Since its debut on Disney+, “The Mandalorian” has gained a huge following. Many fans are theorizing what’s coming next and creating lots of Baby Yoda memes. The second half is here, wrapping up the first season.
Major spoilers ahead for episodes 5-8.
‘Chapter 5: The Gunslinger’
This episode feels like a step down from the previous episodes, but still fun overall. Like episodes two and four, this is more of a filler, but is still entertaining. The action was well done, the characters were fun to watch, the pacing was fine and it looked amazing.
Dave Filoni returns to direct a major improvement over the pilot in terms of production. Many complaints I had with the first episode were fixed here.
In this episode, The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) goes to Tatooine to fix his ship after an encounter with a bounty hunter in the opening. He lands in Mos Eisley Spaceport and has repaired by Peli Motto (Amy Sedaris). Unfortunately, The Mandalorian does not have enough money to pay for the repairs so he heads to town to look for a job. Sadly for him, the bounty hunter's guild is no longer present on Tatooine, meaning there are no bounties for hire.
However, there is a bounty hunter named Toro Calican (Jake Cannavale) who hires him to help on a job tracking down an assassin named Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and offers all the reward money, because he only wants to get into the bounty hunters guild. The Mandalorian accepts and the two head off to find Fennec. They eventually stumble across a dead body being dragged by a dewback, which turns out to be a trap set up by Fennec, who starts shooting at them from a far off ridge. The two take cover and come with a plan to stop her. They wait until night falls and charge on speeder bikes while using flash grenades to blind Fennec. The Mandalorian distracts her by taking a shot to the chest while Toro sneaks up behind. The two get into a fight but in the end, he and The Mandalorian successfully capture her. Unfortunately during the fight, one of the speeders got destroyed so one of them has to retrieve the dewback from before. It’s decided that The Mandalorian will go, and after he leaves, Fennec tries to bargain with Toro. She tells him about the events of the previous episodes and how The Mandalorian is worth a lot, and if he lets her go and goes after The Mandalorian instead, he’ll become a legend. He ends up shooting her, saying how if he lets her go, she’ll end up killing him, but does take her advice about bringing The Mandalorian in. By the time The Mandalorian returns, Toro is gone. He heads back to his ship where he sees Toro holding Peli and Baby Yoda hostage. The Mandalorian ends up throwing a flash grenade at Toro and after a brief gunfight, The Mandalorian prevails. He pays off the costs for his ship and flies off, ending the episode.
Many fans are split with fan service in this episode. Nods to the old Star Wars films, like Tatooine and the bar Mando meets Toro Calican in, appear in this episode, with some loving it and others thinking it’s there because fans will like seeing something familiar. Personally, I loved seeing what happened to Tatooine after “Return Of The Jedi” and all the things that have changed. Things like the bar in “A New Hope” that previously didn’t serve droids now having them as bartenders were nice touches and good world-building.
A big issue with this episode is that it’s just more filler. With this fifth episode, three have been filler. This wouldn’t be an issue if this was a longer season where having some filler episodes are standard, but since this is an eight-episode season, there should be more story-centric episodes. With that being said, the filler episodes are enjoyable and might have something that could play into future episodes. Overall this episode was a nice detour, but the story needs to pick up soon.
‘Chapter 6: The Prisoner’
The sixth episode of The Mandalorian is, unfortunately, another filler episode, but like the ones before, it is overall fun. The action was both suspenseful and engaging, the sets looked top-notch and the characters were enjoyable to watch.
In this episode, The Mandalorian goes to a space station, looking for a job, owned by a guy named Ranzar Malk (Mark Boone Junior), who’s an old friend of The Mandalorian. Malk is putting together a crew to rescue someone from a New Republic Transport ship. The crew includes Mayfield (Bill Burr), who’s an ex-Imperial sharpshooter, Burg (Clancy Brown), who serves as the muscle of the group, Xi’an (Natalia Tena), who has a romantic history with The Mandalorian, and Zero (Richard Ayoade), a droid who serves as the crew’s pilot. The crew make it on the ship successfully and head off to the control center to find the prisoner. But, much to their surprise, a person is there and the group gets into a standoff, arguing whether or not to kill him. In the end, Xi’an throws a knife at him, killing him, but also triggering a distress beacon to their location. The crew finally finds the prisoner, who turns out to be Xi’an’s brother, Qin (Ismael Cruz Cordova). The crew ends up betraying The Mandalorian by throwing him in the prison cell as payback for leaving Qin behind on a job, which caused him to be imprisoned in the first place. He escapes and goes to the control room, locking the station down. He starts taking out the crew, one-by-one, besides Qin, who he brings in alive. He collects the money and heads off. Malk and Qin initially plan on going after him, but it’s revealed that The Mandalorian placed the distress beacon on Qin and a few Republic X-wings come in, blasting the station to pieces.
One positive thing about this episode was all the cameos. There is the crew themselves, with members like comedian Bill Burr and Richard Ayoade from “The IT Crowd,” but there are also other lesser-known cameos. The man on the New Republic ship who activates the distress beacon was played hby Matt Lanter, who some fans will recognize as the voice of Anakin Skywalker in The Clone Wars cartoon. Then, there are the X-wing pilots, who were played by directors of the show, including Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa and Deborah Chow.
My complaints with the fifth episode ring true for this one as well: there shouldn’t be any more filler episodes. The majority of the season is comprised of one-off episodes, and that’s not something someone who might be interested in watching wants to hear. The show needs to be more story focused. Overall, this was a solid episode, but the filler needs to stop.
‘Chapter 7: The Reckoning’
The penultimate episode for this season is thankfully not filler and sets up the finale in an excellent way. This was the best episode of the series by far.
Deborah Chow returns to direct and once again knocks it out of the park. The action was well choreographed and intense. The stakes were high. After watching this and chapter 3, I can see why Lucasfilm hired her for the Kenobi limited series.
In this episode, The Mandalorian is contacted by Greef Carga (Carl Weathers). He says that all can be forgiven between the two and is willing to take the bounty off of Mando’s head if he comes back to Nevarro and takes out The Client (Werner Herzog). He mentions that The Client has taken over the planet with his Imperial remnant. The Mandalorian reluctantly accepts but knows he can’t do this alone, so he gets two people from previous episodes. Cara Dune (Gina Carano), who serves as his muscle and Kuiil (Nick Nolte) who will protect Baby Yoda with a reprogrammed IG-11 (Taika Waititi). They eventually arrive on the planet and are greeted by Greef and a few of his cohorts. They camp out only to be attacked by flying creatures. Greef is injured and then healed by Baby Yoda. The next day Greef shoots his cohorts revealing the plan was to betray The Mandalorian but after Baby Yoda healed him, he had a change of heart. The Mandalorian decides that Kuiil will take Baby Yoda back to the ship while the rest of them will head to town with Greef taking him in as a prisoner. They arrive and try to trick The Client that they have Baby Yoda with them before they take him out. Before he finds out the truth, he gets a call from his superior, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), who asks if they really do have Baby Yoda. Then, a squad of Gideon’s Imperials outside open fire on the building, killing The Client and his bodyguards. Moff Gideon arrives and tells Mando and his crew to surrender. The Mandalorian tries to contact Kuiil, who is being pursued by scout troopers. Eventually they catch up to Kuiil, killing him and taking Baby Yoda, ending the episode.
What made this episode great was how it tied everything together from the previous episodes by bringing back characters and returning to locations early on in the season. It felt like things were coming full circle.
‘Chapter 8: Redemption’
The season finale for “The Mandalorian” was a great way to end the first season. It ended everything on a high note while still leaving things open for the future. Thankfully, the show has been renewed for a second season, which is filming now.
Taika Waititi directs the finale and does an amazing job. The action felt more grand and the stakes were so high that it felt like this could be the end for the main characters.
The episode starts off with the scout troopers who kidnapped Baby Yoda waiting for orders. After some time passes, IG-11 arrives, killing the two and rescuing Baby Yoda. He then gets on a speeder and heads to town. Meanwhile, Moff Gideon goes on to explain how he knows everything about the main characters. It’s revealed that Cara is from Alderaan and The Mandalorian’s real name is Din Djarin. Mando says that he knows Moff Gideon from the purge that sent The Mandalorians into hiding. IG-11 then arrives and a firefight breaks out between the Imperials and the main characters. Eventually it becomes too much for the main characters with The Mandalorian himself getting injured. They retreat inside a cantina and try to find a way out while a Flame Trooper comes up to kill them, however Baby Yoda takes him out with his force powers. They find a way out that leads to the sewers where the other Mandalorians are hiding. The Mandalorian says he’s too injured and the others should go without him. Everyone does except for IG-11, who stays to heal him, but has to remove his helmet. We then finally see the The Mandalorian’s face briefly as he is healed. The two eventually rejoin the others and find that most of The Mandalorians are either dead or off world with the only one left being the Armorer (Emily Swallow). She tells the Mandalorian that he has to either return Baby Yoda to his people or train him to be a Mandalorian, before giving him a long-awaited jetpack. They find a boat on a lava stream and try to escape but find their are Stormtroopers waiting for them outside. Everyone agrees they can’t shoot their way out, so IG-11’s, protocol dictates he must self-destruct to evade capture, taking the Stormtroopers with him. He does so and all seems well for the main characters until Moff Gideon comes out of nowhere with his TIE fighter. The Mandalorian goes after him with his jet pack and plants a bomb on his ship that sends him to crash. Greef says everything is good between them and offers Mando his old job back. The Mandalorian says he must go on with his mission to deliver Baby Yoda to his people and heads off. At the very end, it’s revealed Moff Gideon is alive with him cutting his way out of his crashed ship with the Darksaber, a weapon sacred to Mandalorian culture.
This season wrapped up very well, with characters' arcs filled and fan service aplenty. During the flashback to Mando’s childhood, it’s revealed he was rescued by Death Watch, a clan of Mandalorians that appeared frequently throughout “The Clone Wars” cartoon. There’s also the Darksaber which also appeared in that show and “Rebels.” This show proves that Star Wars can work as a live action show and that maybe the franchise’s future is through shows like this, with a smaller scale, big budget and tight story. This is the way.