The Mandalorian (“Chapter Eight: Redemption”)

Season 1, Episode 8
Date of release: December 27, 2019 (Disney+)

Who would have thought that comedians Adam Pally and Jason Sudeikis would find their way into the Star Wars franchise and portray humanized troopers who for once have been depicted as soldiers trying to kill time? First of all, I didn’t even recognize the two’s voices and was astounded to see their names in the closing credits, which brought me straight back to the hilarious opening scene of the episode to watch it once more. I already realized during the first time watching it that it may be one of the more hilarious scenes of the Star Wars franchise, right behind “Holding for General Hugs” from STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII – THE LAST JEDI, and it worked in this episode, because there was time for it, and because it was necessary to show the troopers in a more idiotic fashion. They have always been famous to not hit their targets when they shoot, and to be prolifically unable to do their jobs as a troop of soldiers in a war. You could walk up against a battalion of stormtroopers all by yourself with just one gun and fifteen bullets in it and you would come out of this situation alive. You cannot trust a mission like picking up a child and delivering it to the Moff to two troopers with no ability to do jobs and think that everything will be okay and you will win. The Moff should have done the whole work by himself and maybe he would not have experienced this crash landing.

The child gets to test out the Galaxy’s Edge theme park with a wild ride.

This was quite an entertaining season finale, which happened to not only put a premise into the show for its upcoming second season, but also closed the circle for this season. THE MANDALORIAN began with IG-11 doing its job to get to the asset and it ended its existence pretty much doing the same, as it was speeding straight into town to put holes into various stormtroopers. The Mandalorian began the series as a soldier who takes big guns to shoot it at the bad guys, and he ended the season with taking another big gun to shoot it at stormtroopers. The Mandalorian started this season by seeing a job in the asset, and the season ended with the armoured hero becoming the father to said asset, after a season full of adventure, in which both saved each other’s lives numerous times. But because this is still part of a greater narrative, more characters were involved, and they were placed into some sort of redemption arcs (hence the title of this chapter). IG-11 turned form a villain into a hero who sacrificed itself for the greater good, and even Greef Karga was able to show that he was not at all thinking about backstabbing the Mandalorian, although if Carl Weathers returns for the second season, the writers can still employ a storyline which has Greef go against the Mandalorian, especially since the man didn’t seem to have a greater purpose in the show than being the man who hands out contracts to bounty hunters. The same can be said about Cara Dune, but at least she has a back story that could be developed, as was the case with the Mandalorian, who finally found an opportunity to tell us all who he is and where he comes from — not that it was particular necessary for the narrative (it doesn’t change his character that he was a foundling, or now that he has a name). I would almost hope this wasn’t the last we saw of Cara and that she can easily turn into the Mandalorian’s right-hand woman. Someone who could bring a little comedy and sarcasm into the life of the helmet wearer. Who knows, maybe with Cara around, the Mandalorian learns to be funny? Similar to how John Connor trained the Terminator to be more human in TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, and it would be an enjoyable story in this show, especially when THE MANDALORIAN starts making fun of some science-fiction story tropes.

Moff Gideon didn’t get to much doing this episode. Apparently he did more evil stuff while the two bike troopers were having a private moment, because as soon as the episode went back to Gideon and his blabbering (instead of storming the building and smoking out the people who brought him here, let alone giving them time until sundown for finding an exit), he wasn’t doing anything until he finally got the opportunity to shoot his blaster and fly his TIE fighter. The fact that he survived the crash obviously means the writers have found their villain for the next season (this one didn’t really have one, as the ones who hunted the Mandalorian and the child during this season were mostly faceless, and Greef turned out not to be an antagonist at all), but that essentially makes his appearance in this episode something of a teaser for things to come, and we got to learn that even THE MANDALORIAN does not like to just conclude stories and close the circle on some character arcs. Even the finale is just another one of those episodes trying to set up the premise and characters for future seasons, which is a practice TV writers really need to think about stopping.

A handshake to solidify continued partnership.

