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Recap and Review of The Mandalorian, S1.E1: Chapter One

The wait is over! The Nerds on Earth Slack channels were abuzz with reports of having watched The Mandalorian. One Nerds on Earth writer reported that he’d woken up at 5am to watch it. Several others, myself included, tried to sneak a viewing in at work…only to be greeted with the infinite spinning blue buffering wheel of sadness and despair.

But when the work day was over I rushed home and…well…you don’t care about this lede anymore, so let’s just ditch it and get right into the recap of The Mandalorian, S1.E1: Chapter One!

Recap of The Mandalorian, S1.E1: Chapter One

We open in a bar where two thugs are harassing a blue, fish-faced humanoid and talking about harvesting some glands for who knows what reason. Their tussle is interrupted by our Mandalorian (aka Mando) walking all majestic-like into the building.

After a dispute over a spilled drink, the thugs are summarily dispatched by Mando who reveals that the blue, fish-faced man is his bounty. Hand resting on the hilt of his blaster, he says, “I can bring you in warm, or I can bring you in cold.

Brian Posehn makes a cameo as a land speeder driver who whisks the bounty hunter and his quarry back to his ship (which, to me, looks like the Slave I and a firefly class cargo ship had a beautiful baby). He is summarily consumed by a giant, walrus-alligator hybrid beast that then tries for the ship. But Mando hangs out the side of the ship in mid-flight and shoots it like a boss before returning to the helm.

After a few attempts at bargaining, the blue, fish-faced guy gets frozen in carbonite alongside three of Mando’s other bounties. I know.

Mando turns them all in to Greef Karga, the head of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild. The few other jobs Greef has prove unappetizing to Mando, so Greef sends him to an off-the-books gig that requires a face-to-face arrangement but promises a big payout.

The man with the job has a personal guard consisting of Storm Troopers and screams Imperial. He is willing to pay Mando in Beskar Steel for delivery of the asset; although this client and his doctor friend seem to be at odds with whether or not the bounty must be delivered alive. The only information they’re able to provide Mando is the target’s age (50) and last known whereabouts.

Upon arrival to the planet on which the target is to be found, he is attacked by blurrg, an animal that resembles a piranha, a T-Rex, and a tadpole all-in-one. He’s rescued by an Ugnaught mounted atop a blurrg who tells Mando he’ll help him for no other reason than to keep more bounty hunters from disturbing the peace of his home world.

Mando is beaten to the destination by an assassin droid who appears to have learned the art of the gunkata of Equilibrium fame. The two join forces on a promise to share the bounty. After being nearly overrun, Mando manages to commandeer a laser turret which he uses to slay the rest of the aggressors and blast his way past a locked door.

Inside, they follow the signal from a tracking unit to a sphere that, when opened, contains an infant of the same species of Yoda! The IG unit moves to terminate the baby alien, but Mando shoots him in the head instead.

Review of The Mandalorian, S1.E1: Chapter One

The thing I loved most about the first episode of The Mandalorian is all of the lore that is hinted at or outright developed.

  • The Mandalorian race is highlighted in a very tribal-feeling scene between Mando and an armorer. Beskar Steel is mentioned alongside a signet. Is the signet something we’ll see him earn over the course of the show?
  • The Mandalorians’s connection to the mythosaur is teased during his attempts to ride the blurrg. The skull of the mythosaur is the classic Mandalorian icon. It can be seen above the armorer’s smithy.
  • Yoda’s race is brought to the fore. Why might the Imperials want one? What can they take from it whether it is dead or alive? Do they have plans to harvest something from it? Clone it? What value does that race have that the Imperials wish to capitalize on somehow?

The Mandalorian is notably rated PG, by the way. While the most recent films have ventured into PG-13 territory, dialing things back a bit to appeal to a wider audience feels smart. The most violent moment of this first episode takes place off screen when a thug fleeing the bar in the opening sequence is bisected by a door. Tasteful. And I don’t think the tone, setting, or action suffered one iota!

The unnamed “Yoda race” and the relative age of the alien could make for some interesting plot developments. My guess is he doesn’t turn the creature in, so I’m thinking we’ll see the classic “hunter becomes the hunted” flip.

Will this be one long escort mission of some kind? Does he get a sick tactical papoose and run all over the Outer Rim with the creature on his belly or back? Who will he entrust with its care? Why do the Imperials want it so badly?

The race has proven super Force sensitive in the Legends material, so perhaps that is why they’re looking to secure the specimen.

Great action. Solid comedic beats throughout. Lots of mystery right alongside tons of history. Superb special effects and score. One heck of a cliffhanger at the end. This all adds up to a stellar first showing for The Mandalorian.

And this is a live action Star Wars television series we’re talking about, people! I’m not saying we shouldn’t or can’t be critical of it, but let’s not overlook the fact that we’re living the dream right now.

The next episode of The Mandalorian drops Friday, November 15th, so we won’t have to wait long before we travel once more to a galaxy far, far away.

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