The Mandalorian (1×01 and 1×02)- “The Mandalorian/The Child”
Written by: Jon Favreau (1×01 and 1×02)
Directed by: Dave Filoni (1×01) Rick Famuyiwa (1×02)
So anyway… I feel like it’s been an eternity since I’ve reviewed the Flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa- Wait a minute! What’s going on here?! This isn’t The Flash! This isn’t even the CW!
Where the hell am I?
Let me check… This is… The Mandalorian… That would explain people keeping their faces covered instead of taking their masks off every thirty seconds.
At the risk of invoking déjà vu, “So anyway” welcome to my Mandalorian reviews for WOBEnt. I know I’m a little late but in my defense, I only just watched the show last week. I’m going to lay down some rules here since this isn’t my usual approach. I’ll be reviewing episodes in pairs and I’ll be doing my best not to bring up anything that would spoil you beyond the episodes in each review (in this case, nothing past the first two episodes.)
And as a second disclaimer, I wouldn’t consider myself currently a Star Wars fan beyond the video games. Like most of Gen-X I have the Original Trilogy and the Thrawn Trilogy practically committed to memory and I liked the Prequels but I never got into the cartoons. In fact, after Episode III I pretty much saw Star Wars as a completed thing that I could “put away” as a fan.
As for the Disney films, I watched The Force Awakens in theaters once, thought it was fine but I wasn’t terribly interested to see more and that’s pretty much it. So really, if you think about it, you’re much more likely to spoil me on things than me spoiling you so be gentle. Some things won’t change, at the end of each review we’ll go over what we’ve learned and we’ll ask some questions.
All that said, let’s talk The Mandalorian starting with…
On an unnamed ice planet, an unnamed Mandalorian arrives in a run-down bar filled with the kind of people and aliens that would frequent a bar where a bounty hunter would track a target to and you can tell it’s bad because the humans speak Huttese!
Mando steps up to the bar and after a few moments manages to instigate a bar fight without doing anything but stepping up to the bar and wearing beskar armor but it’s a very short and very one-sided fight because none of the rough and tough guys were even his target. No it was some blue skinned weasely looking dude. Mando gives him a choice between coming in “Warm” or “Cold.”
He must have chosen “warm” because he follows Mando out of the bar to what turns out to be a taxi depot. The router offers him a droid driven taxi but the Mando’s apparently as big a fan of droids as this guy:
So, they send him to his ship in a much more run down speeder piloted by a human (or near human) while the target tries to bribe his way out of trouble. They reach Mando’s ship which, because I’m an old nerd, made me think of the ship from “Battle Beyond the Stars:”
And after a little bit of interference from a giant monster they leave the ice planet behind. Once they’re airborne our blue friend starts making a nuisance of himself so Mando shows him (and us) what the “cold” option was. “Remember Carbon Freezeing?!”
Say hello to our first Mandalorian review specific meme! When you see Mike Stoklasa’s face, just know that they got a little obvious about the ‘member-berries. Hopefully we won’t see him too often.
So Mando arrives on another unnamed planet, this one a little more hospitable than the last and turns in his bounties to his handler with the Bounty Hunter’s Guild, Greef Karga and we learn that Mando is two things: Really good at his job and really committed to his job since he immediately asks for more work.
Unfortunately, guild cleared work is drying up because there’s too many bounty hunters that are happy to take less money just to kill targets. But he does have a high paying job that’s a little unusual in that he has to speak with the client directly.
Mando takes the offer and the client turns out to be an Imperial-remnant warlord who wants someone brought in quietly and preferably alive, judging by his scientist friend’s reaction to the possibility of Mando bringing the target in dead. They won’t tell Mando anything about the target beyond it being fifty years old but they have its last known location and a gene code tracker.
As for the payment, they offer up high quality beskar steel giving him an ingot as a show of good faith which he takes back to his tribe’s underground lair and shows the pay from his last jobs and the beskar from his next job. The armorer seems, to be one part blacksmith, one part tribal elder and one part priest as she forges a new pauldron for his armor from the ingot before sending him on his way. It quickly becomes clear that something is going on because everyone in the “covert” is wearing their helmet.
While the Armorer forgers his new pauldron, Mando has flashbacks to the day he was rescued and brought into the tribe. Next, Mando heads to a third unnamed desert planet. Here he meets a local Ugnaught named, Kuiil. Kuiil offers him assistant in exchange for helping him capture several beasts to use as mounts. The pair then head out across the desert and find a mercenary camp where his target is being held prisoner. Kuiil then explains that he helped Mando because the mercenaries have been harassing the residents so he hopes that Mando will take care of them to allow peace to return.
Unfortunately, Mando’s not the only bounty hunter to find the mercs, an IG-hunter droid arrives and begins shooting up the place so Mando has to work with the droid and we get a really good fire fight where we finally get to really see Mando in action as they wipe out the camp. More than once Mando has to convince the droid not to self-destruct (killing them both) before it’s all said and done.
The pair then find the target, and a million Disney merchandise products are born as they find a child. Specifically a baby of the same species as Yoda. Oddly, while Mando was urged to bring it in alive the IG unit wanted the child killed, so Mando has to take of that problem and we end with a shot of the Mandalorian and “The Child” reaching to each other.
Episode two opens shortly after the end of the last episode with Mando and The Child returning to his ship, The Razor Crest, where they’re ambushed by some of the straggling mercs. Mando takes them out but he’s pretty banged up in the fight and that night as he tries to dress his wounds The Child keeps trying to do something to him until Mando finally returns him to his floating bassinette and closes the covering.
The next morning they arrive at the Razor Crest to see that a group of local Jawas found the ship and have stripped it nearly down to the frame. Mando shots a few with his sniper rifle, disintegrating them while the remaining jaws pile into their sand crawler and make their escape. Mando chases them down and tries to climb the outside of the Sand Crawler to get to them but he’s knocked off. He returns to his ship in the hopes that it’s still flyable but that’s not happening so he goes to Kuiil for help but since Kuiil is a pacifist he wants Mando to negotiate to get his property back with the people that stole it.
The Jawas want his armor but will settle for something called “The Egg.” In this case they’re being literal as they want him to steal an egg from a nearby Mud Horn which is a giant hairy rhino looking beast. Mando agrees and since I imagine his level of trust is at an all-time low he takes The Child with him. After searching the Mud Horn’s lair he wakes and angers it then gets his ass handed to him by the beast, in fact he takes such a beating that he apparently decides it’s his last stand as he pulls out his boot knife as the mud horn readies to charge and gore him with its horn.
However, it’s stopped and lifted in the air and it comes as no surprise that The Child has done it. His use of the Force is brief however as he doesn’t have the most stamina, luckily for both of them Mando is able to make use of his boot knife while the Mud Horn is still disoriented and he makes the kill.
Mando returns to the Jawas with the egg and surely our little scavengers have a plan! Maybe they’re going to sell it to a zoo or a rancher that wants to breed Mud Horns or maybe-
Maybe they’ll cut it open and eat the yolk raw by the hand-full… Congratulations, Mando! You were almost murdered to get the Jawas some lunch!
Mando and Kuiil return to the Razor Crest and put the ship back together with a building montage that would make the A-Team proud. At the end, Mando tries to offer payment to Kuiil but he is refused as the Ugnaught did it as an act of hospitality, he even tries to hire Kuiil but he’s worked his whole life and he came to this world to retire.
With his business concluded successfully and a new friend made, Mando returns to his ship and leaves Kuiil behind to return to his client for payment.
This was a damn fine two-part pilot, the episodes established our main character and his status quo quickly and efficiently before starting his call to adventure. Pedro Pascal’s title character did an impressive amount of character work despite him having no face and very little dialogue. By the end of the first two episodes I am well on my way to caring about him and his adventure. The addition of Baby Yoda is clearly going to help with that since he’s caring about something that we’ve quickly come to care about even if only because it’s cute.
With Pedro Pascal as essentially a voice in a suit (there’s no real guarantee it’s him in the suit most of the time) they relied on Carl Weathers, Werner Hertzog and Nick Nolte to provide presence in most of the dialogue scenes and there were interesting hints of lore that told the viewer enough.
Without any research at all I know it’s at most a couple years after the Battle of Endor and the Empire is on a steep decline. I know that galaxy is somehow even more chaotic than it was in the final days of the Republic by the amount of bounty hunters and mercenaries at work and I am left with the strong impression that something happened to the Mandalorians that has left them scattered and hidden.
The action and music was movie quality and there were plenty of cool nods, not just to Star Wars but to old Westerns and action movies and even a clear nod to the Adam West Batman while Mando climbed up the side of the Sand Crawler.
Sure this was very much Disney Star Wars, but as long as Disney is Disney and they own Star Wars that’s to be expected. Also, to be expected is some blatant naked fan service and ‘member berries but fortunately there was only one real moment I thought was even at the line and that was the carbon freezing at the start of the first episode but rest assured. Mike and I will be on the lookout for more as our journey continues.
All in all, this was a good time and despite this being the part of Star Wars I always considered the least interesting (Give me all the Jedi vs Sith stuff you can possibly stuff in a movie book or game and I’ll be a happy angry middle-aged man) this was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to more.
So, as we come to the end it’s time to breakout the ratings. Like my Flash reviews I’ll review each episode on a five-star scale but I’ll also be introduce the Mike-scale. Anytime I have to break out a pick of our favorite hack-fraud film maker/reviewer the Mike rating goes up by one so without further ado:
Things We Learned:
- After the Battle of Endor the Empire is fractured with high level Imperial officials acting more like War Lords while the New Republic is practically non-existent.
- The Mandalorian is a member of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild and seemingly works to help support his tribe.
- The Mandalorians seem to be scatter and are cut off from their supply of Beskar Steel if not their home planet entirely.
- Mando is a foundling and adopted member of the Tribe.
- Mando has never encountered the Jedi or Sith or even the Force.
- The Empire is seemingly interested in acquiring Force Sensitive beings for “scientific” purposes. “Scientific” *wink!*
- Is the Client still working for someone in the upper echelons of the Imperial Remnant?
- What happened to the Mandalorians to scatter them and when did it happen?
- Why did none of the Mandalorians remove their helmets? It never seemed to bother Jango Fett.
- What’s Mando’s problem with droids?
- The Child is fifty years old which means he was alive for the fall of the Republic and Order 66, so does this mean he was hidden by the Jedi? Or hidden FROM the Jedi?
- Where is the New Republic?
- What’s the goal of Mando’s clan?
- Will we see Kuiil return?