The longest episode of the entire season at least knew how to focus on things, even if I was just a bit curious by some of the choices in the narrative: For the Mandalorian, Greef, IG-11 and Cara, it was all about getting off of Navarro and live to see another day. For Moff Gideon, it was all about getting the asset (and we still don’t know why he wants the child, although we can all assume he wants the power of the child for himself — think the robot in the reimagined LOST IN SPACE, which only listens to commands of the subject who turned it on or rescued it). For the viewers, it was all about learning about the Mandalorian creed, about the Mandalorian himself, about the hatred between Mandalorians and Jedi (which was especially helpful for those who never risked a look into the many animated shows in the Star Wars universe) — all setups for future seasons of the show. It’s not a surprise that the stormtroopers decided to wait until the heroes in their lava boat are out of the building to shoot at them, because otherwise there would not have been time to drop all this back story exposition into the episode. It would also explain why Gideon decided to wait until sundown for an attack, since he would not have found a time to deliver more back story if he had attacked immediately and not given the heroes time to escape. In a way, the season finale is not only pretty good at not closing the circle, but it could also win an award in the category “Most Exposition in a Season Finale to Set Up Future Seasons.” I don’t mind that, although one can wonder why it took Jon Favreau eight episodes to get to the deeper and more complex back story lore of the Star Wars franchise, simply by depicting the Darksaber.

The Mandalorian (“Chapter Seven: The Reckoning”)

Season 1, Episode 7
Date of release: December 18, 2019 (Disney+)

We are one episode short of the season finale, and Jon Favreau has finally decided to pack a real cliffhanger into an episode, to tell us what it’s like to wait for an entire week (plus two days, due to the early release of this episode, thanks to STAR WARS: EPISODE IX – THE RISE OF SKYWALKER) for the next Star Wars episode, when the previous one ended in a more shocking fashion. Star Wars fans of the streaming generation finally get to know what it’s like to be served a cliffhanger like this and having to wait for days for its conclusions, and other people, the ones who have been watching television for years, will get to remember how it felt when waiting for the identity of the person who shot J.R.; or if the Enterprise is really firing onto the Borg cube and killing their captain in the process; or what happened to John and Lucy in the exam room after being stabbed by a mental patient; or how Emily is going to react after Ross spoke Rachel’s name at the altar; or what Jack, Locke and Kate would find down the hatch; or how Hank, taking a dump on the toilet, would come to realize who Heisenberg really is. All of them famous television episode cliffhangers, and while this episode of THE MANDALORIAN will never reach the fame of said cliffhangers, it does at least promote the idea of moving away from the binge-watching culture and close in on guessing what is about to happen in the next episode of your current favorite TV drama. It’s also a pretty fun cliffhanger that was needed, and to shut up all the bitchers and moaners who were unable to see any storytelling in THE MANDALORIAN.

The heroes stand …

And it wasn’t even this big a surprise that the child would land in the arms of whoever wants him most besides the Mandalorian. The shiny chrome fighter couldn’t keep the child forever, and at one point in the narrative the writing had to come down towards the Mandalorian losing the child and having to fight and break rules and do some terrible and deadly stuff to realize that he is not just the protector of the child, but has an emotional connection towards it. The season finale could give answers as to how much the Mandalorian and his new friends care about the child, or if the second season will depict the fight for its life from the point of view of a parent who has lost their child (which would mean the little green gnome would be absent for most of the second season, if Jon Favreau decides not to include a B story that shows the viewers the life of post-Empire Imperialists, which is also a great idea for a Star Wars television show). Stand-alone adventures and side quests are all fine and entertaining, especially when they introduce new characters who are heroic enough to fight side by side with the Mandalorian, but continuing the show with a low amount of a greater narrative while more than half of the season is filled with a random adventure which is rather forgotten than character-developing? That wouldn’t look good on THE MANDALORIAN next season.

But this is where the fun currently lies with the show. Favreau could decide to continue with the gunslinger western show during its second season, or he could decide to focus on a greater narrative and give the Mandalorian a place in the post-Empire world, just to realize that he does not fit into it at all. I like it when television shows I am watching are a little unpredictable in that regard, even if the writers had to help themselves with a little bit of predictability in individual episodes. Let’s not forget that two episodes ago, the Mandalorian going to pick up a ride while telling Toro to watch for Fennec was more than just a sign for trouble, and a few minutes later, both Toro and Fennec were dead, even though it did not really need to happen.

… against the Stormtroopers on strings.

