Though I’ve had my issues with the second season of The Mandalorian – particularly how each episode seemed to settle into a very formulaic structure early on, as well as feeling very much like a series of video game side quests – I’ve always been impressed with how much it’s felt like classic Star Wars, which even the prequel and sequel movie trilogies struggled with at times.

Though this week’s episode has a similar issue with how much it reverts to formula – and still feels a bit like a side quest, even though the focus is to get our hero his little companion back – after the last few weeks giving us some truly awesome character appearances that felt a lot more organic than just mere fan service for the sake of it, The Believer also adds a bit more colour and depth to a minor character, as well as some interesting commentary on the endless conflict the Star Wars universe seems to be mired in.

With Grogu in the hands of Moff Gideon, the Mandalorian – accompanied by Boba Fett, Fennec Shand and Cara Dune – spring ex-Imperial trooper, mercenary Migs Mayfeld (now there’s some alliteration!) from New Republic custody in the hope of tracking down Gideon’s ship. This takes them to an Imperial facility – where things naturally don’t go smoothly for our motley crew…

There’s a lot of great stuff in this episode. Mayfeld’s musings on how the average citizen in the universe sees no difference between the Empire or the New Republic, or how fighting for a certain side just depends on where you’re born puts an interesting, even relevant spin on what can be an often simplistic goodies vs baddies setting. Though The Mandalorian is a bit greyer than, say, the original trilogy, ultimately it still comes down to our guys mowing down Stormtroopers without a second thought most of the time. There’s a moment here when you’re actually relieved to see TIE Fighters swooping in, as well as one where you’re almost cheering along with the Imperial troops – you see both sides not just because of Mayfeld’s dialogue, but through the events and action of the episode too. Interesting – and unexpected – stuff.

Bill Burr as Mayfeld is great in this episode; he’s given some standout moments, including a very tense scene with an Imperial Officer that is brilliantly written and performed by all concerned. His character really benefits from the reappearance; he’s much more than the cocky asshole he felt like in his season one appearance. By the end of the episode, he’s become an extremely endearing and sympathetic character.

The stage is set for the season finale then – and though this week’s chapter didn’t feel much like a penultimate season episode, everything’s now in place for an epic showdown.

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