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.”

Chris Hemsworth Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Two “No-Names” Starring in Thor

Thor Anniversary Post
(Instagram/Chris Hemsworth)

It’s hard to believe that Chris Hemsworth was an “unknown actor” when he was cast as Thor a decade ago. He recently took to Instagram to celebrate the 10-year anniversary and throw a little shade at the poorly-aged article that questioned Marvel’s casting choices. Banking on two “no names” in Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as Loki to carry the movie? What was Marvel thinking?!

“Thor” debuted in 2011 and Hemsworth shared a pic of him with Hiddleston at an early table read. He shared it saying “This year marks the 10th anniversary of THOR when two unknown lads were given the keys to the kingdom. It’s been a hell of a ride and we clearly haven’t aged a day.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth)

What’s funny is they both actually look *better* now (that’s what money and success can do to you), especially as Hemsworth gets ripped for the next Thor movie.

The second photo was the news report of their casting, calling them “no names” and questioning the move to hire “virtual unknowns” to carry the film, especially when people like Shia LaBoeuf and Josh Hartnett were interested.

Now that Hemsworth has been knocking it out of the park for a decade as Thor now, and with Hiddleston about to carry his own series on Disney+ (as well as stealing scenes throughout the Avengers movies as Loki) I think it’s safe to say Marvel made the right move by “rolling the dice.”

Unknown a decade ago, sure, but now they are two of the biggest stars in the MCU, and their stars are only getting brighter.

Bindi Irwin Shares Touching Artwork Depicting Late Dad Holding Her Daughter

Bindi Irwin shares family portrait which includes late dad
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

Though your very first Mother’s Day is an occasion for celebration, for many, it’s intensely bittersweet. Becoming a parent yourself completely reframes the way you see your own parents, allowing you to understand and bond over things that were previously complete and total mysteries. For Bindi Irwin, the road to parenthood is a journey she’s shared publicly, but with baby Grace finally here and her first Mother’s Day in the books, Bindi couldn’t help but think about the person she desperately wishes she could celebrate with – her late dad, Steve Irwin.

 

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A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

In addition to being Bindi’s dad, Steve Irwin was her hero and inspiration. Even today, her late dad’s legacy remains central to the way Bindi lives her life. Through their conservation work, both Bindi and her brother Robert pick up where their dad left off. During their biggest milestones, the family finds ways to make it feel as though Steve is there celebrating with them.

Without a doubt, Steve would be so incredibly proud of his growing family. They continue to prioritize both conservation and family, things that the late Crocodile Hunter held close to his heart. Though Steve wasn’t there to celebrate his daughter’s very first Mother’s day with her, Bindi found a way to share her special day with him in spirit.

Bindi commissioned a painting by Debb Oliver of The Monkey Brush, a touching work of art that she and her family will undoubtedly treasure. The photo Bindi shared on Instagram looks like a typical (albeit beautiful) family portrait, but with one special addition – a smiling Steve Irwin holding his very first granddaughter, tilting her slightly towards the viewer as if he’d just finished saying, “crikey, isn’t she a beauty?”

 

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A post shared by Bindi Irwin (@bindisueirwin)

The happy family is dressed in matching Australia Zoo khakis, making the portrait feel even more real. Had Steve been there to celebrate baby Grace with his family, this exact photo would almost certainly exist organically.

“I wish we could all be together but sometimes life has other plans,” Bindi captioned the photo. “To my beautiful daughter, always know that you are loved beyond description.”

Mom Adopts Puppy Without Paw To Help Daughter Without Hands Embrace Uniqueness

2-year-old without hands adopts puppy without paw
(Instagram/vanessamcleod_)

When kids are young, they haven’t yet developed a framework of how things are “supposed to” be. They approach things with curiosity as opposed to judgment, learning as much as they can about the world around them. It takes time for kids to notice things that differentiate them from their peers, and unfortunately, many kids start to view the things that make them unique as negatives. To preemptively instill confidence in her 2-year-old daughter, one mom decided to call for backpup.

Vanessa McLeod from Vancouver B.C. learned that her daughter would be born without hands when she was just 19 weeks pregnant. Though her doctor urged her to consider the quality of life for someone born without hands, McLeod knew that whatever obstacles her daughter faced, they would face them together. Now 2 years old, Ivy is happy and thriving.

“Her favorite thing to do is color and she just uses her toes to hold the markers so she has just learned to do things differently,” McLeod told CTV News.

 

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A post shared by Vanessa McLeod (@vanessamcleod_)

As Ivy grows older, McLeod knows it’s only a matter of time before Ivy starts questioning why she was born different. It’s inevitable, unfortunately – kids make cruel comments, whether they’re intentionally cruel or not. Those comments penetrate our own self-image, and sometimes, they completely overtake the way we see ourselves.

McLeod decided that she needed to give Ivy something solid to point to if she begins to question her own beauty and value, something to remind her that those who look different are just as beautiful as their peers. The determined mom settled on finding a dog for the family, one with a limb difference just like Ivy.

“You know you were born that way but different is beautiful,” she imagined telling her daughter, “and this puppy was also born that way and that is also a beautiful thing.”

Beginning what she anticipated would be a long and difficult search, McLeod set out to find the perfect pup for Ivy. In what felt like a magical turn of events, the search was over just as quickly as it started.

“But on April 6th, the day I initially posted… that very same day, a tiny little puppy was born IN OUR CITY with a little lucky fin,” McLeod wrote on Instagram. “If that’s not fate, I don’t know what is. It’s so very clear to us that she is meant to be part of our family.”

 

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A post shared by Vanessa McLeod (@vanessamcleod_)

As soon as Lucky is old enough to be adopted, she’ll begin her life with her new family. Lucky and Ivy have already formed an incredible bond, one that will only grow stronger once they’re together full time. Though the adorable pup bears the name, everyone involved is likely feeling pretty dang lucky themselves.

Muppets’ Statler and Waldorf Get What’s Coming To Them On SNL

SNL Security Muppets Sketch
(YouTube/SNL)

Most of the Muppets are really lovable. My opinions on Miss Piggy notwithstanding, most of Jim Henson’s puppets are not only funny, but they’re also endearing. The put-upon frog, the inept comic bear, the lovelorn pig, the manic drummer, the indecipherable chef, all have endearing qualities.

Except for two. Statler and Waldorf are just plain jerks. The two curmudgeons who sit on a balcony and mock the rest of the Muppets are hilarious, but they’re not exactly lovable. And if they existed in any universe outside of the Muppets, they’d probably be less celebrated.

Over the weekend, Saturday Night Live explored exactly what would happen if the two elderly hecklers ran into the wrong people.

Keegan-Michael Key, from Key and Peele, hosted the show, and in one memorable sketch, he and Kenan Thompson played a pair of security guys working the venue at the Muppets latest gig. When Statler and Waldorf started doing their thing, they were NOT here for it, and they let the hecklers know.

And then the hecklers messed around and found out. Hilariously.

Ashley Cain Posts Moving Tribute to Late Daughter

Cain Daughter Tribute
(Instagram/mrashleycain)

Former soccer star Ashley Cain took to Instagram to post a moving tribute to his late daughter. Cain’s daughter Azaylia passed away this spring from a rare form of leukemia at the young age of eight months. The 30-year-old MTV “The Challenge” star said he was finding it hard to look through her photos and videos, so he scrolled and posted the first one he landed on to honor what would’ve been her 9-month-birthday.

“What a beautiful video it was!” he wrote. “What a strong, clever, brave and beautiful little girl you were. My champion, my hero….MY INSPIRATION!”

The video is truly heartbreaking, as it’s a baby and her dad playing together. A baby and dad that should’ve had more time together.

A parent should never have to lose a child. It’s truly one of the most devastating things a person can ever experience. Cain has been vocal in his daughter’s diagnosis and passing and looks to keep her memory alive. Cain and Azaylia’s mother have said they are going to use the remaining money raised for her treatment to start a charity in her name.

“What we saw during our time fighting this monster has changed us forever and we will spend the rest of our lives spreading Azaylia’s message of hope and strength to all those who need it,” Cain and Safiyya Vorajee wrote on the GoFundMe pageGoFundMe page. “We will ensure she lives on until the day we are able to hold her again in paradise.”

Pediatric cancer is one of the cruelest diseases we have in this world, and hopefully, with advances in science and research, it can be one that’s ended in our lifetime. And Cain will be joining that fight in honor of his late daughter.

Loki Sneak Peek Gives Us More Owen Wilson

Loki Sneak Peek
(YouTube/Marvel)

Apparently, the MTV Movie Awards are still a thing, and they happened last night!

I couldn’t tell you who most of the presenters were, but I know Scarlett Johansson won a career award, Chadwick Boseman got the posthumous award the Oscars denied him, and WandaVision won for Best Show. There’s another MCU show coming soon – Loki arriving in early June – and in between awards, viewers were treated to a sneak peek.

In the short, one-minute clip, Owen Wilson introduces himself as Mobius and explains that time works differently at the TVA, the Time Variance Authority, where Loki is now a prisoner.

Check it out:

Tom Hiddleston recently gave an interview in which he spoke a bit about the show, and the character he is best known for portraying.

“I want to preserve the freshness of the show for when it emerges, but something to think about is the [show’s] logo, which seems to refresh and restore,” Hiddleston explained in a recent interview with Empire. “The font of how ‘Loki’ is spelled out seems to keep changing shape. Loki is the quintessential shapeshifter. His mercurial nature is that you don’t know whether, across the MCU, he’s a hero or a villain or an anti-hero. You don’t know whether you can trust him. He literally and physically changes shape into an Asgardian guard, or into Captain America repeatedly. Thor talks about how he could change into a snake.

