AT-tack On The Village
The Mandalorian has been one of the bigger surprises this year. On the eve of Skywalker’s release in the cinema, The Mandalorian may actually be the one crux in Disney’s side that dampens the reaction to the major picture. Star Wars has always been a series rich in lore and history but its stories have never quite reached the pinnacle of the original trilogy. By comparison, The Mandalorian is a well-paced story and while it’s far too early into its life-cycle to consider it one of the best shows of 2019, it’s certainly going in the right direction to solidify its place there.
We begin with a look at the past. A peaceful village finds its tranquility shattered by the arrival of the empire. As droids blast the outskirts and tribal warriors arrive, that look a little too much like Uruk-Hai, they ransack the village before leaving.
Back in the present, baby Yoda begins flicking switches in the ship before Mando snatches him up and finds a planet away from the empire. Or so he thought. As it turns out, that planet happens to be the same one we saw at the start of the episode. As he lands and sits down at a bar, a mysterious figure catches his eye forcing him to use his infrared vision and follow her footsteps outside. Unfortunately she outsmarts him, quickly resulting in a fistfight between the two. Evenly matched, baby Yoda’s introduction calls them off on a truce before she reveals herself to be an ex-soldier, Cara. After some back and forth, they come to an arrangement.
Back at the village, baby Yoda gains the popularity of the local kids while Mando agrees to help protect the village from the intruders. As we soon learn, an AT-ST happens to be lurking in the woods. Because of this, Mando and Cara head back and tell the villagers they need to leave given the empire have some serious firepower. Eventually though, Mando decides to team up with the villagers and helps coordinate their defences to take down the empire’s attack.
As the attack gets underway, the villagers are successful and they take down the AT-ST walker. Unbeknownst to him, a sniper watches from afar while Mando breathes a sigh of relief and decides to leave baby Yoda at the village. Before the sniper can pull the trigger however, Cara interjects and manages to stop him. As they roll him over, they reveal a tracker and it soon becomes apparent baby Yoda will not be safe. The episode then ends with the duo on the move again.
Despite some nice visuals and a good self-contained episode, I can’t help but feel The Mandalorian is sinking into the episodic trap without much thought to the overarching narrative. Given we’re halfway through this show, there hasn’t been an awful lot of progression on that front beyond the snippets during the first and third episode. While its great to see Star Wars firing on all cylinders again, The Mandalorian’s latest episode feels like another diversion from the main plot line.
Still, the episode itself is perfectly enjoyable and baby Yoda is one of the smarter marketing moves Disney have made as of late. Quite what the second half of the season holds in store for us though remains a mystery. Fingers crossed we see this end with an almighty bang to solidify this show as one of the bigger surprises of 2019.