The Mandalorian - Episode 2.07 - Chapter 15 - Review
The penultimate episode of The Mandalorian felt like yet another detour, however, packed within that detour was a bunch of moments that should come into play later. You can't put the toothpaste back in tube, and the show, plus the characters in it, will never be the same because of it.The episode, which is called "The Believer" was masterfully directed by Rick Famuyiwa. Most of the titles are pretty self explanatory, but this one took some thinking. "The Believer" can fit many different people in this episode.
The most obvious is Din. He had a set of hardcore beliefs that he essentially broke to save Grogu. He showed his face. Not only to Bill Burr's Mayfeld, but to an entire room of Imperial soldiers. That is a big step for him. Sure, it might help that he's met Bo-Katan, and Boba Fett, both which do not adhere to the "no face" policy. But it was more Grogu, who he has come to care for, that made him turn his beliefs upside down. The believer rearranged his priorities, and now believes in the kid more than his creedo.
The second is Cara Dune. She sprung Mayfeld out to help, with all intentions of putting him right back. She loathed him because he was imperial. But once he came through with the codes, and blew up the base, she began to believe in him. So much so, that it was her idea to pretend he died in the explosion, and that he is free to go live a life outside of incarceration.
Mayfeld himself could have the title too. He was ex-imperial, but not happy about it. He even encountered his old boss, and eventually killed him for the things they had to do. Mayfeld has a conscience, and proved that to Din, Cara and everyone else. He's a believer in something, even if its a bit gray.
So while the title doesn't seem self-explanatory at first, it is actually more all-encompassing than the other straightforward ones.
This is the first Grogu-less episode that there is. I was sure there would be a shot of him at the end, but there wasn't. The episode worked without him of course, and it proves that, along with the episode length, they try to tell the best story of the week, without having to conform to certain appearances or run times. That was only part of what subverted the expectations of this episode.
The other part, was rooting for the Empire. In any other circumstance, Din would be helping those pirates steal from the Empire. In any other circumstance, we would hope the stormtroopers miss, and the tie fighters get blown up. But instead, we had to be believers in them, because they were helping Din and Mayfeld, albeit unknowingly and temporarily.
They peppered some fun callbacks to the prequels in there too, with Boba making a Clone reference, and using a concussion grenade on some tie fighters, harking back to one of the best sounding moments in Attack of the Clones.
Star Wars is very cyclical. George Lucas once described them as stanzas in a poem in that they rhyme. But it has also hurt the franchise even though it is its signature. Symmetry can work. But to force it yields bad results. With the taste of The Rise of Skywalker still in everybody's mouth, some fans are weary of symmetry. But the way they did it in The Mandalorian worked to perfection. Din contacting Moff Gideon and using his own words against him in regards to the child was brilliant, beautiful, bold, and the perfect way to lead into the finale.
There is only one episode left, and they have a lot to accomplish still. It will be interesting to see how Favreau pulls it off.
You can read all of my past reviews of The Mandalorian right here.