Synopsis and Overview
The Mandalorian and his counterpart, Baby Yoda find refuge on a new farming planet called Sorgan. On this planet, Mando and Baby Yoda are trying to lay low for a little while until everything simmers down from Mando’s betrayal of the Bounty Hunter Guild. On this planet, he teams up with an ex-soldier who is also a part of the Guild and they work together to try and protect a village from outside forces.
The music in The Mandalorian (and all-Star Wars) has been the most consistent, and this remains the same for this installment in the inaugural season. Ludwig Goransson has delivered a hit of a score in each of the episodes and when the music of Star Wars is oftentimes as important as the main characters it is important to nail the score and he does just that. The music that he composes helps progress the story along. The music of this show and throughout this episode helps paint a picture of adventure, but also one where a group of individuals is desperate to continue to survive. It is a score that makes everything about this episode just feel like Star Wars and as a fan, that’s all I want.
Cinematography and Visuals
This is another area where The Mandalorian continues to believer at near perfection. It starts with some beautiful underwater color schemes of underwater creatures that for whatever reason made me feel like a little kid watching Star Wars again, I can’t quite explain why though.
The entire forest planet of Sorgan was beautifully constructed and the shot from overhead of the village with it in the middle was so elegant, but stunning to look at. They also did a magnificent job with the scenes that were shot in the dark. Often shots at night can be rather difficult to see, and if they are easy to see it almost doesn’t make the nighttime aesthetic seem authentic, but they nailed it on their first attempt creating a story that took place partly at night. Specifically, there was this one shot of the AT-ST at night that was easily one of my favorite shots in this show, but in recent Star Wars memory.
Another visual aspect that The Mandalorian has nailed time and time again has been the action sequences and close-range fighting. This episode is no different and delivered yet again. The end battle was on par with some of the best action sequences that this show has had so far. I didn’t love the hand to hand combat between Cara Dune and Mando, but it was still up there in quality even if I didn’t love it.
Visually there has been one thing that has bothered me, and it has to do with Baby Yoda. I know, I know, it is Baby Yoda and he is perfect and will never do anything wrong. But sometimes when he is being carried by another adult it looks like it is a doll being carried around and not another creature. Now part of this I like it because they are trying to use a majority of practical effects and want to stay with that idea, but occasionally it looks bad to me. Although it wasn’t as apparent in this episode, it was something that stuck out last week.
I thought that this was the worse written episode in the series so far. I think it lacked in some consistencies story-wise, specifically with Mando and his helmet. He says he cannot take it off in front of people but then proceeds to take his helmet off as soon as Omera leaves the hut he is in and everyone immediately outside his window could see him without the helmet. That whole sequence just did not make a ton of sense to me. There were also some lines of dialogue that Omera (played by Julia Jones) that just seemed out of place and unnatural, but I think this was almost all on the writing because he was great throughout 99% of the episode, just small lapses in the writing here and there.
There were some instances that the writing helped further develop the character of The Mandalorian, which I loved. Something that has been miraculous during the first four episodes is they have written a character that has started to develop depth without ever seeing the face of the character. So much of acting comes from reading the reaction or emotions in the face and although we can’t do that with Mando/Pedro Pascal I found myself understanding what his character might truly want. He delivers some lines that were emotionally driven and hints that at some point he wants to stop his nomadic ways, settle down, and have a family.
Although I was not a fan of some of the writing in this episode, it made up for it with the chemistry of some characters that were newly introduced to this episode. Let’s first talk about Cara Dune played by Gina Carano and she was a home run. Her and Mando hit it off immediately, of course after they fought in the alleyway. Her and Mando had some terrific banter and I want more and more of her character in Star Wars going forward. I can only hope that she makes another appearance down the road because she was legitimately great. She was beautifully written and established a background without having to get away from the main story too much. Although I would love to know more about her and have her as a recurring character throughout this series, I loved what we got so far.
Julia Jones as Omera was another great addition in this episode. Her chemistry with the titular character felt special and sincere to me. I am not one to usually “ship” relationships of on-screen characters, but I am ALL IN for Mando and Omera, or Omando to become an official Star Wars canon couple. They played well off each other and I would love for them to share more screen time later on in this series and raise Baby Yoda on a farm together. Although this probably won’t happen, let me dream. She brought a certain vulnerability out of the Mando character and allowed the audience to see more of his emotional side that was aforementioned.
The third character, or in this case set of characters that added to the chemistry of the cast is the children in the village. Since The Phantom Menace, we have not seen kids in Star Wars just be kids, but we got to see it here with those kids and Baby Yoda. Although it wasn’t a major storyline, it tugged on the heartstrings of how adorable the character of Baby Yoda is. Seeing him play and mess around with all the other children in the village was equal part humorous and cute, and I am on board for more of it in Star Wars at some point.
The thing that arguably bothered me the most in this episode has to be the pacing of it all. It has inconsistent pacing throughout it that made it come off as awkward to me. In the beginning, it was a steady and slow pace and the speeds up and slows down again. Then in the final minutes, it jumps a couple of weeks into the future and this is only known because a character mentions it. At times it just seemed rush which is out of place for Star Wars and this series. Part of this feeling might have to do with how The Clone Wars and Rebels were set up with longer story arcs and The Mandalorian has been pretty close to the opposite jumping from place to place, so maybe it is just the new Star Wars TV norm.
The MVP of this episode has got to representation. Disney Star Wars has done a spectacular job of making sure people who didn’t feel represented before now feel represented in this vast story. This episode did this on multiple levels. It had the second woman to ever direct a live-action Star War in Bryce Dallas Howard. It introduced two strong female characters in Gina Carano and Julia Jones. Jones is also a Native American which I believe is the first time a Native American has had a speaking role in Star Wars before. If you are someone who has been misrepresented before in movies or TV shows you know exactly how important it is to feel represented in your favorite story, and representation in Star Wars is at its highest than ever before. Its importance in Star Wars could not be understated, and it is truly magnificent to see and be a part of. I hope that representation continues to grow because everyone can and should feel a part of this story.
Although this was not my favorite episode so far, I found it very enjoyable still. For the first time since the premiere, I’m not entirely sure where the story goes from here. The first four episodes have built off each other where you can assume more or less what will come next, but for right now I’m not so certain and I like that aspect. This episode had some great new characters that we need more off, another solid score and some great visuals. It suffered from some writing and consistencies, but another solid addition to this young series.
Overall Score: 8.3/10
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