The ManDADlorian Chapter 9 Recap, Easter Eggs, and Minor Freak-outs

Mandalorian and Cobb Vanth
(Disney+)

You’ll have to forgive me for this one, but the last time we saw Din Djarin and Baby Yoda it might as well have been a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….specifically 20,000 years ago, in the year 2019. With an incredibly divisive election, a global pandemic, and the Bon Appetit Youtube channel getting canceled for most of the year, nothing could be more welcoming than the warm nostalgia bath that is The Mandalorian

But the show works because it’s more than a collection of cameos from the Bad Motivator Droid, and writer/director/creator John Favreau opens season two with his signature blend of restrained storytelling and refreshingly straightforward action. Let’s talk about all the things that made me excitedly turn to my partner and whisper “that’s [whatever it was that was on the screen].”

So, ManDADlorian and Baby Yoda are searching for more Mandalorians to help track down any remaining Jedi. The best person to ask? Cyclops John Leguizamo. But the one-eyed gangster instead turns on our heroes because we need a cool pre-credits fight scene. After making short work of the bad guys, Din promises the one-eyed double-crosser won’t die by his hand, which of course is just a badass little fake-out move – the kind of loophole nomadic drifters love to throw around. Maybe I’m getting ahead here, but I think this little trick says something coming from a guy who normally takes himself too seriously. It’s one of a few examples throughout the episodes that Din isn’t the same dude as last season. Fatherhood changes you, man(dalorian).

We’re off to Tatooine again because apparently there are only six planets in Star Wars. No, I’m kidding, there’s a good reason for going back this time BUT THAT’S IT. NO MORE TATOOINE FOR A GOOD LONG TIME, STAR WARS, I MEAN IT. Din reunites with Amy Sedaris’ Motto who doesn’t know where this mystery Mandalorian is, but does know about a mystery town full of mysteries to investigate. Our old buddy R5 helps with a map, and the poor little guy still hasn’t had a nice oil bath since blowing his own motivator to keep R2 and 3P0 together in A New Hope

(Lucasfilm)

Off to Mos Pelgo we go, with Baby Yoda strapped into a speeder like Robin riding shotgun in the Bat-Pod. It doesn’t take long for Din to find the Mandalorian he’s been looking for: Timothy Olyphant! And he’s not a Mandalorian, he’s just wearing Boba Fett’s armor! Here’s where Favreau’s visual flair really sings. When Olyphant’s Marshal takes off the helmet, fans are given the longest, closest look at the OG bounty hunter’s visage. It’s a real soak-it-up moment. But more importantly, is how this immediately ups the stakes: We know Mandalorians don’t take their helmets off. This dude just blasphemed in front of our super religious main character, and the show lingers in that moment, combining fan service with character-driven stakes. 

Boba Fett's Helmet
(Ringer)

The Marshal is Cobb Vanth, whose story is rehashed from the Star Wars Aftermath books; showing how the Empire falling was great, but also led to more immediate problems for the Outer Rim. The Empire’s whole big selling point is order through fear and control. And sure enough, once the Death Star is destroyed, some Dune-looking jerks from the Mining Guild come shoot up the bar because…i dunno, there’s nothing to mine on a desert planet? Cobb escapes with an ice-cream maker of fancy rocks, which he trades to some Jawas for Fett’s armor so he can go back to town and get his Justified on.

The new marshall in Boba armor gives us more than one wink-wink during the episode, but the most ludicrous/fun is finally seeing that sweet not-suitable-for-children-under-3 rocket launcher finally have its moment in the sun. 

Cobb Vanth Fires His Backpack Rocket
(Gizmodo)

Back to the story at-hand, the real Mandalorian challenges Vanth for the armor. Vanth, however, notices Baby Yoda which clues him into the fact that Mando has a potential soft spot. Before any blasters go off, the village is attacked by one of the graboids from Tremors, which is not your daddy’s Krayt Dragon. Vanth makes a deal to fork over Boba’s armor if Mando will help him take out the monster of the week.  

