After the tragic events of last week’s episode saw the separation of our favorite clan of two, it was only fitting that the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) would come back fighting. And in “Chapter 15: The Believer,” our eponymous bounty hunter showed he was more than willing to put himself—his whole self—on the line for The Child.
The episode opens at the Karthon Chop Fields, where a droid is looking for Inmate 34667, a.k.a. Migs Mayfield (Bill Burr). He’s serving time for his involvement in the mission to rescue prisoner Qin from Bothan-Five, a New Republic Correctional Transport, but Marshall Cara Dune (Gina Carano) has other plans. She takes Mayfield into her custody so he can aid Mando, Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), and Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) in their search for Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), who managed to steal our baby Grogu away in “The Tragedy.”
As a former Imperial officer, Mando is betting on Mayfield remembering all his protocols to gain access to the Imperial terminal and locate Gideon’s coordinates. Hoping he might get something sweet out of the deal, Mayfield suggests they head to the planet Morak, where a secret Imperial mining hub can be found. This Suicide Squad of sorts heads there in Fett’s ship (RIP Razor Crest), and Mayfield is given sharp new garms to wear instead of his prison clothes. Sure was lucky the deadly bounty hunter had a circle scarf onboard to complete Mayfield’s combat look!
Upon landing in the tropical climes of Morak, the gang has to work out who’s going with Mayfield to the refinery, where the Imperial terminal is located. But the security protocols involve genetic signatures that would cause problems for the outlaws and Dune, who’s breaking more than a few rules to save the kid.
Super dad Mando volunteers; as he’s never revealed his face, he’s not on any systems that could recognize him. Though he’s not keen on removing his helmet for the crew, that problem is swiftly solved once they commandeer an Imperial Combat Assault Transport carrying rhydonium, a volatile and explosive substance. Mando steals one of the defeated stormtrooper’s uniforms and a helmet, and he and Mayfield set off to the refinery.
Thus begins the Vietnam War-movie vibes of the episode, with Burr delivering the energy of a disillusioned vet who uses humor to mask the dark despair and post-traumatic stress of what he’s seen in combat. “Invaders in their land is all we are,” he tells Mando before pointing out the inconsistencies of the Mandalorian code: Is it that Mandalorians are not allowed to take off their helmets, or that Mandalorians are not meant to show their face? Fair point.
“I’m a realist, I’m a survivor just like you,” Mayfield continues. “Your rules change the more desperate you get. Everyone has the lines they don’t cross until it gets messy.”
This existential conversation is short-lived, as alien pirates soon try to blow up the transport. Mando engages in an impressive show of combat zeal without the protection of his Beskar armor, and after some ass-kicking and blasting, he kills the attackers and secures their safe arrival at the refinery. As the only Transport to return intact, the pair are cheered. “Glory of the empire,” the stormtroopers shout, which is certainly a new one for Mando. Still, they don’t have time to waste, and head to the mess hall so Mayfield can access the Imperial terminal.
Alas, yet another obstacle: Mayfield spots his former commander Valin Hess (Richard Brake) and refuses to go in. Mando, of course, is not aborting the mission. “I’ll lose the kid forever,” he says, a reminder of exactly what’s at stake. So Mando goes in and couldn’t look more suspicious, but hey, the guy’s knackered after single-handedly taking out five gangs of pirates.
Hess is keeping a beady eye on him, so when the terminal starts bleeping because the bounty hunter’s helmet is preventing the facial image from rendering, Hess’s attention is rapt. But just as the security protocol really makes a noise, Mando does it. He takes his off his helmet and reveals the most beautiful dad in the Star Wars universe.
Nice to see you, Djin Djardin.
Mando gets the coordinates, but Hess is on his feet and in the interrogating mood. Luckily, Mayfield finally puts on his big-boy boots and jumps to the bounty hunter’s side to cover. He pretends Mando, now fondly known as Brown Eyes, isn’t altogether there because of an accident. This convinces Hess, and after confirming the two were the same Transport Officers to survive the pirates, Hess demands they get a celebratory drink together.
Here’s where it gets dark and Mayfield’s witty facade falters. Faced with his former commanding officer toasting the Empire, Mayfield reminds him of Operation: Cinder on Burnin Konn. Hess had given the order to destroy the entire city, including a division of five to ten thousand men who left behind families and loved ones. Hess is dismissive about the loss of life, and a frustrated Mayfield asks if it was necessary to kill his fellow soldiers and civilians—people fighting for their freedom. Hess laughs and says, “we’ve outlasted them,” before excitedly sharing his plans to wreak even more havoc on the New Republic with the rhydonium: He’s sure it’ll cause the people to pine for Imperial control once more. “Everybody thinks they want freedom but what they really want is order,” Hess says.
Mayfield’s resolve fails and he shoots his former commander in the chest. Alerting the rest of the Imperial forces to their subterfuge, he and Mando have to make an escape out of high windows overlooking a steep drop. Fennec and Cara have their backs with some sharp shooting, while Boba pulls up in Slave I to pick them up. Looking back on the refinery, Mayfield proves his worth, taking aim at some rhydonium and blowing the entire facility up.
This cathartic moment for the former soldier of the Empire impresses Marshal Dune. When the team reunites, she suggests Inmate 34667 died in the explosion, and Mayfield heads off to freedom, circle scarf and all. Then we have the most epic, heart-squeezing moment of all, as Moff Gideon receives a message from our Mandalorian, helmet-wearing hero: “Moff Gideon, you have something I want,” he declares, quoting bacl the antagonist’s words from “Chapter 7: The Reckoning.” “You may think you have some idea of what you’re in possession of, but you do not. Soon, he will be back with me. He means more to me than you will ever know.”
It’s clear Mando is the titular Believer, putting aside the Mandalorian traditions he inherited in favor of the beliefs he’s acquired since meeting our lil’ green friend. Grogu has taught Djin Djardin a new way, with a code of principles that recognizes one cannot simply ignore the battle between good and evil. Mayfield comes to this conclusion too, hence why he goes AWOL from the Empire. Both prove that sometimes, beliefs have to change to save lives and loved ones. The increasingly powerful bond between the Mandalorian, the Child, and the clan of misfits who’ve supported them along the way is something we can all believe in. This is the Way.
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