Project Stardust has decided to come together and do a weekly roundtable among Anna, Lauren and Meaghan. Every week we are going to talk about things we liked about each episode, and a question we have. These discussions will have spoilers, so read on if you are all caught up!
Things We Loved
Meaghan: Mayfeld really surprised me this episode! I loved to hate him before, so I was looking forward to what he was going to bring this episode and the banter it would generate. I absolutely did not expect a redemption arc like this! I was settling in for an episode of Space Boston snark and was just going to enjoy whatever hijinks they were going to throw at me. I definitely did not expect it all to turn into something this moving. Mayfeld’s questions and prodding of Din in the transport seemed like him just being an ass at the time, but in learning about his Imperial past it really seems like he’s trying to get Din to question WHY he lives by the creed he lives by, and why he just accepts everything he was told growing up. When they got into the Imperial stronghold and Mayfeld saw his old commanding officer I became VERY intrigued, as that was definitely fear in his eyes, and that was not something I expected from Mayfeld at all. I love the Operation Cinder shoutout because I really enjoy when the movies and tv shows link into the books and other ancillary materials. The drinks with Valin Hess had big Inglorious Basterds vibes and I loved every second of it. Mayfeld facing and killing the man who had him scared out of his wits moments before was so nice to watch. I also really loved that Mayfeld mysteriously went blind the entire time Din had his helmet off, so he never saw his face. Very considerate. I kind of hope we see Mayfeld again at some point, but him getting to start fresh is actually great, so I would also be fine if this is the last we see of him.
Anna: I love Mayfeld. He’s the epitome of what I would call Star Wars: Boston edition—a gruff, tough wise ass, with a heart of semi-tarnished gold. I very much enjoy how good he is at getting under Din’s skin, or helmet, as the case may be. The way he questioned Din was just fantastic. It was like watching a master class on forcing a person to question the basis of their faith and values. Honestly, it reminded me of conversations and discussions with my father (a New Yorker). Mayfeld’s reaction to his former supervisor, and to being back among Imperials was so UNCOMFORTABLE. It was clear that he did not want to be anywhere near them, making the confrontation with his former commander that much more tense. I agree with Meaghan’s assessment of Inglorious Basterds vibes. I was so pleased that he told Din he had gone temporarily blind, and therefore never saw his face. It gave me the feels. ALL OF THEM. On the subject of the title, The Believer, I feel like it applies to both Mayfeld and Din. The former used to believe in The Empire, while the latter is questioning his belief in the strict tenets of The Creed held by The Children of The Watch. Mayfeld was really the push Din needed.
Lauren: I was honestly expecting to not like this episode so much. Mayfeld seemed like such a random character to bring back. Little did I know this would be the most intellectually stimulating episode of the season, and that Mayfeld would be a huge part of that. The conversation he has with Valin Hess which revealed the way the Empire treats their people as if they are expendable was riveting. It peeled back the layers of who I thought Mayfeld was, and now I almost want to say he’s one of my favorite characters that has come out of The Mandalorian.
Din’s Character Growth
Lauren: In storytelling, it’s important that your main character does not stay the same person they were when the story first began until the end. I feel like this episode moved the dial in a big way for Din. Watching the way his love for Grogu is transforming him is really doing something for me. When we first meet Din, he’s so reserved and set in The Creed, and now he’s ready to sacrifice everything he thought was important to save his foundling. I wonder how much of that is also about the other relationships he has made along the way. Perhaps he is truly beginning to see that there is a different Way. The crisis of faith he seems to be going through at this point is so interesting to me.
Anna: Din from a season ago would FREAK OUT about Din now. I am so pleased that his interactions with Bo-Katan and Boba (and Mayfeld) have made him question the strictures placed upon him as a Child of the Watch. He can be a Mandalorian, he can be a Hunter, and most importantly, he can shepherd Grogu. I think he can help Grogu down the right path, help him learn to be a Force user and (brace for Anna’s crazy hopes!) eventually unite and lead the Mandalorians. I feel like Din has taken the first steps into a larger world, to borrow a phrase from Obi-Wan. Side note: Pedro Pascal’s movements without the helmet on were so on point for someone who has been wearing a helmet for decades. Also, I really want to see what happens when he sees The Armorer again, because I feel like that has to happen.
Meaghan: The character growth we’re getting this season is outstanding. Din has lived his whole life never taking his helmet off in front of other living beings, and yet to save Grogu he lets an entire lounge full of Imperials see his face. He’s also an absolute awkward mess without his helmet and that was super endearing. It really feels like everything Bo-Katan and Mayfeld have said to him about the helmet rule, as well as seeing Boba freely show his face, is making Din question how he’s lived his life until now. It’s also a really good illustration of the lengths he’s willing to go to save the people he loves. If Grogu didn’t mean the world to him he probably wouldn’t go against everything he believes in to save him. Looking forward to more of this kind of character development. As an aside, I also want to give Pedro a big shoutout for his acting in this episode. He made Din perfectly awkward without the helmet, and the mannerisms he kept up of someone who is not used to moving without a helmet, showing us how that would affect their range of motion, were stellar.
That Message to Moff Gideon
Lauren: Din using Moff Gideon’s own words against him at the end was perfect. You could see how shaken the Moff was that Din was able to track him down and is now coming for him. There has to be something inside him that knows this could be the end of whatever mission they are on. Love this bit of impactful acting from Giancarlo Esposito. Looking forward to seeing more of him in the final episode.
Anna: Holy. Crap. I love Din throwing Moff Gideon’s words back at him. I was LIVING FOR IT.
Meaghan: Din throwing Gideon’s own words right back in his face gave me life! And Gideon was looking completely shook! I can’t wait for this showdown!! I’m so stoked for the finale.
We Have Questions…so many questions
Anna: There’s so much. Will Din save Grogu this week, or are we going to have to wait for season 3? Will Din enlist the help of Bo-Katan (and her merry band of Mandalorians)? What will happen when Din inevitably meets up with more Children of The Watch and The Armorer? I can’t wait, but I definitely am not looking forward to waiting a year for more Mando.
Meaghan: What is going to happen in the finale?? Are we going to get the big showdown with Gideon? Is it going to leave us hanging on a massive cliffhanger? Is Grogu okay? Is somebody going to die? Is anyone else going to join Din’s posse? Will we see Bo-Katan again this season? Who is going to be the director?? There seem to be too many threads that need to be tied up for one episode to do it all, so I’m genuinely wondering if anything is going to be resolved or if we’re going to end this season with a massive setup for next season, rather than wrapping up this arc by defeating Gideon and getting Grogu back. I’m preparing myself for being stressed by this finale. I probably need to make sure I don’t have anything near me that can be thrown at my tv.
Lauren: Soooooo…were we going to find out any more about Children of The Watch? Is that maybe a story line for next season? The reason I ask is because I wonder if it’s a blood in, blood out situation since they are pretty much a cult. How does Din’s recent decision to prioritize Grogu over the Creed affect his membership? What will be the cost? MY GOODNESS THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD!
There you have it! Join us next week for our roundtable for the *sob* season finale!
* Note from the roundtable crew: We write these separately, and then Anna puts them together. While they are usually similar, this is the first time we have had the exact same three things in the exact same order.