Features and Columns · TV

‘The Mandalorian’ Chapter 12 Introduces Another ‘Star Wars’ Deep-Cut

The fourth episode of the second season rewards longtime fans of the franchise and invites newcomers to tumble down the Expanded Universe rabbit hole.
The Mandalorian Chapter
By  · Published on November 20th, 2020

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 12 — the fourth episode of Season 2 — and investigate Imperial shenanigans. Yes, there be spoilers here.

It’s impossible to find good help these days. After the Mon Calamari barely stitched The Razor Crest together on last week’s episode, Mando Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) pilots his sputtering hunk of junk back to where The Mandalorian began: Navarro. Ahsoka Tano introductions will have to wait, but that doesn’t mean Star Wars fans are not rewarded with all kinds of nerdy treasures.

Chapter 12, entitled “The Siege,” digs a little deeper into the threat facing little Baby Yoda and how a disaster for the Child could mean an apocalypse for the Galaxy…or at least, an explanation behind The First Order’s rise to power as seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Empire is holding on to their wicked ways, firmly rooting their villainy in small pockets within the Outer Rim. Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) has mostly rid Navarro of its Imperial stench, but one lone base remains along the borders of his community.

Since Mando requires repairs, and those repairs will take some time to accomplish for Karga’s shady mechanics, couldn’t the bounty hunter aid the new Marshall Cara Dune (Gina Carano) in sweeping up the rest of the trash? Karga assures Mando that the base is run by a skeleton crew and should not pose a problem for the three of them. Mando gives a long sigh as he’s want to do, but he complies with the mission. He drops the kid at the local daycare, and they get to work.

Their assault on the Imperial base goes smoothly enough, even if it’s populated with more goons than promised. As seems to be the trend since Mando acquired his Beskar armor, Karga and Dune keep their friend at the front of the line so he can absorb the few shots the Stormtroopers manage to land. Dragging along Mythrol (Horatio Sanz) — remember Mando’s first bounty of the first season? — proves to be a lucky strike as he’s able to overload the reactor core, transforming the base into a ticking time bomb.

As they skedaddle their way to freedom, the assault team stumbles into an imperial laboratory. On the wall are several Bacta tanks containing misshapen humanoid masses. While preserved, they appear to be dead. One of them has an oddly shaped head reminiscent of Supreme Chancellor Snoke. As dots start to connect in the viewer’s imagination, Mythrol engages a holo-message from season one’s Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi).

Picking up midsentence, we gather that these experiments are the second group of failures. The volunteers expired when their bodies rejected a blood transfusion from the Child. Pershing expresses regret but states, “I doubt we’ll find a donor with a higher M-count.”

Oh, did The Mandalorian just drop the M-word? Yup. Baby Yoda is busting with Midi-chlorians, and Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) wants those sweet, intelligent microscopic lifeforms all to himself. The kid is not only the key to producing a creature like Snoke but the bargain-basement clone-daddy iteration of The Emperor that we saw in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (see here for details).

Since we know those jerks finally see the light of day in the movies, things are not looking so hot for our favorite, egg-sucking kiddo. Or, maybe, the child’s blood is the key to something else? Maybe The Emperor and Snoke are already in progress, and Moff Gideon needs Baby Yoda’s blood for other purposes?

Flash forward to the end of this episode: after Mando uses his newly repaired Razor Crest to obliterate a few leftover TIE fighters. We find Moff Gideon hunkered down in his Star Destroyer, overseeing the assembly of a mean-looking batch of soldiers. He gets word that one of Karga’s mechanics successfully placed a tracking device on Mando’s ship.

“We will be ready,” he declares. A large grin stretches across his face. That right there is a confident man.

The sinister fellows behind him don’t look like any Stormtrooper we’ve encountered before in live-action. There is a mech-like quality to their helmet, although the profile is hard to discern within this shadowy corridor. They could be Imperial Sentry Droids, rough-and-tumble robots that initially cropped up in the Star Wars Expanded Universe and finally made their way to the screen via Star Wars: Rebels.

More likely, with Baby Yoda’s blood in play, these brutes are Dark Troopers. They too belong to the droid family, but they make the Sentry Droids look like flabby weaklings. Pumped up and ready for battle, Dark Troopers are heavily plated tanks with legs, complete with jump-packs and the heaviest of artillery. Mando will not be able to escape by simply taking flight.

Dark Troopers originated in the 1990s Star Wars: Dark Forces video game and have since popped up in various Star Wars: Battlefront incarnations. These beasts are utterly terrifying. They’re big, they’re fast, and they’re deadly. When you find yourself caught in a room with them, your life bar better be fairly full. Mando’s Beskar steel won’t be enough.

What if these Dark Troopers have another advantage? What if there’s some flesh under there? What if Moff Gideon is using Baby Yoda’s blood to juice his troops? A Sith zombie squad would come in handy.

The Mandalorian‘s second season has spent a lot of time meandering from one location to the next. Mando is enjoying being a dad. He can’t even get upset when the kid spits up on his ship. The little goblin is merely too cute.

While the bounty hunter takes his time reaching his destination, Moff Gideon plots and schemes. They’re drawing closer together. Having already witnessed Mando’s ability to vanquish a squadron of Stormtroopers and Death Troopers, Gideon knows he must boost his game. The Dark Troopers are the ace up his sleeve.

Mando needs his own ace. Ahsoka Tano is coming. Dave Filoni directs Chapter 13, and you can bet your bottom dollar that he’s the guy who will usher his prized Clone Wars character into live-action. Mando will need her blades to go up against these Dark Troopers — and let’s not forget, Moff Gideon’s Darksaber.

Dark Troopers, Darksaber, hmmmm. The Moff is overcompensating for something. That smile won’t last.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)