I was doing a lot of Ackbar’s “It’s a trap” throughout the second half of the episode (please, Sir, would you like some more of that “predictability?”), with Greef Karga leading the Mandalorian back to Nevarro, with Kuiil being around as well, having fixed the droid which was coded to kill the child, and then there was obviously the notion that the town in Nevarro was full of Stormtroopers who were ready for some action and gunblasting. That something would go terribly wrong was only a question of time, so consider me surprised that none of the folks was doing the first move, and the actual villain is someone who hasn’t been introduced yet. Giancarlo Esposito is always a sight for sore eyes, even if his casting had me thinking already that he would play a villainous character, as he has the presence of evil in his face, which means he could never play a hero. The Star Wars franchise did turn some oddball faces into heroes though, so there is still chance for Esposito’s Moff Gideon to be a fighter for good, although the character’s name suggests otherwise.

Finally, here are a few words to all the whiners who could not find a liking to the show due to the constant nature of stand-alone stories that have no value for the overarching storyline. It turns out that all the people the Mandalorian has met over the course of his travels with the child, he created friendships and partnerships, in case he needed to band together a small army of fighters. It’s almost like the final two episodes of this season are the culmination of everything that happened in the previous six episodes, giving the show an overarching storyline, as well as a reason to never consider the previous three episodes “filler.” From here on, the Mandalorian isn’t the only one fighting for the freedom and life of the child, and he probably won’t be the only one dying for him.

The Mandalorian (“Chapter Six: The Prisoner”)

Season 1, Episode 6
Date of release: December 13, 2019 (Disney+)

It must be very hard for Star Wars nerds to like this show, because nothing is really happening. The gunslinger western genre is celebrated with this work of art, and all that Star Wars fans want to see is a battle in space between two parties who are involved in an even greater war. What they also want to see is less women and minority actors, which by itself is the main reason to never even take the Star Wars fandom seriously. But if you happen to be a Star Wars fan and like this show at the same time, you are my new best friend — personally I am not a Star Wars fan, but I am finding a great liking towards the show, and this episode especially gave me reason to think this way. The individual episodes can always be hit or miss (so far there have been more hits than misses) and I don’t even need a particularly great story arc unfolding over multiple episodes, but THE MANDALORIAN is kind of a fun show the writers and directors can play with for a few hours each season, trying to learn the craft of writing or directing, while also trying to find out which elements of the Star Wars universe are good and interesting enough to be spotlighted in this show. THE MANDALORIAN is a perfect production for young directors to get their fooding into the business, which is why I hope the second season will decide to get a few more first-timers behind the camera, just so the show itself can look different in each of its episodes. Case in point for this episode: It felt like a horror film wrapped inside a heist movie (the target prize happens to be a person and not a safe full of money or diamonds), in which a sinister force is plucking the crew members of a deserted spaceship one by one, until the lone survivor escapes in a daring attempt. And the thing that made this episode so great was that the Mandalorian was said sinister force.

In the State Wars universe, women turn nuts years after you leave them.

Of course it helped that the Mandalorian had a bit of a back story with Xi’an, although I would have loved for a bit more than a few words about their relationship in the past, and not just because I would love to know how a Mandalorian is having a romantic relationship with someone, especially when he never dares to remove the helmet. It was fun to see the Mandalorian being the odd man out in a group of hard-ass, lamejoke-cracking, butthurt mercenaries on a mission to screw with the Republic, and it was especially delightful to note that the gunslinger western show just turned into a soft science-fiction horror film for 38 minutes, in which characters were dealing with a killer in a mask (or a helmet). I felt strong ALIEN and ALIEN RESURRECTION vibes especially during the final third of the episode, with the red light illuminating the prisoner transport ship and with the Mandalorian closing in on an unsuspecting Mayfeld like the man with the armor is just another evil figure in a slasher film. That direction definitely came from Rick Famuyiwa who decided to go with what he knows least as a director, and it makes THE MANDALORIAN that one special television show you never come across otherwise. This is a show that isn’t being defined by its narrative chosen by the writers and the showrunner, this is first and foremost a directors’ show. Considering how much trouble Kathleen Kennedy had and still has getting women directors on board the franchise train, it’s surprising how well the liberty of directors works on THE MANDALORIAN. If it were up to me, the second season would continue that style and tone, albeit with a bit more story maybe.

Welcome to the slasher horror genre of this science-fiction western show.