The second half of the episode follows our helmet buddies teaming up with the Sandpeople, who are also looking to take down the Krayt. We got a hint of Din’s familiarity with the nomadic tribe in season one, but this episode is the most we’ve ever gotten to see of the Tusken culture in a mainstream story.  The tension between them and the citizens of Mos Pelgo is kind of the dramatic hook of the story, even though we don’t even get into it until the third act. I kinda wish we had a little bit more of that baked in throughout – when Vanth speaks to the townspeople to convince them to team up with their sworn enemies, we don’t really have a relationship with either side to make the union satisfying.

While scoping out the Krayt’s nest, Vanth makes a reference to it being an empty Sarlacc pit. Flag that for later.  We see more and more of the Krayt Dragon as the episode goes on, and it’s definitely one of the bigger departures of old-school design the show has done yet. Though, while the original McQuarrie concept and the KOTOR boss both have chonky boi dragon legs, the skeleton C-3P0 whines about in New Hope looks more serpentine matching what Disney has given us. 

Krayt Dragons From Various Media
(Lucasfilm)

The final battle with the dragon plays out the same way it did in the Knights Of The Old Republic video game, with some added Jetpack action. They plant charges outside the cave and lure the beast out to get blown up. Things don’t go all that great, Krayt dragons have acid lava, apparently.

While Baby Yoda didn’t have much to do in this episode, the real catharsis moment comes when Din hatches a plan to blow up the dragon from the inside. We get our second nod to -and don’t hate me for this- but to how much of a big dumb loser Boba Fett actually was when Mando pops Cobb in the back.  The famously faulty jetpack sends our new friend shooting off the same way it got the last guy to wear it swallowed by a desert snake-spider, but this time the whoopsie-doo ends up being a life-saver.

Look, I’m just gonna say what nobody else will admit: Cobb Vanth is way cooler than Boba Fett. Sorry, not sorry. Before getting himself swallowed with a Bantha strapped to the gills in space-dynamite, Mando tells Cobb to take care of The Kid. Throughout the episode, the Marshal changes in Din’s eyes from blaspheming armor thief to Baby Yoda’s Godfather. One of the main themes of the show is having a strict ideology and perspective that is challenged through the actions of others. The Mandalorian keeps having to change his mind about people – and droids – who may not follow his creed, but still uphold his standard for honor.

You know, I’m really curious to see how that goes. I wonder if he’ll end up having to face-off against someone who possibly shares his creed, but not his sense of honor. Like maybe another Mandalorian? Perhaps someone we’re already familiar with, or like maybe a legacy character who we all have preconceived notions about? I dunno. Something fun. Anyway, the episode ends and nothing else of note happens.

Ha, no I’m kidding, of course. Temura Morrison, who played Jango Fett in the prequels, shows up at the last second looking all chewed-up-by-a-sarlacc, and we all – every one of us, not just me – screamed out loud. I’m clearly not even a Boba Fett die-hard but this is the kind of serotonin drip I pay Disney for. Now, technically this could be any number of characters since literally all the clones would be played by him in live-action, but c’mon. It’s Boba Fett. That’s why they teased the dead Sarlacc earlier, and also: every other thing that happens this episode. Who else is it gonna be, Cody? FOH.

Guess we’ll have to come back to Tatooine again this season after all. *shakes fist*

Blaster Fire:

  • VIBRO-BLADES! Or I guess, VIBRO-AXES!  I guess we’ve seen these before, but seeing them all vibratey was a treat. Here’s the thing, I believe you can overdo fan service callback stuff, and that Star Wars should always try to be new and weird; but I also clap and say “yay!” like a toddler given ice cream when they pull out random old KOTOR Level One weapons 
  • W. Earl Brown, who played Dan on Deadwood, was the Weequay behind the bar in Mos Pelgo, essentially reprising his role with Olyphant in what is basically the greatest TV show of all time. And now I want Space-Deadwood. 
  • Seeing some theories that that Cobb Vanth’s speeder bike is made out of Anakin Skywalker’s old pod racer, but that’s one-to-many coincidences for me in my Star Wars. It’s the same model engine for sure, but my head cannon will say it’s just a nod to the design until told otherwise.
  • “Sand people always travel single file, to hide their numbers.” 
Sand People In Single File
(Lucasfilm)

I miss “I have spoken.”

