WARNING: SPOILERS LIE AHEAD FOR CHAPTER 15 OF THE MANDALORIAN, IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE EPISODE, GO BACK AND WATCH IT!
This is the way.
Right off the bat, we get a different theme for this episode. To reflect the dire change from the last episode, “The Tragedy“, the stakes are completely different. If you thought we’d be getting a jailbreak episode, you’re getting a slightly different riff on that theme. Breaking Mayfeld out of prison was easy for Mando and his crew. The rest of their mission to get the coordinates of Moff Gideon’s ship would pose to be a harder task.
This was an episode of two halves. The first half was part-Heat, part-Star Wars. While the second half was filled with emotional weight, and of course the appearance of Mando’s face. Topping the last couple episodes would be a heavy weight to bear. So instead of trying to go over the top of it, they sidestepped it. It was a reset for the ever climbing stakes and tension of the series. We’re building to a point of complete and total explosion of tension for the audience, but we need a bit of lowering of that pressure.
They all can’t be the debut of Bo-Katan, Ahsoka Tano, or reintroducing Boba Fett after thirty years. And this episode was definitely not a bunch of filler, we got some new wrinkles to Mando himself, especially in his speech to Moff Gideon at the end. So let’s delve into “The Believer”.
Not Too Many Revelations, But Plenty Of Action
The Mandalorian boasts some of the best action sequences of any product out there, not just Star Wars. This episode was no different. The thrilling chase with the Imperial APC (Dump truck? I have no idea) and the pirates was just a slice of the action that we’d get. I’ll get more into the sequence of the episode with Bill Burr and our conversation with the Imperial Officer, but the section after that was just as thrilling and tense.
We had a sniper duel of sorts between Fennec and Cara Dune. It was a bit lacking in the Fett action department besides that finale involving the seismic charge and the best sound effect in Star Wars history. Any lack of the Fett-man in this episode was made up for the return of that sound effect. So besides that, we also got to see just how Mando fights without his precious Beskar armor. And it turns out that it hurts. He was noticeably shaken and battered after fighting the legions of Pirates on top of the vehicle.
That leads me to what I think might be the most important point of this whole episode and the arc with Bill Burr’s character Mayfeld.
The Striking Imagery Of The Empire
Like Mayfeld says in the episode, “you’ve never been so excited to see a Stormtrooper”. His character undergoes a multitude of changes in this episode. He’s cowardly, he’s prideful, he’s comical, it goes on and on. It’s a testament to Burr’s acting in this episode. It makes it all the more better because his inclusion was an in-joke on Jon Favreau’s part after Burr’s previous comments about Star Wars. Well now the joke’s on us, because Burr blew me away in this episode.
The imagery of the cruiser/vehicle riding into the refinery with Stormtroopers presenting attention and respect to our two pilots was intense. From there, the episode turned into something of far more intrigue than just the action sequences before and after it.
I might replay the conversation that Mayfeld, Mando, and our Imperial Officer have more than the action scenes in this episode. Quite frankly, it’s already one of my favorite sequences in the whole run of the show. It starts with basic comedy from Mayfeld and Mando trying to quickly get away to fill out those “TPS reports” (Thank you Office Space). From there, it have much more meaning.
“How About A Toast To Operation Cinder”
I’ve been waxing most of this review about Bill Burr’s performance, but that’s because it carries the episode. This was less of a story about Mando getting the coordinates of Moff Gideon’s ship and more about the character change that Mayfeld exudes. In the span of minutes you can see him physically change, the cadence of his voice changes, it’s striking. The whole exchange tells us all about the horrors of war and what the price of “freedom” is.
The point when he draws the blaster, my jaw was on the floor. The look on Pedro Pascal’s face sells it all. From there, the action kicks back up. But Burr gets one last bit in. As they’re escaping aboard Slave I, he completes his character change. And you get the best line of the whole episode:
We all need to sleep at night.Mayfeld
A throwaway line from earlier in the episode signifies the change.
Not The Most Earthshaking, But A Meaningful Episode
While we’re likely to have more revelations in the latter part of this season, “The Believer” was just that. Mayfeld and Mando were turned into believers. Also the speech at the end of the episode intercut with the shocked look on Moff Gideon’s face tells me all I need to know about the rest of the season. We’re in for some serious action. Gideon can have all the Dark Troopers he wants, Mando is going to fight tooth and nail to get Grogu back.
I for one, cannot wait to see the fireworks.
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