Still looking to make some money while keeping his young ward safe, the Mandalorian takes a job offered to him by an old friend, Ran. However, when he learns that the job is to break a prisoner out of a New Republic transport ship he’s reluctant to accept it. Things get worse when he has to surrender control of his ship to one of the other mercenaries hired to be a part of the “rescue” team, while another is a Twi’lek woman whom he once had a relationship with.
With an uneasy alliance with the mercenaries in place, and with the risk of becoming an enemy of the New Republic becoming greater all the time, the pressure is on for the job to go smoothly. But there’s no honour amongst the thieves and assassins, and the truth about the Mandalorian’s recent actions will come back to haunt him as he confronts enemies both old and new…
At this stage, some may be wondering if the story of The Mandalorian is truly progressing or if the excitement has finally worn off revealing the show’s average nature. So let’s get something straight here:
This is a fun, fantastic episode.
Is it great? No, not really. The story itself is a pretty by-the-numbers heist. There’s nothing massively original going on in that department and, on the surface, it’s another filler episode until we return to the bigger picture. But even if it is filler, it’s still an enjoyable adventure which looks great and flows smoothly even despite being a “bottle” show. More demanding fans may be clamouring for something more intricate, but this is still Star Wars. As such, it works best telling simpler stories that are told well.
And when it comes to the execution, this episode nails it. The fight scenes, while brief, go from zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye; the casting is excellent again, with enough fan-favourite cult legends (Lex Luthor, one of HP’s Order of the Phoenix, and an IT Crowd star?!) to satisfy plenty of viewers and they’re all in great form; a few Easter eggs and in-jokes for the hardcore fans; possibly the most image-defining visuals of the Mandalorian himself (in a glorious moment reminiscent of Alien), Baby Yoda, and even the Razor Crest, to date; and, most importantly, it captures the real vibe of the Star Wars universe.
It’s that last fact in particular that really sells this episode.
It’s completely believable that this story can happen and that these characters exist well within the greater tale. Once more, it isn’t just that things look right, but they feel right too. It’s a valid point that the polish may be wearing off on The Mandalorian as being a shiny new show, but then we’re still not quite sure as to exactly what kind of show this is anyway. Is it meant to be an in-depth tale? If so, how is it meant to be told? Remember, a weekly Star Wars show is exploring new territory… and at a time when recent movies have told us there’s too much Star Wars out there, it seems almost contradictory. That this show is doing what some of the latest movies have failed to and connect with audiences, that’s an achievement in itself.
Getting back to the episode, it’s easy to judge it as a throwaway stand-alone instalment… albeit a highly entertaining one. But there’s more to it than just action, some jokes about stormtrooper’s lousy aim, more baby Yoda cuteness and a solid heist story; there’s more of the Mandalorian’s backstory and his culture to unpack here, with some purposefully cryptic – and possibly contradictory – information being revealed, raising suspicions as to the true identity of the character. It may not be the most lore-heavy episode, but there’s also a lot being said between the lines.
Yes, this episode can be dismissed as nothingness. But if you’re a fan of Star Wars and this show so far, it should bring a smile to your face even if you’re getting used to the luxury of weekly adventures from a galaxy far, far away. Will it play a part in a bigger picture? Possibly… but would it be so bad even if it doesn’t? For now, enjoy it for what it is: an entertaining adventure.
The Mandalorian: Episode 6
Small in scale but big in impact.