Title: The Mandalorian: “Gunslinger” Review
Release Date: December 6th, 2019
Network: Disney Plus
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Western
(This review contains full spoilers for episode 5 of The Mandalorian)
Fan service anyone? The Mandalorian “Gunslinger” if nothing else was chock full of it. Luckily for all of us, it had a lot more to offer than nostalgia. Episode five returned to form this week. If you read my review from last week’s episode “Sanctuary,” you’ll know I was less than a fan. Coming off what I said was the worst episode yet. Gunslinger made us reminisce of the old days but it also gave us one of the most exciting episodes yet.
Gunslinger Brings us “Home”
“That’s my line.” I wouldn’t use Mando’s line against him, that’s just a rookie mistake. The episode opened with a thrilling space battle chase. Once again our hero shows he’s not perfect, but he gets the job done no matter what. Also, don’t judge a bucket of bolts by its cover or something like that. His ship might not be the Slave I, but it has some tricks up its sleeves.
Onto another wretched planet! Oh, wait! That’s not just any wasteland of a planet. Nope. That’s a planet we all know! Tatooine, even more importantly the city/spaceport, Mos Eisley. “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Years have passed, wars have been fought. However, it looks like the desert planet of Tatooine and the rough port that is Mos Eisley haven’t changed much.
Alright, some things have changed. We have pit droids, a throwback from The Phantom Menace days. There’s also a real person who pays attention to the ships that land, here I thought beings just flew in and out as they pleased. I wonder if they’re all as feisty Peli Motto. Amy Sedaris truly brought this character to life, she injected some welcomed humor and attitude to the episode. This is another one off side character that I was sad to see go in the end. As tough as Peli tried to seem, it looks like no one is immune to Baby Yoda’s cuteness (except bounty hunters).
No Droids Allowed
Remember the bar? The one that Luke and Ben Kenobi visited all those years ago in Star Wars A New Hope, does look a tad different. Once upon a time, no droids were allowed inside, now a droid is behind the bar?! Oh, the humanity! That table to the side with the Han Solo wannabe with his feet up also looks pretty familiar. I wonder if the scorch mark is still there from when Greedo shot first? Just kidding folks. Alright enough playing around. Gunslinger kept the pace up consistently. Mando’s got a job with a rookie and a dangerous one at that in no time flat. We all gotta get paid, right?
Now as everyone was watching I’m sure the same collective thought occurred. Holy crap this guy is so new to bounty hunting he has no idea who Mando is. More importantly, he doesn’t know who he is as a fugitive/prize. I was uneasy about this, but he seemed like a nice kid all things considered. Maybe a little stupid too.
Things escalate quickly though. Rookie bounty hunter Toro and Mando set off in hopes of finding the dangerous assassin that is Fennec. Another fan service as what looks like old speeder bikes pulled straight out of Return of the Jedi. Again the episode kept pace. Before the duo finds Fennec, they have a moment riddled with nostalgia, Tusken Raiders.
Tusken Raiders are More Than Beasts
I was in awe of this scene, I thought after Mando said “ask them yourself,” we’d see Toro attacked just like Luke was in a New Hope. Instead for the first time ever, we see the Tusken Raiders, standing still and not screaming like banshees. More so, they can communicate. I believe they didn’t attack and communicated with Mando because they likely respect his race/tribe. The Tusken Raiders at heart are a warrior race and I imagine they bestow the same respect to the Mandalorians. This was easily one of my favorite scenes of the show. It was more than a throwback, it showed another side to a race that might just be a bit misunderstood. “Tuskens think they’re the locals. Everyone else is just trespassing.” This line really resonated with me. It painted them in a much different light than we’ve seen in the past.
The unlikely pair managed to find Fennec but nothing is easy in bounty hunting. She had the high ground and Mando wasn’t going to try it. Despite this, I was still questioning the logic of her sticking around into the night. I get it she has the almighty high ground! However, wouldn’t it have been easier to slip out in the hours leading into the night? Then again, maybe she thought it better to eliminate her predators than to try and run.
The following night time speeder bike rush is an example of The Mandalorian show at its finest. It’s filled with everything the show is about, creative twists, action and some humor. You have to hand it to Mando, he’s been around the bounty hunter block a couple of times. The flashbangs were a nice touch, but the real MVP is that beskar armor. Also props to Jake Cannavale as the rookie Toro. He does a great job of playing a character that’s humorous as he bumbles his way through bounty hunting but also makes us believe in his potential to be a solid guild member someday.
From Friend to Foe
My how fast things change in this show. Most of this episode due to its heavy nostalgia elements was predictable. I’ll happily admit, I never saw Toro’s turn coming. I thought he might be inexperienced enough to let Fennec go, who would have killed him right away, no question. The other possibility was that he was a good enough guy to not take the potential reward bait. Therefore it was a huge surprise to me when he killed Fennec and went straight for our dear Baby Yoda and company.
Mando is no fool, as soon as he saw the scene laid before him, he knew right away. Rushing back to the Mos Eisley port with I don’t even know what? Seriously how did he even get back? No way that Dewback got him there. I digress, the main point is, Toro is dumber than I thought. If he had any sense he would have taken Baby Yoda and rushed back to the guild. That alone would have given him a huge reward, a ticket to the guild and plenty of recognition. Trying to turn a much more experienced bounty hunter in as a prize? Greedy. This lead to a career as a bounty hunter cut very short.
In the end, a Mandalorian always pays his debts. Peli is clearly grateful to be paid so handsomely, but also a bit sad. Baby Yoda melts all hearts folks. If you don’t love Baby Yoda you are either a monster or a bounty hunter. Mando and his little guy fly off to end an exciting episode, to say the least.
Boba Fett? Boba Fett? Where?
Or so we thought. It seems someone has found the trail of Fennec. They look… Familiar. I couldn’t believe it myself and I’m still not sure I do. The show seems as if it’s alluding to a future adversary/rival. In an episode filled with nostalgia from previous Star Wars titles, could this really be the feet of Boba Fett? I personally believe they want us to think that. However no, I don’t think that’s who we’re looking at. It feels too easy and the character would overshadow everything the show is building. That said, they’ve surprised us before. Who do you think is the mysterious figure at the end of the episode? Let us know in the comments below!
Verdict: The Mandalorian returns to form in episode five Gunslinger. The nostalgia was laid on a bit heavy which made some events predictable. However, for the most part, it was a good nostalgia and it offered up a different perspective on Tusken Raiders while providing moments that took us back to the old days. The pacing was great, the action was top notch and the potential for Boba Fett or another big bad at the end will likely set up a pretty big season finale in a few weeks.
- Interesting Twists and Turns
- Night Scene With Speeder Bikes
- Tusken Raiders Outlook
- Great Side Characters
- Boba Fett or Other Baddy Teased
- Maybe a Little Too Much Nostalgia
- A bit Predictable
- Potentially Just Boba Fett Bait