Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 16: The Rescue”

*This is blog post is a recap of The Mandalorian: Chapter 16, thus by it’s nature contains spoilers. I try very hard not spoil big stuff prematurely but it’s been 3 days and this is a RECAP.*

I’m often at a loss for explaining to people how much and what it is I love about Star Wars. And then I watch something like this episode of The Mandalorian and my breath catches in my chest, and my heart beats a little more quickly than usual, and I remember that it isn’t really something I can explain.

I love these stories and this world so much.

I will never not be psyched when that green light saber sparks, and the hood of that black robe is thrown back and Luke Skywalker is here to rescue us.

Star Wars fandom can be difficult, especially when it comes to it’s first family. There’s a sharp divide between those who would rather the Skywalkers be left in the past and those who are always happy to see them show up. (Guess which one I am?). Luke showing up in his X-Wing to rescue Mando, Bo-Katan, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand and Cara Dune (FUCK GINA CARRANO) and whisk Grogu (who though a baby is REMEMBER THE SAME AGE AS A CERTAIN ANAKIN SKYWALKER WOULD HAVE BEEN) away to Jedi school, was thrilling to me.

It was, also, not the only thrill of the episode. Mando, Boba, Fennec and Cara show up to a Cantina to recruit Bo-Katan and her friend who’s name I can’t remember to take on Moff Gideon, retrieve the Dark Saber and rescue Grogu. After some very rude anti clone remarks from Bo towards Boba, they all get it together, and then get aboard Gideon’s cruiser, fight a bunch of Dark Troopers and the Mando finds Gideon, standing over Grogu with the dark saber. After escorting the Moff to the rest of the group, Gideon excitedly explains that in order for Bo to claim the Dark Saber she must defeat Mando in combat, also a bunch more Dark Troopers show up, and I just want Bo to call them a bunch of fracking toasters but she doesn’t.

And just as all hope seems lost, an X-Wing lands on deck and cloaked figure emerges. Grogu watches on monitors, rapt, as The Last Jedi comes to bring him home. When Luke and R2-D2 enter, Grogu and Din have an emotional goodbye, Din removing his helmet so his son can see and touch his face as they part. Pedro Pascal is wonderful in this scene, the heartbreak clear on his face as the tears stream down his cheeks. He’s doing the right thing, but it’s not easy.

After this touching goodbye, the credits roll, and AFTER the credits, we see two suns, hazy and a familiar palace. Bib Fortuna sits upon the throne of Jabba The Hutt, and Fennec Shand walks in, shoot his guards, frees a Twi’Lek slave girl and Boba saunters in behind her, Fortuna begs for his life but Boba does not spare him and sits his ass on that throne. Cut to black and the words, “The Book of Boba Fett, December 2021.”

SO! What does this mean for us, here, at The Fangirl’s Dilemma?

I’m not sure. There’s a lot of Star Wars coming in the next few years. I’m very excited about all of it. We’ve also got Wandavision in January, which will probably take this slot. I also SWEAR I WILL EVENTUALLY WATCH Resistance: Season 2. Someday. I guess.

But for now, May The Force Be With You.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 15: The Believer”

There’s a lot going on here, but I’m gonna start with this, Bill Burr is excellent in this episode and I continue to be blown away by the level of the incredible supporting cast on this show. They jump over the extremely high bars they set for themselves.

While our appreciation of Burr did lead to some friction in the group text this week, (Jess continued to type, “GO SOX!” at every possible instance. She is from Rhode Island and must be forgiven, and I responded by saying, “I love Bill Burr, but I SPIT ON THE SOX!”) Anyway, let’s get to the episode, which was very cool.

Cara Dune (Obligatory Fuck Gina Carano!), Fennec, Boba and Mando go to a prison planet to recruit Mayfeld (Burr) to their opperation to track down Moff Gideon and free poor little Grogu from his nefarious clutches. Mayfeld is a delightful breath of sarcastic human fresh air in our steely group of outsides and I really can’t express deeply enough how much I really like the work Burr is doing here. They head to Morak (we as a group watch with Subtitles so I knew they said “Morak” not “Morag” which is where the Power Stone was hidden in the MCU in Guardians of The Galaxy but I made the joke anyway.) and discover that an Imperial remnant is mining an explosive substance there to mount an attack, much like Operation Cinder (from Star Wars: Battlefront) where they burned up a whole planet and killed a bunch of Storm Troopers to boot.

