This week in what was technically a new episode of the series called The Book of Boba Fett, a familiar face resurfaced to catch us up on an old friend.
Indeed, Episode 5 (of 7), “The Return of the Mandalorian,” was 97 percent about… the return of the Mandalorian aka Din Djarin (played or at least voiced by Pedro Pascal). We pick up with him pursuing a bounty, a Klatooinian gangster named Kaba Baiz, in the back of a meat packing plant. Baiz’s goons put up a fight, and Mando mostly successfully fends them off using a combination of moves and weapons — including the Darksaber that he still wields. After besting the three, Mando hears Baiz out no further and instead hurls his bounty onto the desk where he sat, and slices him (and the desk) in half with his saber. He then invites the gang of plant workers outside to partake in their boss’ credits, if they let him pass through.
Mando arrives at what the audio description calls a “ring world” space station, toting Baiz’s severed head and hobbling badly due to a large gash on his leg, accidentally self-inflicted by the Darksaber. Delivering the head to the blue-skinned, Huttese-speaking alien who issued the bounty, Mando has little interest in his reward and even less interest in sitting down for a meal. All he wants are directions to the nearest access shaft to the substrata. Acquiring them, he descends into some lower levels and uses his visor to discern hidden symbols that point the way to a nondescript doorway, which leads him to the new covert that the Armorer now calls home. A fellow Mandalorian, Paz Vizsla (voiced again by Star Wars TV franchise boss Jon Favreau), tends to his wound as the Armorer processes the news that Mando is now in possession of the Darksaber, which by Creed must be won in battle if it is to be used to lead Mandalore — else it will be a “curse” to their nation, and lead to it being laid to waste. (As she later explains, the Darksaber had once been gifted to Bo Katan, after which her house lost their way and her rule ended “in tragedy.”)
The Armorer also takes notice of Mando’s Beskar spear, saying that the mighty metal is to be used for armor, not weapons. As such, he invites her to forge it into armor… for a foundling… a “specific” foundling. Grogu. He explains that he has returned the child to its kind, but intends to check in on it — though the Armorer reminds him that Jedi must forego “all attachment” while mastering the ways of the Force. Still, she fashions for Mando what we will presume is some pint-sized chainmail, which she wraps in a cloth sack, knotted with what looks like Grogu ears.
The Armorer and Mando engage in a Darksaber training sequence, in which she explains that the weapon “feels heavier with every swing,” as Mando grumbles, because he is fighting the blade. Observing the sparring session, Paz Vizsla suggests (as we kinda sensed he would) that perhaps someone else should wield the Darksaber — him. A trial by combat ensues, and Vizsla more than holds his own, even wresting the Darksaber from Mando early on. Mando, though, emerges with the upper hand and puts a blade to Vizsla’s throat, at which point the Armorer ends the fight. She then asks each man if they have ever removed their helmet and shown their face, as their Creed forbids. Vizsla says he never has, while Mando… well, has. As such, the Armorer declares, “you are a Mandalorian no more.” Mando asks how he might atone, but the only way is via the waters beneath the mines of Mandalore… which are long destroyed. So he is sent on his way, Darksaber in hand.
Mando books passage on a Starliner to Tatooine (after surrendering all his many weapons to an aggressive TSA droid). Once on Tatooine, he makes a beeline for Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris), saving the mechanic from a womp rat upon his arrival. He seeks a replacement for his Razor Crest (which got blown to smithereens by Moff Gideon’s forces in The Mandalorian 2×06), and Peli dramatically pulls the tarp off of… an N-1 Starfighter (aka Naboo starfighter) that needs a lot of work. (“She doesn’t look like much, but….”) Mando is quick to rebuff the offered beater, but the more Peli talks up its potential for off-the-radar speed and upgrades she will throw in, he grows curious, and gets to helping her and the pit droids give it a major tune-up. A long… long… makeover sequence follows, in which panels are hammered and attached, hard-to-get pieces are procured (including from the wreckage of the Pykes’ spice-running train), and we learn that Peli once dated a Jawa (“They’re furry, very furry”).
Once their work is done, Mando somewhat hesitantly takes the N-1 for a spin, testing its “Dank Farrik!”-worthy speed and impressively nimble handling. He then hits the skies, where he passes a Starliner (and catches the eye of the same Rodian tyke he met on the flight in). Alas, Mando cruised past the commercial ship too fast, and thus gets “pulled over” by a pair of New Republic X-wings. His mismatched engine model and power drive, coupled with lack of title tags, raise red flags, but one of the pilots — Carson Teva (once again played by Kim’s Convenience‘s Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), who recognizes Mando’s voice — decides to let him go with just a warning.
Returning to Peli Motto’s shop, Mando has nothing but raves about his new ride. Peli informs him that an “old friend” of Mando’s came looking for him. Peli of course claimed she did not know where he was, and quickly switched on the hanger security system — for naught, though, as Fennec Shand announces herself from a rooftop, then easily hops down to greet Mando. She asks if he is looking for work, because she is looking for some muscle. She tosses him a buncha credits, but when Mando realizes that it is Boba Fett who needs the assist, he gives the sack back, saying: “Tell him it’s on the house. But first, I’ve got to pay a visit to a little friend.”
What did you think of Mando’s return for Boba Fett Episode 5? And who cannot wait to one day see a badass Baby Yoda rocking some Beskar chainmail?