‘The Mandalorian’ Chapter 15 Review And Discussion
The rules change in Chapter 15 of The Mandalorian, not just for Din Djarin, but the entire series.
The penultimate episode of the second season dispenses with any pretense. From the jump, this fantastic episode written and directed by season one vet Rick Famuyiwa gets right down to the business at hand. Din Djarin needs to track down Moff Gideon and only one man can help him: the criminal Mayfeld. Before we dive into specifics, check out how our friends at The Resistance Broadcast reacted to all the huge Star Wars news yesterday, and be sure to check out their review and discussion of Chapter 14!
Let’s start with a brief overview before we get into spoilers. Chapter 15 is deceptively simple. The Mandalorian needs Mayfeld to crack into Imperial codes to track down Moff Gideon’s ship, and they have to infiltrate an Imperial facility to do it. The episode feels very familiar to beats already established this season, with the major difference being that Famuyiwa takes advantage of his opportunity as writer and director to slow down The Mandalorian and deliver some of the quiet, character-building moments I felt the show has been lacking.
Mayfeld becomes an infinitely more compelling character than he was last season, and Bill Burr surprises with a nuanced performance that ranks among the best on the series so far. He and Din Djarin infiltrate an Imperial base on a remote planet as the rest of the crew, including Cara Dune, Fennec Shand, and Boba Fett play their relatively small parts in the caper. Complications naturally ensue, but the episode turns on the excellent performance by Burr and the consequential influence of Mayfeld on Din Djarin along the way.
There’s little doubt that Din Djarin will get what he wants. The how of it almost doesn’t matter, but where he ends up at the end of this episode is far more interesting than the road he took there. The episode ends with a coup de grace from Din that will send chills down the spine of fans and ambitious Moffs everywhere. Only one episode remains in a season that has seen the show fly faster than light into an intersection with the greater Star Wars story, even as it focuses resolutely on the personal journey of The Mandalorian.
Spoilers from here on out.
Cara Dune remands Mayfeld to her custody on the junky prison planet he’s tearing down TIE Fighters on. Right away he’s conscripted into the plan to get intelligence on Gideon’s ship. They need to access a terminal in an Imperial facility to do it, which will require a facial scan. Mayfeld leaves with Din and Cara aboard Slave I, which makes you not miss the Razor Crest so much (RIP Razor Crest). Like that, the crew is on a jungle planet called Morak and scheming to get inside the Imperial base. There are a lot of Imperial bases in the Outer Rim it seems.
This particular facility is processing something called rhydonium, a volatile starship fuel that is more than just a little bit like coaxium. A little bump makes it go boom and unfortunately for the Imperials, local pirates are harassing their convoys. The only way into the facility? The convoy. This is where the episode really sets itself apart. Though the action is very familiar – the set piece of the pirates inevitably attacking the Imperial cargo transport (a mini-Turbo Tank) recalls several others in the series – the character play is not.
Din Djarin can’t just walk into the facility dressed in Beskar, so he ditches his armor for that of an Imperial pilot. He and Mayfeld drive the transport along the dangerous route to the facility. Along the way, Mayfeld, a former Imperial, starts to open up. He’s clearly uncomfortable with hanging around so many of his former buddies. As he starts talking, he starts chipping away at Din. “Do the rules change?” he asks. “I thought you couldn’t take the helmet off?” Din wears an Imperial helmet now, but it suits him about as much as the situation does.
Empire, New Republic, Mayfeld says. It’s all the same. Like the Mandalorians. Though it’s unspoken, the implication is that there is no difference between the sects of the Mandalorian people, a theme that has slowly been developing in the background this season. The rules Din lives by – The Way – is meaningless in the context of Mandalorians like Bo-Katan and Boba Fett. The rules change as the circumstances warrant, and what was once dogma becomes dispensable when the pressure is sufficient.
Din Djarin is exposed in many ways during the pirate attack. Without his armor, the pirates overwhelm him. He eventually succeeds in preventing them from blowing up the rhydonium on the transport as they have several others, but some of his armor breaks. It’s not just his practical armor that does. Inside the facility, Mayfeld folds at the sight of his former commanding officer, Valin Hess (Richard Brake). He can’t access the terminal. Din Djarin has to do it and to do it, he has to take off his helmet. The war within The Mandalorian comes to a head and The Way loses.
Pedro Pascal gets to breathe for a moment as he gets the location of Moff Gideon’s ship. The scene plays out as Mayfeld’s former officer accosts him. Mayfeld makes up a story about Din being hard of hearing, which leads to the three of them sharing a drink and a toast. The scene turns somber and bitter as Mayfeld remembers the dead Imperial officers and civilians – as many as five to ten thousand of them – that died in the battle of Burnin Konn, which took place during Operation: Cinder. He obviously suffers from PTSD, flinching at the thought of it and his former commander’s glee that someday soon, that battle will pale in comparison.
Bill Burr is fantastic in this scene. He erupts with quiet anger, shooting his commander and then other troopers in the mess hall (which, why is such a critical access terminal in the mess hall?). He and Din Djarin escape out a window, under cover of snipers Fennec and Cara. Lots of troopers eat it as Boba swoops down in the Slave I and extracts the team. Mayfeld blows the rhydonium on the docks as a parting gift and for his trouble, gets a pardon of sorts from Cara Dune. I expected him to stay with the crew, but he goes off to a new life. Maybe he’ll return down the road.
The episode ends with Moff Gideon aboard his cruiser. He receives a holographic message – a warning, really – from Din Djarin. In a reversal from their same conversation in the penultimate episode of season one, The Mandalorian quotes the Imperial verbatim. “You may think you know what you have. He means more to me than you will ever know.” The battle is on and Moff Gideon isn’t smiling anymore. This is a great episode that doesn’t necessarily ramp up the stakes but delivers on the character and themes the season has been building.
The theme of identity, and whether a person is more secure in their faith than in themselves comes up in unique ways in this episode. Mayfeld’s former commander says of the fledgling New Republic, “Everybody thinks they want freedom. But what they really want is order.” The same could be said of Din Djarin, at least before he met Grogu. He blindly followed the Mandalorian way, so far as he understood it. But now he understands there is another way, which lies with the child that means so much to him.
- That scream you heard at 2 AM CST was every lifelong Star Wars action figure collector when they saw that Boba Fett had spruced up his armor. It now resembles the classic Kenner action figure colors.
- Operation: Cinder was a scorched-earth campaign carried out by the Empire, at the posthumous direction of Emperor Palpatine, to destroy worlds across the galaxy. This has been referenced in video games like Battlefront II and books and comics as well.
- The opening scene in the junkyard, where Mayfeld breaks down TIE Fighters for scrap, originates with concept art from The Force Awakens.
- Mayfeld and Din Djarin put on the outfits of the convoy Imperials, a cross between the Imperial Tank Driver from Rogue One and the Mudtrooper from Solo: A Star Wars Story.
- The industrial-type walker from Chapter 11 makes a return appearance here in the prison scrap yard.
- Shoretroopers from Rogue One number among the Imperials at the facility.
- Rhydonium is referenced several times in the Clone Wars animated series.
- Slave I drops a seismic charge on some TIE Fighters, just as Jango Fett did Obi-Wan Kenobi in Attack of the Clones.
Let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments below!
Darby Harn is a contributor for Screenrant, CBR.com, Star Wars News Net, and Movie News Net. He is the author of the sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, and other venues.