**Disclaimer: From this point forward, all my reviews will contain spoilers. I’ve tried doing “non-spoiler” reviews and covering what actually happens during the production is almost impossible. Plus, these are more fun to write.. and, probably, read. Happy nerding!**
The Mandalorian. In theory, this production represents the main thing I disdain about modern media sensibilities—the “mid-quel.”
This is the idea of throwing in some sort of content between main numbered entries of a series, with the understanding that as long as the characters involved don’t survive past the end of the run, the creators can safely say whatever events occurred “happened.”
I believe the proper term for this technique is “cashing in.” When I first went to see Rogue One, (an admittedly enjoyable film), I realized during the first scene that I need not get too invested in the characters, because, à la Star Wars Episode IV, I literally KNEW they would not be alive past the end of the film. This is my disposition going into any type of mid-quel media product.
However.. enter, The Mandalorian.
The thing with The Mandalorian is that it’s good—really good. My favorite episode is still Chapter 2, “The Child,” where the baby Yoda-like creature (yes, I purposely did not call him “Baby Yoda”) uses the Force on the mudhorn. That being said, this episode is right up there. It captures every element of what makes media entertaining, and it does so with astounding quality and engagement.
The basic plot of the episode involves Mando (the titular Mandalorian) visting an old friend. The “friend” only lets Mando dock his ship on the port because he needs Mando’s ship for a mission. The episode progresses, and many twists, turns, and generous amounts of action follow the opening.
A few things make this episode stand out. First, the cameos. I like cameos. The completely out-of-nowhere appearances of Mark Boone, Jr. and Bill Burr enhanced the episode. Cameos are best when they’re not too overt, or, on the other side, ham-handed. These both nailed that sweet spot of, “Ohhhh, he’s in this!” to awesome effect.
Second.. the action. This episode doubled, and tripled, down on all the skills Mando has demonstrated, and been raised to urban legend-status for, during the course of the series. Everyone involved deserves commendation. The director, Rick Famuyiwa, Jon Favreau, himself, the writers, the fight choreographers, the stuntmen, and, the actual Mandlorian, Pedro Pascal. These fight scenes were superlative.
One of this series main benefits is that is has someone working on it who has worked on comic book properties before—the man himself, Jon Favreau. This man directed Iron Man, and it shows. These actions scenes are tailor-made for a comic book fan’s enjoyment. They take elements of intellectualism, tactics, and pure awesomeness that only a legitimate fan of comic books would be able to conceptualize—and this is Jon Favreau. This is part of The Mandolorian’s magic.
A couple wrap-up points:
- They’ve been hinting at it for a while, but this episode fully elevates Mando to a Batman-like tier. Watch the episode to see what I’m speaking about.
- I don’t know if Disney can hear this, but thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the week-to-week episode release format. They tuned in to the fact that releasing 13 episodes at once destroys the mysticism that made shows what they were when we were kids. I’m re-experiencing that genuine sense wonder from having to wait to watch an episode week-to-week. Arigato, Disney.
- Fun fact: the stunt double for Mando is John Wayne’s grandson, Brendan Wayne. I’ll go ahead and wait while you process that (I’m still processing, as well).
I’m genuinely enjoying this series, and it has turned out to be the perfect launch property for Disney+. Can’t wait till next week!
–The Cavalier Nerd