This is the first episode of The Mandalorian I would call legitimately scary.
It opens as normal, with a non sequitur sequence that orients Mando with the viewer. This particular non sequitur involves Carl Weathers character, Greef Karga, making a reappearance. He describes to Mando a plan to allow him to keep the baby while also destroying the Imperial bounty assigner, in the process. Two birds with one stone. Easy, right? As we find out, no, not at all.
Mando circles back and reunites all his friends from earlier in the season. He pays a visit to Gina Carano’s character, Cara Dune, and rescues her from a bar fighting abyss on Sorgan. After the baby nearly destroys Mando’s ship, Dune rightly asserts they need someone to “watch that thing.” Mando’s second fly-by takes him to Arvala-7, the home of Kuiil, his Ugnaught friend. It turns out, Kuiil has salvaged and reprogrammed IG-11, the hunter droid from Episode 1. Mando explains his plight to Kuiil, and he agrees to join Mando’s journey, bringing along the droid (MUCH to Mando’s dismay) and three blurrgs.
This leads to what was the (unintentionally) funniest and also most alarming moment of the episode. During an innocent arm wrestling match between Dune and Mando, the baby perceives Mando as being in danger. The baby raises its hand and proceeds to legit Force choke Dune. I was watching the episode in actual shock. “How did they let this in the episode?” I thought. It led to a bit of a stand-off with all the characters, but everyone walked away on good terms.
Once they finally land on Nevarro, Mando’s crew meets up with Karga’s crew, and the entire situation is immediately tense. After a bit of back-and-forth about what they plan to do, the combined group takes off and heads toward town.
The “team” has to camp overnight on the way to their destination. This is where the episode takes a considerable dip into horror. They’re sitting around in the dark, and after a bit of chit-chat, Karga says, for some unfathomable reason, “What could go wrong?” At that moment, a shrieking Pterodactyl-like creature comes barreling out of the darkness and steals food right out of Karga’s hand. Everyone reaches for their blasters and shots begin going off. I’m thinking, “Whoa.. that was scary,” but the scene was far from done. More Pterodactyl’s come in and one picks up and takes away one of Karga’s team members. Another one tries to take one of Kuiil’s blurrgs! This was something straight out of Pitch Black. I was legitimately shaken up, a bit. After the dust settles, the group discovers Karga has been slashed and poisoned by one of the beasts. The situation turns desperate as Dune asks for another medipac but the team has none. Karga looks like he’s on the way out when the baby walks up, hand outstretched. It touches Karga and immediately heals his wound. Everyone is left in wonder and awe at this revelation.
The rest of the episode leads the group to the town, where the situation turns truly disastrous. I don’t want to give away too much (even though this is a spoiler review), but the rest is honestly unsettling.
I’m loving the writing on this show. Can’t wait till next week!
–The Cavalier Nerd