Blind 12-Year-Old Golden Retriever Gets His Very Own Guide Dog

12-year-old blind dog gets guide dog
(Instagram/tao_mr_winky)

There comes a time in life when even the most self-sufficient of us have to ask for help. Needing help doesn’t make you weak – in fact, being willing to accept help when you can no longer do something on your own is a sign of maturity and self-awareness. Or, in the case of 12-year-old Tao, it’s a sign of being really freaking cute.

Up until a year ago, Tao was the lone wolf – or, you know, the lone golden retriever. Tao lived a happy, boisterous life until the day his perceptive owner Melanie Jackson realized something wasn’t quite right. Though in the morning he’d been his normal playful self, by the evening he was showing clear signs of pain.

After a visit to the vet, Tao was diagnosed with glaucoma, meaning that high pressure in his eye damaged his optic nerve. His eye had to be removed, and not long after, his second eye deteriorated just as rapidly. Though Tao lost his vision, he maintained his happy demeanor and soon began navigating relatively well on his own. Melanie knew that though Tao was recovering well, losing your vision is isolating. Melanie and Tao were still able to be active together and Tao could do most of the activities he did before, but the loss of so much sensory input was a challenge.

During difficult times, we could all use a friend – and that’s exactly what Melanie got for her beloved old dog. She adopted 8-week old Oko, a golden retriever puppy, and the dogs bonded immediately. Not only did they become best friends, but Oko became Tao’s guide dog. The pair sleeps together, plays together, and Melanie even trained Tao to keep his little brother out of trouble.

 

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A post shared by Tao & Oko (@tao_mr_winky)

“Oko is being trained by me—if not, he would lead Tao into mischief as he is a typical inquisitive puppy,” Melanie told Bored Panda. “Tao is being trained to follow Oko’s scent and Oko to listen and respond to my commands to ‘stop, wait, go right, go left.’”

 

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A post shared by Tao & Oko (@tao_mr_winky)

After the stress of losing his vision, Tao has a new lease on life thanks to his little brother (more like grandpupper). The adorable duo have accumulated over 40,000 followers on Instagram, and it’s easy to see why. Vision or not, these two are living their best life – and it’s all thanks to Melanie.

 

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A post shared by Tao & Oko (@tao_mr_winky)

“Tao is an amazing dog and is loved by everyone we meet,” Melanie said. “He is known locally and people often ask if they can have a selfie with him.”

 

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Father Figures: Twice the Dad

“I know Alfie questions if he’s a good dad every single day and I wish he could see himself the way I do.

Alfie came from a fatherless home and had to build his ideal dad characteristics on the fly; pulling pieces from his friends’ dads, tv dads, and other male role models he had growing up. Watching him grow and come into his own as a father has been a true privilege.

We are a ‘yours, mine, and ours’ family but you’d never know it from the outside – he has 5 children and nobody could ever convince him otherwise! He is their fiercest supporter in everything they do.

The fire in Alfie as he introduces our kids to his hobbies is contagious. I can’t help but get amped up myself when he’s teaching them how to paint miniatures, how to play a new game, or discussing the ins and outs of the Marvel universe.

Alfie, I wish you knew that you’re at least TWICE the dad you think you are.”

– Angela Sowl

2001 Has Finally Arrived: Strange Metal Monolith Discovered in Utah

Monolith in Utah
(Department of Public Safety)

After everything else that’s happened in 2020 (new “footage” of the Loch Ness Monster, an alien task force), would it be all that surprising if it ended with a giant star baby?

