This week’s adventure, “The Heiress,” on “The Mandalorian” is directed by Bryce Dallas Howard and finds Mando and Baby Yoda in the midst of some of the greatest danger they’ve faced yet, but with the help from a few new friends, it makes for the best action this series has seen. This is the way!
It’s a Trap
As we rejoin Mando’s adventures with Baby Yoda and the Frog Lady, they’ve made it to the water-filled moon of Trask, and the Razor Crest has barely managed to stay in one piece. While a group from “It’s a Trap!” fame Mon Calamari repair the ship, Mando and Baby Yoda set out to find the rumored Mandalorians that live on this moon. A Quarren, the Star Wars creature whose head looks like a squid, promises to take Mando and The Child to his brethren but only after a trip on the high seas. So off we go on what amounts to the Star Wars version of a fishing boat.
Not surprisingly, the Quarren turns on Mando and tries to feed him and Baby Yoda to an underwater creature, only for them to be rescued by the very Mandalorians they’re seeking. These aren’t just any old Beskar-wearing bounty hunters. It’s none other than Bo-Katan Kryze, leader of the Night Owls, former ruler of Mandalore, and friend of a certain ex-Jedi — but we’ll get to that in a moment.
The Heiress Unmasked
After saving Mando and The Child, Bo-Katan removes her helmet, and lo and behold, it’s none other than acclaimed genre actor Katee Sackhoff. This isn’t Sackhoff’s first foray into the galaxy far, far away. In fact, she and Jon Favreau worked together on Dave Filoni’s “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Favreau had a guest-starring role in several episodes as the Mandalorian extremist Pre Vizsla. Together, with the help of Darth Maul, that awesome horned villain with the double-bladed lightsaber from the Star War prequels, they started a civil war on Mandalore.
After many hours of animated Star Wars action over two separate series, Bo-Katan served as the wielder of the Darksaber and ruler of the planet that Mando technically calls home. This is her triumphant return to Star Wars.
Mando tells Bo-Katan he’s looking for the Jedi, and she says that if he helps with their mission on the moon, she’ll tell him where he can find one. After a little intra-Mandalorian squabble about whether or not “The Way” allows you to take off your helmet, Bo-Katan tells our titular hero that she’s on this moon to steal weapons from black-market traders and use them to retake Mandalore. Mando drops the egg devourer off with Frog Lady and her husband while he and the Night Owls go storm an Imperial cargo vessel.
To any passing fan of Star Wars animated television, that Gozanti-class cargo freighter will be incredibly familiar. A central part of many “Star Wars: Rebels” adventures, Gozantis are small Imperial cargo ships that carry a squad of Stormtroopers and sometimes TIE fighters or even walkers docked to the underside of their hulls. Here our new group of Mandalorians are assaulting the ship because its cargo contains weapons they need, and it can lead them to Moff Gideon, who has what Bo-Katan ultimately desires more than anything else: the Darksaber.
Now what transpires is one of the best action sequences of the entire series. Mando and the Night Owls storm the ship, pirate style. This is straight out of an episode of “Rebels” or one of the many Star Wars video games you’ve played since your childhood. The four Beskar-clad badasses take the ship one group of dead Stormtroopers at a time. At one point they even jettison a large group of Imperials out of the airlock of the cargo hold. It’s fantastic fun with more blaster bolt-colored action than you can handle.
Once they’ve reached the cockpit, they take control of the ship from its commander just as he’s about to crash it into the choppy waters of Trask. Bo-Katan asks, “Does he have it?” referring to Moff Gideon’s ownership of the Darksaber. Just before he dies, the Imperial officer says, “If you’re asking, you already know.”
That Massive Name-Drop
Now in the clear, Bo-Katan provides us with what is undoubtedly the most exciting moment of this entire television series. She tells Mando to take the child to the city of Caladan on the forest planet of Corvus where he’ll find Ahsoka Tano. Boom! — the ultimate Star Wars name-drop, at least for big fans of the franchise. Now, if you’re only a fan of the mainstream Skywalker Saga movies, you probably have no idea who that is and are wondering why the hell I’m so excited. If you’re a fan of “The Clone Wars” or “Rebels,” however, then you know what a humungous moment this is.
Ahsoka Tano was the Padawan apprentice of Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. Her story, told through “The Clone Wars” cartoon created by George Lucas and Filoni, makes the Star Wars prequels actually make sense. The sad thing about those movies is that Lucas focused on the wrong things and didn’t do a great job showing us why Anakin went from Jedi to Sith. Ahsoka makes all that clear.
Assigned to Anakin by none other than the real Master Yoda, Ahsoka starts “The Clone Wars” series as an almost obnoxious teenage student. By the end of the war, she has grown to be a very capable warrior, a good friend to Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a skeptic of the Jedi Order. The Order even expels her when she’s framed for a terrible crime, but what is critical for Mando’s story is what happened at the end of “The Clone Wars.”
In the closing episodes of the series, Ahsoka and Bo-Katan work together to free Mandalore from the control of Darth Maul. She was a liberator of Mandalore and someone Mando must respect when they meet shortly. The Armorer has told him that Mandalorians battled the Jedi, and that was once true, but as Mando is finding out in this episode, the history of his people is much more complicated than he thought. “The Way,” as it were, isn’t quite as clear as he might think.