I know this is late, like really really late, like so late that the next episode is already out kind of late, but I really wanted to not miss doing recap for a variety of reasons. Mostly because I want to be able to finish what I started. I’ll be watching Episode 6 later tonight after my daughter’s birthday party and then be getting to the write up for Monday. I can’t wait.

As usual, enjoy a poster before scrolling to the spoiler-y content below.

Combat Carl was not in this episode, but I’m using this poster anyway.

When we last left the show, we were treated to an epic show of force between the hidden Mandalorian cell and basically all of the bounty hunter guild. Thanks to the arrival of his people, The Mando was able to get away and make his way to ship but not before one last encounter with Combat Carl. Combat Carl survived the blaster shot to the chest due to the Beskar Steel he carried in his coat pocket. And then The Mando and The Child take off from the planet Nevarro.

This is where this episode, titled “The Gunslinger”, picks up. The episode opens up with a space fight! And what an opening it was! Space fights are one of the best visual treats that makes Star Wars Star Wars. So seeing ships go head to head right at the opening made me perk up immediately. The Mando is being chased down by another bounty hunter, clearly outmatched. The bounty hunter’s ship is much more nimble. It’s amazing how the weightiness of the Razor Crest and the agility of the bounty hunter’s ship is conveyed by a CG sequence. It’s clear The Mando is at a disadvantage. The bounty hunter, known simplay as “Man”, fires off a few shots at The Mando, landing a few hits and disabling one of the Razor Crest’s engines. Man gives The Mando an ultimatum: “I can bring you in warm or I can bring you in cold.” It seems like The Mando is out of options but this is The Mando we’re talking about and he’s always got a trick up his sleeve. He pulls that Top Gun airbrake maneuver, the bounty hunter doesn’t react in time and sideswipes the the Razor Crest as he flies past him right into the Razor Crest’s crosshairs. The Mando quips with a “That’s my line” right before blasting Man into nothingness. Phew! What an opening!

The Razor Crest drifts as one of its engines is disabled and is leaking fuel. The Mando shuts everything off, gets up from the pilot’s seat, throws a couple of switches, and in a turn it off and on again moment, restarts everything from emergency power. It’s scenes like this that really grounds The Mandalorian. He doesn’t win every fight easily, he can get knocked around, he can run out of ammo, and his ship can get disabled. They could have easily skipped it. Just have him power up the engines and be on his merry way to the nearest starport for repairs. This is more of the show not tell way of storytelling that Nick touched upon last week. It’s these slow moments that really add to the flavor of the show.

As his engines come back to life, he cruises towards the nearest planet which happens to be… wait for it… Tatooine! We know this because Mos Eisley Space Traffic Control comes through on the comm line and directs him to head to hangar three-five. The Mando lands the Razor Crest, hides Baby Yoda in his bunk, closes the door, and deboards. Pit droids, those mostly useless automotons from the prequels, make an appearance. They pop up and amble over to the Razor Crest ready for duty. The Mando fires a warning shot at their feet and they collapse out of fear. This wakes up the quirky Peli Motto played by the talented Amy Sedaris. She throws some words at him and he explains to her to keep them away from his ship. “Yeah? You think that’s a good idea, do ya?” She knows a disabled ship when she sees one and obviously doesn’t think The Mando knows what he’s doing. And just like a mechanic, she starts in on pointing out all of the things that need fixing while banging around on Razor Crest. The Mando drops 500 Imperial credits into her hand to cover the cost of parking and promises to come back with more for the repairs. She has doubts and calls him a Womp Rat as he heads out. Now, right after he exits the hangar, Peli and her pit droids engage in a game sabacc. Baby Yoda wakes up and forces its way out of the locked bunk surprising Peli. Peli picks it up and promises to charge The Mando for looking after it and tells one of her pit droids to get it something to eat, “something with bones in it.”

