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The Mandalorian: Sanctuary

“So we’re basically running off a bunch of raiders for lunch money?”

This, in my opinion, was the first weak episode of the series. How many times have we seen this plot line been done before? Too many to count. But at least we’re now past the requisite “Why doesn’t the hero settle down and retire?” question.

Unfortunately this episode was so heavy handed with the clichés, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Peaceful village is attacked by raiders. Warrior comes in and manages to teach villagers to fight in a matter of days. Villagers conquer and happily return to their quiet lives now with the rep of not to be messed with. They even had the shot of the children hunkered down in fear in a hut. That battle was rather quick for farmers turned newly minted soldiers to defeat a band of raiders and an Imperial Walker. Especially considering one of the farmers didn’t even know to hold the pointy end of the spear first, a few days prior. Speaking of which, why were they being trained with sticks if Mando was basically a walking gun store? I felt like what Cara was teaching them, any individual with a little common sense could learn on his own. But apparently not.

I think the romance irked me even more, however. I just knew Omera was going to be the only good shot even before she hit the pan. There was nothing about this romance that was believable for me; some shows spend multiple seasons setting up a romance, and getting us on board for one in the space of a half hour is asking a lot- too much, even. Especially when it involves said hero retiring. That seemed pretty brazen of Omera to reach for Mando’s helmet. She’s known him for how long? Does she not know what a Mandalorian is?

I know, it wasn’t about the romance itself, it was about Mando. What would he choose, given the choice between the life he leads and a peaceful, idyllic, quiet farming life with a wife and a couple of kids?

The problem is, I don’t think we needed an episode to establish that; it’s already been established. He’s already chosen. He hasn’t taken the helmet off since he was a kid, and he even said that, in case she (and we) needed it spelled out. Which we didn’t. Mando didn’t become the best in the parsec by taking his helmet off every time an attractive woman asks. (Andrew commented that it would have been great if he had responded “This is NOT the Way” when she tried to take it off. I would have preferred that.)

I think I just put my finger on why this episode annoyed me; I felt like it didn’t give the audience enough credit.

Okay, I’m done griping. Despite the runaway clichés, this episode wasn’t all bad though. I absolutely loved the introduction of Cara Dune. She was strong, smart, capable and still a bit of a softie. She had been a drop soldier for the rebellion and gave Mando a run for his money in that initial encounter. She stuck up for the farmers, even though she had seen what Walkers can do. And she even had Mando’s back in the end scene when he had his guard dropped. I hope this isn’t the last we see of her.

There was also a bit more comedy in this one. I laughed out loud several times, especially when the bartender didn’t catch Mando was trying to bribe her. And when the Child was sipping soup and watching Cara and Mando duke it out, the equivalent of eating popcorn. It was nice seeing the Child frolic with his new playmates.

And it wasn’t like this episode was hard to watch. The planet was gorgeous, and the village life very peaceful.

I’m ready to get back to meatier episodes now, though.

Interesting details and tidbits:

The planet was called Sorgan. It had no star ports or industrial centers. Mando called it a “backwater skug hole.” He changed his mind pretty quickly on that.

The raiders were Klatoounians, according to trusty subtitles.

Loved the scene of the Child slowly reaching to touch a button while looking Mando straight in the eyes after Mando just told him not to. Bryce Dallas Howard, who directed this episode, must have kids. Mando called the Child a “womp rat.”

There was a fuzzy cat looking thing at the bar. I’m not sure what species it was. The bartender mentioned making a “porringer” of bone broth from a “grinjer.” The villagers brewed “spotchka.”

Is the Child underage? He’s fifty years old, but a baby. Must be a nightmare carding him. :)

Mando had high tech thermal vision tracking Cara’s footsteps, and then they just stopped. Come on. Even I knew she was above him.

Cara mopped up after Endor, took down ex-Imperial war lords, and “retired” early after protecting delegates and suppressing riots. She had a tattoo band on her right arm.

I thought it was funny Cara attacked Mando because she thought he had a fob on her.

The villagers were able to rebuild their village awfully fast from raids with an Imperial Walker. Hard to believe they hadn’t been wiped out or relocated by that point.

AT-ST. All Terrain Scout Transport. Imperial Walker.

The Mandalorians took care of Mando after his parents were killed. He hadn’t taken off his helmet in front of anyone since he was a child. If he ever does, he can never put it back on again. Though he takes it off by himself to eat. What about when he sleeps?

The raiders didn’t notice the villagers going through boot camp and building barricades? And did it ever explain how the raiders had an Imperial Walker? I don’t think it did.

What was in the bubbling vats? The krill they stole?

Mando was going to leave the Child with the village to have a happy life. Right before a bounty hunter nearly sniped him. Did Mando forget that the entire Guild has fobs on the Child?

Cara saw the Walkers take down entire troops of soldiers and didn’t know they were intelligent? Or had they been upgraded in the few years since the Rebellion? I don’t know, that one looked like it had been out in the woods for a while. I’m having a little trouble with the plot holes in this one, can you tell?

Mando, the man who has never taken his helmet off in front of anyone for any reason, took his helmet off in front of a WIDE OPEN WINDOW where there were a bunch of kids playing. And a wide open front door. Or was there even a front door? I think that’s the threshold of my suspension of disbelief.

Am I being too harsh? Maybe I wouldn’t have been quite so disappointed with this one if the first three episodes had not set such a high standard. Or maybe I feel like an episode like this would have worked a lot better down the road. Not right out the gate. Maybe that’s just me.

Memorable quotes and moments:

Mando: “What’s her business here?”
Bartender: “Business? Well there’s not much business on Sorgan, so I can’t say. She doesn’t strike me as a log runner... *Mando throws bribe money on table* Well thank you sir, I will get that broth to you as soon as possible and I will throw in a flagon of spotchka for good measure!”

Cara: “Well this has been a real treat. But unless you want to go a second round, one of us is going to have to move on, and I was here first.”
Mando (to the Child): “Looks like this planet is taken.”

Mando: “Want some soup?”

Mando: “I can’t imagine there’s anything living in these trees that an ex shock trooper can’t handle.”
Knock on wood.

Mando: “Bad news. You can’t live here anymore.”
Villager: “What?!”
Cara: “Nice bedside manner.”

Omera: “You can pack this all away, in case there’s trouble.”
Again, oddly contradictory to the previous episode. That was a full suit of beskar that he just risked life and limb to get. The richest reward in the parsec, if I recall correctly. Not to mention his tribe bestowed it on him right before they sacrificed everything to join his battle.

Mando: “I don’t belong here.”
I don’t think the Child did either. Lest we forget, he lifted a full grown Mudhorn with the Force. Mando saw it too.

Despite the pleasant environment, the gorgeous scenery, and the introduction of the wonderful Cara, this one wasn’t all that good. Too heavy on the clichés for me, and a few too many plot holes.

Two out of four pointy sticks,
Valkyrie

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Valkyrie, you're not being at all hard on this episode. I had the same reaction. It was just too, too predictable.

Valkyrie30 said...

Whew, that’s a relief, Billie! :)