Mayfeld is uh, not thrilled about this, but manages to keep his cool while Mando goes to a transmitter to get the info he needs on Grogu. He also takes off his helmet for a good 15 minutes! He looks terribly uncomfortable but I am always happy to see Pedro Pascal’s beautiful face and the fact that he’s willing to bend the code for his magic baby son is huge character growth. While discussing the facility and Operation Cinder with the man who it turns out was Mayfeld’s superior, (in a tour de force scene from Burr) he turns his blaster on the facility which the gang then blows up.

After they escape, Cara and Mando agree to report Mayfeld dead so he doesn’t have to go to prison. I hope the next time we see him, he’s found his way home to Space Boston. Mando does his version of the Taken call and tells Moff Gideon that as long as he’s holding Grogu there is no safe place for him in the Galaxy, he will be found.

We also learned that Storm Troopers have to fill our TPS reports and this makes the most sense. Of course Innitech and The Empire are the same level of bureaucratic evil.

Anyway, if you could come in on Saturday, that would be GREEAAATTT!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 14: The Tragedy”

It’s almost like the show runners know exactly what to give us to keep us from just being furious. Because in this episode where Tiny Grogu gets captured by Moff Gideon and tortured a little, we are given Boba Fett and Fennec Shand as played by Ming-Na Wen.

I can’t be mad at a episode of TV that gives me Ming-Na.

Anyway, what happened? So, after arriving on yet another planet, Mando and Grogu go to a sacred stone so Grogu can meditate and send out a Force message to other Jedi who would train him besides Ahsoka, who Mando adorably calls, “That Nice Lady.” It takes the form of a giant beacon to the sky that also acts as a protective force field. COOL.

In the meantime, Mando is confronted by an old man who asks for his armor back. It’s BOBA FETT! He does not claim to be Mandolorian by creed (True!) but the armor is still his by right and inheritance, it was his father’s, now it’s his. (ALSO TRUE!) He’s teamed up with Fennec, and when Moff Gideon shows up and takes Grogu they agree to help Mando get him back.

Also the Razor Crest blows up, RIP friend, you’ll be missed.

In order to help in mission save Grogu from Evil Imperials, Mando goes to Cara Dune (Obligatory Fuck Gina Carrano. TRANS RIGHTS! Donate to The Okra Project or another Trans charity of your choice!) to ask her to use her shiny New Republic Marshal status to free Bill Burr (or whatever his character’s name is) from prison to help him track down Moff Gideon.

She’s hesistant but when he informs her that it’s to free Grogu she’s all in.

So what’s next? Will Ezra and his Space Whales show up to free Grogu? Will we be heading to Space Boston with Bill Burr? Will Boba and Ahsoka meet and will she shame him for not rallying with his brothers? Who is the mole leaking to Moff Gideon? (I have thoughts!)

Sorry this was late y’all. I had a busy (but good) weekend, and didn’t get to the episode until Sunday night, and I usually like a day or so to think out the episode before I write these recaps.

Love you all! I may have some news of the personal variety to post soon. (Again, all good!)

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 13: The Jedi”

In which all my dreams come true and my emotional reaction is much more muted than I expected.

She’s here, y’all, Ahsoka Tano has arrived in live action and while I was apprehensive about the casting decision here (not that I don’t love Rosario Dawson, she’s wonderful) I was vibrating at a frequency I can’t really explain to people who don’t know her and how wonderful she is to people.

So, we open with a scene of a shadowy figure running through some burned out woods and taking out motherfuckers with two white light sabers. It ends with Ahsoka standing before a Magistrate at a wall, who tells her that she’s going to kill her. Ahsoka basically rolls her eyes at this and disappears into the mist and ROLL CREDITS.

Baby Yoda is trying to get his little silver ball back and Mando is babbling about finding Ahsoka (Mando is all of us in this moment, and LBY is all of our friends who don’t know, nor care about Ahsoka). and when they land on Corvus (a planet I’m very into) they go to the Magistrate who hires Mando to kill Ahsoka.

He goes into the woods to find her and she gets the drop on him because she’s the best and they discuss why he came looking for her. She has a little telepathic force conversation with LBY who is actually named GROGU.

WE HAVE A NAME AND AHSOKA GAVE IT TO US. We learn that Grogu was trained at the temple but was taken away sometime before or during Order 66, and also after some Force Powers testing, Ahsoka refuses to train Grogu, because of his emotional connection to Mando and is fear of losing him. She’s been on that particular heart breaking, Dark Side leading train before.

