The Mandalorian Recap: S02E03, “Fish & Ships”

At barely a half-hour, “The Heiress” is the thinnest episode yet in what’s already been a pretty lean season. Thanks to the introductions of a couple characters, motivations, and a backstory twist, it’s not the most throwaway effort we’ve seen, but it’s almost certainly the laziest. And, frankly, almost certainly the worst.

Picking up just a nap’s time since last week’s close, the show opens on Mando approaching the frog lady’s planet with, conveniently, juuuuuuust enough fuel to land. He ends up flubbing the landing a bit, but that’s also when the episode immediately begins to flub its own.

Mando’s ship is just about totaled, and with Amy Sedaris’s spaceship garage planets away, he turns to the next most obvious mechanic: this random fisherman who happens to be standing there. And I mean, this guy is a capital-F Fisherman. He’s one of those Admiral Ackbar idiots, but for some reason he—and every other weird alien fisherman, for that matter—are just in these generic human “fisherman” outfits you’d see in a rom-com about a girl falling for an Irish longshoreman. Everyone is in these nice cable-knit sweaters and quilted vests. It’s like, imagine we see the forest-dwelling Ewoks, and they’re all in Patagonia fleece and cargo shorts. Just the craziest thing.

So, god knows why, this first fisherman Mando sees is like, “Yeah, big-time I’ll fix your ship.” He is wearing goddamn fishing waders as he says this, but this is all fine. He will merely pause his dock work to now fix a spaceship.

To refresh your memory, Mando is here to reunite the amphibious woman with her husband, and conveniently (again), he is just standing there like twenty yards away on this very dock. They reunite, and you can tell this guy can’t wait to cum in this jar of eggs. Fresh fish is in the air, but frogboi reeks of sex.

There’s also this cloaked woman gazing at Mando & Friends from afar. Mando notices, and director Bryce Dallas Howard does that tired shit where someone passes in front of the woman, and she mysteriously, inexplicably vanishes. Again, this is the most hacky, lazy episode they’ve ever churned out.

While our newly-befriended frog lady goes off to give her hubby jack-off encouragement, Mando heads to the tavern to give Baby Yoda something to eat besides her eggs. (Spoiler: goop and a small cephalopod is this small English fishing village’s fish and chips.) Mando asks the server if he knows where he can find any other dorks like him who wear armor everywhere. The server knows a guy, who’s (again) conveniently three yards away, and Mando and Baby Yoda are off on this Davy Jones guy’s boat.

Doubling down on how these guys are so weirdly just boring old fishermen stereotypes, Davy Jones’s fishing ship is fishing for absolutely normal fish. Just the most unimaginative, bog-standard fish you could dream up. A PA was sent down to a fishmonger and bought some fish, and that is what these guys are catching. Fish.

But it turns out they’re also trying to catch something other than utterly normal fish: Mando! Davy Jones opens up this on-ship tank that has a giant sea monster inside. AS MOST COMMERCIAL FISHING BOATS HAVE. Forrest Gump also had this. It’s completely normal and has an obvious value.

Davy keeps insisting Baby Yoda watch him feed this awful creature he keeps within his boat for, again, obvious reasons. Finally, Mando relents, but, as a different fish-man famously said: It’s a trap. DJ knocks Baby Yoda into the pit, and he’s promptly gobbled up by this perfectly customary bodega cat of the fishing world.

So Mando dives in to try to save him, and these fisherdicks close the tank’s barred top and start poking at him with these scythe things they’ve got. It seems they want his armor, and this is their incredibly poorly thought-out way to get it. Like, at this point, the armor is far more likely to be eaten than retrieved, but alright, guys. You do you.

It’s equally looking like Mando will either be digested or lightly pierced, but in our follow-up to last week’s deus ex machina, a trio of new Mandalorians abruptly appear. In the first of a couple very poorly-staged action sequences, they quickly dispatch with all these Cthulu-looking boys, and manage to quickly gut that sea monster and pull out Baby Yoda (conveniently, yet again, off-screen).

The three saviors take off their helmets, and Mando is like, “This again? I already dealt with a non-Mandalorian wearing Mandalorian armor in the season opener.”

“No,” explains squad leader Katee Sackhoff, reprising her animated role as Bo-Katan Kryze. “See, actually we’re the normie Mandalorians, and you’re part of this radicalized later group obsessed with face coverings. It’s sort of a 1979 Iranian Revolution analogue or something.”

Mando previously almost died to ensure that a very nice, handsome cowboy would forfeit his Mandalorian in keeping “The Way” pure. And even beyond that, this seems like a pretty huge piece of information for Mando to consider. There should be some kind of conflict here; this should be A Scene. Instead it’s more or less shrugged off, and they all part ways.

When Mando returns to the dock, Davy Jones’s brother is CONVENIENTLY right there waiting for him. He’s in a real huff about his brother’s death, and has Mando surrounded. Don’t worry, though, because we’re about to repeat the scene we just fucking saw. The Mandalorian trio again zips in out of nowhere and takes care of all these guys. Phew!

So Mando’s now like, alright, that was weird that happened twice. Let’s have a nosh and some drinks then.

