The future seemed bright for Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu (yes, Baby Yoda has a name now). At the end of “The Jedi”, last week’s episode of The Mandalorian, they’d packed into the Razor Crest and headed off to Tython.
Once there, Grogu would use a seeing stone, placed in an ancient temple high up in the mountains, to call out to the Jedi. Ahsoka’s hope was that someone would come for him – a future master. And, in the first few minutes of the show’s latest outing, Din is given a moment to bathe in that gentle glow of fatherhood.
He repeats the name “Grogu”, chuckling fondly every time the kid coos back. It’s the happiest we’ve ever seen him. Then the episode title pops up – “The Tragedy”. The stomach of every Star Wars fan suddenly drops.
Director Robert Rodriguez, of From Dusk Till Dawn fame, has created something formidable here. "The Tragedy" is a shot of pure adrenaline, with joy and terror standing side-by-side, all delivered in less than half an hour.
It’s one of the best episodes yet – action-packed in a way that not only significantly advances the plot and fills in a few gaps of Star Wars history, but proves that The Mandalorian’s filler episodes weren’t really filler episodes after all.
Watch: The Mandalorian S1 recap
The galaxy is a small place. People’s paths are destined to cross again.
Our heroes reach Tython, an arid planet that looks suspiciously like Southern California, and Grogu is placed on the seeing stone, ready to begin his meditation. Who will answer the call?
Will it be Ezra Bridger, the man Ahsoka is looking for, last seen in the company of Grand Admiral Thrawn? Will it be Luke Skywalker, who spent his years after the defeat of the Empire training a new generation? Or will it be Cal Kestis, the protagonist of the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game, and one of the few survivors of Order 66, which called for the execution of all Jedi?
There’s no time to ponder. A strange ship arrives, opal-shaped and battle-worn – it's Slave I. Boba Fett's arrival has been teased since season one, but here he finally enters the ring.
The character has a pretty zealous fanbase, and the Extended Universe worked overtime to bulk up his character, but – let's be honest – he’s known mostly as a sentient set of cool armour, a living action figure.
Here, helmet off and with Prequel actor Temuera Morrison at full force, he’s given a new sense of self-possession and drive.
He echoes the words of his father, Jango Fett, when he tells Din: “I'm a simple man making his way through the galaxy, like my father before me”. “The Tragedy” may end up appeasing many a Boba sceptic.
The exchange he shares with Din is brief, but it instantly gives him and Jango a greater sense of place in the galaxy.
And when the episode inevitably descends into battle, there’s incredible power in the way he fights. His face bears the scars of the Sarlacc Pit, like history written on skin.
He wears simple robes and bears a Tusken gaffi stick – a wonderful nod to Morrison’s own Māori heritage, since he wields it like a taiaha, a traditional staff-like weapon.
Then, as threatened, tragedy strikes. The final moments of this week’s episode feel like a series of electric shocks.
Where do we go next?