The Mandalorian: “Chapter 9: The Marshal” Reflection

Disney+’s hit show returns with the premiere of Season 2, picking up the journey where it left off.  

 

Warning: I have information that there are spoilers in this article.

I want to start this off by giving you some insight to why I love this show. Growing up a Star Wars fan and loving the Western genre, Jon Favreau’s creation is a perfect union of my passions that entertains me on multiple levels. I was always fascinated with the Mandalorian bounty hunters, loving their aesthetic and mystic. The show seemed like it was pitched to appeal to me, and I fell in love with the first season (of course, I’m obsessed with Baby Yoda as well). So I plan to write about my thoughts about every episode this season. Also, we have a podcast (See above)!

This leads me to “Chapter 9: The Marshal” (the first episode of season 2), which I felt was a strong opening. In the beginning of his journey to find the Child’s race, the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) wants to use the network of his people and gets word that there is another Mandalorian on Tatooine. This gives us another healthy dose of franchise nostalgia and a little bit of Amy Sedaris, which is a joy. What this episode really delivers is a dive into a fun Western story.

Even with the name of the episode being the Marshal, Favreau set the tone for how this episode will play out. The episode is a nice insulated story revolving around an old mining town, Mos Pelgo. Deep is the desert of Tatooine, the people live isolated, under their own authority. The Western vibes are painted all over the screen, as Mando rides into the town on a speeder bike. The town folk look at this stranger slowly make his way in, emulating the iconic moments of a weary outlaw riding into town on his steed. Naturally, he ends up walking into a saloon.

This is where the aforementioned Marshal is, a cowboy/Han Solo-esque character named Cobb Vanth (Timothy Oliphant) that happens to have Mandalorian armor (Boba Fett’s!). His character is fun to learn about: a barsh, confident man with a warm heart. His backstory could be its own Western story: a regular man that needs to fight against imposing forces to save the town he loves so he goes through hell to do it. Now he wants to save the town from a Krayt Dragon, a gigantic san reptile (think a gigantic Dune worm). If the Mando can help the Marshal, Vanth will give the armor to Djarin. It’s a simple plot device, but it is effective in a few ways. The Mandalorian, who holds his creed close to his heart (even never taking off his helmet in front of others), wants the armor to be in the hands of his people. Even though Mando is not longer in the bounty hunter guild, which has defined his people for years, he has found his own way of preserving his tradition. It’s a great character detail that I appreciate. 

The biggest takeaway from this episode honestly is how the show revisits the Tusken Raiders and expands on who they are. When George Lucas created them, they were mostly just a world building race of people that serve a singular story purpose here and there. What Favreau has done is expand on them and give the people more depth. Within this episode, they also have been victim to the Krayt Dragon. We find this out through the Mandalorian, who he communicates with the Tuskens by grunts and hand motions/sign language. The detail shows how worldly Mando is but also how he is willing to and effective in diffusing situations, which plays well in contrast to the reputation he has as a killer. Through him being our guide, we get more insight in their customs and traditions but also their pains and history. This leads to a moment, where, in order to defeat the Krayt Dragon, the town and the Raiders have to work together and put aside their mutual hatred for each other. The Mandalorian gives a concise but important speech to convince the town folk to help, which involves some truths: though the Raiders are brutal, they need to be. The raiders have lived in the desert for thousands of years and know the sand better than anyone. What Mando also says is that the Raiders are good on their word. If the town folk help and leave the carcass of the Krayt Dragon for the Tuskens, the Raiders will vow to never hurt the town, unless a townsperson attacks them first. The moment is a sobering one that lays out the world in front of the people and the viewers. The world is tough and harsh, a theme that serves as the background of Westerns (hence the Wild West). When alone and faced with the realities of an unforgiving world, things aren’t black and white. It causes us to be selfish and possibly hate others. Understanding other perspectives and motivations can help bridge that gap. For the townsfolk and the Sand People, the bridge is surviving in the Tatooine desert and providing for their kind. 

The final battle against the Krayt Dragon is fun and visually intriguing, especially due to the manipulation of sand. The biggest weapon the people have against the Dragon are explosives, very reminiscent of Western’s use of TNT. The folk fight hard to execute the plan, which is to detonate the explosives underneath the dragon’s belly (its supposed weakness), but the plan ends up not working. This causes the Mandalorian and the Marshal to go fight it directly. It forces the Mandalorian to call an audible to pull off the age-old plan of getting the explosives inside the Dragon. A seemingly-devoured Mandalorian is able to escape the beast just in time, using his pulse rifle, before it’s blown up from the inside. 

The deed is done, the day is saved. The townsfolk and the Raiders are free from their threat, and Mando and the Child are on their way to find the next piece of their puzzle. As the Mandalorian rides off into the twin sunsets, we see a shadowy figure watching from a sand dune overhead. Armed with Tusken Raider weapons and an old cloak, it’s revealed the man is Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison)!!!!

I really enjoyed this episode because it gave us a solid, simple story that provides the audience time to readjust the world of the Mandalorian. You get the beautiful world of Star Wars and the fun adventures like the tales of the Old West. The reveal of Boba Fett towards the end was a great final twist to keep us hooked for Chapter 10. Also, keeping Baby Yoda to a minimum this episode was a smart move in my opinion to help establish the rest of the world without giving in full into the hype train.

I have spoken.

Bassam Kaado
Bassam Kaado is a NJ writer that dabbles in screenplays, comic books, poetry, and articles covering various aspect of entertainment. In addition, he is an actor, rapper, and director. You can following Bassam @bkaado on Twitter and Instagram.

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