Our story opens with the retrieval of a prisoner (Migs Mayfeld) by the team of Mando, Boba, Fennac, and Dune.

The team retrieves Migs Mayfeld

We get a couple of Easter Eggs in the opening scene with the prisoner ship and the security droid which were first seen in episode S1E6 – The Prisoner. This is also were we are first introduced to Mayfeld (played by comedian Bill Burr). We now know the fate of Migs from the when Din leaves him on the transport to be arrested. Mayfeld has special knowledge (how to locate Moff Gideon’s cruiser) and is the only source available to the team. This is another classic western trope, as well as a common feature in action movies. Grudgingly bringing in a former antagonist to help against his will with only the promise of his return to incarceration. The trope usually ends with the prisoner redeeming himself in the eyes of the hero and the team faking his death so he can start a new life as a redeemed soul.

The biggest egg in the opening is, of course, Boba Fett’s repainted armor. Why he never did this before in the movies, we’ll probably never know. For now it gives us our first clean look at the armor to combine with the treat from last week about the armor’s abilities. The dent is still in his helmet, indicating that this is either something he can’t, or won’t take out. The restored mythosaur and Jaster Morel image. The Jaster sigil probably relates to the “Mentor Jaster” in the chain code, also from last week.

Boba Fett's repaint

Next we find the team going to a hidden enemy base with the goal of infiltration. This is more commonly seen in war movies and spy thrillers versus the western motifs we have been treated to thus far. Of course complications arise and the team is forced into a change of plans. With Boba Fett flying the rescue and Dune and Farrac unable to get passed security, Din is forced to make a small exception to his duty to the creed because of their distrust of Mayfeld. This leads to a Mando making his exception to his helmet wearing willingly and quickly, further reinforcing his connection as a father figure to Grogu. It is an example of the little white lies we tell ourselves to get at a perceived greater good. Migs is more than happy to point this out when he and Din are alone as the soon as Mando makes his compromise a little bit into the mission. Mayfeld’s very practical assessment of wearing someone else’s armor, especially on a humid jungle planet, is refreshing real.

Mayfeld and Mando talk in the transport

As they proceed in the now captured transport towards the base, passing through a local village, we get a philosophical discussion (mostly one sided) between Mayfeld and Djarin. Mayfeld reflects on how the galactic conflicts are perceived by the average person and how whomever is in charge rarely impacts their lives for the better. This is our first insight into the evolution of Migs Mayfeld that will lead to his redemption. The look from the little boy reflects the point that Mayfeld is making about the people not really caring about the greater galaxy while their own lives are subject to the whims of the local leaders (whatever their greater allegiance may be). This also harkens back to Chapter 13 – The Jedi where we see the locals afflicted with the same type of oppression. It is not until a Jedi (outside of politics) intervenes that they are saved. Mayfeld’s line of “we’re all the same” and “whatever lets you sleep at night” regardless of code or creed is a setup for later.

Suddenly our first battle starts with pirates. We return back to our western motifs now with a classic fight atop a train and ambush of the stagecoach fight. We are treated to some nice aspects with both Mando’s imperial pistol and armor failing. Also the limitations on the cargo, rhydonium (its explosive nature revealed in Rebels), limit their options for escape prolonging the fight. Just when it seems like defeat is inevitable, the imperials rush in in with air and ground support to save the day. The stormtroopers and tie fighters show great accuracy reinforcing our heroes abilities demonstrated when they do get into firefights with the imps.

Stormtroopers stop attack

As Din and Mayfeld safely make it to the imperial refining facility, they are greeted by an eruption of cheering. This demonstrates that at their base levels, the Empire and the Republic, are not all that different to the boots on the ground. This idea changes soon enough though.

As they approach the officer’s mess (dining hall), Mayfeld discovers a problem. His old commander is seated at one of the tables. He wants to back out, fearing for his own safety. Din cannot allow this, as Grogu is at risk. Everything is secondary to rescuing and protecting The Child. To preserve the mission, Din decides that he will retrieve the data from the terminal. As he logs into the terminal, a face scan is required. Mando is now faced with one of the most difficult choices of his life, uphold the Creed to save Grogu. The fatherly figure in him prevails and he once again removes his helmet. Just before he can escape to the rendezvous he is approached by Valin Hess (Mig’s former commander).

This is when the second side of Din, as mentioned in previous posts, returns. He demonstrates again that he is a high functioning autistic individual. Without his mask, he cannot function in interpersonal interactions. The Mandalorian helmet is a real depiction of the virtual mask that many of us on the spectrum are forced to wear just to get by. When Hess comes over and asks for his TK number, Mando is trapped and unable to respond. His quick thinking adaptable to any scenario functionality is lost without the protective identity given with his helmet. All seems to be lost until Mayfeld rescues Djarin with so quick talking cover. He explains Din’s lack of response as a hearing issue from the battle of Tannab, which Lando noted in the attack planning sequence in ROTJ. He then tries to get them out of the encounter with ruse about filling out their TPS reports. Those fans of the cult classic Office Space will clearly remember the ridiculousness of TPS reports.

Hess invites Mando and Mayfeld for a drink

Of course Hess will have none of this, and asks (orders) them over for a drink. As they prepare to toast, Hess asks them what to toast to. Mayfeld suggest Operation Cinder, one of his missions with the imperial army under Hess. Mayfeld pushes Hess with subtle challenges to the history of the operation and how the loss of life on both sides should have been avoided. Hess says the he “had to make many difficult decisions that day.” He does it with a wink to Din though. This antagonizes Migs to where we can see him waiting for that final trigger to go all in.

Hess’s “all heros of the empire” is quickly responded to by Mayfeld with “and all dead.” He is starting to see the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. The Empire has no scruples, and will sacrifice anyone or thing to achieve the goals of the leadership while The Republic and Mando’s team place life first and will sacrifice themselves to preserve it. Hess’s final statements about creating chaos greater than Burnin Konn and beating the New Republic are what pushes Mayfeld passed his breaking point. He shoots Hess and our next battle is about to begin. Mayfeld hands Mando his helmet reassuring him that he “did what you had to do,” and that the revealing of his face will never be told. The slight smile on Djarin’s face shows that he is now capable of returning to his comfortable Mando persona.

They start to make their escape by kicking out a window to lead them to a ledge above the dam. As they climb out, they are pursued by security. This is when the exit strategy goes live with Fennec and Dune taking out both the security following Mayfeld and Mando as well as the turrets on top of the dam so Boba Fett can sweep in. As they fly away to the rendezvous, Mayfeld makes one final move that finalizes his redemption. In blowing up the base he redeems himself by making his small effort to stop the evils of The Empire. “We all need to sleep at night.”

Destroying the refinery

Boba Fett’s sonic mine puts an end to the pursuit and they go on to pick up Fennec and Dune.

Slave I evading pursuit

The conversation between Din, Dune, and Mayfeld is a heartwarming break from the violence. Mayfeld’s true desire that Mando get Grogu back even though he believes he is going back to the scrap yard prison shows how he is a more humanized multidimensional character now. One of the things that we love about the series is the layers to all the characters. Mayfeld here is no exception. Dune and Djarin’s ruse to free the now redeemed Mayfeld is another use of the classic theme of the redeemed prisoner. Mayfeld goes to the local village, maybe with the intent of helping them free themselves from the yoke of the Empire.

The episode closes with Mando sending a message to Moff Gideon. It is almost word for word the speech the Gideon delivers to Mando when they first meet. Gideon’s reaction is one of both annoyance and fear. The cliff hanger into the encounter next week is primed. Next week should see a ton of action as well as some major elements to bring us back for next season.