Mandalorian Review: The Heiress

This review contains spoilers for The Mandalorian episode “The Heiress”

Holy crap, “The Heiress.” Where do I even begin with “The Heiress.”

Let’s start with this point:

Bo-Katan Kryze is in this episode. Bo-Freaking-Katan. Played by Katee Sackhoff. Who voiced her in Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. If I had to sum up my feelings in one image:

Wow. This episode was so much wow. So many questions got answered. New problems arose. And we got pointed towards another big character coming into the series. Let’s get into “The Heiress.”

This episode is the results of all of Din’s character work they’ve built over the last two episodes. Cobb Vanth wore Mandalorian armor, but wasn’t one. He embodied the traits of the Mandalorians and was a worthy man to wear the Beskar armor. Boba Fett, who is the clone who used to wear Vanth’s armor, raised the question even more of who is worthy of the armor. Frog Lady, while also being a parental and narrative foil, reminded Din of his honor and strength. Her eggs were the last of her line; the Mandalorians seem to be on their last legs. All of these characters introduced on Din’s season two journey led up to a single moment:

Meeting Bo-Katan Kryze.

If you don’t know who she is, Bo-Katan was introduced in Clone Wars and appeared again in Star Wars Rebels. Alex Damon of Star Wars Explained made a great three-minute history of Bo-Katan back in September explaining her story so far.

Bo’s arrival shatters everything Din knows up to this point in the simple act of removing her helmet and explaining that he was raised by the Children of the Watch. Din’s group is a cult that splintered away from Mandalorian society.

Boy, does that explain so much. The biggest question since season one is why doesn’t Din and his group remove their helmets when we’ve seen in animation that characters like Bo-Katan and Sabine Wren from Rebels do. This confirmation is so smart for so many different reasons.

For one from a storytelling point of view, this allows the writers and creators to explain animation stories to a new audience. Anyone who didn’t watch Clone Wars or Rebels now have Din as the audience point of view character. As new fans are meeting Bo-Katan and her story for the first time, so is Din. Being sheltered away from the rest of Mandalorian society means they can introduce animation concepts to a large audience who haven’t delved deeper into the ancillary material. Cobb Vanth, being from the Aftermath book trilogy, was a small test. Now, the story can really dig deep into other material and link the canon together.

From Din’s character journey, this opens up so many possibilities where he can go. He is going to have to face his past at some point and really look at his upbringing. It’s going to be fascinating if he returns to The Armorer and confront her about hiding knowledge from him. It’s going to be a painful process. He can either double down in his Way or he can learn to let the past go, which is a very Star Wars concept.

There has been so much focus on armor in the show, especially Din’s armor. Just about every episode since Din got his armor in season one, someone has tried to take it for him. To Din, that is what makes a Mandalorian. I think as the series progresses and Din learns of different people in his culture, he’s going to realize that the armor isn’t his identity. It’s still important. We know that Beskar is tied in with Mandalorian culture. But it’s not what makes them who they are. I think we’re going to see his armor get striped away piece by piece until he is just a man like we see in the Boba Fett tease.

Because let’s be honest here. If Boba Fett wanted his armor back from Cobb Vanth, he probably could have taken it at some point in the last five years of the timeline.

Which leads us to Ahsoka Tano. Who better to help guide Din than the woman who left the Jedi Order, a cult in it’s own way. The Jedi had lost who they were in the Clone Wars. They led to their own downfall. Palpatine created a war to amplify all of their flaws that were already there. Ahsoka saw those flaws. She was hurt and betrayed by them. And she left to find her own path.

Din is about to walk many paths with many possible outcomes. He’s confronting if everything he’s ever known is wrong. Ahsoka has already lived that story. She might not be a Jedi anymore, but she understands the Force in ways that few do. She’s lived as a middle walker, not Jedi or Sith and in the in-between, for so long. She is exactly what Din and Baby Yoda need at this moment.

I’m very nervous about Ahsoka Tano coming into the series. Ahsoka means everything to me. She’s the reason I’m a Star Wars fan. I want her done correctly. While fans and myself tend to code Ahsoka as a woman of color, I do feel they did Ashley Eckstein dirty for not even taking to her about the character she has voiced over a decade. I was hoping they would handle Ahsoka like they did Maul in Solo. They could have an actress of color play her while Ashley voices her. Also, I’m nervous about Rosario Dawson playing her for reasons. Whether or not accusation about her are true, it’s not a good light to shine on a character that’s so important to so many people.

So I’m nervous about Ahsoka in this series. I love her immensely. Story wise, she fits perfectly in the framework they have been building thus far. Now, let’s see if they can execute her well.

And for one last note on Bo-Katan, it’s really cool seeing her in live action. I know already so many people have discussed her in videos and on podcasts. I didn’t want to touch on her too much and focus more on Din in this review. But as a fan of animation, it’s so rewarding to see a character who has been around for almost a decade finally step into live action. Animation is my first love of Star Wars. Moments like these means so much to me.

 

I also want to mention the Empire right fast too. Jon Favreau has confirmed that we’ll explore the beginning of the First Order in the series. Seeing where the Empire is during this transition is an important piece of that story. We know from books and comics that only the fanatics stayed in the Empire after Alderaan was destroyed and Operation: Cinder was activated. In the simplest explanation, Operation: Cinder was Emperor’s Palpatine’s contingency plan in the event of his death, the Empire would lead mass genocides across the galaxy. The contingency ended with Imperials fleeing into the Unknown Regions to eventually turn into the First Order.

We’re seeing that fanatical behavior in this dying fascist regime. The Empire is at a point where it’s all or nothing. The fact that the Captain kills his men and is willing to kamikaze the ship says so much. The Empire doesn’t want any knowledge slipping out. It makes me think the First Order is already underway and growing. Only those high enough in the know are still pretending to play Imperial. I don’t believe that Moff Gideon is an Imperial anymore. I bet he’s already a First Order leader.

 

Here are some random thoughts to round out the episode:

-FROG LADY FINDING FROG HUSBAND IS THE MOST PURE AND EARNED MOMENT OF ALL OF STAR WARS! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! THEIR BABY IS SO PRECIOUS! INJECT THEIR PURE LOVE INTO MY VEINS! IT WILL SUSTAIN ME!

The music was perfect in their reunion scene. The delighted squeals of them finding each other again. The soft moments in their home starting their new family. How they touch hands and hug each other. It was really beautiful and so touching to have that small arc come to an end. I hope this is not the last of the Frog Family.

-Din’s parenting skills are growing. Not only does he stab a little squid and tell his child not to play with his food, he parent snatches that creature at the end out of the air without a moment of hesitation. Those are some parenting instincts right there.

-Where is Korkie Kryze? Bo-Katan specifically says that she’s the last of her line. Then where is her nephew Korkie Kryze from Clone Wars? Honestly, Korkie is probably dead. I would assume he was probably killed in the Great Purge. Or he’s chilling in the Club of Forgotten Clone Wars Characters with Rotta the Hutt, who was Jabba’s son and should be ruling Tatooine after his father’s death. Though, there has always been speculation around Korkie’s parentage. One of the favorite theories is he’s the secret son of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Duchess Satine Kryze, Bo-Katan’s sister. Either way, Bo’s dialogue about being the last of her line raised so many more questions for me about where Korkie might be.

-I wish that Koska Reeves and Axe Woves had a bit more dialogue just to add to their character introductions. But I have no doubt we will see them again to flesh them out more, so it’s the tiniest of gripes. Wanting more out of a character is a good thing. It means you have interesting characters.

-That sassy, sweater wearing Mon Calamari on the docks who is just judging the crap out of Din is my new favorite character. And they fixed Din’s ship with what appears to be nets and probably some kind of space duct tape and bubblegum. But I think that Mon Cala not fixing the ship will lead into the plot. I don’t believe we will see Ahsoka earlier than the cliffhanger of next week’s episode. That’s because Dave Filoni is directing episode five, and Ahsoka is his creation with George Lucas. That leads me to believe that episode four will focus on Din fixing his ship first and get sidetracked on some mission. So thanks, sassy Mon Calamari, for being the probable set up for next week!

-Those Quarren sailors are now public enemy #1 for almost killing Baby Yoda. How dare they. How freaking dare they.

 

There’s so much more I could dive into this episode. I keep catching little things here and there, each could warrant its own discussion piece. Already my friends over at Pink Milk Podcast have discussed in detail the religious undertones of Din’s cult upbringing in relation to our real-world religions. There is so much there to get into.

“The Heiress” is easily my favorite episode of the season so far. Kudos to Bryce Dallas Howard for giving me my two favorite episodes of the show being this and “Sanctuary.” I hope they give her all of the Star Wars projects.

 

Before I end, please check out a fundraiser my friends are doing for the Transgender Law Center. Created by Maggie Lovitt of Your Money Geek along with Candace from The Geeky Waffle podcast and Eric from The Living Force Podcast, it was in response to the transphobic rhetoric being shared by one of The Mandalorian’s main castmates. Not only have they raised over $11,000 on a Go Fund Me account, there is also a Teepublic store with items created by Maggie, Candace, and Bryan from Pink Milk where proceeds go to the Transgender Law Center.

