The Mando Rewatch From Nateflix and Chill – Chapter 12

Every Tuesday, Nate from @nateflixandchill_ will be revisiting The Mandalorian starting at the very beginning.

Hello there.  If this is your first time clicking on The Mando Rewatch, my name is Nate, and over the past several weeks I have been revisiting The Mandalorian, starting from the very beginning.  This week, I will be doing a deep dive into the key moments and thematic significance of  “Chapter 12: The Siege.”  This is a spoiler-heavy recap. So, if you choose to read on, then I hope that you have not only seen this episode, but the rest of the series as well.  It also helps if you have read my earlier reviews because I tend to circle back to previously established themes.  With that out the way, let’s talk about Star Wars!

Written by Jon Favreau, and directed by Carl Weathers, this is a fun episode that, despite being a sidequest, still manages to progress the main plot forward by establishing the greater threat posed by Moff Gideon and the Empire.  It’s certainly not an integral episode, I would even go so far as to say it’s skippable, but there is still some fun to be had in rewatching it.  The tone is reminiscent of an 80s action-comedy that Carl Weathers himself possibly could have featured in back in the day.  There is some great Star Wars action, with a lot of humour sprinkled in as well – especially from Grogu.  But, ESPECIALLY from the Jeans Guy.  Google it, it’s worth a google.  There is a guy in the background of one shot in this episode who is wearing blue jeans, a t-shirt, and a Casio wrist watch.  I cannot wait to see how many people cosplay as the Jeans Guy for the next Star Wars Celebration.  But, besides the Jeans Guy, there are a few other moments that we need to talk about as well.

For starters, the “M-count.”  Dr. Pershing actually says “M-count” in this episode.  M-count!  I can’t believe they almost dropped the M-bomb.  Understandably, some fans never want to hear the M-word again, so Favreau got around it by saying “M-count.”  But, by doing that, now he is making me say the M-word in my own head because he was too scared to say it himself.  Just say the word! Midi-chlorians!  Is that so hard?  Look, we’ve all seen The Phantom Menace, we all know what midi-chlorians are.  Let’s not pretend that this never happened.  Afterall, how could anyone ever forget Jake Lloyd’s perfect delivery of the line “Master, sir, I heard Yoda talking about midi-chlorians.  I’ve been wondering, what are midi-chlorians?”  To which Qui-Gon replies by saying something that caused a great disturbance in the Force.  Millions of voices cried out in terror when he said “midi-chlorians are a microscopic lifeform that resides within all living cells.”  That’s not how the Force works!!  This was one of the many things that some fans did not care for in The Phantom Menace.  These fans felt that by adding a scientific aspect to the Force, George Lucas was negating the mystery behind the magic.  However, while I am not a big proponent of midi-chlorians by any means, I do not entirely agree with that negative assessment either.  Qui-Gon goes on to say that “without the midi-chlorians life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force.  They continually speak to us telling us the will of the Force.  When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you.”  Therefore, George is using midi-chlorians as a way of demonstrating the symbiotic relationship of the Force.  They are part of the spiritual connection.  When you really think about it, it doesn’t sound scientific at all.  Midi-chlorians are tiny imperceptible beings that whisper to a select few individuals that are able to hear them, and they tell them the will of the entire interconnected soul that all living beings share.  That sounds more like scientology than science.  It is completely ridiculous.  Which is why I still believe that midi-chlorians are very much a part of the mysticism of the Force.  Moreover, the most important aspect about the concept of midi-chlorians is that it fits in with the theme of the symbiotic relationship that the characters in The Phantom Menace have with each other – such as the relationship between the Gungans and the Naboo.  So, even though there is a negative connotation connected to the word midi-chlorians, when you take a second and really think about it, there doesn’t need to be.  Nevertheless, I fully understand why Favreau didn’t want to go full M-word.  It is worth noting that it is Dr. Pershing, a scientist, who is the one talking about the midi-chlorians.  You may feel that this supports the claim that midi-chlorians are too scientific to be a part of the Force.  When really, this proves the opposite.  The blood sample from Grogu does not work.  As Dr. Pershing says the trials “resulted in catastrophic failure. There were promising effects for an entire fortnight, but then, sadly, the body rejected the blood.”  The fact that the body rejected the blood points to the mysticism of the midi-chlorians.  The Force is not a science experiment.  Hence, you cannot just get a blood transfusion from a Force-user and become a Jedi.  As a result, from a certain point of view, this not-so-subtle mention of midi-chlorians, despite being delivered by a scientist, helps to further prove that the midi-chlorians are much more spiritual than scientific.  At the same time, the “M-count” also hints toward the symbiotic relationship that the characters in this show have with each other, specifically Grogu and Mando.  For, as Obi-Wan says, “what happens to one of you will affect the other.”

It is clear that the bond between Grogu and Mando has definitely grown in this episode.  This is shown from the hilarious opening scene in which Grogu is trying to listen to Mando’s instructions about the red and the blue wire in order to try and fix the Razorcrest.  This scene humorously illustrates the trust that Mando has in Grogu, as well as the trust that Grogu has in Mando.  They are a team.  Indeed, they are a family.  And this is further shown when Mando actually lifts up his helmet to share in a meal with Grogu.  He does not make a big deal about it, but this is a significant moment in the series.  Mando is loosening up.  His quest has changed him, and he is starting to see things from a different perspective, finally.  The encounter with Bo-Katan in “Chapter 11” was important, because he needed to see from a fellow Mandalorian, that there really is another Way.  To quote Obi-Wan again (from a better movie), “the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view.”  The dogmatic beliefs that Mando has previously based his life upon do not seem to be absolute truths any more.  It is a very important moment in the series, and Grogu’s reaction to seeing Mando’s chin is priceless.

I don’t have much else to say about this episode.  And the hockey game is starting.  So, Go Habs Go!

I have spoken,

Nate

Follow Nate on Instagram at @nateflixandchill_

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