Review | The Mandalorian: Chapter 15 “The Believer”
Carl unpacks The Mandalorian‘s action-packed fifteenth chapter – complete with spoilers!!
Although not the best episode of the season or the show in general, this week’s chapter of ‘The Mandalorian‘ is still a completely enjoyable rip-roaring ride through the ‘Star Wars‘ universe again. There is so much to like a cheer during the again brief runtime of the episode but it does contain some nice throwbacks to the classic saga films as well as ‘Rogue One‘. And of course, Boba Fett and Slave-I are in it again this week. Enough said! The episode does end on a rather ominous note but not for our hero. More on this later. Directed and written by Rick Famuyiwa, the episode zips along at a fairly brisk pace only to slow down somewhat around the halfway mark. But instead of dragging things out, the slowdown only ramps up the tension, giving the episode an old-style Western theme. And it fits the episode right down to the ground.
We start at the prison junkyard which is where Migs Mayfield is working during the day, scavenging material and parts from old destroyed TIE fighters and other such vehicles. He is approached by a guard robot and told he has a new designation. Cara Dune has arrived to take him into her custody and leads him to Slave-I where Din, Boba Fett, and Fennec Shand are waiting. Initially reluctant to go with them, Mayfield changes his tune when he is informed that the Empire has Grogu in its custody. Din needs to know where Grogu is being taken so he can attempt to rescue him. Mayfield tells him the only way to find out is to use an Imperial terminal, one of which is located on the planet of Morak where a hidden Imperial Rhydonium refinery is located.
When they arrive, Mayfield informs the group that Cara and Fennec cannot join him in entering the facility as both would be recognized by Imperial security. Din decides to go in with Mayfield, leading the pair, alongside Cara in seizing control of an Imperial transport, disposing of the two-man crew, and stealing their outfits so the two men can enter the facility. Din, after changing away from the others so they don’t see his face, hands his armor to Cara as the pair take off in their stolen transport. Now disguised as Imperial Tank Pilots, Mayfield and Din are on course to the facility to deliver the Rhydonium that is stored onboard their transport. They are the third in a line of three modes of transport which are en-route to the facility, taking it slow as the cargo they have is dangerous, volatile, and carries a risk of explosion. However, the transports ahead of them are attacked by local pirates who detonate the cargo with thermal detonators before turning their attention to Din and Mayfield’s.
While Mayfield drives, Din takes on the pirates, shooting several but ultimately having to take them on in hand to hand combat, besting many of them and even destroying some of the pursuing pirates with a thermal detonator one of their kind has managed to plant onboard. The cargo reaches the danger point, causing Mayfield to slow down to get it back to a safe level, meaning more of the chasing pack catch up with them as they make their approach to the facility. Din stands ready to fight against seemingly insurmountable odds when the pirates are attacked from the air by TIE fighters, causing their destruction and allowing the transport to enter the facility, much to the delight of the troops and officers contained within, who applaud and celebrate the achievement of the pair.
The terminal they seek is located in a mess hall and both head towards it to carry out their mission. However, as Mayfield begins to enter the hall, he recognizes one of the officers sitting at a table, drinking as his former commanding officer, Valin Hess. Mayfield tries to abort the mission but Din decides he will get the information from the terminal to which he is informed, he will need to remove his helmet so his face can be scanned.
Din enters the hall and moves to the terminal. He attempts to gain access without removing his stolen trooper helmet but the terminal rejects him, telling him it’s an error and starting a ten-second countdown to an alert. Din removes his helmet, exposing his facial features, has his face scanned, and allowed access to the terminal. He gets the information he needs but before he can leave, Hess stops him, demanding to know who he is his role and his identification number. Mayfield saves the day by coming up with a story to allay Hess’ suspicions. But as the pair attempt to leave, Hess informs them that they haven’t been dismissed yet, are the only transport to make it to the facility that day, and demands they have a drink with him. Mayfield and the helmetless Din sit and join Hess and accept a drink from him. But when Hess starts laughing about ‘Operation Cinder‘, Mayfield, who was present when the attack Hess is laughing about came about, meaning thousands of people were butchered including a lot of his friends, can’t stand it any longer. He shoots Hess dead in cold blood, starting a mass shootout with him and Din against a facility full of armed Stormtroopers, Mudtroopers and Shore Troopers.
The pair battle their way out of the facility and are covered by Cara and Fennec who are camped out with their sniper rifles ready, taking out any enemy troops in their way. Boba flies in with Slave-I and evacuates the pair only to be chased by two TIE fighters. In a lovely move, he launches a seismic charge which duly detonates and destroys the chasing TIEs. Mayfield grabs a rifle and with a carefully aimed shot, destroys the facility by blowing up a transport full of Rhydonium, saying he did it so he could sleep at night. Slave-I lands in a clearing where Din regains his Mandalorian armor. Mayfield is ready to be taken back into custody. But between them, Cara and Din, in thanks for all he has done during the mission, concoct a story that Mayfield was killed in the refinery explosion, allowing him to go free. Slave-I takes off for its next destination.
In space, Moff Gideon is approached by an Imperial comms officer who informs him he has to listen to a message the ship has received. Gideon watches as a hologram of The Mandalorian appears before him, telling Gideon he is coming for him and the intent of rescuing Grogu, giving him a dark warning. And the episode ends.
There are several reasons to cheer during the episode, not only for the seismic charge throwback to ‘Attack Of The Clones‘ but for finally bringing Operation Cinder into the canon. Pedro Pascal’s face makes its first appearance this season and two episodes earlier than last season, leading us to gaze once again on Din’s true face for a good five minutes during the episode. Temuera Morrison steals the show again just by turning up as Boba Fett, complete with newly repainted armor while Gina Carano and Ming-Na Wen are once again great in their roles as Cara Dune and Fennec Shand respectively. The action is gratifying and seeing the Shore Troopers once again en-masse brings a great sense of continuity.
Despite all the good things the episode contains, however, you can’t shake the feeling that it is simply a filler episode, one that while being enjoyable and fun, is there to simply fill out the season without adding too much to the ongoing story. Of course, there are steps forward storywise but it has an ‘After the Lord Mayor’s show’ feel to it. But the season couldn’t carry on with the pace and the brilliance it has set up so far and probably needed this kind of episode so we can be entertained and to draw breath before we plunge headlong into the season finale. In that respect, the episode is a triumph and one that is still enjoyable. With the ending we get this week, we can now prepare ourselves for what promises to be an all guns blazing finale.
The Mandalorian is streaming exclusively on Disney+ NOW!
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Carl Roberts is the News Editor of The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!