Title: The Mandalorian: Episode 1 Review
Release Date: November 12th, 2019
Network: Disney Plus
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Western
(This review contains full spoilers for episode 1 of The Mandalorian)
Disney+ has had a tough go at launch. However, there is always light within the darkness. Cheesy I know, but if you’re like myself and other Star Wars fans, you’ve been waiting for The Mandalorian for a long time. If you were able to get the service working and watch the series, then congratulations!
The Mandalorian Looks Good
First off, it’s beautiful. If you have a 4K TV, it’s gorgeous. If you don’t, well I’d bet it’s still one of the most stunning Star Wars views you’ve ever seen. The Mandalorian doesn’t go nuts with crazy locales in the first episode, in fact, the locations are a bit dreary. This sounds negative, but it isn’t. This Star Wars series, although happening in a galaxy far far away, somehow seems down to Earth. If anything, it gives off a feeling of a wild west version of Star Wars.
The Star Wars universe is vast, with endless stories to be told. This feels like one of those stories, far removed from the Jedi and Sith spats. If episode one is any indication, the story they’re aiming to tell will be one that’s untraditional in what we’re used to seeing out of the franchise. Bounty Hunting is a messy business after all and one we’ve seen little of it over the years.
The Mandalorian is No Boba or Jango and That’s Okay
If there is one profession you should consider as a commoner character in Star Wars, it’s a cantina owner. Simply own a small cantina on a wasteland planet and or area. Whether it be in the desert that is Tatooine or whatever this icy wasteland covered in giant Walrus’. Apparently, there is no business like serving alcohol in the middle of nowhere Star Wars, but I digress. The opening scene sets the rest of the pace of the episode. Plenty of action with little explanation.
The Mandalorian does his job and does it well, he also doesn’t take bribes. Nice try ya filthy scum. Our Mandalorian kicks some serious ass and it’s fun to watch. He may not have as many fun toys as the likes of Jango or Boba, but he’s just as cool. Fun fact though, carbonite freezing has become a normal practice since Han Solo. Ahhhh technology.
More Questions Than Answers
The action is great but as for the story, it seems cool. That’s it though, the first episode leaves us with way more questions than answers. In fact, expect almost no answers. Who’s The Mandalorian exactly? Who’s the guy he’s working with and why does he put up with him only paying half? I feel like Boba probably killed people for less. One thing to note though, our protagonist is apart of, “the guild.” From what we can gather, this is a bounty hunter organization. Almost like a bounty hunter union. Gotta keep the jobs coming and our bounty hunters from killing each other. Retain that high-quality talent!
This is telling, the episode leaves us to speculate much of what we see, clearly building up for the rest of the season. We do discover that he might be The Mandalorian, but he’s not the only Mandalorian. It seems he has a tribe of his own outside of the guild.
Hug Those Sad Sad Stormtroopers
Have you ever wanted to hug a stormtrooper before? Maybe stroke their helmet and tell them everything is going to be okay? No, of course, you haven’t, though you might after watching this episode. It’s a sign of the times. The Empire is clearly in hiding, once the hunters, we get the feeling they are now the hunted. They’re still out there in this universe and they quickly put our episode in a new direction. With it, we have a fetch quest from a cowardly doctor and what seems to be a creepy former Empire war hero. Nothing says I’m loyal to a genocidal group than a big gold medal with their symbol around your neck.
Onto the quest! This sees our anti-hero reuniting with family? Tribesperson? Unclear, as is much of the story. Onto another, less than ideal, looking planet. Seriously, all the locales in this episode feel sad and as if they are the last places you’d want to be. And yet they are so well done. The entire episode compliments itself with fantastic visuals and sounds. They definitely didn’t skimp on the budget. Sadly, the beginning of the fetch quest bogs down a bit. Apparently, The Mandalorian can be beaten by what looks like the ugliest Pokemon I’ve ever seen. Saved by a local and quickly but begrudgingly learns how to ride the ugly thing.
Save a Horse, Ride a… Pokemon?
Not allowed to use anything else, except for this fat doesn’t move well, ugly Pokemon like creature. This whole sequence felt forced as if this is how we learn that he’s more than just a cold killer. I understand what they were going for and it wasn’t that it was bad so much that it wasn’t good. On the bright side, it’s quick. Now moving on because “I have spoken”.
Despite the slowdown, the ending really picks up. The Mandalorian runs into what is a large gang protecting something. While scoping out the place he runs into a familiar-looking bounty hunter droid. He calls it an IG unit. Therefore I doubt this is the true IG-88, but if anything from the old source material is to be believed, there’s more than one of them anyway. Whatever the case, this unit puts on a hell of a show. The IG bounty hunter might be one of the best parts of the episode. The quick guild members team-up is a fun action-packed sequence.
Endless grunts to shoot and plenty of things to blow up. IG also loves to turn and shoot, boom turn and shoot. In the end, they remain pals for less than ten minutes. It’s a shame, I do hope we see another IG unit this season or during the show’s runtime.
That ending though, I mean I don’t know what it means, but I’m very much intrigued. We have never seen another member of Yoda’s species in a live-action film or otherwise (other than a brief cameo). My only concern here is, do we want to know more about them? Or was that question better left unanswered? No matter, the answer it seems our bounty hunter is about to be caught up in the middle of something much larger than himself.
Verdict: In the end, this first episode was solid. Personally I never expect episode one of any show to blow me away. The Mandalorian does the majority of things right. Sure it leaves a lot of questions unanswered, but that’s to be expected. If this is any indication of how this series is going to go, then Disney+ subscription might be worth it for this series alone.
Tune back in on November 15th when episode two lands on Disney+ and for the most part, every Friday will be its regular schedule for release.