Alien Babies Exchanged for Armour

Although I’ve liked the cinematography all along, I didn’t find enough substance in the first two episodes of The Mandalorian to really excite me. The third episode, which premiered on Disney+ last night, was a big improvement. A lot of credit has to go to Deborah Chow who has a lot more experience directing action in live action than Dave Filoni and Rick Famuyiwa (directors of the first and second episodes, respectively). But it’s also an episode that managed to provoke questions about character motives in a more interesting way. Though I still have some quibbles.

My biggest beef is the concept of a bounty hunter guild that’s so devoted to rules that they gang up on one of their own for rescuing a baby from an Imperial remnant. The whole point, the main appeal of a bounty hunter, as opposed to normal police or military, is that it’s everyone for themselves. No bureaucracy, no clique. Certainly no lockstep enforcement of ridiculous micromanagement. What’s the big deal about a bounty hunter asking a client what he plans to do with his prize? Boba Fett probably wouldn’t ask and I’d like to think it’s because Boba Fett is cold and ruthless and not because he’s a mindless jobsworth.

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But mainly I liked the episode. I loved the expanded look at the underground Mandalorian culture which is starting to feel a little more like the Mandalorians we saw on Clone Wars and Rebels. I wonder when they adopted that rule about never removing their helmets. Does Sabine always keep her helmet on, post-Return of the Jedi?

I’m a little disappointed that we’re going to be stuck with the baby Yoda for a while now. The kid’s kind of cute but I’d honestly find it more interesting if the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) had a less altruistic reason for rescuing him. But one of the best parts of the episode for me was the ambiguity over what, exactly, the Imperials planned on doing with him. It would’ve been great if the Mandalorian had gone in, guns blazing like Lancelot in Holy Grail, only to find Werner Herzog’s mission was to protect the thing. But we already know Herzog wanted the baby dead or alive.

The action scenes were really effective. I loved when the Mandalorian infiltrated the base and words and actions kept getting stepped on by our hero suddenly appearing from around the corner. The gun fight in the street had great atmosphere, too, and the Mandalorians coming to the rescue was pretty sweet. I found myself in the mood to go back and watch the Mandalore arcs on Clone Wars.

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