One of the fundamental components of what makes Star Wars… well, Star Wars, is its Jedi mythology, the lightsabers, the whole Force component. This is what many people want to see in a Star Wars property. Yet, in late 2018 when Jon Favreau revealed the first details on The Mandalorian, this facet of the Star Wars universe wasn’t alluded to at all, focusing more on how the show would “follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic”.
However, when the series finally premiered it didn’t take long before unveiling how the Force would actually take center stage in the story they would be telling. After that Chapter 2 reveal, it took another six episodes for the Jedi to be mentioned by name by The Armorer, making their presence in the show was all but assured by having Din Djarin’s search for them a central part of the plot. Chapter 11 brought Din almost within striking distance of his goal when Bo-Katan disclosed the location of Ahsoka Tano, finally setting the stage for a reunion that a year ago no one knew they wanted but that now everyone seems to need.
As we’ve written before, The Mandalorian isn’t about instant gratification and Djarin’s journey would get sidetracked one more time, delaying that Ahsoka Tano live-action debut for one more week. But as the show has proven to us time and time again, there’s always something deeply relevant to the plot hiding in plain sight in these apparent sidequests Djarin and The Child find themselves in every other week. Speaking of this season alone, Chapter 10 “The Passenger” also seemed a bit unnecessary, but that was until we realize that it was that episode that, in the end, made the Razor Crest have to go back to Nevarro for repair work, thus setting the stage for Chapter 12. And it was in this last episode that, even though we didn’t see Din getting any closer to his end goal, we got what is sure to be regarded as one of the most plot-heavy episodes of the entire series when it’s all said and done, adding to the overarching storyline that few have done before. And ironically, the Force was a huge part of that. Again, we got what we needed, even though we didn’t even know we wanted it in the first place.
By veering away from the main storyline, by not immediately giving us the elements Star Wars is mostly known for, by delaying an appearance by the Jedi that will bring together (at least) two force-sensitive characters, by giving us what is easy to refer to as a simple “filler episode”, the future of the series became all the more clear, the stakes in the inevitable clash between characters were enhanced and the following episode, probably the most anticipated chapter yet, is now seemingly even more crucial as the show seems to be getting into its stride, with a more clear endgame. The tables are now most definitively set, the chess pieces are in place, and the second half of the season promises to become more than we expected, more than we wanted, but perhaps just what Star Wars needed.