The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 1 Recap: Belly of the Beast

The Mandalorian Season 2 delivered a first episode, titled Chapter 9: The Marshal, which honored all of its roots as western, fantasy and science fiction series. Baby Yoda ended up being a bystander, but boy, was that an exciting opening. It was one of the most epic, thanks in part to an eight-minute sequence that appeared to have been shot on IMAX cameras (it filled the screen with an aspect ratio of 16: 9 as opposed to the usual widescreen). At 52 minutes, it was also the longest there has ever been. That run time allowed writer and director Jon Favreau – his first as a director since engaging in The Lion King during production in season 1 – to take time out for scenes, which made it all the more haunting.

Chapter 9: The Marshal started out at night in the back streets of a dimly lit city. Din Djarin / the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) and his congregation Baby Yoda / the child – “Wherever I go, he goes,” said Mando when asked if he would like to bring a child to such areas – had come to seeing a certain one-eyed alien named Gore Keresh (voiced by John Leguizamo) in an illegal wrestling match. The Mando needs information about other Mandalorians in order to reunite Baby Yoda with his kind, and he had heard that Gore Keresh could provide that. Except that the alien had other plans. After Mando refused to use his Beskar armor for the ongoing brawl in the rung, Keresh shot the opponent he had bet against and pointed his weapon along with three of his friends at Mando.

As we learned in The Mandalorian season one, our protagonist doesn’t like it when people point things at him. And besides, he enjoys such opportunities. The mando activated “whistling birds” – tiny missiles on its arm – and Baby Yoda took this as a sign to close its floating envelope and secure itself. What followed was completely predictable, as Mando Gore cut short on Keresh’s hired henchman. Keresh tried to escape to safety in the chaos that followed, but the Mando caught up with him outside and hung him upside down on a street lamp, a shot that brought The Dark Knight to mind. With his life at stake, Keresh volunteered that he’d heard from another Mandalorian on Tatooine, a planet known to Star Wars fans. Mando left Keresh to die of the clutches of nocturnal creatures.

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The Mando and Gore Keresh in Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 1
Photo credit: Disney / Lucasfilm

A return to Tatooine meant a reunion with the mechanic Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), who was first introduced in episode 5 “Chapter 5: The Gunslinger” of the first season of The Mandalorian. Motto is delighted to learn that Baby Yoda is safe and sound, and surprised to see Mando is fine now when her droids touch his ship. (Thank you, IG-11). Mando enlists Motto’s help to find out which Tatooine town Gore Keresh was talking about, a particular Mos Pelgo that doesn’t appear on any modern map. Motto says that’s because it was wiped out during the war and it’s now a simple mining settlement.

The recordings of Mando arriving in Mos Pelgo are straight from the western playbook, with strangers speaking with caution about a newcomer – one who wears shiny Beskar armor. Mando gets off his speeder bike and enters an empty cantina (it’s the middle of the day, after all) and asks the bartender where he can “find a man who looks like me”. You must mean the marshal, says the bartender, and gives meaning to the title. Pan to a man wearing bits of Boba Fett armor on the door who walks up to Mando and orders two shots of a blue drink. He is seated at a table nearby and immediately takes off his helmet (it’s Timothy Olyphant!), An act forbidden in the Mandalorian Creed. It proves that the Marshal is not a Mandalorian, which he is about to say.

To Mando, a random guy wearing another Mandalorian’s armor is inviolable, and he immediately tells the Marshal to take it off and hand it over. Their stalemate is interrupted by some sort of earthquake involving a giant Krayt dragon that terrorized the city of Mos Pelgo. The marshal makes Mando an offer: Help him kill the dragon and the armor will be yours. The mando accepts and the two make their way to the kite camp with their speeders. Along the way, the Marshal reveals his backstory: He is Cobb Vanth, a lifelong resident of Tatooine who survived an attack by the mining collective on Mos Pelgo after the destruction of Death Star II left a power vacuum. He unknowingly escaped with a box of crystals, which he sold to his Jawa rescuers in exchange for his freedom and the remains of the Boba Fett armor they had recovered.

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A sand person in Mandalorian season 2, episode 1
Photo credit: Disney / Lucasfilm

On the way to the dragon’s cave, they encounter the sand people and their komodo dragon-like beasts. The Mando reveals that he speaks Tusken, which helps them form an alliance to jointly defeat the Krayt Dragon. But they will need more help defeating the underground mammoth animal. Mando volunteers with Cobb Vanth, except it’s not that easy. The citizens of Sand People and Mos Pelgo disagree due to skirmishes between the two. Mando and Cobb Vanth appeal together, reminding them that one day the Krayt Dragon will be able to swallow the whole Mos Pelgo if it wants to. That gets them on board and together they set a plan in motion: wake the kite, grab it with giant spikes to hold it in place, and then blow a series of charges buried covertly in the sand were.

Of course, as with any screen plan, things don’t go well. The krayt dragon feels that it is being lured out and tries to return to its cave. (This is where the Mandalorian episode 2 of season two changes its aspect ratio, with the screen slowly expanding as the dragon emerges from its cave. Thanks to IMAX cameras, you can visibly feel the sharper clarity and greater depth of field of the epic of battle.) The common forces threw him with blaster and explosives to anger them. That works, but it also works against them after the Krayt Dragon revealed a previously invisible ability: an acidic bile that it expels. To add to their misery, the first series of explosives barely made a dent in the animal’s thick skin.

Now even angrier, the Krayt Dragon turns the tables on its puny opponents as it digs underground and emerges in unexpected places. First the top of a nearby mountain and then from the sand dunes behind the attack front. Mando immediately slips into a scheme with the remaining explosives tied to a bantha – that’s the two-toothed beast ridden by the Sand People – while Cobb Vanth attracts the dragon’s attention. As Mando approaches the helmet duo, he pushes Vanth out of the way and is swallowed by the dragon.

A silence falls on the battlefield for half a minute, but then the Krayt Dragon emerges from the underground again and a flying Mando appears next to him who has electrified the inside of the animal’s mouth with his weapons and shocked it to get it to open. Then Mando pulls the trigger and the bantha with the explosives, which is now deep in the dragon’s belly, tears it apart. It is yet another example of not just the mando’s abilities, but above all his willingness to go the extra mile and possibly sacrifice himself in the process. Just before it is swallowed whole, he asks Cobb Vanth to take care of the child. Mando and baby Yoda, name you a better couple: ‘)

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Temuera Morrison in Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 1
Photo credit: Disney / Lucasfilm

After the Krayt dragon has been treated and Boba Fett’s armor is back where it belongs, Mando says goodbye to Cobb Vanth and returns to his spaceship, which he left with the mechanic Peli Motto. And as it comes to an end, Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 1 leaves us with a taste of Episode 2. A bald man with two guns on his back watches Mando from a distance on his speeder. He turns around and turns out to be Temuera Morrison, who played Boba Fett’s father Jango Fett in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and is alleged to play Boba Fett in the second season of The Mandalorian.

It is obvious that he is actually the other Mandalorian our hero was looking for. The kite was only a detour, but what a detour it was. And when the Mando encounters Morrison’s character, he’ll be sure to be happy to have his armor back. If he’s actually Boba Fett. We may find out next week.

Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 1 “Chapter 9: The Marshal” is now streamed on Disney + and Disney + Hotstar, where available. New episodes will be released starting around 1:30 p.m. IST next week as daylight saving time changes in the US

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