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The Mandalorian: The Mandalorian

“We have you, four to one.”
“I like those odds.”

WHAT A SHOW. I was completely gripped from the moment Mando walked into the cantina in the first sixty seconds. I haven’t been this jazzed about a TV show since Lost was on the air. Jon Favreau certainly knows how to make hits, doesn’t he? Not only did he create The Mandalorian, he wrote and directed this pilot episode. Whatever the X factor is, he’s got it.

I must admit, it is a bit daunting to take on reviewing a show this popular and with such a loyal fan base. I will be the first to admit I’m not the most knowledgeable of Star Wars buffs. I’ve seen all of the movies (the sequential nine episodes and the two stand-alones.) But I have not seen any of The Clone Wars and read very little of the literature. When I watched the movies, I mainly watched for casual enjoyment, and sadly let little details slip right past me. So I’m going to be vastly under-qualified with the bits of trivia. I’m not going to be able to name planets, species, blaster rifles or speeders off the top of my head if they’re not stated outright. I’m asking in advance for you to forgive any Easter eggs I may miss, and if you spot them, feel free to jump in and educate me! Any help would be appreciated. :)

The Mandalorian pilot episode gave us several strong plot lines and memorable characters in the span of just over a half hour. The episodes range from 35 to 40 minutes and they just fly by. The bounty hunters and Yoda are some of Star Wars’ most beloved characters, and how absolutely genius to create a show for further exploration of them.

Mando himself is the epitome of the silent but deadly hero archetype that works so well. I absolutely loved how taciturn and calm he was in several dangerous situations; during the brawl in the cantina, when the ice monster was attacking his ship, confronting the Client and the storm troopers, and of course, the end fight scene. It was mentioned that he was “the best in the parsec” and “very expensive” and the whole episode proved exactly that. He dispatched anywhere from twenty to fifty enemies in this episode alone, with ease and grace. He’s got nifty weapons, armor and accessories out the wazoo- and I’ve always liked the look of the bounty hunters’ helmets in Star Wars. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “hard to read.” Loved when his bounty was trying to barter with him and he just sat there silent. The fight scenes were majorly cool, very sleek. And a dude got chopped in half by a door. That was pretty violent for Disney, but no blood.

And there’s a whole tribe- an underground network of Mandalorians just like him! Women and children too. How unbelievably cool. Is Boba Fett in there?

In this episode, the Empire has fallen, and it appears, recently. That would put this show sometime after Return of the Jedi but before The Force Awakens. That means it was after Rogue One and Solo as well. (And The Clone Wars, I’m assuming, from context?)

We’ve got an intriguing supporting character, Greef Carga, played by Carl Weathers, who it seems has some position of power in the Bounty Hunters’ Guild. He was handing out the spiffy fobs and pucks. Pucks (that held information on bounties) were scarce because no one wanted to pay steep Guild rates. No puck for Mando’s newest quarry.

It’s implied all this is taking place on the Outer Rim where there is not much jurisdiction. Perfect place for something like the Bounty Hunters’ Guild to thrive. The Client had imperial allegiance and four ragged storm troopers that were about to suffer untimely deaths from Mando. And a Doctor Pershing, who we can only assume is interested in the bounty. I know he’s undoubtedly evil but I rather liked the Client, from what we saw of him. Very good acting there. He preferred the bounty alive but would have accepted termination as well. And he was offering a camtono of beskar as payment.

In the scene where the female Mandalorian blacksmith is making Mando’s shoulder plate, she mentions how the beskar was taken during the Great Purge and belongs back with the tribe- the Client said much the same thing. It appears beskar is very valuable and no wonder- it’s very strong. What all can it deflect? My husband, Andrew, pointed out, in the final fight scene, Mando is blasted right in the shoulder and is completely unhurt. Looks super sleek too.