The episode could have played the horror slasher format a little better though. I get that this is Disney+ and they wouldn’t like anything too dark and scary and brutal, but this hour definitely needed quite some time to get to the prisoner transport ship and have the Mandalorian do what he was supposed to do. I’ve had way too much fun with the idea of the Mandalorian being the villain getting rid of the group of idiots who consider themselves the protagonists of their own story, but as stated before, only parts of the final third of the episode were like that, while the rest of the time was used to introduce the mercenaries to the viewers and to make sure that they aren’t just throwaway characters you forget all about after the episode finished streaming (the fact that they have more back story than other TV guest characters does give them the chance to be remembered by the viewers a little longer). And at the end of the day, this chapter ended like any other of THE MANDALORIAN: The wearer of the shiny helmet and the child come away alive, off to their next adventure, all while the bad guys are currently paying for being associated with the Mandalorian. There is some predictability to the show that needs to be addressed in the writers room for the next season. Also, have a more romantic back story for the Mandalorian and bring his exes into the fold for a few minutes, because Xi’an seemed crazy fun. Sort of like Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, only more of a villain than a lovesick crazy chick who just wants to blow up some stuff and kill some folks. An element like that in a gunslinger western show would be freaking hilarious, and would blow the minds and brains of the Star Wars fandom.

The Mandalorian (“Chapter Five: The Gunslinger”)

Season 1, Episode 5
Date of release: December 6, 2019 (Disney+)

All this show and its writers (well, just Jon Favreau) need to do from here on is to make the side quest adventures of the Mandalorian and the child, as well as all the guest characters who appear and either become friend or foe for the titular character, better and more interesting. Those side quests make THE MANDALORIAN the gunslinger show it wants to be (even putting the word to use for this episode’s chapter title), but those side quests also make or break the show and could easily chase away audiences when they find those adventures boring and rather unusable for character development or for the greater mythology of the show. I would take a hazarded guess and say that most of the audience of THE MANDALORIAN was, is, and still be expecting a highly serialized streaming television show, in which the characters soon band together to fight the remnants of the Empire which may still walk among all the gangsters who would love to take charge in a universe that is trying to move on from under the rule of the Emperor. Unfortunately for those viewers, this is not the show THE MANDALORIAN wants to be — it’s something I got to realize after two, three episodes, and it’s what I became to accept at this point. I don’t mind at all that the Mandalorian and the child go from planet to planet and are involved in adventures that could end their lives quickly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to accept the stories that involve all the cliches the treasure box of tropes can house, including the villain character trying to mess with the sidekick’s mind, or the twist that the sidekick really was the evil character.

Someone has fun playing with the child.

Finally, Ming-Na Wen made it into the show. I was waiting for Her Royalty ever since I found out she was taking part of her third Disney property experience (at first she voiced Mulan in the 1998 animated feature, then she became an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel world, and now she inhabits the Star Wars universe), but at the end of the day I was slightly disappointed that her role seemed so thin. The final images of the episode make for an interesting end to her story in this episode and serve up the potential for a return, but being the masked assassin who hides out in the desert, hoping for bounty hunters to come across her so she can kill them and do with them whatever, sounds a little illogical. When Fennec knows she is being hunted by bounty hunters, why would she still hang out on Mos Eisley and wait for her targets to come to her? Judging by how the Mandalorian “introduced” Fennec to Toro, she sounded like she was perfectly capable of breaking someone’s neck and stealing their ship, to make her way to the outskirts of the universe and hide out there. But here she is, lying and waiting for the Mandalorian to cross her path, so that the titular character can get involved in another stand-alone story again. But like I said, the final scene could open up that story, as well as her character, to a new level in future episodes. Although I do have a bit of a problem with the way the final scene was clouded in secrecy — there was no view of who closed in on Fennec’s lifeless body, and there was no reason for such a scene to end an episode of a science-fiction western television show, since westerns aren’t really known for serialized storytelling.

Meanwhile, the Mandalorian has come to learn what it’s like to have a sidekick and an underling. There was hope that Toro could be a recurring character, learning from the best to become one of the best, and maybe even becoming a friend of sorts, which is something the Mandalorian is missing in his life right now and may pep up his character arc a little (here is to hoping that Cara Dune will return sooner rather than later or never). Consider me shocked that the Mandalorian would trust his new underling to watch for Fennec for the entire night while he was getting back out into the desert to get the dewback. The Mandalorian has way too much trust in people he doesn’t even know or who have decided to follow him around for the day and night. This might be part of his religion or maybe it’s even his way of showing his good manners and attitude. But when the Mandalorian walked away from Toro and Fennec to get a ride, all I could think of was that something is about to happen to make the life of Toro or Fennec more difficult. It was the predictability that killed the cat in the story and it made me roll my eyes just a little bit. The way conveniency is written into the narrative was kind of astounding, and it’s something I wasn’t even expecting fro Dave Filoni, whom I expected to have the Star Wars universe in his grips at this point.

Bright sparkles accompany the kill shot.

Peli was a fun character to hang out with though. It was the perfect way for someone like Amy Sedaris, mostly known among comedy fans, to be placed in a franchise like Star Wars, and it makes me wonder how many A-listers of anything but high-profile Hollywood productions are going to show up in the second season to prove that they can do more than [insert anti-Star Wars genre]. Does THE MANDALORIAN have a place for personalities like Ali Wong and Seth Meyers? Will Selena Gomez make a trip to the set for an episode? Is Gabrielle Union interested in an appearance here, after NBC Universal gave her something of a crap shoot these past few weeks with her firing from AMERICA’S GOT TALENT? How about giving Mena Massoud a role, since Disney didn’t seem bothered keeping the Egyptian-Canadian on their radar after his starring role in ALADDIN?

The Mandalorian (“Chapter Four: Sanctuary”)

Season 1, Episode 4
Date of release: November 29, 2019 (Disney+)

It takes two women to direct episodes of THE MANDALORIAN to make the show more interesting for me and to put more story into the narrative. It takes a stand-alone adventure for THE MANDALORIAN to be an entertaining science-fiction spectacle that gives me joy for 39 minutes, and suddenly I’m wishing for the remainder of the show to be like this episode, or at least the remainder of the season. Let the Mandalorian and the child be on the run from all the bounty hunter who want to see the two die, but have them drop into random adventures in each episode, like this is a 1970s or 1980s television drama with a lone hero wandering from town to town and helping the guest characters face their emotional and personified demons I the form of bandits or terrorist or an abusive spouse or something like that. The Mandalorian was like Michael Knight in this episode, dropping into a village with a specifically random problem, which needed to be fought for the villagers to continue living. The Mandalorian and his sidekick-turned-action hero Cara Dune were like the A team, getting together a band of rebels to fight against a force of evil, which essentially pushed THE MANDALORIAN into the premise that makes the Star Wars franchise an entertaining watch: People who have something to fight for win against a force that comes at you to steal some stuff. Who knows, maybe this experience will tell the Mandalorian that he should be fighting against the forces that come for the child, proving once and for all that he is part of the rebellion.

They meet each other as adversaries, they will probably end this show as best friends.

I loved the nature of this episode — you could most likely cut it out of THE MANDALORIAN as a whole and still have the same value of entertainment, but damn, if this wasn’t a fun stand-alone hour of streaming television, showcasing that even the Star Wars franchise can deliver enclosed episodes that are fun and the highlights of the show, as THE X-FILES, SUPERNATURAL and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER have done for almost all of their respective seasons (the latter show’s third season is considered its best, partially due to the quality of the stand-alone episodes of that season). As Disney and Lucasfilm will continue to develop more Star Wars television shows for Disney+, here is the hope that future shows will tone down the highly serialized nature of its premise and deliver fun hours like this every once in a while. Something happens outside of the story the characters were dealing with for episodes, and they take time off to deal with that problem — it turns out when Star Wars is doing that, great episodes do come out of it. This episode is without a doubt the best of THE MANDALORIAN after four episodes, but might also become the best of the entire show, but I guess we will see that in a few years when Disney+ and Jon Favreau end the show with a twist that leads straight to the next Star Wars property on the streaming network.

Cara Dune was a fun character and a solid sidekick for the titular character who could easily make a detour into her own television show, in which she is doing whatever she had to do to land on this planet and live the life of a quiet resistance fighter, ready to jump into action when needed (or persuaded). It helped that Gina Carano, who will always be known to me as Crush (as I have never heard of her before NBC’s 2007 reimagining of AMERICAN GLADIATORS), had charm and her character developed a quick chemistry with the Mandalorian without ever coming over as a potential love interest for him, which could have been a probability, considering Carano is credited as “co-starring” and that means this was most likely not her only appearance. In fact, I was quite happy that Cara tried to convince the Mandalorian to stay and figure something out about life and love with Omera, turning into the Star Wars version of Cupid, which by itself is kind of a funny thought that could reemerge in a later episode. Besides that, the inclusion of Omera brought what the previous three episodes were unable to do: character depth for the titular character.

Cute animals eating other animals is disgusting.

