What to Watch Verdict
A good episode that belongs earlier in the season rather than as its penultimate chapter.
✨Bill Burr is an utter delight as Mayfield.
✨We see some progress from Mando.
✨The heist/escape portion of the episode is solid.
✨It doesn't do its job as a penultimate episode.
✨The final scene feels forced and silly.
This post contains spoilers for The Mandalorian.
Check out our last review here.
Bill Burr makes his triumphant return as Mayfield as a last-ditch effort to try and rescue Grogu from Moff Giddeon (Giancarlo Esposito). The plan is “simple,” the team of Mando (Pedro Pascal), Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec (Ming-Na Wen) have to infiltrate an old Imperial location in attempt to find the coordinates for Moff Giddeon’s ship. They only have a few measly things standing in their way like some space pirates, a whole lot of Rhydonium – an extremely volatile resource used to power star ships – and the lives of the innocent indigenous people to the planet.
Thanks to old Imperial biometric scanners, anyone wanted by the Empire or with ties to the rebellion will immediately out them on their mission. This forces Mando to make a costume change to ensure Mayfield doesn’t go in alone and blow any chances as finding The Child. When they’re chased by pirates after the precious fuel, there’s a weird sort of relief when the two (and their cargo) find themselves rescued by a couple of TIE fighters and a small army of Storm Troopers.
Once inside the base, all they have to do is find a terminal to gather the information they need. “All they have to do” goes just as well as it always does, of course. Mayfield can’t go to the terminal while it’s being watched by an old commander, meaning Mando has to be the one to gather the information. And the terminal must scan your face in order access its information.
Mando removes his helmet, compromising his entire creed in an attempt to save his surrogate son. What should be a quick in-and-out is interrupted, resulting in Mayfield and half the Imperial base seeing his face. All the accolades to Pedro Pascal for these scenes – you can feel is visceral discomfort as he sits bare-faced in front of the enemy. Then Mayfield goes rogue!
The proverbial con with a newly realized heart of gold looks his ex-commander in the face and asks him how he could sacrifice so many soldiers. What follows is an all-out brawl in the mess hall followed by a hasty escape in what manages to be a pretty fun heist/escape scene solidifying Mayfield's odd antihero status in The Mandalorian mythos. Seeing his true colors, Dune and Mando agree to say he died on the mission, freeing him from his sentence and sending him off to make a new life.
So far as penultimate episodes go, “The Believer” is a little weak. It’s a fun enough story with plenty of meat on its bones, and if it were a couple chapters earlier it would be a different story. However, the only thing it does to set up its finale is show an ominous hologram of Mando threatening Moff Giddeon. Seems like a strange tactical move, given the fact that the element of surprise would have been ideal. Because of that, the moment feels more forced than ominous. That said, Season 2 of The Mandalorian has completely ignored how a season of television to be structured to begin with (not to its favor), so this is at least a continuation of a trend.
There are several solid moments before the final credits roll. Mayfield pointing out that The Mandalorians of old were really no different from the Empire is extremely true. Din Djarin’s loyalty to that creed is a loyalty to a planet full of murderers whose only focus was to conquer whatever planets they could. That’s part of what makes the future Bo-Katan is after so important, and what makes Mando’s baby steps toward realizing what he’s loyal to interesting.
“Everyone thinks they want freedom, but what they really want is order,” is as obvious a line as they come. But it’s still jarringly nefarious every time it’s uttered by some totalitarian creep who thinks they’re the ones to grant that order to the people they would oppress. If there’s one thing The Mandalorian has done right this season, it’s truly driving home what kind of monsters the Empire is filled with. We’ve watched Vader mow down a school full of children, sure. The Star Wars saga is filled with huge acts of horrifying behavior. But those little moments of truly disgusting motives do a lot to further a villainous narrative.
One more episode left, boys and girls!
Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.
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