TelevisionTalks: The Mandalorian
The shows been out for a little while now with the final episode coming out at the end of 2019. I considered doing episode by episode reviews, but because the first season was so short, I felt like it would be easier to wait. And now that it’s all out, it’s something that can be easily binged.
This review is going to contain spoilers, though, Disney hasn’t tried that hard not to spoil things. So the big reveal, you probably already know about. The rest of the stuff will be discussing the plot for the show, so definitely going to be spoilers in that, but I think compared to some shows, Game of Thrones, spoilers don’t matter as much for the Mandalorian, and I’ll talk about why I think that as well.
So, what’s the plot of the Mandalorian?
We meet in the first episode a Mandalorian bounty hunter, simply referred to as Mando. He’s good at his job as a bounty hunter, but he gets an off the book job from a former empire man to bring in an asset, which happens to be a baby, a 50 year old baby. The same species as Yoda, but that species doesn’t have a name, so hence forth he’ll just be known as Baby Yoda. Mando gets some help retrieving the asset, and he brings him back to the empire man (this takes place after episode 6 of the Skywalker Saga) and into the hands of a cloner. However, he doesn’t feel good about it and ends up stealing him back. He then has to go on the run with Baby Yoda and comes across parts of his old life as well as a former Rebel shock trooper. When bounty hunters are still coming after him and Baby Yoda, he ends up having to go back at finish what he started, taking out the stormtroopers, but there are more now, and things go sideways. Getting help from the friends he’s made along the way, they manage to escape with Baby Yoda and the bounty has been taken care of, but things aren’t good as we see the new big bad guy has survived his TIE Fighter crash.
This show is actually pretty easy to summarize because the plot isn’t that complex. Where the show shines is how it can create great episodes that are a lot of filler but still turn them into something interesting. Now, I’m sure not everyone will think that, but when we meet Cara Dune, the former Rebel Shock Trooper, it’s a filler episode. So, there are a few things that are important during those episodes, but nothing that is extremely important. They are just very thematically nice and they have a very space western feel to them. In fact, the whole series relies heavily on the space western feel and it does it really well. It feels very Star Wars, and it manages to do that without invoking any of the recognizable characters. Sure, there is an IG unit and a few things we’ve seen before, but nobody major. There isn’t a CGI Luke in the background of some scene, so there is one episode where they end up in the Cantina on Tatooine.
Besides that very Star Wars feel to the show, they do a good job with the characters as well. Mando, Pedro Pascal, does a great job in the lead. He’s meant to be more a focused character and they do a good job of him having his code. The supporting characters, in particular IG-11, Greef Karga, and Cara Dune are all well done. I haven’t always been a huge fan of Gina Carano as an actress, I thought she was okay in Deadpool, but in this show, she does a good job as Cara Dune. Carl Weathers as Greef Karga, the head of the local bounty hunters, does a good job, and he just carries himself in a way that you can understand his history. But really the show is about two characters, Mando and Baby Yoda. And Baby Yoda, just as a puppet and CGI character is done really well. You can feel that Baby Yoda is a puppet at times in a good way, because the other characters interact with them better.
Now, I did say that I was going to talk briefly why I don’t think spoilers are a massive Mandalorian concern. Mainly it’s because the plot is pretty simple. There is a big reveal at the end of episode one when he finds out that his bounty that he’s bringing in is Baby Yoda, but beyond that, the show doesn’t take massive risks in the plot. That isn’t a bad thing though because they really focus on the quality of each episode, and it is very high. Also, because the episodes are so short, they can even more focus down on the quality. That was a complaint that I’ve heard from some, that the episodes were too short, but I like it for binging (which I didn’t do), but I also like it because it allowed them to really focus the story. Even the filler episodes didn’t try and do too much and just told a good focused story.
For me, was there anything wrong with the show? I don’t think that there was. Like I’ve been talking about, I think the plot is focused enough, the storytelling is tightly done. I can see why people would want longer episodes, because how well the aesthetic and storytelling are handled, but I feel like some of what makes the Mandalorian work could have been lost if it had been changed into a slightly longer format. Maybe they could have tied in the filler episodes better, but I really liked those episodes and a couple of them were up there for being my favorite episodes of the show.
So, I think the final thing to talk about is the future of the show. When the last episode was released, it was announced that there would be a 2nd Season coming this year. I’m definitely looking forward to that very much, so what sort of storylines might we be looking at? We definitely haven’t seen the last of the new big bad, Moff Gideon and his dark saber. I also think that Mando has been given the task of finding where Baby Yoda belongs, so which of those two things is going to be focus. I suspect it might be more Baby Yoda focused again with Moff Gideon harassing them, and then if/when there is a third season, that is more Moff Gideon focused. But that’s just 100% speculation on my behalf. I think that makes the more interesting story instead of stretching out a more direct confrontation with Moff Gideon who seems like a big bad who they want to keep around for a while, and just have hims survive multiple times.
Those are my thoughts on The Mandalorian. I really liked the show and I think that it’s up there with the original trilogy in terms of Star Wars material. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Did you like it? Did you have any major issues with it? What stood out to you about it?
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