The Mando exits three-five and heads right over the cantina. Yes, THAT cantina. There’s no Wuher, or anything else that you’d recognize from A New Hope. But that’s okay. I think it would have been too much of fan service to have the exact same set of scum and villainy. That and it wouldn’t have made any sense since it’s been… like years or something.. since we’ve last been there. But anyways, The Mando sidles up to the bar and tells the barkeep he’s looking for work. He needs money to make repairs to Razor Crest. The barkeep droid tells him he barking up the wrong tree when Toro Calican pipes up and offers The Mando a seat. Toro’s looking for a bounty he picked up, one Fennec Shand played by Ming-Na Wen aka Melinda May from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The Mando walks out thinking it’s not worth it. Toro stops him and asks him why. Fennec was an elite mercenary that The Mando knew about but clearly Toro did not. That’s when he fesses up. See, Toro is trying to get into the guild, and to do so he needs to bring in a bounty. That’s all he wants. He doesn’t care about the money, he just needs admission. He wants to be a card carrying member of the bounty hunter’s guild. And he figures to do that, he’ll hire some help to do the dirty work for him since he obviously can’t do it himself. He offers The Mando all of the money. With no other prospects for income he agrees on the condition that they do it together. Two is better than one and if Fennec is as dangerous as The Mando claims, they’re going to need every advantage.

The Mando goes back to hangar three-five and discovers that Baby Yoda is missing. He yells out for Peli jerking her awake. The scene cracks me up because Amy wakes up with such force that Baby Yoda’s head snaps back and forth hard enough to cause serious spinal damage if it were a normal baby. Baby Yoda sounds the most like a baby here with its crying and cooing. The Mando grabs some gear and heads out to meet Toro. Peli follows him holding Baby Yoda and explains that her costs are going up. Toro notices Peli and the baby but doesn’t really react.

Toro brought with him the two speeder bikes that The Mando requested. And here we are treated to another great scene. Toro and The Mando get on the bikes and race across the Dune Sea. It’s not like flying through a forest but the effects are still oh so satisfying, especially the sound effects. That light, high-pitched “oOOoot” the bikes make really triggers the memory of the Return of the Jedi speeder bike chase. Across the desert they go and come to rest before a Tusken Raider convoy. Toro says they better stay out of his way. The Mando knows he’s full of pomp and calmly suggests that he tells them himself. And in a move that would scare the living daylights out of me, two raiders suddenly just appear behind Toro. How his pants didn’t turn more brown is beyond me. I mean, they must have just popped up from under the sand all quiet like. How scary is that? The Mando handles negotiations for safe passage via sign language and offers up Toro’s binocs as payment. And again, they are on their way.

With safe passage secured, they speed along the desert some more until they come across a dewback dragging a rider by the ankle. The Mando goes to investigate. It’s another bounty hunter carrying a tracking fob that is beeping rapidly, signaling the nearby presence of the target, Fennec. The Mando realizes this and tries to retreat only to be hit by a sniper bolt from an MK-modified rifle but is saved by the newly acquired Beskar Steel armor parts. They hunker down until night before they make a move.

Night comes and The Mando and Toro come up with plan. They alternate shots from a flash charge to blind the scope as they race on their speeder bikes towards her camping spot. The plan mostly works as The Mando’s speeder is taken out and takes another shot to the chest but luckily survives. Toro gets the drop on her but Melinda May’s hand to hand combat with S.H.I.E.L.D. comes in handy and they go at it. The Doofus Known As Toro is getting his butt kicked but when The Mando shows up with his pistol drawn Fennec surrenders. But, conundrum! There’s only speeder bike for the three of them. The Mando tells Toro to go back and get that dewback they saw earlier but he ain’t leaving him alone with his bounty and his speeder bike. The Mando decides to get the dewback, but that doesn’t seem like such a great idea either cause what’s stopping Toro from taking Fennec on his bike? Nothing! But he goes and its probably the best decision since he’s the only one that can track the thing in the dark thanks to infrared vision provided by his helmet.