They head back to that slop parlor, and here we get to really see what it is they did with this other, non-Sackhoff female Mandalorian’s (WWE’s Mercedes Varnado) hair. While no one tried at all on the fisherman costumes, the hair stylist on this episode maybe tried too hard. They were like, “Alright, time to do something iconic. Let’s make the new Leia buns.” What they came up with was an X of braids across this woman’s forehead. It’s basically that dorky Eldridge knot for ties, now as bangs. Honestly, not a great look.

Anyway, Mando asks if they know of the Jedi space wizards, and indeed they do. But as usual, he must complete a side quest first. This time: stop a weapons shipment some Empire guys are flying off the planet.

Right before getting to business, these Mandalorians really build this thing up like it’s going to be almost impossible with a crew of four; like they’re really going to have to be careful, organized, and sneaky about this.

Not the case!

We very soon see that this was clearly a level 2 mission that this level 20 team is vastly over-prepared for. The ship is more or less just a single corridor leading to the cockpit, Stormtrooper defenses packed into each sub-section. In this painfully on-rails adventure, Mando and the team at first try to avoid the incoming fire by hugging the walls, hiding behind what little they can, but soon they come up with a new plan: toss a smoke bomb, then stand shoulder-to-shoulder, four wide, in the middle of the hallway, and just keep casually blasting. Thankfully, none of the Stormtroopers think to blindly shoot anywhere at all directly ahead of them. The plan works!

Meanwhile, up in the cockpit, the ship’s captain, Bosch, is furiously demanding that his pilots make the ship climb quicker to get them into space, where they can get reinforcements. The issue is, they’re still in the port below’s low-speed, no-wake zone. Hey, war criminal, hope you enjoy the $300 fine for this maneuver!

That Titus Welliver is here to cameo after fellow Deadwood-er Timothy Olyphant’s season opener gives false hope that maybe Ian McShane could show up to play some space criminal, which would rule. But Captain Bosch also has some sadly false hope. He gives big boss Giancarlo Esposito a ring, thinking he’ll get backup to help them up. Esposito is like, “Nah, bruh. You’re burnt. Just crash that ship.”

Back in the hall, the Mandalorians are continuing their plan of just walking side-by-side, straight at the Stormtroopers, dead center of the hallway, casually shooting without even really aiming. They’ve now even streamlined it to also not bother with the smoke bomb bit. Coked-Up Werewolf and his Stormtrooper squad are unable to penetrate this clever strategy, and the Mandalorians continue their tedious charge forward.

There’s still one, even stupider battle to come, though.

A final Strormtrooper squad is holed up in a doorway, and the Mandalorians have arbitrarily decided that their old plan of walkin’ and blastin’ with no regard will not work anymore. Mando has a new plan.

“Cover me,” he says, before diving into the hallway. They don’t really cover him at all, and Mando consequently gets shot like a dozen times. It turns out, his whole plan was just to toss a couple grenades through the door, and he felt he couldn’t do that from six feet further away, in the safety of cover. Also, his armor seems to completely negate blaster fire, so this entire “dangerous” mission was completely inconsequential.

So the Mandalorians finally reach the cockpit, where Captain Bosch has killed his pilots and is trying to crash the ship into the planet. Sackhoff is like, “Listen, Bosch, tell me where the Darksaber is. Remember that? That thing we saw at the end of the first season. Esposito cutting his way out of his TIE fighter?”

He’s like, “I’d rather die than face the consequences of telling you that, and he puts his money where his mouth is. In the Star Wars universe, the Cold War myth of the suicide pill in a tooth is apparently real and battery powered; he bites down on something and his head gets electro-fried.

Of course, the ship is still headed on a course to self-destruction, but thanks to the added power of pulling back on both the pilot and co-pilot yokes, the Mandalorians are able to stop it just before it was going to crash. It’s very convenient indeed.

The stupid mission complete, Bo-Katan gives Mando the information she promised him. She tells him the location of the Jedi she knows, and teases that the Jedi is going to be Rosario Dawson in Texas Longhorns fan face paint. Yes, popular animated Star Wars character Ahsoka Tano is finally going to turn up.

We’re also finally done with the episode’s big set-pieces, and thank god. Howard already did some pretty questionable work last season with another episode filled with idiotic battle plans and anemic action. This outing was unquestionably worse. It makes the workmanlike, unremarkable action directing of her father look like fucking John Woo.

Oh, right, and earlier, Mando made the frog couple babysit his Yoda, so now he’s gotta pop back there to pick him up. We see Baby Yoda playing with the couple’s new tadpole, and it’s cute because he doesn’t eat their beloved infant. He understands the difference between unfertilized and fertilized ova now.

Mando and Baby Yoda are ready to pop on off to their next adventure, but first they’ve got to pick up their ship. They head to the dock, and the ship looks like absolute dogshit. It’s just barely put back together, and it’s all done with a complicated system of nets and rope.

“I gave you a thousand credits; this is the best you could do?” Mando asks the fish-man in waders he hired for this. It’s like, yeah, man. People shop around and do research looking for a good mechanic, and they still get ripped off. You hired literally the first random dockworker in your eyeline. This guy’s job is probably, like, moving fish from nets to barrels. There could not be a stronger example of getting what you paid for.

Please help these sad nobodies and: