The Mandalorian Chapter 15: The Believer Unleashes Bill Burr On The Star Wars Galaxy
Thursday brought a deluge of Star Wars news, but Fridays still belong to Din Djarin and Grogu. Rick Famuyiwa wrote and directed an episode that both serves to set up an epic finale and also works on its own. Of course, what this episode of The Mandalorian does most of all is let Bill Burr be Bill Burr. His character, Migs Mayfeld, is a former Imperial sharpshooter. In the prison break episode in the first season, he famously exclaimed, “I wasn’t a stormtrooper, wiseass!” Ultimately his partnership with Mando didn’t end well for him. His character was fairly one-dimensional in that episode, a gutless foil to the principled Mandalorian. In Chapter 15 of The Mandalorian, Mayfeld gets some depth and behaves a lot like Bill Burr.
At the core of any Star Wars story is a political philosophy, and this episode lays it bare. In fact (and this could bother some folks) it is reminiscent of the Canto Bight sequence from The Last Jedi. Both are about how, for many people, the ideological causes that define this universe are interchangeable. We saw some of this in Chapter 10: The Passenger. The New Republic, while much more principled and patient than the Empire, felt like, well, cops. To a lot of folks in the Star Wars universe, all of these factions are just “invaders on their land.”
Ultimately, this episode sets up the finale, but not one second of it is filler. We also finally get a look inside of Slave I, and the ship design makes a little more sense now. But, like its pilot, we’ll forgive a lot just because it’s so damn cool.
Spoilers to follow.
Mayfeld Is the Bill Burr of The Mandalorian
Image via Disney+
Star Wars politics are always murky. Yet, there is still a clear line between right and wrong in this universe. When we first meet Mayfeld, he’s an angry man who seemingly has no loyalty to those he served with. On that episode alone, it’d be fair to say he was just a mere villain who got what he deserved. Yet, in Chapter 15: The Believer, we peel back some layers on that bald head of his and discover yet another person damaged by war.
The plan involves breaking into an Imperial facility, so Burr, I mean Mayfeld, can use his old Imperial codes to find out where Moff Gideon’s cruiser is. It’s a simple heist job. But, much like his previous episode, things go horribly wrong. There is a lot of fantastic action here, including a fantastically “Star Wars” chasse sequence. But the real brilliance of the episode comes during the quiet times. This is where The Mandalorian seems to draw some inspiration for Mayfeld from Bill Burr, the actor who plays him.
A stand-up comedian, Burr’s body of work often focuses on perceived hypocrisies of both sides of a debate. The idea is that no matter who is “in charge,” the same sorts of problems persist. There are people who are overlooked, abused, and idiots in charge of it all. It’s a simplistic view that doesn’t really apply to our real-world politics as much as people think it does. Yet, for the Star Wars universe, it’s almost the perfect distillation of their central political theme: every system will fail eventually.
Still, because it’s Star Wars, Mayfeld is confronted with actual evil, and he picks a side.
Chapter 15 Is an Epic Action Movie in 30 Minutes
Image via Disney+
Lest you think this episode of The Mandalorian was Bill Burr doing a Monday Morning Podcast about trade negotiations, it wasn’t. Impersonating two stormtroopers, the drive a shipment of an explosive compound to a base. Their convoy is attacked by “pirates,” but they’re not trying to steal anything. What is an epic chase and battle atop the Imperial transport could easily be a group of freedom fighters who really hates the Empire. Pirates would have tried to at least steal the explosives. Nonetheless, the sequence is thrilling and may possible be the first time Star Wars fans cheer a TIE Fighter.
Also, their escape from the refinery is also a brilliant shootout, with Gina Carano’s Cara Dune and Ming-Na Wen’s Fennic Shand serving as snipers. As they leave, Mayfeld proves his sharpshooting skill by blowing up the compound they transported (and killed like 50 “pirates” to protect) so the Empire couldn’t use it to hurt anyone else. At the end of the episode, Mayfeld becomes the believer in the title. He recognizes that while both factions have their flaws, the Empire is truly capable of evil for no other reason than they can get away with it.
His change of heart is also reflected, a little, in the other momentous event in the episode. Din Djarin removes his helmet not once but twice. Sounding like Bill Burr again, Mayfeld asks the Mandalorian if his religion says he can’t remove his helmet or just can’t show his face. “There is a difference,” he says. After Din removes his helmet so he can save “his” child, Burr justifies it by saying no who saw his face is left alive. I’ll have to do a rewatch, but Mayfeld says he never looked at Din’s face.
Only One Episode Left, So What’s Next?
Image via Disney+
This is the first episode of The Mandalorian in which Baby Yoda doesn’t appear. So, what’s next is that Din Djarin goes to war with the Empire in order to save him. He sends a message to Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon that warms your heart and chills your bones. So, it’s clear that a fight is going to go down. The only question is who will be involved? Fennic and Boba Fett, again played masterfully by Temuera Morrison, are in. So is Cara Dune. Mayfeld is out, released from his captivity after taking out the refinery. The question that remains is who else helps?
Of all the guest stars this season, we can probably count out Cobb Vanth. Without Boba Fett’s armor, he’s just the ruggedly handsome mayor of a town. Bo-Katan and her compatriots seem the most likely. Though, I may just really want to see what happens when Bo-Katan meets Boba Fett. Ahsoka may also return. It’s possible she senses the problem in the Force. It’s also possible some other Jedi (my money is on a new character with no baggage) shows up.
Either way, these are The Mandalorian’s first steps into a larger world. Season 3 is pre-production and may even be filming, according to Kathleen Kennedy’s remarks during Disney Investor’s Day. We also know that Ahsoka is coming, and The Rangers of the New Republic which is set during The Mandalorian’s timeline. Also, these storylines will converge in some sort of event series. It’ll be a long wait, but it’s almost certainly going to be worth it.
What did you think of this episode of The Mandalorian and were you excited to see Bill Burr back as Mayfeld? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured image via Disney+
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.