I tend to find that The Mandalorian straddles the line between thoughtful and soulless, which is why I decided the only honest way to recap it is by rattling off toys it implicitly tries to sell me. “The Siege” is no exception to that feeling — an excellent slice of Star Wars ephemera that has all the right ingredients but doesn’t quite become something more than that. It felt like a lot of setup.

So far it’s the weakest episode of the season for me, but it’s also certainly the one that felt the most “been there, done that.” Maybe it’s because Aly’s also watching The Clone Wars during the week as background noise for toddler playtime. But “assault on a secret CIS / Imperial / First Order base and subsequent Death Star turret-escape -pastiche” feels a little tired to me. Give me Ice Spiders or Frog Ladies or exciting new characters. The Mandalorian is at its best when it’s weird. Thankfully there are hints that the Imperial stuff is about to get a lot weirder.

Which isn’t to say there is not a lot to love in “The Siege.” Carl Weathers’ Greef Karga is great, and his new costume is stellar. Weathers also directed the episode and did a good job. Cara Dune may not be long for the screen given Gina Carano’s outspoken insanity on Twitter, but she’s likable enough as a character and her Rebel history remains one of the most interesting plot threads of any main line in this story. The Child had more adorable stuff to do here, but he continues to be noticeably sidelined. The plot indicates a larger role for him in the back half of the season, of course.

I enjoyed the return of Mythrol from the first episode, as well as the references to all sorts of lore. Chandrila, Coruscant and Kessel all mentioned off-hand. Secret dark cloning facilities and midichlorians getting a shout-out makes it seem like the series is tying in the prequels and sequels, two disparate areas that really deserved more interconnectivity. (Ask me sometime about how sad I am that Coruscant was never the main planet in The Rise of Skywalker, because I am very.)

Moff Gideon seems to be building a supertrooper of some sort, reminiscent of the previous Expanded Universe’s Dark Troopers or Sith Troopers. Sith Troopers were not a J.J. Abrams invention but he did manage to make them way lamer — like everything he touches as an artist. In the original EU, the Legacy series of comics (which I finished this week) introduced Sith Troopers as force-powered, mindless drones of Darth Krayt that were extremely difficult to fight and defeat. That may be the case here, with their cloning and force experiments. We’ll have to see!

I do wonder if the final conflict in this season is Darth Gideon or Boba Fett. I hope for the latter, as I think that conflict has more potential for personal stakes given Mando’s attachment to his identity.

My favorite bit in this entire episode was the gentle parody of how stupidly placed control panels are in Imperial bases. This harkens back to Obi-Wan deactivating the Death Star tractor beam in A New Hope, which required a similarly precarious platform. I always chalked up the existence of giant chasms in the Death Star to the difficulty of filling a moon-sized station with matter; you wouldn’t waste that much material on areas that aren’t necessary. I guess it’s just Imperial standard practice.

Looking forward to Ahsoka next week!

What Did I Buy?

Nothing, although I think Aly bought some Star Wars-themed kids books. I am looking forward to buying the first Star Wars Epic Collection with the old Dark Horse Dawn of the Jedi comics, which are super weird and finally coming out next week. The next novel on my to-read list is the second X-Wing book, so once I finish this Haruki Murakami novel I’ll make my way to Wedge’s Gambit. I also hope to get a good deal on the Star Wars Squadrons video game on Black Friday.

Hasbro finally announced Black Series figures from the first season of The Mandalorian, so I pre-ordered Moff Gideon, who should hopefully arrive by my birthday. I also pre-ordered the first two figures from the Bad Batch line. Unfortunately the Greef Karga figure is very poor-looking, so I’ll find him on clearance sometime. I won’t spend $20 on Kuill yet, as I anticipate a version to be released with a Blurrg someday. It’s too obvious.

What Would I Buy?

Greef Karga (S2 outfit) $20

Dark Trooper — $20

Mythrol — $20

Aqualish Thug — $20 (I didn’t even have to look up that species name, baby!)

Scout Trooper w/ Speeder — $50 (this actually exists, but I’ll wait for a price drop!)

Total Damage: $130!