So The Mando leaves. The twin suns rise, and Fennec has the perfect opportunity to play mind games with Toro. She tries to convince him that The Mando is the bigger target here and that he can walk into the Bounty Hunters Guild a legend. She’s only heard that a Mandalorian made some bad choices, went rogue, and ran off with a target. Toro’s not convinced. He knows she’s trying to weasel her way out and would say anything to convince him. He asks how they can be sure that this Mando is THE Mando. Fennec shares the details that the Mandalorian should still have the target with him, a child. Toro remembers seeing Peli at three-five with Baby Yoda and realizes that Fennec was telling the truth. She’s hoping Toro will let her go since she just gave him a huge scoop. He holsters his blaster, and motions for her to stand up as if to let her go. But he’s not as dumb as he looks. He quickdraws his weapon and shoots her in the gut saying that as soon as he took those binders off her he’d be a dead man. And he’s right. Toro then gets on his speeder and speed away.

So now the inexperienced, ignorant doofus has a flash of brilliance and suddenly has the upper hand. Traveling by dewback is, I’m going to take a wild guess here, not as fast as speeder bike. Toro has nothing but time to come up with a plan while The Mando is traveling at what I assume is a snail’s pace. The Mando finally makes his way back to Fennec’s dead body and then heads back to Mos Eisley. There’s no indication how long that journey took but it had to have been a couple of days at least. But this is TV time we’re talking about so we’re supposed to think it just took all the daylight hours because it’s night time, it’s dark, and it’s more dangerous. He enters the hangar cautiously, making his way around some companion cubes. Toro emerges from the Razor Crest holding Baby Yoda and Peli hostage. Toro’s got the upper hand and demands that The Mando drops his weapon. He complies and raises his hands and puts them behind his head. Toro instructs Peli to put some binders on The Mando and as she makes his way behind him, she sees the trick he’s got up his sleeve and whispers, “You’re not as dumb as you look.” Toro prognosticates what will happen to him when he brings The Mando in as his first bounty, reveling in the idea that he’ll become a legend. And as he raises his blaster to fire at The Mando, The Mando lets loose a flash charge and ducks out of the way. He gets the angle on Toro and hits him one shot. Toro practically flips off the Razor Crests ramp and the only thing I and a million other people could think of is “Is Baby Yoda okay? I hope he didn’t land on it!”. Baby Yoda is fine thought as it walks out from behind a crate. I’d like to think that The Child did some fancy gymanstics move like how Yoda did when he was fighting Dooku in Episode II. Peli picks it up off the ground and soothes it. The Mando loots Toro’s body and uses the monety to pay off Peli. Then they part ways with one final shot of Peli nodding with a sad expression on her face. She probably fell in love with Baby Yoda too, along with every Disney+ subscriber.

But wait, there’s more! Remember Fennec’s dead body left to rot at the edge of the Dune Sea? The final shot of the episode shows a mysterious figure approaching the body. We don’t really get to see who this mysterious figure was, but we can only assume it’s someone tracking the Mando. Not that we really needed to know that because The Mando is basically on the run now. The opening dogfight in space proved just that.

Random Thoughts

Back in Chapter 1, when The Mando was trying to get back to his ship on the ice field, the first speeder that pulled up was piloted by a droid. The Mando told the flute-player / taxi stand man on “No droids.” I didn’t think much of it until this episode when he fired that warning shot at the pit droids. Clearly there’s something about him and droids. He’ll tolerate them if need be, like back in Chapter 2 “The Child” when he quickly teamed up with IG-11. But now, now there’s something there. It’s clear he hates them, and doesn’t want anything to do with them.

After this episode aired. There was some conversation about Peli being likened to Ripley from Aliens. I just don’t see it.

The mysterious figure at the end? There’s been some other conversation about who it could be there is a good segment of people that want to believe it’s Boba Fett, that he somehow survived Sarlacc Pit. I’m not buying it though. I will admit though that the mysterious figure is also caped, clanged around like he was wearing armor, and had a holster on his hip. It could be another Mandalorian. /shrug I just hope it’s not Boba cause that just might kill the show for me. The Mandalorian, the show and not the dude, is doing JUST FINE without having to bring in an established character as a crutch for ratings.

This is episode 5, just past the halfway point and things are getting better and better. With only three more episodes left, I’m eating up every minute.

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