She does however ask for Mando’s help freeing the village and in a badass set of fight scenes they do just that. She then tells him to go to a Jedi Temple planet and hopefully, Grogu can then commune with the Force and choose his path, and a teacher will come.

This teacher will, with all likelihood be Ezra Bridger, because, during her fight with The Magistrate, Ahsoka asks about Thrawn, and as we all know, the last time either of them were scene they were riding some space whales into the unknown reaches.

Anyway, the nerds were in fine form this time around, with a lot of screaming and talking about how much we love Ahsoka (because we do) and speculation about Ezra, and shouts of #NotAJedi.

I was overwhelmed by how good Rosario Dawson was as Ahsoka, managing to capture her movements and facial expressions perfectly. And I’m so glad for more people to know her and love her. She’s the best.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Chapter 12: “The Seige”

I’m Addressing The Problematic: Bringing this one over from The 007 Project. Gina Carrano is a transphobic garbage person. This is hugely disappointing. I’m not going to bring it up every time I bring up Cara Dune in this review, just blanketing it. She sucks. Trans rights are human rights!

Mando and LBY realize that The Razor Crest is not going to make it to Forest Planet to meet Ahsoka (AKA we’re not to Filoni’s episode yet and no one else is allowed to into us to his perfect daughter, Ahsoka.) so they stop off to visit with their old friends, Griff Carga and Cara Dune. They put LBY in school while they plan a caper to raid an old Empire ship.

They do! They beat up on Storm Troopers. LBY does not make friends at school, but there is a shitty kid who has space macarons and doesn’t share them with LBY. It’s tragic and sad, and fuck that kid, give LBY a damn cookie.

The actual story is that it turns out, the remnants of the Empire have been searching for Force Sensitive children to isolate the “M” gene. (MIDICHLORIANS!) Why do they want this? To make Snokes and ressurect the Emperor presumably.

This is a pretty straightforward episode, that Carl Weathers directed. Good for you Carl Weathers. It just was not a meaty enough episode to distract me from the coming of Ahsoka. I know that I’m a weirdo that way.

Next week, when we actually meet her, I will get into the lengthy discussions my friends and I had regarding recasting her, especially given Katee Sackoff playing Bo Katan, who she also voiced. But that’s next week. This week we mostly talked about Gina Carrano being shitty, and that kid not giving LBY a cookie.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 11: The Heiress”

You guys are we all doing OK? I’m not, (I mean in general maybe, my OK-ness varies hour to hour at this point) but in regards to this episode and it’s bearing on Star Wars and Science Fiction television, in general, I am not OK.

I mean, I’m thrilled but I’m also like *BOOM* galaxy brain. SO, let’s get into the episode.

Mando, LBY and Frog Lady land on an industrial planet and Frog Lady is reunited with Frog Husband. Mando puts The Razor Crest in for repairs, and heads to a tavern to get some information on other Mandalorians and some food for LBY, now that his supply of yummy frog eggs is gone. The baby gets some soup that tries to eat him. (Star Wars is whacky) Mando gets a ride on a fishing boat that will allegedly take him to some other Mandalorians.

It doesn’t. The captain just wants to feed them to a sea monster and steal the Beskar. RUDE. Luckily, they are rescued by three Mandalorians jumping on board. They include MOTHER FUCKING BO KATAN! And not just a new intrepretation of Bo, she’s played now in person by Space Jesus herself, Katee Sackoff.

When she takes off her helmet Mando is scandalized and she and her two companions laugh and say that he’s “A Child Of The Watch” which he doesn’t even know, but they agree to help him find The Jedi for LBY if he helps them with a heist. Said heist is to find The Darksaber so that Bo can take her place as ruler of Mandalore again.

Cool, great, love it. We see a brief conversation with Moff Gideon and eventually Bo gives Mando a piece of information, he should go to a forest planet and there he will find a Jedi to help him with the baby. That Jedi is….AHSOKA TANO.

Guys, seeing Bo, and seeing Katee playing her would have probably held me over to the next season, really. But that we’re this close to Ahsoka made me run around flailing. Because of some family commitments I couldn’t stream this with my friends, but I did leave family dinner to watch them all get these revelations and it was so satisfying.

