Let’s answer the most pressing question about this episode first: Does the Child eat any more of the nice Frog Lady’s eggs, and does she find out about his past transgressions? Fortunately, the answer is no on both counts. But fans of watching the Child eat upsetting things will still have plenty to cheer in “The Heiress,” the third episode of The Mandalorian’s second season. “The Heiress” is set almost entirely on Trask, the watery moon the Frog Lady calls home. That means there’s no shortage of slimy, tentacled delights for the Child to consume.
It’s also home to unscrupulous sailors, Imperial holdouts, and, as the Mandalorian has been told, others of his kind. Sort of. But to meet other Mandalorians, he first has to land the Razor Crest at Trask’s main trading port, no mean feat given the damage it sustained in the previous episode, thanks to the attack of the space spiders. Mando, the Child, the Frog Lady, and her delicious eggs are already barely limping before they arrive and have to make a hot landing. Though they all look cozy sleeping together in the cockpit, the need to make a hot landing wakes them up and leaves the Razor Crest in even worse shape than before when it topples into the bay. “Dank farrick,” Mando curses. Indeed.
After leaving the Crest in the hands of a Mon Calamari who promises only to “make it fly,” not fix it, Mando and his passengers set off to explore Trask. This leads to an emotional reunion between the Frog Lady and her Frog Man, after which Mando sets off to a nearby inn recommended by Frog Man to obtain some information — but not before spotting a hooded woman observing him on the dock. Could this prove significant, and soon? (Answer: yes.)
At the inn, the Child finally gets some food in the form of squid chowder dispensed from a tube running up to the ceiling. (The Mon Calamari serve squid. Is this problematic? Discuss.) To find other Mandalorians, Mando strikes a deal with a Quarren, a member of the squid-faced species that seems to share Trask with the Mon Calamari. At this point, it becomes clear that “The Heiress” will have even deeper connections to Star Wars lore than most previous episodes of The Mandalorian, connections that will only thicken as the action progresses. But it also seems to have been written so that any knowledge of The Clone Wars (where the Quarren play a significant role) is purely optional. The Quarren, and some of the characters the Mandalorian meets shortly after setting out to sea with them, might be familiar to those steeped in Star Wars lore but new faces to others. Either camp can still enjoy the episode.
For a moment, however, it looks like there might not be much more of the series to enjoy at all. Aboard the Quarrens’ ship, the Mandalorian and the Child get invited to watch a mamacore — a hungry aquatic creature they keep in a watery hold in the middle of the ship — eat, only to find that they’re the intended meal. The Quarren want their fearsome pet to devour their passengers in order to steal Mando’s beskar armor. How they plan to obtain it after he’s been eaten raises some uncomfortable questions, but, fortunately, they never become pertinent. Soon the cavalry arrives in the form of three Mandalorians wearing sharp, colorful beskar armor of their own. The day is saved.
Their Mandalorian rescuers: Koska Reeves (WWE star Mercedes Varnado), Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides), and Bo-Katan (Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff), the latter another character with deep Clone Wars ties. (Sackhoff provided her voice on The Clone Wars and Rebels, so this is something of a live-action homecoming for her.) Bo-Katan first shocks Mando by removing her helmet, then more or less brings him up to speed about his past and hers. She was born on Mandalore and fought the Empire during the Purge. He’s a Child of the Watch, which, from her perspective, makes him a zealot dedicated to returning Mandalorian society to its original, purest form. There’s no need to leave one’s helmet on all the time. That doesn’t have to be the Way. Can they find common ground?
If nothing else, Mando owes Bo-Katan better than just flying off with the Child, repelled by her suggestion that he might be a religious fanatic and that there are other acceptable ways to be a Mandalorian. He owes her double when she saves him from a group of angry Quarrens who ambush him and the Child on the dock. (“Now I’m gonna kill your pet,” their leader threatens. Boo!) Then it’s time to discuss more Mandalorian politics. Bo-Katan’s plan is to seize weapons, retake Mandalore, then install a new leader on the throne. It’s only later that she lets it slip whom she wants to install, but the title of the episode provides a clue.
Mando wants his new acquaintances’ help in finding the Jedi. They’re happy to provide it, at a cost: He has to help them with a mission. Specifically, they need help taking down an Imperial Gozanti freighter loaded with weapons and on its way to help out Mando’s old foe Moff Gideon. He’s in. But first, for once, Mando leaves the Child behind in the safe hands of the Frog family. In their home, the Child witnesses the miracle of birth (well, hatching) and maybe gets over his urge to eat the Frog Lady’s eggs. Maybe.
Then it’s time for an action setpiece, and it’s a good one: a daring raid on the freighter that pits Mando and his new allies against an Imperial captain played by Titus Welliver. The sneak attack also involves the Mandalorians taking out a whole squad of stormtroopers using blasters, thermal detonators, and some trickery that sends many plunging to their death from the back of the cargo bay. It’s going well and then, midway through, Bo-Katan ups the stakes, telling Mando she plans to take the whole ship, not just its cargo. What’s more, she needs something if she’s going to rule Mandalore, something she suspects Moff Gideon has. (It’s the darksaber we saw him wield at the end of the first season, another holdover from The Clone Wars.)
They wrest control of the ship from the captain before he can crash it, but, a true dead-ender, he kills himself before they can get any information out of him. Still, Bo-Katan lives up to her end of the bargain (at last), telling Mando he needs to “take the foundling to the city of Calodan on the first planet of Corvus,” where he’ll find a Jedi named Ahsoka Tano. That’s a new Star Wars place but not a new Star Wars name. Ahsoka Tano is another major player in The Clone Wars, one we’ll presumably be meeting soon.
Until then, it’s au revoir, Bo-Katan (though it seems likely we’ll be seeing her again), and au revoir, Frog family, whom Mando and the Child leave in a state of domestic bliss. Then it’s back to the Razor Crest, which has been sort of repaired by the Mon Calamari mechanic. But hey, the shoddy job means the Child has a few tentacled stowaways to snack on. Call it a bonus.
• This is the second episode directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, who previously helmed the Seven Samurai–inspired first-season episode, “Sanctuary.” It’s another good one, if not quite as emotionally wrenching as Howard’s last outing.
• And short, too, clocking in at just over 30 minutes, not counting the credits. It’s not that the longer episodes of The Mandalorian haven’t been as good as the shorter ones, but it’s refreshing that the series is committed to creating episodes exactly as long as they need to be, rather than reaching an obligatory running time.
• That’s a modified AT-AT working as a crane in the harbor. Neat bit of production design.
• Misty Rosas returns as the Frog Lady this week. She previously provided the mo-cap for Kuiil, the first-season Ugnaught voiced by Nick Nolte. She’s a singer, too.
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