TL;DR – A bit of a disjointed episode, but still with the flashes of joy that this series has nailed.
The Mandalorian Review –
Well, when we last left you in Chapter 16 (The Rescue), we were at a high point for the series, where they made a significant creative decision that would have ramifications throughout any future show. Or at least, that is what we thought at the time, and then The Book of Boba Fett sort of became The Mandalorian season 2.5 and then backslid on all that growth. For the first time I can remember, I started this week with more than a bit of trepidation, which was not completely gone when the end credits rolled.
So to set the scene, after The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) found the Jedi and completed his quest of returning Grogu to his people, he found himself at a loss as to what to do. But in The Book of Boba Fett: Chapter 5 (Return of The Mandalorian), he found The Armourer (Emily Swallow) and discovered a new calling, one of redemption. Because he once removed his helmet, he is now an exile from his people. The fact that it was for a noble reason was not good enough to break his sacred oath. Now he needs to bathe in the waters under the mines of Mandalore. The only problem is that The Empire glassed the planet altogether, leaving it poisoned … or maybe not. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
This was always going to be a bit of an awkward episode because it had the legacy of deciding just what would explain all the plot building it did in between seasons on a different show. And its answer was to say nothing and hope that you watched it, which is a bold choice, and I am not sure how well that will go. It is also odd because we get a bit of a weird jumble of plot points with a vague follow-through, but they don’t quite come together as a whole.
Before I start sounding a little bit dour, I want to clarify that there were some fascinating highlights this week. The episode is bookended by action scenes, the giant turtle/crocodile fight at the start, and I hope they cut that thing open at the end because some of those fighters got swallowed whole. Then towards the back of the show, we got a dogfight among the asteroids the Belters were mining between our heroes and a bunch of pirates. That last one was an absolute delight because it incorporated every strength of the show in one sequence. Also, it is always a joy when Carl Weathers shows up.
As the title of this week’s chapter, The Apostate, makes clear, this is going to be a season of redemption, and I don’t just think it will Mando that this applies to given Katee Sackhoff got a bump up to staring this season. There is a lot of groundwork you can do as a theme, and the planet of Mandalore holds enough mystery that I am enticed to see how it goes. This week also showed us the strength of existing in the Star Wars universe when you know who to play with the toys you have been given. We got to see some of that this week in the shadows during hyperspace and the delightful inclusion of some Anzellan droidsmiths who were single-handedly the best things to come out of The Rise of Skywalker.
In the end, do we recommend The Mandalorian: Chapter 17 (The Apostate)? Yes, we do. On the one hand, it is just lovely that we are getting two shows with Pedro Pascal being delightful each week. I would be concerned that he would be typecast if he didn’t also do The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent simultaneously. This did feel like a more disjointed episode, but that could just be all the different threads it was putting into motion. Only time will tell.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Mandalorian
Directed by – Rick Famuyiwa
Written by – Jon Favreau
Created by – Jon Favreau
Based On – Star Wars by George Lucas
Production/Distribution Companies – Lucasfilm, Golem Creations & Disney+
Starring – Pedro Pascal & Katee Sackhoff with Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Brendan Wayne & Lateef Crowder and Tait Fletcher, Wesley Kimmel, Parvesh Cheena, Taika Waititi, Marti Matulis & Nonso Anozie
I enjoyed the episode as I was just glad to see Mando and Grogu again as well as Carl Weathers and Katee Sackhoff again. It’s just the first episode of the first season as I was glad there is some action and suspense as I’m eager to see what the rest of the season will do.
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