We’ve made it to the halfway point of the first season of The Mandalorian, and the series continues to impress. Though the fifth episode doesn’t fire on all cylinders as previous ones have, it still tells an interesting Star Wars story, and it’s set on a planet that’s more than a little familiar to longtime fans. What unfolds is another delightful chapter, packed to the brim with easter eggs and references.
On the run from the Bounty Hunter’s Guild with the Child in tow, Mando (Pedro Pascal) seeks refuge on the sandy outskirts of Tatooine. Once there, our Beskar-clad protagonist must find a way to pay off a grumpy mechanic and get back on the move. His search for big money leads him to rookie bounty hunter Toro Calican (Jake Cannavale), whose desire to build a reputation clouds his better judgment. Together, the two seek out Fennec Shand (Ming Na-Wen), a deadly mercenary once employed by the Hutts.
The young Toro shares fun chemistry with the more seasoned Mando, and it’s a dynamic that gives us a bit more insight into the world of intergalactic bounty hunting. The Guild only includes the who’s who of the galaxy’s most dastardly, and it was great to see the Mandalorian’s world expand, if only slightly. Ming Na-Wen’s screen time was unfortunately brief, so here’s hoping that the following three episodes can make up for it at some point.
Dave Filoni’s direction is sharp, proving once again that he has a keen eye for action. As always, The Mandalorian is as beautifully shot as ever. The lighting and shot composition feel like classic Star Wars, and it’s refreshing to see new faces in familiar locations we know and love. Filoni, Favreau, and the rest of the creative team’s love for these worlds and their characters continue to shine through with each new episode.
Yet, despite the highs, story developments were a bit low this time around. Though still enjoyable, ‘The Gunslinger’ feels like more of a side quest rather than a necessary step forward for the story. Of course, I could be proven wrong once the season is complete, but I do find myself wondering where this is all going. Like any great show, The Mandalorian has kept me guessing. I just hope that Mando’s time under the suns is something that pays off in the long run.
Undoubtedly, the aspect of the episode I loved most was the setting. Seeing Tatooine again was an absolute joy. From the cantinas to the familiar creatures and droids, everything looked and felt like it came straight out of a long-locked Star Wars vault. Where better to tell a Star Wars story than the most wretched hive of scum and villainy? It was a treat, and the abundance of Easter eggs was the cherry on top. Tusken Raiders, Mos Eisley, and the mention of Han Solo’s homeworld of Corellia all brought a smile to my face.
Though this week’s Mandalorian didn’t pack the same wow factor previous episodes did, it was still an enjoyable trip down memory lane that I hope will pay off in the grand scheme of things.
New episodes of The Mandalorian release weekly on Disney+.
The series stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, Bill Burr, Taika Waititi, Ming Na-Wen, and Werner Herzog.