Back we go to the Empire base on Navarro, the only place we’ve been more often than Tatooine. There we reunite with Cara and Greef, and, oddly, the mythrol from the beginning of episode one. Following is a classic infiltrate the base mission with a very easy to blow up generator. And a plot that, along with the obviousness, seems filled with big Star Wars callbacks and tiny additions to the arc story.

So many questions:

Cara gets in her sassy line, “I’m not a joiner” and gets a pet space mongoose. Not much growth otherwise though. She and Greef…

Bored in the pandemic? The fantasy conventions are continuing. More conventions are coming — many free or cheap and online.

Jan 30 LumaCon

Feb 4–7 Capricorn (small, general lineup)

Life the Universe and Everything Feb 11–13

Feb 12–14 Boskone (books and media)

Radcon Feb 12–14 ( a few performances)

Feb 12–15 (gaming)

Feb 18–21 (gaming)

Feb 18–21

Farpoint virtual dealers and masquerade 2/20–2/21

Feb 22 Southwest Pop Culture Association (academic) Feb 26–28

MarsCon March 11–13

Zenkaikon March 19–21, 2021 (programming not yet open,

Leprecon March 20–21…

Bored in the pandemic? The fantasy conventions are continuing. More conventions are coming — many free or cheap and online.

Jan 30 LumaCon

Feb 4–7 Capricorn (small, general…

Wonder Woman's ’84, planned for Memorial Day weekend, delayed from Covid, has arrived at last Christmas Day 2020. The world is bored and miserable. People still squabble about the lame-duck Trump. In some ways this is an even better time for the release — particularly because of the film’s message.

Wonder Woman meets the Monkey’s Paw seems like a weak story proposal, and many characters like Maxwell Lord and Minerva Gordon are awkwardly hammered into it, as are the cool fight scenes. Throw in eighties décor and Steve Trevor playing fish out of water and backup for an increasingly depowered…

This seems familiar…The Mandalorian Season 2 Finale

In a distinct parallel to the previous season finale, Mando goes around the galaxy recruiting allies he’s met through the previous episodes (or rather, just Bo Katan as he has the others already). Reminiscent of Cara’s recruitment at the end of season one, Bo-Katan isn’t interested in his quest, but on hearing Moff Gideon is there she agrees. In they all go, outnumbered and squabbling but determined to rescue the Child. A classic hero band, in a classic wrap up that’s incredibly familiar.

There are fun easter eggs for fans as Bo-Katan and…

This is an episode of compromises. Partnering with Fennic Shand and Boba Fett, whom Mando doesn’t entirely trust, is only the beginning. But the Child has been stolen and Mando is quickly discovering what he’ll do to retrieve him.

Next, he has Cara get Mayfield out of prison so he can get them into an Imperial base. “All you need to know is I bent a lot of rules to bring you along,” Mando announces, and soon he’s piling up the compromises. This involves killing pirates to protect the shipment and deliver it safely to Imperials. It also involves dressing…

Chapter 14: The Tragedy felt incredibly masculine — a few lone warriors battling the Empire’s soldiers made up the entire plot. Making one of them a woman didn’t alter the dynamic much. Fennic Shand, now revived as a cyborg (slightly) has given herself in service to her recreator. While it’s nice to have a tough older Asian woman offering representation, she displays nothing of her own personality or desires besides the tough warrior and moves from serving Boba completely to completing Mando’s agenda. …

Episode five is named “The Jedi” and, satisfying fan angst after last episode’s delay, Ahsoka shows up in the teaser. Even those who hadn’t seen Clone Wars and Rebels (presumably many less since the Bo-Katan episode) would recognize her speed and lightsabers flashing out of the mist and perhaps tie her to the Togruta Jedi on the Council in the prequels.

Balancing her is the proud magistrate, watching from a balcony, human and privileged in black and red with a blonde braid. She in turn begins the episode threatening civilians as she takes the role of all cruel administrators: “The…

Episode 203 introduces a new group of Mandalorians, who arrive to rescue Mando and the Child. This is a new moment in gender representation and certainly in the show’s representation of Mandalorians. As it links with the cartoons, it offers a significant step into the larger world of the Jedi and the Rebellion.

Mando is shocked when they doff their helmets, immediately believing they must have stolen it. As he blusters, “You do not cover your face. You are not Mandalorian.”

Immediately, their leader presents her credentials. “I am Bo-Katan of clan Kryze. …

Daddy, women are such a bother, aren’t they?

I disliked episode two enough I didn’t plan to write about it, but on hearing that no one else liked it much, I thought I’d give it a shot.

Reasons others disliked it: weak CGI, depowered Mando. Many don’t go for endless cgi spiders (okay, including me). And of course, many were appalled that the Child kept snacking on (future) sentient endangered creatures, showing a lack of morality as well as disturbing imagery.

My issue was in fact gender roles. Before this, women have been the androgynous, self-sacrificing armorer, cringeworthy hissing con woman and the sweet domesticated lady who tries…

Valerie Estelle Frankel

Valerie Estelle Frankel has written 75 books about pop culture.

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