“The Mandalorian Chapter 9: The Marshal” Recap
At long last, Baby Yoda is back in our lives.
Thanks to the return of Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” everyone’s favorite green infant is once again gracing our screens, and so is the most badass character in the “Star Wars” universe. There, I said it. Argue if you want, but there’s no point – Pedro Pascal’s Din Djarin, aka Mando, has proven himself an unstoppable force, and the Season 2 premiere only further enforced that message.
The 54-minute episode picked up right where Season 1 left off – both in story and quality. The Mandalorian is still on his quest to unite the Child with his own species, and throughout the hour, the episode perfectly blends the classic Western-style tone of last season and the Original Trilogy, while still embracing the epic scale and look of more recent “Star Wars” installments. Plus, the episode is filled with tons of easter eggs and nods to previous films and shows, and a major reveal.
After nearly a year of waiting, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, so let’s break down “Chapter 9: The Marshal.”
The Cold (Body) Open
After a brief recap of Season 1, things get started with Mando and Baby Yoda as they make their way through a dark and desolate cityscape. This is footage we’ve previously seen in the trailers, as the duo arrive at a fighting arena to meet with an Abyssan known as Gor Koresh, played surprisingly by John Leguizamo.
Mando is seeking advice on where to find other Mandalorian’s to help him on his quest, but a slimy underworld boss like Koresh isn’t going to give up his information easily. Koresh wants Mando to wager his Beskar armor in exchange for the details, but that’s a no-no for Mandalorians. As previously seen in the trailer, Koresh and Co. draw their weapons on Mando, which we all know to be a fatal mistake.
Mando makes quick work of the would-be assassins, but Koresh makes a dash for the door. Unlucky for him, he’s not the quickest gangster in the galaxy, so it doesn’t take long for the Mandalorian to lasso him down and string him up on a light post. Dangling in front of the bounty hunter, Koresh comes clean – there’s another Mandalorian on Tatooine. More specifically, he’s in Mos Pelgo. With this information now in hand, Mando reminds him that cutting him down from the post was not part of the deal, as he sets off on his way and vicious, red-eyed creatures close in on the mobster.
The Return to Tatooine
Mando and the Child set their course for Tatooine and reunite with a familiar face: Amy Sedaris’s Peli Motto, the mechanic who assisted the duo back in Season 1. Motto makes a few jokes about wanting to buy Baby Yoda from Mando – because let’s be real, who doesn’t want that – before eventually informing them about the history of Mos Pelgo. The old mining settlement was wiped out by bandits following the fall of the Empire, and nowadays it doesn’t even show up on maps.
That’s not enough to deter Mando, though, and he and the Child set off across the dunes on Motto’s speeder bike. We’re treated to sweeping views of the Tatooine desert as the two travel across the sand, and along the way, they stop for a quick meal with the notoriously savage Tusken Raiders. Mando knows the importance of alliances, and this simple gesture will end up helping out big time.
“The Marshal” really leans into the wild west vibes as Mando rolls into Mos Pelgo on his speeder, cruising down the main strip of the desolate town as people look on from their front porches. Ludwig Göranson’s epic score quiets down and embraces the stringed twangs of old Western soundtracks. Mando parks the bike and strolls into the town’s saloon, and this is truly cowboys in space.
The Mandalorian asks the bartender if there’s anyone around these parts who looks like he does, and at the same time, in walks a man known as the Marshal who happens to don Mandalorian armor. But this isn’t just any armor – it’s Boba Fett’s legendary green gear, although it’s significantly damaged after a trip through the Pit of Carkoon. When the Marshal removes his helmet though, it’s not Temeura Morrison underneath, but instead he’s played by Timothy Olyphant. This is no legendary bounty hunter, just a man named Cobb Vanth.
Meeting the Marshal
Mando demands that this non-Mandalorian give up his gear immediately, and the two are about to draw their weapons to settle it – another nod to a good old fashioned Western quickdraw – but the shootout is interrupted. “The Mandalorian” pulls a page out of the “Dune” playbook as a giant, unseen creature tunnels its way underneath the town’s main street before it surfaces on the outskirts and consumes a massive bantha in one bite. A quick glimpse of the creature reveals something that looks part-worm, part-basilisk from “Harry Potter,” but all terrifying.
