Valin Hess. Afraid that Hess may recognise him without his helmet – using the terminal will require a facial scan – Mayfeld tries to abort the mission, but Din takes the datastick from Mayfeld and goes in to the terminal himself.
After having to remove the helmet he is wearing in order to pass the scan, Din gets the coordinates he sees, but he draws the attention of Hess, who comes over and begins to question him. Mayfeld arrives to cover for Din, saying that din is his commanding officer, who has previously sustained ear damage. Identifying the pair as the drivers of the juggernaut that made it to the refinery, Hess hasthe pair join him for a drink.
“You see boys, everybody thinks they want freedom, but what they really want is order. And when they realise that, they’re gonna welcome us back with open arms.”
As Hess asks for suggestions for a toast, Mayfeld suggests Operation: Cinder. Hess is impressed by Mayfeld’s knowledge of history, but Mayfeld reveals that he lived through it on Burnin Konn, where an entire city – and its inhabitants – was destroyed during Operation Cinder. Mayfeld says that his entire division of five to ten thousand people was also wiped out. Hess comments that it was a sacrifice worth making, but Mayfeld disagrees. Hess claims that the rhydonium they delivered is going to create havoc that will make Burnin Konn pale by comparison. He hopes that this crisis will cause people to turn to the Empire once again and toasts the Empire. rather than return the toast, Mayfeld draws his blaster pistol and shoots Hess in the chest. Mayfeld and Din quickly shoot all other Imperials in the mess. Mayfeld gives Din the helmet he had been wearing back and says that he never saw his face.
As the other Imperials congregate on the mess due to the blasterfire, Din and Mayfeld escape through the window and make their way up to the roof, where Boba collects them in Slave I, with Cara and Fennec providing sniper fire cover from a nearby vantage point. As they fly away, Mayfeld takes a cycler rifle and shoots one of the exposed cannisters of rhydonium, causing a massive explosion that engulfs the refinery. Slave I is chased by 2 TIEs, but Boba destroys them using a seismic charge, allowing the trio to escape.
Fennec and Cara rendezvous with the trio, Mayfeld prepares to be taken back to custody, however Cara and Din both decide to let him go free, with the official story being that he was killed in the refinery. Mayfeld stays on Morak while the group leave in Slave I.
On his command cruiser, Moff Gideon receives a hologram from Din:
“Moff Gideon. You have something I want. You may think you have some idea what you are in possession of, but you do not. Soon, he will be back with me. He means more to me than you will ever know.”
The Mandalorian has absolutely smashed it out of the park again, with another fantastic episode!
The last episode left me really excited at the prospect of a Din/Cara/Fennec/Greef/Boba/Mayfeld team-up, and while Greef didn’t appear, the rest of the group did not disappoint! I absolutely loved the dynamics within the group and how they developed through the episode, with Fennec and Cara showing a lot of similarities to make an awesome kick-ass duo, and Mayfeld initially mistaking Boba (in his swanky, newly-painted armour) for Din. I also really loved how untrusting Cara was due to Mayfeld’s time as an Imperial and how both she and Fennec came to accept him due to his efforts on the mission, while Din also respected him enough to let him go free despite their bad blood.
As well as the dynamics as a group, I also really enjoyed Bill Burr’s return as Mayfeld and the deeper dive into his character. As well as all the fun quips, we got to see him revealing his history as part of the Empire and it is clear to me from the discussion with Hess that Burnin Konn was the moment that Mayfeld realised fighting for the Empire wasn’t right, to the point that coming face-to-face with Hess again and hearing their plans to sow chaos left him feeling that he had no option but to lash out. It was also great to see him take the shot to destroy the base as he was initially introduced as a former Imperial sharpshooter, and now we finally got to see him showing off his talent.
“Wish I could say it looked good on you, but I’d be lying.”
I also really enjoyed Mayfeld’s (largely one-way) discussion with Din prior to the pirate attack, as it sowed seeds in Din’s mind that neither the Empire nor the New Republic is necessarily the right idea, while also calling out Din’s change in morals relating to never removing his helmet – a clever line that highlights how Din’s travels and the people he has met along the way have led to him questioning what it really means to be a Mandalorian. I think that when we look back at the show once it is over, this will be an important moment to look back on as we see Din’s shift in what a Mandalorian is, as I can see future seasons having him side with Bo-Katan and help fight to take back Mandalore – note how Mayfeld mentions Mandalore no longer exists, which probably reminded Din of his conversation with Bo-Katan.
In terms of Din, it was fun seeing him disguised as a stormtrooper and I appreciated how he never appeared fully comfortable in the armour. I also appreciated how the early stages of the fight with the pirates saw him relying on the strength of his armour to block attacks, but quickly realising that he can’t do that as the stormtrooper armour is weak. I also really appreciated seeing him fighting with a spear taken from one of the pirates, which is showing that he will be capable of (probably) taking on Moff Gideon with the beskar spear in the next episode. And then finally with his message to Moff Gideon, I loved the way that his message mirrored Gideon’s first words to him in Chapter 7.
In terms of the episode, I really enjoyed the way it affected my feelings. I actually found myself happy when the Imperials arrived to help Din and Mayfeld fight off the pirates, while seeing how all the troopers and workers celebrated the arrival of the juggernaut was a great reminder that not all Imperials are evil and that many are decent people who have just ended up on the wrong side for one reason or another. And then once we got to the mess hall and Hess was introduced, I couldn’t help feel tense, wondering what was going to happen and how the pair would get out safely. And as for Hess himself, I absolutely hated him in the very best ways – he was the perfect despicable villain that I couldn’t wait to be dealt with!
“Let’s go! I’ve got a job for you.”
A few final thoughts from the episode:
- It was great getting to see more of Slave I, especially the inside area – as we only got to see the cockpit in Attack of the Clones. And when the seismic charge was used on the TIEs, I audibly cheered
- The more I see of Cara, the more I love the character, which makes it even harder knowing that I never want to see Gina Carano portray the character again
Moments in Canon
- Operation: Cinder is a key part of the Aftermath Trilogy of books and Star Wars Battlefront II story, while also appearing in the Alphabet Squadron Trilogy and the comic Shattered Empire
- Mayfeld mentions that Alderaan is extinct, having been destroyed approximately 9 years prior in A New Hope
- Mayfeld also says that Mandalore no longer exists, which was Din’s belief until Bo-Katan said otherwise
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. This is the Way….