Bo Katan is great, I like learning for sure that Mando was raised in an extremist sect (this was always the assumption), and that we are likely in the next few weeks going to see live action Ahsoka is pretty much getting me through. (Having things to look forward to is my main coping mechanism, and I’m freaking out a little about the Holidays due to COVID spikes and also, my sister isn’t going to be at Thanksgiving for the first time ever and OMG YOU DON’T CARE!) Ahsoka is very important to me, as I have outlined many times. I love her very much. I’m still mixed about her being played by Rosario Dawson, WHO I ADORE, because part of what’s made Ahsoka mean so much to me is Ashley Eckstein’s stewardship of her, and my odd, parasocial relationship with Ashley.

That’s beside the point though. Ahsoka is about to enter mainstream, live action Star Wars and I cannot wait.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Chapter 10: “The Passenger”

So, first of all, I hope you’re all feeling good. Here the sun is shining, we’re all taking deep breaths because the future seems to be looking pretty good. The craziest election ever is over and now we get to exhale because some barriers have been broken and you know, it’s good. Also there’s promising COVID Vaccine news! Whoo!

Of course I knew none of this on Friday night when I watch The Mandalorian’s 10th episode, which did offer as a nice easy balm for the evening.

So, after getting Boba Fett’s armor, Mando and Little Baby Yoda go back to Mos Eisley, looking for more leads. Amy Sedaris and a Giant Ant get them a job with a giant Frog Woman who needs transport and might know something about the surviving Mandalorians. She’s trying to get to her home planet so that her eggs can hatch.

After an encounter with some cops (New Republic X-Wing Pilots) they crash land on an ice planet and also the whole time Little Baby Yoda has been just eating the crap out of those Frog Eggs. (As my friend Sara said, “That is some toddler realness!”)

On the planet, The Frog woman finds a hot spring, while Mando repairs the Razor Crest, and there are eggs for LBY there too! Unfortunately they are the eggs of a terrifying spider monster that definitely tries to eat them. Luckily they get the ship working and off they fly, after a confrontation with the cops. (One of whom is Dave Filoni!)

Look, it was a fun little episodic adventure. It is very clear that there was a price increase because once again the action finale is incredible, and it was directed by Peyton Reed so there are all these fabulous small comedy moments, that he’s so good at. And most importantly, BABY YODA RUNS AND IT IS THE CUTEST. America, we’re moving forward. It’s all very exciting.

The nerd commentary this time was quieter, but it was a lot of AWWWW, and being super excited about The Frog Woman, who is great, although we are disappointed in the uncreative name. GIVE A SPECIES NAME.

Anyway, I’m really enjoying the season so far and especially loving my group watches. I have great friends who I love. I love everyone today.

Cross your fingers for that vaccine my darlings!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 9: The Marshal”

As always, SPOILERS. You’ve had all weekend to watch the episode.

First things first. Baby Yoda remains a true treasure, who must always be defended. Mando, meanwhile, is just casually bringing him to Fight Club, like it’s no big thing.

Be a better parent Mando!

Yes, we start out with our intrepid warrior goes to a fight between a pair of those pig men who guard Jabba The Hutt, and talks with a gangster played by John Leguizamo. (Right off the bat The Mandalorian is killing it with the guest spots again) He understands said gangster might have information that could lead him to more Mandolorians which might then in turn lead to getting Little Baby Yoda back to the Jedi. Of course the gangster is just after the armor, but in truly badass fashion, Mando strings the guy up, finds out there’s a Mandalorian working on Tatooine. He goes, is greeted by Amy Sedaris (As glad to see her as she was to see LBY) and heads right out from Mos Eisley to Space Deadwood, I mean Mos Pelgo.

Once there, he enters the Cantina where the friendly bartender, played by W. Earl Brown , who played Barman Dan Dorrity on Deadwood, because this is an episode of Deadwood without the swearing. (Or alas, The Swearengen) As Mando questions him about seeing other Mandalorians and Baby Yoda makes cooing noises and the bartender asks if he means, “The Marshal” who then enters and is Boba Fett!

No, he’s not Boba Fett, he’s Marshal Seth Bullock, uh, I mean Cobb Vanth, played by Timothy Olyphant with an extremely attractive beard, who through a series of convoluted events came into possession of Boba’s armor (or “armpit” as my phone happily corrected it to.) He agrees to give the armor back to Mando if he helps free the town from a sand worm, err, a Krayt Dragon. (DUUUUNNNNNEEEEEE). They team up with some Tuskens to do so, and after takin’ a vote in The Gem saloon, erm, I mean the Cantina, they beat the dragon in the most astounding action sequence I’ve ever seen on television.

