“The Believer” is a difficult-to-like episode of “Star Wars: The Mandalorian.” It doesn’t offer the series much in the plot, which is pretty frustrating as it’s the penultimate story of this year. Character redemption is always a nice feature, but it doesn’t feel necessary for a character we’ve barely met and are unlikely to see again. It isn’t interesting as a stand-alone story but only retreads events that have already happened this year. The season finale better owes the audience a lot now.
Who Is The Believer?
Miggs Mayfield (Bill Burr) gets sprung from a New Republic prison camp to help Din Djarin locate Moff Gideon. To get Din the information he needs, Miggs must infiltrate an Imperial mining base. The only problem is the Miggs is an ex-Imperial. Even though the galaxy is a vast place, he is predetermined to run into someone he’ll know. Queue up the moral question of who wins in battles? Not a wrong question to be asking in a universe like “Star Wars,” which has seen more than its fair share of war. Miggs’ resolution to the problem – becoming the believer and killing his old commander and destroying the base – is satisfying, but it would have more impact with a character we feel more connected to.
The Heroes Journey
I know the point here is to illustrate the moral conflict Din is going through. Once a loner, he now has a more significant battle to fight. Will he go back to being a loner, or will he devote his life to the child, aka grogu? It’s just that that conflict doesn’t link to the conflict Star Wars heroes must endure. Give up everything you know and fight against a government that is inherently evil while they provide an orderly life. Miggs gets there in relatively short order, so much so that his turn is inconsequential. It’s not the ‘fist-pump’ moment because we don’t know him. Without more back story, this foreshadowing of Din’s journey also lacks impact.
Can The Audience Become The Believer?
Next week promises many ah-ha moments and triumphant returns. We already know that at least one character introduced this season, Ashoka Tano, is getting a spin-off series set within the same timeline. What it will lack, though, is a real emotional pay-off. Sure, Din’s reunion with Grogu will be touching. A decision to give up his ways and fight for his newfound family would have more impact, though it does not seem like the show is there yet, which leaves “The Believer” with little to believe in.