Title: The Mandalorian: “Sanctuary” Review
Release Date: November 29th, 2019
Network: Disney Plus
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Western
(This review contains full spoilers for episode 4 of The Mandalorian)
How the mighty have fallen. The Mandalorian was on a great track with the first three episodes. Last week it came off the strongest episode yet with “The Sin.” Now, here we are, with the worst episode yet. I’m not exaggerating when I say that “Sanctuary” was a pointless, boring endeavor.
Three-Steps Forward, Too Many Steps Back
This was what I would call a “filler” episode. A filler episode loosely defined; a storyline, episode or episodes that are not integral to the storyline. Essentially filler episodes could be removed or skipped and it wouldn’t be noticed or damage the continuation of the main story in any shape or form. Other than a couple of Mandalorian revelations this a pretty accurate definition of the episode, I wish that was all that was wrong with “Sanctuary.”
Let’s start with the only good things about this episode. After plenty of trailers and pictures, we finally get to see Gina Carano. She plays a mercenary that briefly goes toe-to-toe with Mando. Not only does she more than hold her own, but she is a part of arguably the best scene in the episode. Cara, combined with Baby Yoda and Mando provide what will likely be the most memed Baby Yoda content yet. Unfortunately, this was the only funny scene in the entire episode. That would be all well and good if we were provided substance elsewhere.
Mandalorian Questions Answered
After a predictable turn of events, Mando and Cara are reunited to help out a poor village. Before anything gets too tense we discover a couple of things that everyone has been curious about. Yes, Mando takes off his helmet. No, one has seen his face since he was a child. As it also turns out, he is not a true blood Mandalorian. He wasn’t born into the tribe, he was adopted. This explains some of his motivations, including why he seems so attached to Baby Yoda. It also explains why it seems a bit keen to help people, like the village.
The other positive of the episode is the teamwork and scenes where Mando and Cara are together. They’re a badass team that is fun to watch. She’s also a straight shooter and no I don’t mean just with the blaster. Cara asked Mando a couple of things that others would be too afraid to question. Gina’s performance wasn’t perfect by any means, but over time and getting used to her character I have no doubt she would be a welcomed addition to the series. That’s why at the end of the episode it stung quite a bit when he didn’t ask her to go with him, but we’ll get to that.
The Pains of Sanctuary
Alright, folks lets rip off the band-aid. No reason for me to sit here and beat a dead Bantha. Sanctuary used one of the most overdone western-like storylines ever made. It’s not a bad storyline, but it’s highly unoriginal. Pale Rider is the most prominent one that comes to mind, but it’s nowhere close to the only. This version was admittedly quicker, usually, it takes a couple of hours to cultivate. I’m thankful we only had to endure one episode.
The dialogue and love interest between Julia Jones character Omera or “the widow,” felt forced. Their interactions felt simply unnecessary. She was immediately attached and drawn to him before he had even done anything other than agreeing to help, for payment. None of it felt like a move in the direction of Mando’s character. It’s a tightrope for sure, giving us enough answers about Mando but not so many that it feels like we know everything there is to know about him. This, however, is unlikely an answer anyone wants. The first available nice person that can handle themselves is instantly a love interest for Mando. I’m at least relieved to say that when it was all over he decided to not stay, it’s not where he belongs. I couldn’t possibly agree more.
Lifeless Enemies with a Predictable End Fight
The main enemies despite having been canon since Return of the Jedi “Klatooinians,” reminded me of orcs. Except these felt lifeless and simply an end to justify the means. The villagers learned to fight pretty quick. They also fought an AT-ST and blasters with sharpened sticks… Words can’t describe how little character thought must have gone into the leader of the Klantooinian gang. He was anything but menacing as he died by two sticks after he noticed the AT-ST blown up. Killed in fact by the two most incapable characters of the entire episode.
Overall the big fight scene at the end was nothing special. The episode as a whole was predictable. It was not a shocking revelation that Baby Yoda couldn’t possibly stay, I mean did Mando forget they still have the fobs? The Guild would eventually find him.
Cara does ask a solid question toward the end of the episode about the helmet. If he takes it off will they try and come kill him or something? He just can’t put it back on. I take that as he’s no longer part of the tribe. He’s no longer Mandalorian. Why do I get the feeling that this series will end with him willingly removing his helmet? The big question though, why was Cara not invited onto the ship?! They make such a good team and she brings a fun sarcastic dynamic. He asked Kuiil, Mando said he could use someone like him. You can’t use a partner like Cara?! Oh, come on.
Verdict: Overall this episode was a huge disappointment and felt like a few steps back. The pacing was way off. The storyline was unoriginal with a “love interest” that is truly forgettable. A wasted opportunity with a potential new crew member. Frankly, this episode is simply bad, dull, clunky and unnecessary. I genuinely hope that next week returns to form and that Baby Yoda will be one of the good things about the episode, instead of one of the very few.
- Cara and Mando team up
- One of the funniest Baby Yoda scenes yet
- Some Mando questions answered
- Unoriginal and overused storyline
- Very predictable
- Felt like a filler episode
- Love interest felt like the episode, forced
- Cara wasn't invited to join him, despite being immensely helpful
- Action and fight scenes weren't great