The first episode of The Mandalorian does a decent job establishing the world for the show, but overall is not that great. The episode feels more like a fan-film. A decent one, but a fan-film nonetheless.
This episode was directed by Dave Filoni who, up until this point, has only worked in animation, so this was his first attempt to make something live-action. It shows. The opening shot of the series is dark and dirty, and the cantina scene with Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) had the same look, but worse because it was indoors. Now, that’s not to say it was all bad or anything. The action was good, the characters were fine and the pacing was okay. For a first-timer directing something live-action, Filoni didn’t do too bad.
Then, there is The Mandalorian himself. In terms of physical appearance, Pascal does a great job at coming across as very intimidating. However, his voice? Not so much. It sounded flat and unthreatening and he goes from barely speaking a word in the beginning to a chatterbox at the end. In this episode, The Mandalorian is tasked by The Client (Werner Herzog) to deliver a bounty dead or alive, and the only information he has about the bounty is that they’re 50 years old. The Mandalorian tracks the bounty to an unnamed desert planet and teams up with an IG-11 droid (Taika Waititi). This character is both cool and funny. There is a gunfight at the end and throughout it, IG-11 keeps activating his self-destruct code and The Mandalorian keeps telling him to cancel it. At the end of the episode, it’s revealed that the bounty is an infant member of Yoda’s species, to which IG-11 points out that some species age differently. Overall, the first episode isn’t perfect, but it’s a pilot episode, which never are. It does a decent job world-building, and it kept me wanting to see more.
‘Chapter 2: The Child’
The second episode of “The Mandalorian” is a step up from the first in terms of production value. It looks nicer, and the story flows better. A common complaint about this episode is that it feels like a filler episode. While that is accurate for this episode, it was still fun and had good character development forTheMandalorian.
In this episode, The Mandalorian is on his way back to his ship when he sees Jawas have robbed it. He tries to get his stuff back by force, but fails. He ends up making a deal with them: if he retrieves an egg for them, they will return what they stole. He succeeds, but during the fight with the protective mother of the egg, it’s revealed that the fan-named Baby Yoda is force-sensitive when he lifts the creature in the air. Overall, this was a good episode. We got to see The Mandalorian get knocked down many times, but continue to get back up, showing he’s flawed but determined. Just like the pilot, this episode left me wanting to see more.
‘Chapter 3: The Sin’
The third episode of “The Mandalorian” is the best episode of the series so far. Everything from the lighting, action, writing and directing is done well. The pacing was at just the right speed, and the production stepped up more since the last episode. This episode did a nice job of keeping me engaged all the way through and, like before, it left me wanting more.
This episode was directed by Deborah Chow, who is also going to direct episode seven and will direct all six episodes of the upcoming Obi Wan Kenobi limited series. Chow did an excellent job of telling a lot in a short runtime. Nothing felt rushed or underdeveloped, and everything was told in the amount of time it needed.
In this episode, The Mandalorian delivers Baby Yoda to the client and takes the rewards to upgrade his armor with. Eventually, The Mandalorian feels guilty leaving Baby Yoda with the client, so he decides to rescue him. He succeeds, but every bounty hunter in the vicinity becomes aware of what happened and tries to take the kid away from him. This results in a crazy action sequence where the Mandalorian tries to flee by riding a speeder while blasting every Bounty Hunter that comes in sight. Unfortunately, Greef shoots the diode piloting the speeder, resulting in the Mandalorian being completely surrounded. He still fights them off, but the odds become too high for him. Then, things take a turn for the better when his fellow Mandlorians come in and hold off the bounty hunters long enough for him and Baby Yoda to escape.
This episode did a great job with the development of The Mandalorian. It showed that although though he can be brutal, he’s not a monster and has a soft spot.
‘Chapter 4: Sanctuary’
This episode of “The Mandalorian” is not as good as the last episode, but still a solid episode nonetheless. Like the second episode, this was more of a filler episode, but still introduced crucial plot elements that will most likely come into play in future episodes. Also, like the second episode, there is more character development for The Mandalorian.
In this episode, The Mandalorian finds a planet with a small population that he believes will be a good hiding place for him and Baby Yoda for a while. When he arrives there, he sees a suspicious woman (Gina Carano) who he believes could be a bounty hunter. After an intense fight with the woman, it’s revealed that her name is Cara Dune, and she is a ex-rebel shock trooper turned mercenary. She says she left the rebellion shortly after the empire fell, and tells the Mandalorian to leave because she found the plant first. He initially does, but is approached but a couple of villagers who beg him to protect their town from raiders. He reluctantly accepts, and with the help of Cara Dune, they teach the people of village how to fight so they’ll be ready. They succeed, and The Mandalorian decides to leave Baby Yoda with the village as he feels the baby is happier there than with him. That is until he sees a bounty hunter was tracking him, and decides to take Baby Yoda with him.
If the plot of this episode sounds familiar, it’s because this episode takes inspiration from “Seven Samurai,” which is something Star Wars has borrowed from numerous times in the past. It takes the initial plot of warriors protecting a village from invades and teaching them how to fight, but doing things different like shrinking the amount of warriors so it’s not a note for note copy. The best part of this episode was the action. It’s very intense and suspenseful. Another great part was The Mandalorian’s character in this episode. It’s revealed that he hasn’t taken off his helmet in front of someone since he was a child, and by doing so, he would have to give up being a Mandalorian. He’s even presented an option of settling down with someone, but declines. It really shows how dedicated he is to Mandalorian culture.
The first four episodes of “The Mandalorian” are a decent start to something that has the potential of being great. While the production feels more like a fan-film, it still does a nice job of introducing people to the world of Star Wars and has fun characters with solid action.
“The Mandalorian” airs new episodes Fridays on Disney+.