The Mandalorian Chapter 12 Recap: Old Friends | TV/Streaming

While director Carl Weathers keeps the episode constantly in motion, it’s an episode that makes you feel more of the show’s episode length, especially when it comes to characters. Even though we’ve been waiting to see Cara and Greef again since the last season, the most charisma is doled out to Mythrol, a character we first met in the pilot before The Mandalorian collected him and froze him in carbonite. He gets to have the comic relief, and some of the focus. 

Our other characters, well, they don’t get much time to show their personalities, and the backstories that we’ve been curious about don’t come to light. It’s more about putting them back on screen again, letting them star in Stormtrooper shootout clip shows with intermittent jogging, and maybe giving them a gruff one-liner or two. But your notion of these characters hardly changes, and it’s almost like you wish the series slowed down for a second to let them talk more, to give them a moment. Sure, it would add on a few more minutes, but it would ground them, and the show, more. 

But what the episode lacks in character development, it makes up for in a chase scene in the third act that ranks among the entire series’ best action scenes. Some of it relies on old-fashioned “Star Wars” dogfighting thrills (like our heroes manning guns separate from the cockpit, locking onto targets) but it also mixes in some exciting dynamics of land craft battling aircraft. There are some particularly exciting shots of two aircrafts flying toward each other, dramatic and epic just like we want “Star Wars” to be. When composer Ludwig Göransson’s triumphant “Mandalorian” motif kicks in later on, it feels extra triumphant. 

As the show’s main writer, Jon Favreau does throw a couple juicy teases into “The Siege” as well, about what’s really going on with the Imperial holdouts that have appeared in earlier episodes. But in the scope of this series, that’s the closest we get to the overall plot advancing. “The Mandalorian” lurches forward with its mission of learning about where to find Baby Yoda’s own kind, picks up speed, and then it has to take care of something else. It’s Favreau’s conservative world-building, but it comes at the expense of time with the living beings who make the show compelling beyond its more inventive action scenes and “WTF!” teases. Last week’s “Chapter 11: The Heiress” was better at giving a vivid sense of what came before, and what is to come, but this second season feels like it’s still stuck in the first act. 

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