To move against the Empire, the Mandalorian needs the help of an old enemy.
After teaming up with Fennec Shand and Boba Fett in the previous episode, "Chapter 15 - The Believer" finally saw the new team, alongside Cara Dune, tracking down the location of Migs Mayfeld. With the former Imperial trooper now on their side, Mando and co. found themselves going to Morak to acquire the location of Moff Gideon.
While the plot itself was simple enough, another heist-esque storyline that director Rick Famuyiwa also employed in "The Prisoner," the episode provided some exciting action sequences as Mando and Mayfeld tried to make it into the Empire's base safely.
"The Believer" was the culmination of Din Djarin's personal journey throughout the second season, that being how he has grappled with his belief systems and what he is willing to sacrifice of himself for others. The biggest point of contention was how Mando refuses to remove his helmet, a hypocrisy pointed out by Mayfeld himself by noting the inconsistencies in Din's code.
Ultimately, the Mandalorian decided that he was prepared to reject his own traditions, which led to the surprising reveal of him choosing to remove the helmet, a feat not seen since the Season 1 finale. Clearly, Mando will do anything if it means the safety of little Grogu.
The episode ended with Mayfeld being set free, now able to cause mayhem across the galaxy as he pleases. Boba Fett and Fennec Shand are still keen to work alongside Mando, so it will be exciting to see their continued help in the Season 2 finale. Overall, while relatively simple, "The Believer" provided a thrilling, tense action-filled episode filled with expertly executed character development. - Tom Drew
Bill Burr is back as the wise-cracking scoundrel Migs Mayfeld, who had no issue with pushing Din Djarin's buttons. Burr managed to infuse a lot of humor and charisma into his digs at Mando, making for a great dynamic between the two. Upon arriving at the Empire's base, the duo encountered an Imperial officer that dragged up bad memories for Mayfeld. While serving under the Empire, many of Mayfeld's friends were killed in action. This backstory was very welcome, making Mayfeld a much more well-rounded and compelling character compared to his initial Season 1 appearance.
Pedro Pascal has been delivering excellent performance week-to-week from underneath the helmet, but really proved his capabilities once his headgear was taken off. Upon the removal of his helmet, Din Djarin's cool exterior is completely gone. Left completely defenseless, Din is visibly shaken by his inability to use his helmet as a safety net.
Mando's reliance on his helmet is more than just his faith and culture; the helmet represents a sense of protection for the Mandalorian, both physically and mentally. Given this, it appears that it will be a long time before Mando feels comfortable leaving his helmet off. Pascal deserves major praise for his performance in "The Believer," managing to show a side of the show's main character that fans were previously not privy to. - Tom Drew
PRODUCTION - CINEMATOGRAPHY, MUSIC, EDITING, ETC.
It has been reiterated every week, but Ludwig Goransson's music is nothing short of impeccable. Perfectly fitting every scene that it appears in, the score serves to compliment the gripping action as well as the quieter moments. Goransson's tunes took a life of their own as the pair escaped the Empire's clutches, making the peril feel just as grandiose as a mainline Star Wars feature film. If the past 15 episodes are anything to go by, the music in the Season 2 finale should be phenomenal.
The action was another highlight for "The Believer," creating a lot of tension by positioning the majority of the sequence along the top of the Juggernaut. Rick Famuyiwa has proven to be capable in directing action in unique spaces, shown through his work on "Chapter 2." Famuyiwa has taken what he learned from his prior episodes and cranked it up to eleven, making his setpieces feel punchy and satisfying.
The Mandalorian pioneers with its groundbreaking visuals for television, which continues in "Chapter 15." The lush, green environments of Morak are truly endless, making it difficult to perceive where the Volume starts and ends. Props and set dressing are integrated seamlessly into the scene, with the galaxy's immersiveness feeling just as fresh as it did in 1977. The additional CGI was used to great effect as well, particularly with the limited use of the Slave I in the episode. Much like the returning seismic charge, the visual effects of "The Believer" were explosive to say the least. - Tom Drew
A LARGER WORLD
"Chapter 15" set out to show off even more of the inner workings of the Empire following the events of Return of the Jedi, and it did not disappoint on that front.
"The Believer" saw the return of the Imperial HCVw A9 turbo tank, referred to as the Juggernaut in the episode. The vehicle is a successor to the HAVw A6 Juggernaut, or the Clone Turbo Tank as it is colloquially called, which was used during the Clone Wars.
A familiar Stormtrooper variant was featured in the episode, those being the tan-colored Shoretroopers from Rogue One . The captain version of the Shoretrooper was also seen briefly, which features blue accents on the armor. A new Stormtrooper was also introduced, that being the gray-armored Juggernaut Pilot.
A Star Wars trope was reused for "The Believer," that being the use of enemy, particularly Stormtrooper, disguises to infiltrate locations. Originally used in A New Hope , "Chapter 15" saw Migs Mayfeld and Din Djarin reveling in Star Wars tradition by suiting up as Juggernaut Pilots.
Richard Brake's Valin Hess made a sly reference to the sequel trilogy's First Order, stating that all civilians "really want is order."
Morak is an entirely new planet in the Star Wars universe, expanding the galaxy even further than before. On the planet was the transport of Rhydonium, a volatile fuel for starships that was first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars . Why the Empire would have wanted large quantities of the fuel is unknown, but it may have been to support a rebuilding of their Imperial fleet.
The seismic charges used by Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones make a return in the episode, used to destroy pursuing TIE Fighters.
Din Djarin's impassioned speech to Moff Gideon at the end of the episode is a direct callback to one that the villain made in "Chapter 7 - The Reckoning." In Season 1, Moff Gideon said:
"You have something I want. You may think you have some idea what you are in possession of. But you do not. And in a few moments, it will be mine. It means more to me than you will ever know."
In "Chapter 15," Din Djarin said:
"Moff Gideon. You have something I want. You may think you have some idea of what you are in possession of, but you do not. Soon, he will be back with me. He means more to me than you will ever know."
The biggest connection to the wider Star Wars universe was, arguably, the mention of Operation: Cinder from Star Wars: Battlefront II . The plan was a contingency set by Emperor Palpatine, that involved the dissolving of the Empire should it ever outlive him. One of the worlds that was targeted was Burnin Konn, where Migs was deployed during his time with the Empire. This planet was first seen in the mobile game Star Wars: Uprising , another video game deep cut.
The Empire seems to be attempting to restore their forces though, going against the Emperor's wishes. Perhaps Moff Gideon has served as a beacon of hope for the villianous organization, as someone they can rally behind during these trying times. - Tom Drew
While it could be argued that "Chapter 15" was somewhat of a filler episode, the character development that it brought was crucial to the overall narrative of The Mandalorian Season 2. Din Djarin's beliefs have been questioned, challenged, and opposed at every corner during this season, and he is finally in a position to look introspectively himself. "The Believer" goes to show how far Mando has come since his introduction, truly showing compassion for others and a willingness to change.
With Fennec Shand, Cara Dune, and Boba Fett still on board, Mando has quite the crew to face off against Moff Gideon. Boba Fett's armor is even squeaky clean now, so it is clear that he is prepared to give it his all to aid Mando in retrieving Baby Yoda. All in all, "Chapter 15 - The Believer" has set the stage for The Mandalorian Season 2 finale to be one to remember. - Tom Drew