There’s a serious shortage of names in the pilot episode so forgive me for the shortage here. The Ugnaught was extremely likable and alluded to the fact that his people only wanted peace. Peace that was being disrupted by the outfit holding Mando’s quarry and so he saved Mando with some high powered taser darts and helped him learn how to ride Blurg before leading him to his destination. Being a Mandalorian comes with perks, I see. Mando’s reputation precedes him.

And finally, we have Mando and a bounty droid, IG-11, working together to clear the outpost before discovering a Baby Yoda. We know it’s not Yoda because he died long before where we’re at chronologically, but it’s a baby of the same species, even though it’s fifty years old. Makes sense when we know that Yoda lived for hundreds of years. I believe this is the first time we’ve seen another of his species- at least in the movies. I’m at a loss as to what the species is called. He was certainly cute, and more than that, completely interesting. What are we going to see from Baby Yoda? What are we going to learn about the species? Oh, the possibilities!

And Mando just went off script and terminated IG-11 to save Baby Yoda before sharing a moment with him. He clearly was not expecting a baby. Which is strong evidence that he has a conscience. That scene where their fingers are almost touching is sure to be iconic in later years.

Interesting details and tidbits:

Mando’s ship is a Razor Crest, pre-Empire.

The blue fish looking guy, Mando’s first bounty, was a Mytherol, and talked about “evacuation.” Yuck. He also mentioned “Life Day.” I looked it up. It’s a holiday that started on the Wookiee’s home planet and extended across the Galaxy.

The Mandalorians used to ride mythosaurs. There was a sigil of one above the entrance to the Mandalorian local blacksmith.

Mando is generous. He gave his excess beskar to sponsor foundlings. Because he was a foundling. We saw flashbacks of what we can only assume to be his parents carrying him as a child during what looked like an invasion- the Great Purge?- before locking him in a storm cellar to keep him safe.

It's rumored that Mandalorians don’t take off their helmets. And in the underground network, they were all wearing their helmets, including the children.

Subtitles said the creatures in the cantina in the opening scene were speaking Huttese.

There were three planets in this episode, all unnamed. The first was an ice planet- Hoth, maybe? There was a planet that looked a little like earth where the Guild was. And then a desert planet. Tattooine?

Imperial credits “still spend” but aren’t preferred. I didn’t catch what Greef offered him after that- Disney Plus’ subtitles are a little fritzy. But he could only pay half, and Mando reluctantly accepted.

Mando froze his bounties in carbonite and then hung them in his ship like hangers in a closet. We also see carbonite in The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo is frozen and sold to Jabba the Hutt.

The Client gave Mando a tracking fob, the last four digits of the chain code, and the last reported position of Baby Yoda. No puck. And now we have an idea of why the (fallen) Empire wanted the bounty so much.

Who exactly was holding Baby Yoda? We’re not told. It can’t be the Empire because it wouldn’t have employed Mando to steal the bounty back from itself. It didn’t look like the Republic either, though I guess it could have been. Process of elimination says not the Guild either. So who? Unaffiliated mercenaries?

Who employed IG-11? He was given a clear order to terminate but Mando was not. Although they were both part of the Guild.

IG-11 quoted subsection paragraph 16 of the Bounty Guild Protocol Waiver to “immediately produce said asset.” Does that mean the ones holding Baby Yoda were bounty hunters as well? Who would have to adhere to a Bounty Hunters Guild treatise except other bounty hunters?

Mando’s signet has not yet been revealed.

Mando has a fire jet and a harpoon gun on his forearm armor. And he used his down payment from the Client for a shiny new beskar shoulder plate. His gun is an Amban sniper rifle that also apparently functions as a taser as well. I know the name of the weapon because my husband plays Fortnite. In the game the rifle is mythical- a tier above any other weapon in the game. Sounds about right.

Blurg males are eaten during mating.

Mando does not like droids. He even took a slower speeder to avoid them. We’re not told why. I'm sure that will come into play later.

The musical score in this show is just outstanding. And easily recognizable.

