Chapter 6: The Prisoner
In chapter 6 The Prisoner the The Mandalorian takes a five person job from an old “friend” name Ran who he used to work for. Greef Carga and The Mando are on the outs and our hero has to take jobs from less than reputable places less than reputable. The episode introduces us to the gang of misfits who will accompany him on the job to hijack a New Republic fortified maximum security transport ship to extract an incarcerated r member of the gang. Of course it all goes wrong and the gang betrays The Mando. The Mando beats them all up and escapes, pulls a fast one and finishes leaves the episode with some credits. Not a lot really happens in this episode in terms of the larger story so this review is mostly going to comment on the things of note.
I wasn’t a stormtrooper, wiseass
For me, the new stand out character was Bill Burr’s character Mayfeld. The dude has a cynicism that I found worked well when delivered by a comedian like Bill Burr. When the gang accidentally opens the door to Baby Yoda’s room, Mayfeld asks if Xi’an and The Mando “made that.” He wants to see the Mando’s face and mocks him as possibly being a gungan and even mocks their “wesa” speech pattern. He calls the Razor Crest a “Canto Bight slot machine” and in universe humor wasn’t as “call back” feeling as Chapter 5 was. The dude was a total asshole and it was pretty good for the series. I don’t think we’ve really seen a character like this on screen in Star Wars, on screen and I’m all for it. More dimensional characters showing up to color the underworld is a good thing and I’m glad they cast Bill Burr as the character.
Mayfeld’s gun is a little corny. I didn’t really feel like it worked well on screen. When we see the character again, I hope that they make it better or drop it. Thankfully the character is strong enough that I doubt the “feature” of the extra arm and gun really defines the character in anyway.
Are you questioning my managerial style, Xi’an?
Xi’an are totally unstable and insane punks. We learn that The Mando and Xi’an used to be a thing. She may have even seen his face. I guess Mandos can take the helmet off to get down. This is the way? Natalia Tena from the Harry Potter series plays the deranged Twi’Lek. At times her character felt a little Halloweeny but it was in good fun. I felt Qin, Xi’an’s brother, felt a bit flat however. We quickly learn that she’s a bad person and that she and The Mando did some really bad shit on Alzoc III, so we know that this character does not elevate him as a person.
Clancy Brown as Burg was dumb fun. Brown who voiced Savage Opress in The Clone Wars is a welcome addition to the show as well. I liked this character for the most part. He reminded me of Jaws from James Bond. Later in the episode when The Mando uses the flame thrower on him, it was weird but I figured the satanic looking Devoronian must be fire retardant as a devil and all. When Burg tackles the large droids, it was entertaining dumb fun.
Q9-0 was your standard evil droid in Star Wars. I liked his design. I didn’t really find him to be very notable overall. To be honest, I find the droid that will kill you to be a fairly overused concept. But I also feel like that concept isn’t really hurting anything, it just does nothing for me.
The New Republic is finally seen
Seeing the New Republic Trooper (played by Matt Lanter who voiced Anakin in The Clone Wars) manage the droids and the prisoners was interesting. I always wondered what the New Republic troops would look like, and I think that they did a good job of bridging the A New Hope Alderaanian trooper design with what a new government based on those guys might look like.
Those New Republic battle droids were cool and it was nice to see them as “target practice” for the team of crooks in this episode. One particularly cool shot shows The Mando blowing a hole through a droids head, and then as the crew moves, the camera pans by and we can see the gang leaving through the hole in the droid’s head.
The action against the droids was well done. In particular, I liked the Mando’s droid rope move so he can take the droid’s arm and break out of the cell his old gang threw him in. The betrayal was a nice plot moment, but his escape was really rad. It reminded me of a scene in Heir to the Empire where Luke Skywalker uses his robot hand to hack his way out of a cell.
In the episode there’s a theme of The Mandos’ former “family”. We have the awkward moment where the old family meets his new family via Baby Yoda. Once they bust out Xi’an’s brother, Qin is willing to leave his sister behind to save himself. It was a nice touch that Mayfeld was shocked by the callous nature of the character and comments “nice family.”
If Burr’s Mayfeld is a recurring character in the series, there’s a chance he’s going to become an ally to the hero at some point and isn’t as much of a monster as the others he runs with. He’s clearly a bad person, in a bad world, with bad friends. But there’s a chance for this kind of character and I hope that we get to see him develop even more.
I’m mixed on the ending of the episode. It was pretty rad when Burg was smashed by the extra set of blast doors. All of these characters appeared to die. Then at the end, we have a Batman style reveal that they’re all in a cell together. For the series, I like that these characters are still around. For the episode, it felt like a pulled punch though. However, since he left them and they were kind of a failed past family, I think that it makes it okay, this time.
The true ending of the episode was a nice touch. The Mando putting the tracker in Qin’s pants to send the New Republic down on them was smart. He knew they were going to betray him again as it was likely always the plan. Seeing X-wings show up to blow them up was a nice capstone to the episode. It was weird seeing director Dave Filoni as an X-wing pilot but I bought it. It worked.
I feel weird about the structure of the series so far. These stand-alone adventures feel like television from before the golden age of TV. The episodes are not bad. But the overall serialized nature feels like it isn’t as strong as it could have been. A part of me enjoys the one off feel of these moments and another part of me sees that it is a missed opportunity for greater depth in a larger story.
Even More Random Thoughts
- It was cool to see a Ardennian (like Favreau’s Rio from Solo: A Star Wars Story) in the prison.
- That Batman moment with the flashing lights was really well done and it was cool seeing The Mando stalk his prey.
- Baby Yoda might not go to college after he was dropped in this episode and now we know why.