That’s the question many people are asking after a strange structure, reminiscent of something out of Stanley Kubrick’s landmark science-fiction classic 2001, was spotted deep in the Utah desert.

According to CNN, a team from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Aero division was floating around southeastern Utan in their helicopter when they spotted an unusual object sticking out of the ground.

“One of the biologists … spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” pilot Bret Hutchings said. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘What.’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there — we’ve got to go look at it!'”

“It” is a piece of silver metal, about 10-12 feet high, and, according to Hutchings, it looked like it had been deliberately placed there, rather than having sprouted. The structure immediately brought to mind the large black monolith that features in 2001 and causes some strange reactions in both primates and humans.

Thankfully, neither Hutchings nor his fellow team members were suddenly compelled to fashion weapons and attack each other. Nor does Hutchings attribute anything especially bizarre to the silver monolith’s presence

“I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big (“2001: A Space Odyssey”) fan,” he speculated. As opposed to, ya know, an alien. But the pilot wasn’t taking any chances.

“We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it,” Hutchings said.

You can check out a photo gallery and even a few videos of the incident at the Department of Public SafetyDepartment of Public Safety.

Dad Gets Lightning Bolt Shaved Into His Hair To Match His Son’s Scar

Dad cuts lightning bolt into hair to match son's scar
(Youtube/KMOV St. Louis)

Finding ways to support your kids is a perpetually-changing aspect of parenting. It’s up to us as parents to figure out what will make our kids feel loved and supported through each challenge they face, and that’s no easy task. One dad from Missouri found a heartwarming but unusual way to make his son feel loved – and it came in the form of a haircut.

When Jonathan Tynes’s son was born, doctors found that he had a condition that caused the plates of his skull to fuse together early. As a result, Hunter had to undergo reconstructive skull surgery at just 21-months old.

“He had to be cut from ear to ear, opened up and his skull totally reshaped,” Jonathan told KMOV.

Thankfully, the surgery went well – but it left Hunter with a lightning bolt-shaped scar down the side of his head (doctors cut across his skull in a zig-zag pattern to allow the scar to be hidden more easily by Hunter’s hair). Though most of Hunter’s hair grew back as doctors expected, scar tissue on one side didn’t allow the now 5-year-old’s hair to grow. Years after his surgery, the lightning bolt scar remains – and recently, Hunter has become increasingly self-conscious.

Tynes tried to reassure his son that the scar was nothing to be self-conscious about, but the 5-year-old inadvertently told his loving dad exactly what he needed to feel better about his scar.

“I said, your lightning bolts are really cool. I wish I had that,” Tynes recalled, to which his son responded, “Well, if you think they’re so cool why don’t you get them?”

It took only a moment of consideration before Tynes made a decision. “I said okay, then I will.”

And as soon as he could get an appointment, Tynes followed through on his word. He went to the barbershop with an odd and incredible request – he wanted a matching lightning bolt shaved into his own head.

Tynes’s heartwarming story quickly went viral, but the only thing that mattered was how Hunter felt. Fortunately, Tynes got the seal of approval from his smiling son – and the pair couldn’t look happier.

Women’s Soccer Star Makes History as First Female to Play Power 5 Football

Sarah Fuller
(Twitter/ESPNStatsInfo//VandyFootball)

It’s extremely rare to get a standing ovation from the opposing team’s fanbase, and it’s even rarer to get that applause for a KICKOFF. But that was the scene at Missouri when Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller made college football history by becoming the first female to play in a Power 5 game, handling the kick-off to start the second half.

Vanderbilt isn’t very good at football this year (and to their credit, the SEC IS one of the toughest conferences), but their women’s soccer team won the league championship. So when the football team’s kickers and specialists were sidelined by COVID-19, the Commodores turned to the senior goalkeeper on that championship soccer team to handle their place-kicking duties.

