The Mandalorian Explained is our ongoing series that keeps an eye on Lucasfilm’s saga about the Galaxy’s most dangerous single dad. In this entry, we look at what went down in The Mandalorian Chapter 11 — the third episode of Season 2 — and explain the dark secret of our hero’s Death Watch origins. Yes, there be spoilers here.
The Razor Crest remains in rough shape after last week’s spider-brawl, but Mando Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) manages to crash her in the waters of Trask without eradicating the lifeforms aboard. Scooped off the ocean floor, Mando drops a thousand credits into the pocket of a disapproving Mon Calamari, hoping his space bird can fly by the end of this episode. With each passing chapter of The Mandalorian, Han Solo’s bucket of bolts looks shinier and shinier.
Ms. Frog (Misty Rosas) delivers on what she promised last week. Sorta. Like everything in The Mandalorian, the answers that are sought arrive in an unexpected and often backward fashion.
Mr. Frog, Ms. Frog’s mate, points Mando to a local Trask cantina. Inside, the waiter accepts credits for information and draws a seat at Mando’s table for a Quarren, a.k.a. the Kenner action figure known as Squid Face. Everyone in this galaxy seems to know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who has seen a Mandalorian. What’s Mando to do but trust he’s traveling in the right direction.
Sailing aboard the Quarren’s barge, Mando and his egg-sucking, force-wielding traveling companion observe these simple fishermen at work. Except they’re not so simple, are they? They’re another bunch of traitorous jerks who joyously feed Mando and the child into the belly of a Mamacore, which must be the aquatic second-cousin to Tatooine’s Sarlacc.
While Mando fruitlessly bashes his fists against the cage trapping him below water, and Baby Yoda navigates god-knows-what in their passage through the Mamacore’s bowels, rescue arrives from above. Three Mandalorian warriors land on the barge and immediately go to work against the Quarren fishermen. Their succinct annihilation of the squiddies highlights Mando’s embarrassing show as a badass.
Frankly, ever since he started playing dad, Mando has lost his edge. Compassion for the green critter requires him to place his faith in others so that he may reunite the youngling with their people. With his fellow Mandalorians’ appearance, maybe Mando can shed his little bundle and get back into the selfish business of kicking butt.
Ah, but the finish line keeps getting moved further and further away. These Mandalorians are not who our Mandalorian was expecting to find. These Mandalorians remove their helmets without the threat of dishonor. This is not “The Way.”
As we were expecting, Katee Sackhoff reveals herself to be the Mandalorian leader Bo-Katan Kryze and “The Heiress” of Chapter 11’s title. Most of her backstory exists within The Clone Wars animated series, but the basic gist is that she’s the surviving sister of Duchess Satine, struck down by Maul when he took command of their planet. She originally sided with the Mandalorian terrorist cell known as Death Watch, who aided Maul in his rise to power.
Watching Maul rule over her people caused tremendous shame to boil in her soul. Bo-Katan led a civil war that nearly tore her planet apart during The Clone Wars‘ final four episodes. Eventually, Maul got booted from his seat of power, and Bo-Katan was named regent of Mandalore. However, as seen in Star Wars: Rebels, The Emperor placed his puppet Gar Saxon in charge, and a second civil war erupted.
Mandalorian rebel Sabine Wren (who will no doubt appear in The Mandalorian sooner or later) wrestled the fabled Darksaber from Maul and bequeathed it to Bo-Katan. According to tradition, whoever wields the ancient weapon claims the right to lead all of Mandalore. We still don’t know how she lost the Darksaber to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), the Imperial villain who climaxed last season by sawing his way out of his crashed Tie Fighter using the blade.
If Bo-Katan wishes to redeem herself for the part she played in her sister’s death and restore harmony to her people, she must have the Darksaber. To do that, she’s gotta kill her way through a whole mess of Stormtroopers. Partnering with a Mandalorian armored in Beskar steel sure would be handy.
Mando wants none of it. The moment these three remove their helmets ignites a shiver of contempt into his being. The way he sees it, Bo-Katan and her cronies are not true Mandalorians. They betray their people with their smiles.
Bo-Katan recognizes his disgust as a trait held by “The Children of the Watch.” Meaning, Mando belongs to the zealots who once chose Maul as their master. Death Watch is an aggressive splinter group — a “my way or the highway” kind of organization. Cracking such stringent education will prove nearly impossible for Bo-Katan, but her knowledge of Jedi whereabouts proves to be enough encouragement to wrangle Mando to her cause for at least one mission.
The four Mandalorians storm an Imperial cruiser looking to leave orbit. The Stormtroopers inside are a feckless lot of lemmings, practically throwing themselves in front of blaster fire. The ship’s poor captain (Titus Welliver) alerts boss Gideon of the invasion, and the Moff orders him to play Kamikaze and crash the ship.
Mando and Bo-Katan stop him from doing so but cannot halt the captain from ingesting an eclectic suicide pill. The Mandalorians strike a tiny blow against the remnants of the Empire, but Bo-Katan is no closer to possessing the Darksaber. She could use Mando by her side, but he refuses the offer. The Child is his top priority.
Bo-Katan is true to her word, giving thanks to Mando by supplying him with the last known coordinates of Ahsoka Tano. The Clone Wars and Rebels fans quiver in anticipation, as Tano proved to be the only Jedi worth a damn when she turned her back on the Order after it became clear they had lost their way. As an inevitable pair, Mando and Tano could prove to be two of the franchise’s most disgruntled warriors.
Learning that there are many ways of being a Mandalorian, not just one, will cause a serious existential crisis for Mando. The dark history of Death Watch could knock a chink in the gunslinger’s armor and be the first step in freeing Pedro Pascal’s beautiful mug. He does not need to hide. He can be one tough dude and still expose his face now and again.
The question remains whether finding Ahsoka Tano will bring him closer to offloading Baby Yoda. Considering that every step he has taken so far only leads to further travel, it’s looking less likely that the bounty hunter will ever separate from the kid. The Mandalorian Chapter 11 is the origin story of a family: a father and a son.
The kid is showing Mando that there is more to life than killing goons and collecting credits. “The Way” is not adhering to doctrine; it’s caring for those that need it. Without Mando, the Child would have fallen under the scalpel of the Empire, and the galaxy would have returned to their grip sooner than it did (the First Order is still on the horizon, folks). Without the child, Mando would be just another bum bumbling from one corpse to the next.
Baby Yoda offers Mando the chance to be one of the glorious heroes that populate Mandalorian legends. The kid is ridding the cowboy of selfishness. By extending his hand to one, Mando begins his reach to help many others. Bo-Katan has her cause, and now, Mando has his. The universe is better for it.