Vanth and Mando part noting they hope to meet again, and like The Judge on The Good Place, I very much hope they do because more Olyphant on my TV is a good thing, all the time.

The episode ends with Mando speeding away and on a hill, watching, a mysterious cloaked figure who is as it turns out Temeura Morrison! Morrison played Jango Fett and the Clones in the prequel trilogy, which means this is most certainly Boba Fett. It may also be Rex, or one of the other surviving clones. (God, I hope it’s Rex.) The smart money, though, given that it’s Tatooine and the appearance of his armor, that it’s Boba.

The most exciting thing for me this season, besides just so much good Star Wars content and Timothy Olyphant, is the Disney+ group watch feature, which allowed me and The Nerds to stream simultaneously and chat throughout our watch. Highlights from this week include being blown away by the visuals, thirsting after Timothy Olyphant and general Boba and or Rex related flailing.

I’m so glad to have The Mandalorian back. I love Star Wars so much, and I’ve missed it dearly.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian

The thing about becoming a pop culture blogger, and excited fandom tracker and frequent Comic Con goer (I’m really missing cons this year. So much) is that you just accumilate junk knowledge, but it also can suck the magic out of stuff, because a part of this kind of work, which I love doing, is figuring out how to see the strings.

So I decided to let the magic of The Mandalorian linger for a bit and not watch the behind the scenes Disney Gallery specials about the show. But as I realized that I’d maybe watched The Imagineering Story too many times, I decided to check it out.

First of all, I loved the format of the show, which reminded me of Jon Favreau’s delightful Dinner For Five. (I’ve heard The Chef Show does something similar, I might watch that too) Favreau used to host a show where he held a dinner party for five people and rolled cameras. It’s an intensely fun way to have a talk show. On Disney Gallery he takes a similar approach, doing roundtable interviews with different people involved in The Mandalorian, talking about their experience with Star Wars in general, this show in particular, and laughing a lot.

Some really cool stories come out, and there’s interesting behind the scenes talk about the technical and writing processes, tons of info dumping from Dave Filoni, and Bryce Dallas Howard telling an incredible story about a childhood trip to Japan. (This is in the “how did you find Star Wars” section. She starts with, “so when I was six, my dad,” and everyone just groans. She laughs, “I know, OK! But I promise this is cool!”)

The stuff about Baby Yoda is cool, but I was really fascinated with the way Favreau talked through building new tech as he moved from Iron Man to Jungle Book to The Lion King and now in The Mandalorian. And not for nothing, it’s always a joy to watch someone talk about something passionately, and if there is anything I know from following his career for most of my life, Jon Favreau loves movies and loves artists and loves film history, so talking about how special effects have grown to be able to create something as special as The Mandalorian is a real treat.

I’m also completely in love with Gina Carrano. My God, that woman is beautiful and funny and charismatic as hell.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars Comics: Darth Vader By Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca & Edgar Delgado

Darth Vader is cool.

Like, he’s a very cool villain. There’s no getting around it. Dude’s awesome.

Darth Vader the comics series from 2015-2016 takes huge advantage of the fact that Darth Vader is really cool. Also, magically, Kieron Gillen manages to make this Vader, purely Vader at this point, the series takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, feel of a piece with the Anakin Skywalker we’ve come to know from the prequels and The Clone Wars, without betraying how cool and scary Darth Vader is.

Gillen’s Vader is impulsive, single minded (he wants Luke Skywalker. That’s it.), cruel and charismatic. He’s also, oddly compassionate, in his totally and completely evil way. Like, I don’t know how to quite describe it, this is just a wonderfully written series and I was glad to have read it. (Even if I got it my mistake thinking it was Darth Vader: Lord Of The Sith, which we’ll do soon.) There are fun new characters too. The mercenary Doctor Aphra, a sassy rogue archeologist (There’s a particularly fun moment where she fights Han and they are foiled by some snakes…), two evil murderbots, 000 and B2, and a host of cyborgs who have been trained in the Jedi Arts, including two twins who make Vader want to Force Choke things even more (The Force is mysterious that way.)

I was genuinely overwhelmed with glee reading this series. Seriously, it’s a must do for a Star Wars fan digging deeper, if only because it balances fun and adventure in a way that the series does not always do well, and is always a joy to see.

Next time we’re going to take on Resistance Season 2, and I MEAN IT THIS TIME.