Their goal is to reach $15,000 before the end of season two of The Mandalorian. If you can, please consider donating to their Go Fund Me page or purchasing from the Teepublic store. If you can’t donate, please share the fundraiser with others who can.

Trans Rights are Human Rights. This is the Way.

 

Read my past Mandalorian reviews here!

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2 comments

  1. I really hope that exploring the First Order doesn’t mean they’re going to end this show on a cliffhanger that requires you to watch the sequels (like Rogue One did with A New Hope.) I can’t stand the sequels, so I don’t consume any sequel content, but I really liked Resistance, especially because it stood on its own and the context of the films it spins off from is not required. It explains the politics of the galaxy much better than the movies, and it actually manages to make those politics make sense instead of having it feel like the galaxy’s only gone down the toilet for the sake of gritty, pessimistic realism. The show doesn’t end with the Colossus jumping into hyperspace to fight the battle of Exegol. The beauty of Resistance and the Mandalorian so far is their independence and I hope that remains true to the end.

    I also hope that Din does not abandon The Way. So far, the Watch has not given off cult vibes. But as a member of a religion often mischaracterized as a cult, I’ve found that a lot of people define a cult as a religion that has more rules than theirs does. In reality, it’s not about the number of expectations placed on devotees, but about abusive and controlling paradigms. Until Bo-Katan implied that the Watch was hiding information, there was nothing that should have raised eyebrows. Yes, Din was not allowed to remove his helmet in front of others, as an outward sign of his commitment, but he was still allowed to end that commitment at any time. And Bo-Katan is not exactly a trustworthy or even a good person. However, since Lucasfilm seems reluctant to explore the nuances of her character, I’m afraid her revelation will be taken at face value and Din will realize that the Watch is “oppressive” for having too many rules.

    Fun fact: the actor who plays Axe Woves said in an Instagram post that George Lucas himself gave Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau the name for his character!

    • I absolutely agree that one of the strengths of Resistance was it’s ability to stand on it’s own! It did give some explanation of how the First Order functioned as an organization, but the Sequel Trilogy wasn’t a requirement to view Resistance.
      If I had to guess, I think Mandalorian is probably going to follow along the same pathway as Star Wars Rebels. Rebels can be viewed on it’s own. While it enhanced a lot of the Original Trilogy and added backstory to it, it wasn’t a requirement for the series. If someone had never seen OT, episodes with Leia explain everything the Rebels viewer needs to know about her: she’s the daughter of a senator working the Rebellion.
      I would guess that Mando is going to be roughly like that. It’s going to show the background of the Sequel Trilogy, maybe get a character here or there, but I don’t think the Sequel Trilogy will ever be a requirement to watch Mandalorian.

      As for your other point, this is the exciting thing about media and art. We each interpret things so differently and they effect us differently. I want Din to leave The Way, because I want him to discover his own Way. Whether that’s a blend of what he was raised with and something new, that’s the exciting thing about it. He could go in so many different paths. Every story needs conflict. That is the basic of storytelling. They have to take him somewhere. But he might just end up back where he started and choose the old Way in the end. We won’t know until we get there.
      I always think of something that Sean Maguire from Once Upon A Time said at Dragon Con. He said that if a show is about the characters having a good day, going to IKEA, and then having some dinner, it would be boring and no one would watch it. No one would ever change. Din needs conflict and challenges to grow as a character.

      And I do admit for often comparing religion to cults. I escaped one myself and vowed to not go back to churches. To me and to use your point, it was an abusive, controlling paradigm which led to years of trauma for me. I’m a Christian but I personally don’t believe in the church as an institution. It has brought far too much pain to me and my family. But I would never tell condemn anyone one else for their beliefs and want to go to church. Heck, my aunt is a minister and her congregation loves her. More power to her and more power to you too, my friend.

      And just to point out one point you said: “And Bo-Katan is not exactly a trustworthy or even a good person. However, since Lucasfilm seems reluctant to explore the nuances of her character” I do disagree with this, but again that’s the beauty of art. We can interpret things differently. This was the point of her arc in Clone Wars and Rebels. She started off as a horrible person, realized the error of her ways when Maul took over, then fought to liberate her people in Clone Wars. She put her trust in the Republic which was the power at the time. Sadly, it fell shortly after, something she could not know or predicts, and it harbored in the Empire on Mandalore. We see this is why she’s a reluctant leader in Rebels. She has to be convinced by Sabine to lead because of her past mistakes. Yes, Bo-Katan is a very, VERY grey character. She for sure has her own agenda. But I wouldn’t put her into the villain category at least in the terms of The Mandalorian. Early Clone Wars, she’s for sure a villain. But now, she’s not in that place anymore. We call that growth.

      Thanks for the comment! I appreciate it!

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