Not that we didn’t know anything about his past and why he does what he does, but there was something dramatic and emotional about the Mandalorian telling the short version of his story to Omera, including Pedro Pascal cracking his voice as if his character is about to start crying under his helmet, showcasing that the Mandalorian has emotion and can be hurt and weakened that way. In the fourth episode of the show, the Mandalorian finally shows what he is made out of and that there is an actual person under that armor and helmet and who this isn’t just another random Star Wars action hero waiting to take his blaster and blow up some stormtroopers and AT-STs. This guy accepts the help in the form of Cara Dune, and he does not shy away from at least teasing what his story is all about, even if it means showing his only weakness. The Star Wars franchise never had a male character who was emotionally opening up like this to another character before, making the Mandalorian the most relatable of all the male characters of the franchise. Which is something I was never expecting to say about THE MANDALORIAN, let alone after four episodes.

All this brings me to say that the show is much better when the Mandalorian interacts with other people, has someone at his side to fight with, maybe even has someone to fight for (not necessarily the child, but maybe someone like Omera). The stakes turn personal and more human when the characters know what they fight for, and THE MANDALORIAN just found out how to put ore humanity into the story. Besides that, all the scenes with the child were freaking cute. Beginning with how he joined the Mandalorian instead of staying on the ship, continuing with him sipping the cup of soup after the Mandalorian and Cara finished fighting (move over, GIF with Michael Jackson eating popcorn while watching what’s unfolding in front of him), and ending with him being the kids’ playdate for most of the second half of the episode. I already knew before this hour that the child was cute, but this episode sealed the deal. Now I want one of my own.

The Mandalorian (“Chapter 3: The Sin”)

Season 1, Episode 3
Date of release: November 22, 2019 (Disney+)

The show had twelve percent of a story during its first two chapters. The central character walked from one action set piece to the next without ever being involved in a narrative of sorts, which either means Jon Favreau wasn’t interested much in a story or the first two chapters could be seen as the pilot of a broadcast network show, which only exists to capture an audience with its visuals and bombastic violence, before they are being enriched with an actual narrative a week later with the second episode. Chapter three of THE MANDALORIAN would actually serve as the second episode of a broadcast network show, because the titular anti-hero found himself in a story, and all of a sudden there is a chance that he will do more than just protect the child for reasons yet to be explained, he will do more than just stumble into the next action set piece (this time he deliberately walked into it). Still, this episode served up some problems, as its short running time still tends to waste valuable minutes — the flashback war scenes during the construction of the Mandalorian’s new armor were essentially a repeat from what we came to see in the first episode, and even the conversation between the Mandalorian and Carl Weathers’ character Greef Karga could have been reconstructed from their first conversation in the opening chapter. THE MANDALORIAN is already short in its episodes and yet it still cannot use the time allotted for a proper, non-repetitive narrative.

The Mandalorian likes to blow walls into doors instead of just using doors.

But this chapter was a lot better than the previous one. This time around the Mandalorian was not spending a third of the episode trying to climb a Jawa rover, playing Batman in the process. He also wasn’t spending a quarter of the episode fighting against an angry animal, even though it was an important battle for the Mandalorian in hindsight, as it established his emotional connection with the child and probably his reasoning for taking him away from the so-called Client and the Stormtroopers who for some reason still wear their uniform even though the Empire is no more (I think I asked myself the same thing when I watched STAR WARS: EPISODE VII — THE FORCE AWAKENS, but who really cares about the answer?). It was the chapter during which the Mandalorian decided to take action and take his fate by the balls, which is hopefully the start off a wonderful story in which the character isn’t just dragging himself from one action set piece to the next again and instead is dealing with something that could be considered a conspiracy. After all, the child is obviously the center of some attention, and with the Mandalorian having taken it, the interested parties could come out of their holes and bring with them a back story that hopefully enriches this show with more than twelve percent of a story.

When Iron Man and the Terminator love each other very much, they have a son…

This episode did have a great moment I did not see coming and during which I whispered a cheerful “Hell yeah.” The Mandalorian was fighting against Karga and his goons all by himself, but them his Mandalorian friends showed up, blasted this street marker this is a Terminator movie and the Mandalorians were the T-800s, showing that the Mandalorian is not fighting this fight alone and that he still has support. Which could also mean the Mandalorians are the target of the post-Empire world now, which could turn this show into another civil-war type television thriller set in a science-fiction world, in which one race has to fight all the others, just because of one decision having been made which the superior folk didn’t like. It would definitely be a better premise than just watching the Mandalorian protect and fight for the child while developing father feelings for it. Okay, maybe the latter part of the current premise is intriguing, but I really wouldn’t want to watch this unfold over the entire season. Something else needs to happen for THE MANDALORIAN to be a worthwhile streaming television show.