Love the sketches during the credits at the end of the episode.

Feel free to jump in with anything I may have missed!

Memorable quotes and moments:


The Client: “The beskar belongs back in the hands of the Mandalorian. It is good to restore the natural order of things after a period of such disarray.”

Ugnaught: “I have never met a Mandalorian. I have only read the stories. If they are true, you will make quick work of them. There will again be peace.”

IG-11: “I have already issued the writ of seizure. The bounty is mine.”
Mando: “Unless I am mistaken, you are as of yet empty-handed.”
IG-11: “This is true.”
Mando: “I have a suggestion.”
IG-11: “Proceed.”
Mando: “We split the reward.”
IG-11: “This is acceptable.”

IG-11: “I will of course accept the reputation merits associated with the mission.”
Mando: “Can we talk about this later?”
This was funny, and also interesting. A droid caring about a reputation. Huh.

Ugnaught: “Many have passed through. They seek the same one as you.”
Mando: “Did you help them?”
Ugnaught: “Yes. They died.”
Mando: “Then I don’t know if I want your help.”
This was said with little trace of humor but I laughed out loud.

Mando: “I don’t have time for this. You have a land speeder or a speeder bike I can hire?”
Ugnaught: “You are a Mandalorian. Your ancestors rode the great mythosaur. Surely you can ride this young Blurg.”
That was quite the pep talk.

Ugnaught: “I have spoken.”
And this already has become a major part of pop culture. Jon Favreau is very good at coming up with lines that everyone will be quoting. This line is already on T-shirts and coffee mugs.

The Client: “He said you were the best in the parsec... He also said you were expensive. Very expensive.”

IG-11: “Species age differently. Perhaps it could live many centuries.”
And we know this to be true, from the Star Wars movies.

Mando: “I can bring you in warm, or I can bring you in cold.”
And he brought him in cold.

Andrew made a humorous point; that it might be harder to find quotes from The Mandalorian than it would from other TV shows because Mando’s not exactly the talkative type. But Mando’s actions speak volumes, of course.

Pretty much flawless pilot episode. And now we’re salivating for the rest.

Four out of four beskar shoulder plates,
Valkyrie

5 comments:

Samantha M. Quinn said...

I remember all the way back to last year. Mando was the only new content on Disney+ and I was wondering why I spent money on the service, and was happy to finally have something great to watch (older Disney content is fine, and I have done two MCU re-watches already). I'm not terribly fond of Season 1 of Mando overall, but this was a good start.

Mando starts off as what we would expect, a cold ruthless bounty hunter. Not someone you would expect to make the choice he does at the end of the episode.

The Blacksmith is played by Emily Swallow who also played Amara on Supernatural.

The Ugnaught is voiced by none other than Nick Nolte.

Thank you for the review!

Billie Doux said...

Valkyrie, I'm so happy that you're going to give us coverage of what is clearly a popular geek show.

I'll admit I'm having trouble getting into it, possibly because I'm more of a Star Trek person than a Star Wars person, but I'm going to give it another try.

Mierzwiak said...

"I believe this is the first time we’ve seen another of his species- at least in the movies."

In "The Phantom Menace" there was "female Yoda" in the Jedi Council:

https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Yaddle

sunbunny said...

I need to watch this. I'm a Star Wars newbie, having only seen A New Hope and some Clone Wars but Baby Yoda is just so ding dang cute.

Valkyrie30 said...

Thank you Mierzwiak!! That’s utterly fascinating and something that completely went over my head. I’ll have to rewatch the movies soon!

Billie, thank you! I’m honored to cover it. I know Star Trek vs Star Wars is a fierce debate! I enjoy them both. I think Mando is a very fun show :)

Thank you for the notes Samantha! I was surprised when I first learned the Ugnaught is Nick Nolte- how cool is that??

And sun bunny- Mando is a great show! And baby Yoda is adorable!!