“I think that shapeshifting logo might give you an idea that Loki, the show, is about identity, and about integrating the disparate fragments of the many selves that he can be, and perhaps the many selves that we are. I thought it was very exciting because I’ve always found Loki a very complex construct. Who is this character who can wear so many masks, and changes shape, and seems to change his external feeling on a sixpence?”

Sony Reveals New Midnight Black & Cosmic Red PS5 Controllers

PS5 Midnight Black Cosmic Red Controller Reveal Trailer
(YouTube/Playstation)

In a Playstation Blog announcement, Sony unveiled their brand new PS5 controllers and I have to say, I’m loving that classic black color scheme.

“Our goal is to always find designs that will surprise and entice our fans, and these new colors are the result of an extensive selection process,” says Leo Cardoso from PlayStation’s design team. “We wanted the new controller colors to complement each other, as well as the original DualSense wireless controller and PS5 console, so we designed the colors around the theme of ‘galaxy’ as it felt like a natural progression from the original PS5 and accessories designs.”

I don’t mind the white color scheme of the current PS5 controller, but I always feel like I’m staring at one of the Avengers time travel suits from Endgame.  It will be nice to change things up a bit.  If you were lucky enough to snag a PS5 console and need some extra controllers for the family, the Midnight Black DualSense will cost $69.99 US, and the Cosmic Red DualSense will be a bit more at $74.99 US.

The current release date for each of these controllers is set for June 11th, 2021 and you can pre-order from the Playstation website right now.  My birthday is on June 11th, so hopefully, my wife reads this article and takes a hint.

Father Figures: Believe It

“I had to share how amazing my husband has been becoming a first time dad. He keeps saying how he wishes he could’ve done more. But I need him to know he DID DO everything and more.

Our son Zac was born at 37 weeks on March 24th.

My husband (Alex) and I decided to induce that day, due to my diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum (ongoing for 8months), as well as hydronephrosis which we had been spending the past week in the hospital for.

This pregnancy was a living hell for both of us. We spent a total of about 30 days in the hospital during the pregnancy.

Alex spent the first 7 months of the pregnancy holding my hair with one hand and my sick bucket with the other. I became physically and mentally dependent on him to get through each day. He’s the one I wouldn’t have survived without.

Soon after our son, was born he was rushed to the NICU and I saw the life get sucked out of my husband’s face. He started blaming himself for not being able to take care of his family.

He dropped everything to be with Zac and me for the 13 days we were in the NICU. He has showed up everyday, every hour, for every feed, and we finally went home with our preemie baby who still has a lot of growing to do.

We never thought our life would come crashing down like this, but Zac and I wouldn’t have survived without Alex, and I just want my husband to know that and believe that.

He did everything right. He did everything in his power to keep us safe even though he thinks he failed to do it. There is nothing he could’ve done differently because he has been perfect and now our family is complete, something I am truly, truly grateful for. ”

– Aisha Dow

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

The Rock Stops to Duet Maui’s Song With Father of Moana Fans

The Rock duets song from Moana with father of two young fans
(Facebook/Dwayne The Rock Johnson)

It’s no secret that wrestler, actor, and absolute tank of a human Dwayne Johnson loves every second of being a girl dad. The father of three revels in spending time with his daughters, sharing touching posts on social media, and frequently discussing the joys of fatherhood. It’s impossible to fully understand what it means to be a parent until you become one, and as a nod to the bond of parenthood, The Rock regularly takes the time to help out his fellow fathers.

As if his plate wasn’t full enough, The Rock made yet another one of his dreams come true in 2020 when he founded Teremana Tequila. The brand focuses on sustainability and responsible sourcing, and since The Rock puts 100% into everything he does, the Tequila was an immediate and astounding success.

While promoting his new brand in early 2020, The Rock met a dad who really struck a chord. In the video Johnson shared on Facebook, he’s approached by a man with a small but mighty message from his 4-year-old daughter.

“She wanted me to tell you that she is 4, her name is Hannah, she has a little brother named Lucas, and they love your song.”

“Hannah and Lucas – wow. Where’s your phone?” Johnson asks, his Dad signal activated.

The father of two explains that every night he sings “You’re Welcome,” Maui’s song from Moana, to his kids. Some people can’t stop ordering things they don’t need online, others may gamble too much, but Dwayne Johnson simply cannot resist taking time out of his busy days to make his fans smile – especially when those fans happen to be kids.

After a brief introduction to his new friend’s kids, The Rock begins to sing Maui’s song before pulling the overjoyed dad in to sing with him.

“There’s always ‘an understanding’ between fathers who will do anything to make their daughters happy,” The Rock wrote on Facebook.