Vanderbilt only got to kick-off once, to start the second half, but Fuller placed a squib kick exactly where it needed to be to prevent a return. Because it was such a historic moment, she even got a standing ovation from the Missouri fans.

“Honestly, it’s just so exciting,” Fuller said after the game (Vanderbilt did not win). “The fact I can represent all the girls out there who have wanted to do this or thought about playing football, it encourages them to be able to step out and do something big like this, it’s awesome.”

“I want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to,” she said. “Like, you really can. If you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things.”

Former NFL Pro Bowl punter Pat McAfee said her kick was great.

The sports world was quick to show their love to Fuller, and not just other football players. Media personalities, baseball stars, NFL Pro Bowlers, and everyone in between was loving the kick and what it meant.

Sports are at their best for moments like this, when you’re seeing history made. Fuller is an outstanding soccer player, but she’ll be remembered forever for her play on the gridiron.

Ryan Reynolds Said He Loves Having Daughters and ‘Being a Girl Dad’

Reynolds Girl Dad
(Getty/Axelle/Bauer-Griffin)

The coolest celebrities are the ones that don’t take themselves too seriously and manage to keep things in perspective, and few people check both boxes like Ryan Reynolds. He went up another notch in our book, thanks to his latest interview with Access Hollywood, where Reynolds talks about how much he loves ‘being a girl dad.’

We already appreciated Reynolds for stuff he’s done like Deadpool and bringing Rick Moranis out of retirement. We dig him even more for how much he loves being a dad. He was talking to Access Hollywood, promoting his new movie “The Croods: A New Age”, when he said his daughters (and wife Blake Lively) are ‘the most capable people I know.’

“If anything got scary in my life, they’re the first people I would lean on because they have wisdom and strength and they’re calm under fire,” he said. “They have courage under fire.”

Reynolds said, as the youngest of four boys, he never ‘in a million years’ imagined he’d have three daughters. But, he said he loves it.

“It has just been such a ride, and I love every second of it,” he said. He also explained that he and his wife don’t do movies at the same time, so the family can stay together at all times.

“ I think that’s been the best part of it is that we really don’t spend a lot of time apart. I get to spend a lot of time with my girls.”

Reynolds also feels the same frustration many parents have had when it comes to homeschooling. When he was on The Tonight Show in the spring, he said the family was getting through it by trying to make it as educational as possible, before joking (admitting?) he’s been “mostly drinking.”

Deployed Dad Wrote Lunchbox Notes for His Daughter, One for Each Day He Was Gone

Deployed Dad Writes Lunchbox Notes for Daughter
(TikTok/kris10grayyy)

Being deployed in itself is one of the bravest and most challenging things a person can do, but when you’re leaving behind your family and young children, it adds a whole new layer of difficulty. When Staff Sgt. Philip Gray found out he was being deployed to Afghanistan, he wanted to make sure his young daughter remembered every single day just how much he loved her.

On October 7, 2019, Staff Sgt. Philip Gray left Fort Drum, New York for his 10-month deployment. His wife Kristen and 7-Year-old daughter Rosie remained at home, but both were constantly at the forefront of his mind. To make sure that Rosie knew her dad was thinking about her, Kristen Gray came up with a brilliant idea.

Before Staff Sgt. Philip Gray left, he wrote 270 notes for his daughter, one for every day he expected to be overseas. Every morning of his deployment, Kristen slipped a single note into Rosie’s lunchbox. Sometimes they were holiday greetings that he couldn’t give in person, others were words of encouragement, but they all had one thing in common – each note was written with a whole lot of love.

“He wrote anything from, ‘You are super girl’ to ‘Smiling makes everyone else smile,'” Kristen Gray told Good Morning America. “He was very big on feel-good words for her and girl power. He made sure to tell her how smart she was, and run fast in P.E. and things that would really make her happy.”

