The Mandalorian Review: Good Job Disney+

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The Mandalorian Review: Good Job Disney+

Aidan Herklotz, Mr. Star Wars

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Everybody’s been saying that The Mandalorian is the best thing to come out of Disney’s Star Wars. I’d have to say that it’s pretty damn close, and I really like it. Yes, I know I’ve already written three Star Wars articles in the last month (shameless plug), but I’ve been so infatuated with this show that I couldn’t wait any longer. Let’s take this episode by episode.

DISCLAIMER: this article contains spoilers for the entirety of The Mandalorian, so take caution. Even more frightening, it contains OPINIONS! You’ve been warned…

Chapter 1: The Mandalorian

This is the episode that the Internet was completely infatuated with. I can’t remember how many posts I saw on Reddit, Instagram, etc. saying things like “best Star Wars thing to come out of Disney” or “Disney finally understands Star Wars now.” The first quarter or so of the episode starts out pretty slow, and it seems just like a very high quality Star Wars fan-film, but the rest is where the show really comes into its element. The rest of the episode is more like an old western or a Kurasawa samurai movie. Silent protagonist? Check. Disillusionment with society? Check. Horse riding? Well it’s actually with blurgs, but check. It’s got all the staples, and you can tell Dave Filoni, Jon Favreau, and the crew really know what they’re doing. My favorite part about this episode is probably IG-11; he acts exactly like an assassin droid would. Like, of course they have amazing target-lock, why didn’t I think about that before?

Chapter 2: The Child

This is the episode that started the entire Mandalorian craze. You all know why: everybody loves Baby Yoda (yes, I know that’s not his name, but if I didn’t address him like this, no one would understand). I feel like I don’t really need to talk about this, since everybody already knows why he’s so lovable, but I’ll touch on it anyway. He’s just a cute little green baby that eats frogs and makes cute noises. There isn’t any psychological reason behind it — he’s not hypnotising people from their TVs, he’s just adorable. That’s it. I probably won’t be talking about it again. Anyway, this episode really brings out the true purpose of the series; it’s about fatherhood. It’s this stoic cowboy taking care of a green baby. Although, he’s actually pretty rough with Baby Yoda in this one. In the next few episodes he carries him carefully, but in “The Child” he kinda picks him up and roughly places him in the crib. It really shows that he doesn’t know about affection, and at this point he mainly sees the child as an asset. It sets up their relationship in a great way.

Chapter 3: The Sin

This is probably my favorite episode of the season. It’s just got that perfect combination of tense action and emotional story moments that I crave. Firstly, Mando getting heartbroken over Baby Yoda is the saddest thing to watch. That one scene where he picks up the handle from the switch on his ship just tore me apart. Secondly, the scene after Mando raids the Imperial base is some of the most suspenseful action I’ve seen in a show for a while. To have great action you need to be attached to the characters, and I think that everybody has gotten attached to Baby Yoda at this point, so a scene with a fragile child that could be hurt at any moment causes a lot of investment in the action. Thirdly, I really like how these episodes slowly expand Mandalorian lore and Mando’s backstory. I hate huge info dumps, so the way they subtly do it throughout the episodes is really clever. The combination of these three points makes for a truly impressive episode.

Chapter 4: Sanctuary

We’re taking it chill this episode. Eating broth, hanging out on a farm, just relaxing. This episode is a good break from the intensity of the last few episodes, and the tone is completely different. This is because “Chapter 4” is directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, while the last few episodes were directed by the same three people. This tonal shift is really obvious, which is why I don’t like it as much as the others, but it’s not bad either. It’s alright.

Chapter 5: The Gunslinger

This is probably the worst episode of the season. Remember how I said the first quarter of “Chapter 1” was like a very high-quality Star Wars fan film? Well this entire episode is like that. This provides a lot of fan-service. The return of “He’s no good to me dead,” the high ground, Tatooine, dewbacks, I could go on. Just know that unoriginality doesn’t make for good storytelling. Other episodes had more subtle ways to reference the franchise, like Willrow Hood’s ice cream maker in “Chapter 3” (only real fans will understand what I just said). This episode seems a bit too “Star Wars-ey” for me, and that’s just not what I came to watch.

Chapter 6: The Prisoner

This episode has Bill Burr, which means it’s the automatic best. Of course, I’m kidding, but he does make it just a bit better. He’s just got that Bill Burr charm that I can’t get enough of. Anyway, this one’s an old fashioned prison break/train heist (like a western), and I kinda like it. It doesn’t have a lot of the dramatic story moments that I like, but it’s still got a lot of things I enjoyed. “Chapter 6” is just an original Star Wars story that isn’t afraid to have a little fun, just like Solo: A Star Wars Story, and that’s why I like it so much. Huh, Solo has a train heist scene and a prison break scene too. Weird coincidence. 

Chapter 7: The Reckoning and Chapter 8: Redemption

In these episodes we get back to the main story and see a hefty amount of baby Yoda. I think we weren’t getting enough for the last two, so I’m happy he’s back. He even force heals, which was a nice way to retcon that ability in to make sense for The Rise of Skywalker (woah, I wrote a review on that, go read it). Besides that, this episode is really good. I loved the return of all the characters, especially IG-11, who was especially good in these two episodes. And, finally, we got a main villain in the form of Moff Gideon. He’s pretty cool, but I feel like if we saw him throughout the last six episodes he would feel like more of a threat. I don’t know how he would’ve been included, but it would’ve been nice. We also finally saw Mando’s face, which was a nice moment, but I knew it was gonna happen. Also, it’s like, “Oh wow I get to see Pedro Pascal’s face, what a surprise.” The Mando’s backstory was pretty obvious, but I didn’t expect that the Mandalorians on Navarre would actually give up their helmets just like that.

It was an interesting twist revealing some more Mandalorian lore, which is always good. Also, I can’t end this article without talking about the darksaber, which was revealed in the finale. This was definitely a twist that I didn’t expect, and I’m really excited to see what happens next. The last time we saw the darksaber, it was in possession of the Emperor after capturing Darth Maul. My theory is that it was presented upon Gideon as a gift for crushing the Mandalorian rebellion, but I really have no idea. Needless to say, I’m excited for Season 2!