The Mandalorian (“Chapter Two: The Child”)

Season 1, Episode 2
Date of release: November 15, 2019 (Disney+)

I sort of adore the running time of these episodes, although maybe I shouldn’t because 28 minutes of THE MANDALORIAN was definitely not enough this time around. If all episodes are cut together, it may function like a full-length feature you could show after you invited your best friends over for a little Star Wars party, but for the sake of being a television show, maybe THE MANDALORIAN is a little too short. Then again, the episodes would be longer if Jon Favreau had decided to add a few more characters into the episodes, let alone a B story or the likes. With those elements, television gets an hour long, but THE MANDALORIAN does not have more than one supporting character per episode (so far) and it does not have a B plot, which begs the question if those were originally included in Favreau’s script, but then cut out without being replaced before production started, or he decided to go up against the established nature and rules of television. THE MANDALORIAN is certainly not the first half-hour television drama that I have seen (that title belongs to HBO’s IN TREATMENT, which warrants a rewatch at one point), but it’s interestingly ballsy to fire up your high-stakes streaming service for which you spent hundreds of billions of dollar for preparing (buying up film studios and tech companies does cost) and then premiere it with a show that doesn’t even bother cracking the 40-minute mark per episode.

Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Batmaaaan!

It took the episode about ten minutes for someone to speak, and it took the Mandalorian a few action scenes to get to where he wanted to be (in space, with the bounty right beside him), which does mean the show is going to take its sweet time to get to where Favreau wants it to be. Two episodes in and we just got off the planet the Jawa call home (are they an interplanetary species or was this indeed Tatooine?), which begs the question how much will actually happen in the narrative and whether the Mandalorian is soon going to fight for baby Yoda’s life, instead of handing him over to Werner Herzog’s character who may or may not be the ultimate villain of this streaming television series. Two episodes in and we don’t even know if the Mandalorian feels something like being the protector of the child or if he still sees it as his mission, as the bounty to exchange for coin. Two episodes in and the only things the show was dealing with was get that bounty and get off the planet. Usually we would be bitching and moaning about how slow and tedious a show is that has a narrative walking such a snail pace, but this is still the Star Wars universe, so I guess we will have to accept Favreau’s decision to take on the story one chapter at a time. What this reminds me of is Stephen King’s novella series he used to put on every once in a while. He didn’t want his readers to go to the end of the book and read the conclusion to his story, so he published a few of his novels like a series, THE GREEN MILE included. Is THE MANDALORIAN just a Stephen King adaptation of the Star Wars universe he never wrote?

Jawa like raw eggs, because they’re always drunk.

Whatever happened in this episode, it was fun to look at. The Mandalorian climbing up the side of the Jawa rover reminded me of the classic BATMAN series, and it was great to see that the weapons master can still be beaten by a bunch of ugly hoodies, although I really have no idea why the Mandalorian even risk going up against the rover and all its inhabitants, considering he was just one man going against god knows how many Jawas. That the Mandalorian would end up back in the sand was quite predictable, even if it was a great picture of the Mandalorian not succeeding in every fight he involves himself in. That the Mandalorian would also run against a monster with a huge horn, which was hovered into the air by the child, was less of a surprise, but it did establish that Yoda’s race is especially prone to using the Force, which does get me a little bit interested about how the Force was established in the Star Wars lore in the first place — where did it come from and who was the first Jedi or Sith? I know that Yoda’s race lives up to many thousands of years, but could they be the constant in the Force mythology of the franchise? Did it all start with Yoda’s race, and they are the reason the Force exists, or still exists, even past Yoda’s own life? Would it mean that as soon as the child is dead, the Force will be gone forever, or unstable enough to affect more than just those who were destined?

Questions upon questions, and to be honest I don’t really want to ask any of them. Favreau better created a more active narrative with the next episode or there might be a problem between me and THE MANDALORIAN. Just because this is Star Wars, it doesn’t mean that it’s automatically the best show on earth (as a Marvel fanboy I wanted this to be the case for AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. in 2013, and boy was I annoyed by the show after two episodes already). Even Star Wars needs a story, and what THE MANDALORIAN currently has is twelve percent of a story. After two episodes that is not nearly enough to get me excited.