Kristen shared some of the heartwarming notes on TikTok, each one signed “-Dad.”

@kris10grayyyReposting the original this Veterans Day. 🇺🇸 Thank you to @kellyclarksonshow for finding our story and sharing. 🤍 ##militaryfamily ##deployment

♬ original sound – Kristen Gray

Staff Sgt. Philip Gray’s deployment ended up being extended, but fortunately, this loving army dad made it home just days before his daughter’s birthday. Gray’s lunchbox notes helped him show his love for Rosie even from thousands of miles away. And when Rosie found out her dad was home, well, it’s abundantly clear how much she loves him right back.

@kris10grayyyHit 10k followers & wanted to repost my first video that brought me to TikTok. Wait for her reaction. 💙 ##happylife ##positivity ##militaryhomecoming

♬ original sound – Kristen Gray

Release the 3-Hour Cut of ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ and We’ll be Thankful

#ReleaseTheHughesCut
(YouTube/ Hats Off Entertainment)

One of the best Thanksgiving perks is the long weekend it creates, if you’re lucky enough to have the Friday after the holiday off from work. Sometimes, the entire week is slower than usual at the office, leaving families with plenty of time to bond, eat, and watch movies. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many Thanksgiving-themed movies. I always make sure to watch The Last Waltz, the classic concert film that was filmed on Thanksgiving (a bit of a stretch but it works), and this year we added Planes, Trains and Automobiles to the mix.

The late-80s road trip buddy comedy starring Steve Martin and John Candy is funny, real, and a little sad, a combination director John Hughes does well. It’s also only 90 minutes, which, these days, seems like a rarity, and is a little disappointing. We need more Thanksgiving movies – or at least a longer version of this one.

If this story about a dad’s ill-fated attempt to get from NYC to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving dinner were made today, it would probably be at least two hours.

Especially considering that Hughes left so much material on the cutting room floor. Another entire movie’s worth, apparently! And now the internet wants to #ReleasetheHughesCut of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Earlier this week, Hats Off Entertainment posted a video to their YouTube Channel in which outtakes, still photos, and more are combined to recreate some of the missing material from the 3 hours and 40-minute version of the movie that was originally shot.

Check it out, and join the growing chorus of people who want to #ReleasetheHughesCut. Especially if there’s a longer scene of Steve Martin cussing out Mrs. Poole!

‘Family Ties’ Cast Reunites To Reminisce and Speculate if Show Could Work Today

Family Ties Cast Reunion
(YouTube/Stars In The House)

This may sound shocking to many of you, but years ago, way back in the 1980s, people with different political opinions could actually get along. Even people in the same family!

This was so common that there was even a TV show about it. Several, in fact! First, we had All in the Family, in which an incorrigible racist slowly broadens his worldview when he learns to empathize with other people, and in the 80s we had the delightful comedy Family Ties, in which a couple of hippies find themselves raising a charismatic young Reaganite.

That Reaganite (he was a big Nixon fan too) was Michael J. Fox, and his role as Alex P. Keaton on the popular sitcom launched a stardom that lasted decades and even persisted through his fight with Parkinson’s Disease. Fox is making the media rounds to promote his latest book, and he recently reunited with the cast of Family Ties.

Fox and fellow cast members Meredith Baxter, Michael Gross, Tina Yothers, Brian Bonsall, Marc Price, and Scott Valentine gathered on the YouTube show Stars in the House to raise money for the Actor’s Fund. While there, they discussed memories from their days on the show, and whether or not it could work in a world of MAGA hats and BLM supporters.

“I just want to say one thing and that is, I loved the time that we were together,” said Gross, 73, who played patriarch Steven Keaton. “That was, I think as you’ll all agree, a kinder, gentler politics, when Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan could sit down over a glass of Irish whiskey and these two guys could hammer out compromises. And it was a great time. In the same way, we hammered out our compromises in the family and I think that’s one of the things that people loved about us.”

Watch the video: