Chapter 4 of Star Wars: The Mandalorian was really good but perhaps my least favorite of the episodes so far. It really isn’t a slight on the episode itself, just where it falls in the trajectory of the series. It is the episode where the hero has to lay low. Structurally it is necessary but also not that interesting comparatively speaking. There is a lot to critique in the episode but thankfully just as much to love too.
The dynamic between the baby and his protector was interesting in the fourth chapter. Their conversation in the opening of the episode was fun. The Mando calling the little green baby a “womprat” showed just how casual they’re getting around one another, and when he goes to leave, the child assumes that he wants him by his side. Interestingly, we opened the episode with the duo together, but by the end, The Mando was looking to pawn him off on the villagers. That choice was a slight change from previous episodes and it made sense. I still don’t understand exactly how the baby is being tracked by the fobs. My initial assumption was the kid’s floating bassinet was how they were tracking it or the Mando’s initial fob. I suppose the Imp Warlords implanted the little critter with something that they’ll have to remove in the future if they ever want the baby to have a chance.
We’ve had this story before
This marks the second time on the small screen where we have had an episode of Star Wars television that riffs heavily on The Seven Samurai. It is kind of hard to have a huge complaint about an homage to a masterpiece. It gets points for doing it in live action, but as a Star Wars fans, I’m not sure that it actually did it better than The Clone Wars Season 2 Episode 17: “Bounty Hunters”. But in the end, a hell of a lot of people that would never spend time on an animated series because cartoons are for kids (and Star Wars too but don’t tell them) will see this.
I’ll choose to pretend this one is riffing on the Magnificent 7 so it is once removed from the reused concept.
I really liked Cara Dune. Gina Carano is someone I was familiar with from mixed martial arts in a fairly superficial capacity. I was pleased Carano was a natural actor and flowed into the Star Wars vibe and tone effortlessly. The Mr. & Mrs. Smith encounter between Cara and the Mando wasn’t my favorite moment either, but maybe after an exhausting holiday I’m not up for fun as much as I should be. It did establish that she’s as capable as our hero is though, so functionally it wasn’t bad that it happened and it was executed well. Cara is a cool character who’s past and present are intriguing. Her backstory was neat, and I’m glad Carano was cast in the part.
I do like the use of taverns and cantinas in the show so far. It seems no matter where our Mando goes, he ends up in one. I was pretty jazzed to see a Lothcat from Star Wars Rebels in the episode too. One of my kids favorite things to do at Galaxy’s Edge is to go and visit the Lothcat there. I enjoy the cohesiveness of cartoons, theme park, and Disney+ series advancing this creature in the myth of the Star Wars galaxy.
The Costumes of Sorgan Suck
I really did have a huge problem with the costumes in this episode. Julia Jones as Omera (the widow) and her daughter Winta looked nice in their costumes, but that’s where it stopped working. The rest of the spotchka brewing Krill farmers looked fairly ridiculous. When the two villagers showed up at the Razorcrest to attempt to hire a Mandolorian to protect them, they were laughable in appearance. But that was fine, they felt like Akira Kurosawa’s peasants. However, these peasants not only had horrible TV quality costumes, they also just looked too clean to be considered in the peasant class. I felt it to be a hodgepodge of ideas that weren’t really working in a cohesive manner. Those costumes felt cheap and not worthy of live action Star Wars or what we had seen in the background of the last three episodes.
The Evil Raider AT-ST
I felt that the episode could have played upon the ominous nature of the mechanical beast that’s laying in wait with the AT-ST. The AT-ST being a beast in the episode was really cool though. I liked that the raiders put red lights inside and that made it all the more ominous. In this instance, I thought that it was well done. Something almost trivial that we take for granted in video games when it faces off against heroes, is actually a menace that is oppressive and dangerous to the average person. The subplot of the episode revolving around trapping the walker was fun though.
The main raider was pretty cool looking but was underused and the rest of the Klatooian raiders look a little like the 60’s Planet of the Apes at times. That said, I’ll probably eventually love this down the road, but I found their clunkiness slightly distracting in various shots compared to the first episode’s bad guys in the IG-11 sequence.
I need more Mando
This episode was considerably weaker than the past installments. It felt cheap at times. The acting was a bit more dodgy as well by the supporting cast of villagers. Thankfully the Mando and Cara carried the scenes that mattered, and their dynamic was fun and strong. Omera was cool even though she’s from a village of bad dressers all dressed pretty much the same. This episode was still a fine piece of average television and it simply suffers from following three superior installments of the series.
I’m really looking forward to the next episode of the show and while I might seem a little hard on it, they set the standard with the first few episodes, not me!