The Mandalorian (1×05 and 1×06)- “The Gunslinger/The Prisoner”
Written by: Dave Filoni (1×05) Christopher L Yost and Rick Famuyiwa (1×06)
Directed by: Dave Filoni (1×05) Rick Famuyiwa (1×06)
It had to happen sooner or later, so best to just rip off the band-aid now… After nearly getting blown out of the stars by another bounty hunter and taking heavy damage, Mando takes The Child to Tatooine. But not just any part of Tatooine! He’s going to Mos Eisley!
If it was just Tatooine I probably wouldn’t have cared, if it was just Most Eisley I would have let it slide but as soon as the Razor Crest touches down in Mos Eisley the repair droids from Episode One show up. After three episodes, welcome back to our good friend, Mike Stoklasa!
He makes arrangements with a dock worker for repairs then heads off to find work. While he’s going the dock worker is “hard at work” with the repairs when The Child wakes up and comes out of the ship, most likely to eat and he instant wins the dock worker over. Funny how babies are so good at that.
Anyway, Mando hits up the Mos Eisley Cantina for work but it looks like there’s not a lot of bounty hunter work on Tatooine. Luckily for Mando, there’s a bounty hunter on a job and luckily for Mando he’s working nearly as hard on that bounty as the dock worker is hard at work on his ship. (Might want to find a mechanic to look the ship over again on your next stop, Mando. As a precaution.)
His target is an assassin named Fennec Shand. Assassin?
I don’t think she’s doing parkour and looking for ancient artifacts since she’s wanted for killing a bunch of important people. But our boy isn’t dumb, he knows Shand by reputation and that’s enough for him not to do the job. The young hunter, named Toro Calican, is trying to break into the Guild with this job so he offers up the pay for the job as long Toro gets the credit. This Mando agrees to and the two make their way out into the Dune Sea.
They run into some Tusken Raiders but fortunately Mando knows Tusken sign language and trades Toro’s binoculars for safe passage but that safety is only from them. This becomes clear when they find the corpse of another bounty hunter and Mando nearly gets sniped from the nearly cliffs. Looks like both Mando and Fennec Shand each have an autographed copy of “The High Ground and Why You Want It” by Obi-Wan Kenobi so he’s not doing anything until dark.
After dark, Mando tells Toro his plan, which is probably the best they can do with what they have. Ride at her on their speeder bikes and use flares to counter her thermal scope. The plan works well enough, though Mando catches a blaster bolt in the beskar and Toro catches a beating but they capture Fennec.
Unfortunately one of their bikes are dead so Mando has to backtrack and find the dead bounty hunter’s dewback. Which was probably a bad move since word got of Nevarro that the guild wants his head and Fennec heard the story on bad guy social media and convinces him to take Mando in. Much like Mando’s plan, Fennec’s plan only kind of works and she gets gut shot and left for dead for the trouble.
After finding Fennec’s body he rides back to Mos Eisley and knowingly into the well planned out trap Toro’s no doubt prepare- He just took the dock worker and The Child as hostages and that’s it… Well, he is a rookie. Mando had one last flash charge and he uses it to blast Toro. Sure you escaped the kid but you didn’t get the bounty for Fennec, Mando! Luckily, Toro had more than enough cash on him to cover Mando’s repair and he leaves Tatooine behind.
Meanwhile, in the desert. Someone finds Fennec’s body.
The Razor Crest lands on a space station and Mando meets up with an old partner named, Ranzar Malk. (Played by Mark Boone Junior from Batman Begins, so you know he’s an upstanding citizen) After busting Mando’s chops, Ran offers him a safe haven and some work. He needs Mando and his ship for a prison break. The team is led by an ex-Imperial sharpshooter named Mayfeld. There’s also a big dude named Burg, a droid called Zero and a psycho-looking Twi-lek named Xi’an who seems to have history with Mando.
The plan’s pretty straight forward, the New Republic Prison ship is unmanned so they’ll use Zero to fly the Razor Crest into a sensor blind spot then break in and break out with the man Malk hired them to free. Simple is probably best for this group cause none of them seem like team players.
The spend the trip to the prison ship trying to goad Mando, mocking his helmet, implying he’s a gungan, threatening The Child. You know, all the stuff that would endear them to the audience but when they arrive on the prison ship everyone gets down to business with Zero guiding them from the Razor Crest cockpit. Zero’s also a nosey droid and hacking into Mando’s com log to watch a message from Greef (Presumably the message from episode three.)
On their way to the ship’s control room they get briefly pinned down by security droids but Mando bails the rest of the team out. When they arrive at the control room things go south, the unmanned prison ship has a human at the control. Even better, he’s got a panic button with a direct line to the New Republic military.
Mando tries to talk the New Republic guard out of pressing it but the others aren’t the smartest bunch and they end up shooting the guard and he presses the panic button as he dies. So now they have about twenty minutes to spring their target and leave. The target turns out to be Xi’an’s even more psycho brother, Qin.
Best of all, they turn on Mando and try to leave him in Qin’s place. But since the show isn’t called “Mayfeld and the jerkwads” and is called “The Mandalorian” he escapes as soon as a guard droid passes by then heads back to the control room and locks the ship down. He splits them up from each other and picks them off one by one with some very cool action scenes until only Qin remains and the rest are locked up.
With the twenty minutes almost up, Qin being the target and worth a lot of money and him literally standing in the way of Mando getting back on the ship he agrees to take him back to Malk. As for Zero, he’s stalked The Child through the Razor Crest and just when he’s found him Mando shoots Zero from behind. (Briefly making The Child wonder if he’s even stronger in the Force than we thought.)
Back at Malk’s back, Malk and Qin have a happy reunion and Mando gets he pay then leaves. But he’s left a present of Malk and Qin, the New Republic panic button/tracking device which brings and X-Wing patrol right to them to blow them to Hell right as the Razor Crest goes to Hyperspace.
After they’re safely away, Mando says to the kid “I told you that was a bad idea.” But rewards him with the chrome control knob anyway.
Pair of good, but not great episodes. Though both have cool moments, the call back to the “High Ground” was nice and understated the way Easter Eggs and callbacks should be. I liked Ming Na Wen as Fennec Shand trying to outsmart them after she was captured as it was a good way to show that Mando’s actions in The Sin is getting out into the wider galaxy fast and that spells trouble for Mando and the Kid. The mystery of who found (and I presume rescued) Fennec is a good hook for further down the road.
The Prisoner also had cool moments, most notable Mando stalking Mayfeld and his team one by one and outsmarting Qin and Malk in the end and I liked the character of Mayfeld so if he returns as a secondary antagonist I wouldn’t mind at all. But beyond that the episode was mostly filler since not much was added to the character that we didn’t already know, unless Mando turns out to actually be a gungan under the helmet. Still some of these characters returning to make trouble for Mando in the future will do a lot to remove it’s “mostly filler” status.
In the end, I enjoyed both episode and there’s been far more quality stuff than there was stuff that bothered so I’m still a happy boy. Though I will say, I’m growing a little wary of Dave Filoni’s love of ‘member-berries. It’s like when I read a Geoff Johns’ comic, I’m having a good time and enjoying the story but I get it dude! You know a lot the Star Wars Universe inside and out, you don’t have to show off so much.
*Deep Breath… Calm… We’re calm.*
I guess that mean it’s time to wrap it up.
Things We Learned:
- Word of Mando’s betrayal of the Guild is out and causing him trouble.
- Mando’s done enough business with the Tusken’s to be able to communicate with them.
- Fennec Shand has most likely survived her encounter with Mando.
- Mando has made an enemy of ex-Imperial Sharpshooter, Mayfeld.
- Who found (and rescued) Fennec?
- Did the New Republic patrol ID the Razor Crest before he jumped?
- Is there any safe haven for them or will they have to confront the Guild to make that happen?
- Will Mayfeld and the others escape or are they about to do some hard time?
- Did Malk and/or Qin survive?
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