The disappointing length of last week's episode of "The Mandalorian" sparked some frustration among fans, us included. However, this week's installment, titled "The Sin," is a similarly short 36 minutes, which gives rise to a new theory;
Both "Star Wars Rebels" and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" animated spin-off series, for example, were approximately half an hour in length ("Mandalorian" writer Dave Filoni worked on both). So, perhaps "The Mandalorian" was never intended to have hour-long or even 45-minute episodes — ”Star Wars” fans just assumed. And there was never any official confirmation of the new show's running time, so perhaps the best way to regard "The Mandalorian" going forward is that it's going to be more ... "bite-sized" than we originally anticipated.
That's not to say we're not enjoying it ... there's just not as much of it as we'd hoped for. Adjust your expectations accordingly and you'll be fine.
Anyway, we last saw the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) finally able to leave the planet where he acquired his bounty, the cute and adorable "baby Yoda," or the Child, as he's being referred to officially. We've also since found out that the planet was Arvala-7 (and thankfully not Tatooine). This is interesting as both are located in the Outer Rim Territories and both have a thriving population of Jawas, indicating the small-scale scavenger race is spread out across the region.
As his Razor Crest spacecraft streaks toward the planet where the Client (Werner Herzog) awaits, the Mandalorian bonds a little more the incredibly cute and adorable Child, and we suspect already that our antihero might not be able to give the Child up as easily as he'd like to be able to.
Upon arriving and walking through the streets of the spaceport with the Child fully visible in the floating orb/crib — perhaps not the most sensible of ideas — he heads straight to see the Client. Once inside, Imperial Stormtroopers take the orb/crib, and the creepy Dr.
Mengele Pershing (Omid Abtahi) is thrilled that the quarry is alive.
The Client produces the promised "camtono" of Beskar, which fans might recognize as the computer memory core that Willrow Hood carried in "The Empire Strikes Back." Perhaps the now-legendary prop that was originally a Hamilton Beach 4-quart capacity ice cream maker was just a container for Hood's computer core and not the core itself, as the camtono the Client has is full of the rare Mandalorian iron, Beskar.
The Mandalorian asks what will be done with the Child, but the Client reminds him such questions are prohibited by the Bounty Hunter's Guild and says that their business is concluded. Clearly not feeling 100% comfortable with the outcome, our antihero leaves and makes his way to the secret Mandalorian sanctuary and presents his impressive cache of Beskar to the Armorer (Emily Swallow). Other Mandalorian warriors gather and look on, and we get a little insight into their culture.
The alpha-Mandalorian in the room — who looks like the product of a marriage twixt Boba Fett and War Machine — takes exception to the fact that these Beskar ingots are spoils from "Great Purge" and came from an Imperial smelt. And our Mandalorian (whose name may or may not be Din Jarrin) has obviously been working with Imperial scum.
"The Empire is no longer and the Beskar has been returned," the Armorer preaches. "When one chooses to walk the way of the Mandalore, you are both hunter and prey. How can one be a coward if one chooses this way of life?
"Have you ever removed your helmet?" she asks the Mandalorian.
"No," he replies.
"Has it ever been removed by others?"
"This is the way," she says.
And every Mandalorian in the room repeats the phrase. "This is the way," they say in unison.
Once the testosterone has died down a bit and everyone is friends again, the Armorer suggests a full cuirass. She tells him that the excess will once again be used to sponsor many foundlings and also to craft something called "whistling birds." You may recognize this weapon as it looks like a miniature SNEB rocket launcher and Boba Fett had one on his left arm console.
"Whistling birds are a powerful defense against multiple enemies, but they are rare. Use them sparingly," the Armorer advises.
Just like in the first episode, during the forging process, the Mandalorian has flashbacks to his own childhood, and we see a Clone Wars-era HMP droid gunship passing overhead and a young child — we assume the Mandalorian — being hidden by desperate parents and discovered soon after by a B2 super battle droid.
With his new armor finished, the Mandalorian heads over to the cantina to meet Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). He looks pretty cool with all the brand-new, polished chrome armor plating, but we did rather like the worn look of a less glossy aesthetic and mismatched armor plating. One thing's for sure, he's never going to be able to approach anyone by stealth looking like this. You'd think he might want to paint it if he wants to remain undetected in the shadows without the sun glinting off his shiny new armor.
Unlike the last time we saw him enter this cantina, in the first episode when no one paid any attention to him, everyone stops what they're doing and watches his every move as he sits with Karga.
"They all hate you!" says Karga, laughing, and sure enough we hear an alien at the bar utter under his breath "Echuta!" The term is a Huttese insult — and deemed the rudest — in the "Star Wars" universe first heard on Cloud City in "The Empire Strikes Back" when C-3PO walks past a silver protocol droid called E-3PO. Turns that everyone in the bar had a tracking fob for chasing down the Child, so the Mandalorian has become something of a legend, albeit one that isn't very popular in town at the moment.
But Karga is happy because he got his payoff in Beskar for his role as a subcontractor, and he cheerfully taps the ingot that he has stashed in his top pocket. The Mandalorian asks for his next bounty-hunting job and it's clear he wants to forget about the Child and get on with his work. The bounty puck he chooses is a Mon Calamari and according to Karga he is a nobleman's son who skipped bail. (The Aurebesh only says "Wanted" and the bounty, which appears to be 5,000 credits.)
As he takes his weapon and prepares to leave, the Mandalorian can't help but ask if Karga has any idea what they're going to do with the Child. Karga reminds him that asking this sort of thing is against the Guild code. The bounty hunter returns to his ship and begins to power it up. Without any dialogue, voiceover or even being able to see his facial expressions, it's obvious he's mulling everything over in his mind. He looks over to where the Child was sitting in his cockpit ... and makes up his mind.
He powers down the Razor Crest, exits the ship and walks back into town, just as we hoped he would. He walks around to the back of the building and climbs up onto the roof of an adjacent building. He points his Amban phase-pulse rifle at the target building and we get to see for the first time that his helmet does indeed come with useful features — you may remember last week we wondered why it didn't feature night vision. He pairs his helmet with the rifle scope so he can hear through a built-in long- range listening device and simultaneously look through the scope's thermal vision display.
He can just about make out Pershing talking to the Client, and it doesn't sound good. He heads back to the door that's guarded by the TT-8L gatekeeper droid. When the droid sticks its head out, the Mandalorian rips it off and proceeds to hide around the corner. This distraction results in two Stormtroopers coming out to investigate while the bounty hunter plants an explosive charge on one of the exterior walls, blows a huge hole in it and enters.
Stormtroopers with flashlights search the smoke-filled room and the Mandalorian neutralizes them with relative ease. He uses an array of weapons as he makes his way through the building, including his retractable cable gun — which results in a particularly merciless Vibroblade kill — his flamethrower and, yes, the "whistling birds," too.
He finds Pershing and the Child, who is strapped to a table with an IT-O Imperial interrogation droid hovering above — the same kind that tortured Princess Leia aboard the Death Star in "A New Hope." Pershing begs for his life, insisting he protected the child. Fans have noticed that the symbol on Dr. Pershing's uniform is identical to a symbol the Jango Fett clones wore while they were being trained on Kamino, which has sparked rumors that the Child could be a clone.
The Mandalorian destroys the interrogation droid and spares Pershing's life. He eventually makes his way onto the street after a series of engagements with Imperial Stormtroopers. He's only a short distance from his ship, maybe he's through the worst of it.
However, in the cantina — in a scene that could've come straight out of the 2014 film "John Wick" — a tracking fob starts to flash and beep, then another and another until every single lifeform sitting or standing, including Karga, is holding a flashing fob. It's open season on both the Mandalorian and the Child. There's nowhere he can go, he's now a target on every street he walks down.
Our antihero is quickly surrounded and Karga pleads with him to put the Child down and lower his weapon. After placing the Child on a nearby speeder, an inevitable firefight breaks out. The Mandalorian ducks, dives and dodges incoming fire. He's hopelessly outnumbered, but he's not only a more cunning warrior — he's also a sharp shot, and he's wearing Beskar body armor. Add all that up and the odds probably favor him.
There are simply too many enemies, however, and the bounty hunter begins to get overwhelmed. He jumps into the speeder and orders the droid piloting it to drive, but it doesn't get very far, as Karga — who has been cleverly letting the other mercenaries attack head on while he observes from cover — blasts the droid, making the speeder useless. At this point, all seems lost.
Suddenly, the mercenaries are being blasted by incoming aerial fire and our antihero cranes his neck to look up. Using rocket packs to descend, all the other Mandalorian warriors have come to his aid, including the alpha-Mandalorian, who has a multi-barrel, rotary heavy blaster!
It's a genuine lump-in-the-throat moment as the Mandalorian's comrades have sacrificed everything to help the bounty hunter do the right thing. Their numbers are now known on this world and therefore their survival is at risk, and their sanctuary is compromised.
"This is the way," the alpha-Mandalorian reassures our antihero.
"This is the way," the bounty hunter replies, with just a hint of admiration in his voice.
If you're not blubbing like a baby at this point, well, you're just dead inside.
The Mandalorian grabs the Child and makes it to his ship. Surely, he's safe now ... but Karga is proving to be devilishly sneaky. And he's already there, waiting. The conversation doesn't last long and the Mandalorian shoots him in the shoulder. It probably wouldn't have been a fatal wound, but in a nice touch, as the Razor Crest soars into space, he rolls over on the ground and reaches into his top pocket, pulling out his ingot of Beskar, that may or may not have just saved his life — or at least a large hospital bill.
The "sin" of the title for the third episode clearly changes in its meaning through the course of this episode. It first refers to the sin of giving up the Child to the Client and then, as we see a transformation take place in the Mandalorian, it becomes the sin of breaking the code of the Bounty Hunter's Guild.
So now the hunter has become the hunted. The Mandalorian is risking his life and his livelihood as long as he protects the Child, but we have an emotional bond with this character and the precious cargo he carries, and that counts for a lot.
This is probably the best episode so far (although we did like the first one), and now that it's clear that this story is more in line with other "Star Wars" spin-off shows than we first expected, it's easier to enjoy.
The fourth episode of "The Mandalorian" will air on Disney+ on Nov. 29, followed by weekly installments on Dec. 6, 13, 18 and Dec. 27. A monthly subscription is available for $6.99; annual subscriptions cost $69.99. You can sign up for Disney+ here. Amazon has announced that the Disney+ app will be available on devices including Fire TV, Fire TV Edition smart TVs and Fire Tablets (compatible ones). Disney+ won't be available in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy or Spain until March 31, 2020.
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