Turns out the monster is a krayt dragon, and it’s been terrorizing the villagers for quite some time now. If that sounds a little familiar, it’s because 43 years later we’re finally seeing one in action. Way back in “A New Hope,” C-3PO encounters the skeletal remains of a krayt dragon after crash landing on Tatooine in the film’s opening sequence.
Mando and the Marshal quickly put aside their differences in order to come together and take care of the dragon, with Vanth offering that he’ll release the armor in exchange for the bounty hunter’s help. The two set off to find the dragon’s home, with Mando on his speeder and Vanth riding his own creation. In a delightful nod to the prequels and familiar items on Tatooine, the makeshift speeder turns out to be crafted from one of the engines on Anakin Skywalker’s old podracer from “The Phantom Menace.”
Along the way, Vanth recounts the origins of Mos Pelgo. After the destruction of the second Death Star, the settlement barely had a chance at freedom before a mining occupation came in and took charge. In the attack, Vanth fled with whatever he could grab – which turned out to be valuable silicax crystals. After wandering the desert, Vanth was picked up by a Jawa sandcrawler, and inside he traded the crystals for Fett’s armor. Now disguised as a Mandalorian warrior, the man returned to Mos Pelgo and rescued the town from the invaders, earning his new position as the Marshal.
Remember those Tusken Raiders Mando dined with earlier? Well, I told you that alliance would be helpful. Before long, the men come across a group of sand people, and while Vanth only knows them as savages, Mando is able to help foster an alliance between the tribe and the people of Mos Pelgo. In the end, they all want the same thing: to be free of the krayt dragon.
The sand people reveal that the monster lives in an abandoned sarlaac pit, and in order to keep it from attacking, they offer up banthas to try and satiate its appetite. While the reveal of the full scale of the krayt dragon may be the biggest shock on screen at the moment, it’s clear another shock could be looming on the horizon. An abandoned sarlaac pit… Tatooine… Boba Fett’s armor… this sounds like the perfect storm for the rumored return of one Temeura Morrison.
After witnessing the decimation of another bantha first hand, it’s clear the crew is going to need more than just Mando, Vanth, Baby Yoda and a few sand people to get rid of this monster. So, they all return to Mos Pelgo where the townspeople load up a caravan with all the explosives they have to offer. The hunting party treks back through the desert to the sarlaac pit once more where they plan their attack.
Beneath the sand they bury a trove of bombs with the hope of coaxing the dragon out of its cave and onto the target, where it will then go boom. To me, this seems like an over-complication, considering there’s a bantha right there loaded with explosives and we all know how much the krayt dragon loves chomping on those furry beasts.
Mando thinks so, too, and when the explosion underneath the dragon fails to kill it, everyone must improvise. Vanth and Mando take flight using their jetpacks, but their weapons are no match for the thick outer skin of the creature. So, the Mandalorian lures the monster towards the bantha bomber and the dragon takes the bait – only Mando went down the hatch, too, à la Hercules fighting the Hydra. Luckily, as the dragon breaches the surface one last time Mando uses his jetpack to launch himself to freedom, pulling the trigger in the process and finishing the monster off once and for all.
Peace has been restored to the desert, and as promised, Vanth hands over the Mandalorian armor. While the mission may have been a success, Mando still hasn’t discovered what he was hoping to find. There’s Mandalorian armor here, but no Mandalorian. Or is there?
As Mando and the Child speed across the desert back to their ship, an onlooker watches from the dunes above. As the binary suns set over Tatooine, a grizzled and scarred Boba Fett turns around to face the camera, and the episode ends.
Morrison’s return had been rumored essentially since “The Mandalorian” was first announced, and after a thrilling premiere episode to Season 2, it’s clear this won’t be the last we see of the famed bounty hunter.
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Charlotte, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.