Recap of The Mandalorian, S1.E6: Chapter Six “The Prisoner”
Engines hissing, the Razor Crest pulls into the hangar bay of a spacebound ship. An old friend, Ran, greets the Mandalorian, but he’s surprised to see him; considering the recent, ahem, fallout from the Bounty Hunter’s Guild guild debacle, it’s unexpected that the bounty hunter has contacted him. As Ran says, though, no questions. The Mandalorian’s just here for the job and the cash.
Ran’s job, as it turns out, requires rescuing one of his associates from a bind. Our hero (and the Razor Crest) is the last addition to the crew of five who’ll rescue the prisoner. The others are Mayfeld, a former Imperial sharpshooter and point man for the operation; Burg, a big Devaronian; Zero, the droid who’ll do the flying and comms; and Xi’an, a Twi’lek throwing knife expert.
Mando balks at the job—turns out it requires jumping Xi’an’s brother out of a heavily fortified New Republic prison ship—and at letting these mercenaries onto his ship. He’s got a tiny passenger to protect, after all. But he needs the funds, so he goes along. No questions.
En route to the prison, the mercs poke around the Razor Crest, finding Mando’s impressive weapons locker and generally being nosy. They pester the Mandalorian about his helmet, his beliefs, and, after a brief scuffle accidentally open the sleeping compartment revealing Baby Yoda. Mayfeld and the others don’t recognize the importance of the child and assume him to be the bounty hunter’s pet.
Just as Mayfeld picks the child up, Zero starts the approach to the prison ship. Its droid sensibilities throw everybody in the Razor Crest (Baby Yoda included) around. The fracas gives the Mandalorian cover as the rest of the crew prepares for the job, and he puts the child back in his sleeping compartment. We see Mayfeld, Burg, and Xi’an whispering and trading glances, but there’s no indication of what the mercs have in mind.
Judging by the amount of security droids and systems onboard the ship, the New Republic obviously values its prisoners. The crew runs into a variety of droids, giving the Mandalorian a chance to prove his skills. The job gets messy when they get to the command center only to discover a human New Republic officer with a dangerous weapon: a tracking beacon that’ll bring an attack team down on the prison.
The Mandalorian tries to calm the man, promising him his life if he’ll let them do their job. Mayfeld objects and a standoff develops, with Mayfeld, Burg, and the bounty hunter pointing blasters at each other. Xi’an resolves the issue by killing the New Republic officer herself. Problem solved? Not quite—he activated the tracking beacon, giving the mercs twenty minutes to rescue their target.
The prisoner they’re after is Qin, Xi’an’s brother. With Qin free and the New Republic closing in, the mercs push the Mandalorian into Qin’s cell and leave him for dead. Back aboard the Razor Crest, Zero finds an old message from Greef Karga and discovers Baby Yoda. Deeming the child “curious,” Zero picks up its rifle and starts to search the ship for him.
The Mandalorian breaks free using his nifty grappling hook and an arm donated by a security droid, proceeds to the command center, and takes control of the prison. He knocks out Zero’s link with the mercenaries and uses the prison’s doors to split them up. He crushes Burg, the big Devaronian, in one of the doors. Xi’an’s throwing knives are no match for beskar. Mayfeld’s fancy extra blaster (worked by some kind of cybernetic aiming system, maybe?) can’t help him in the dark.
Qin makes it back to the Razor Crest on his own, but is stopped by the Mandalorian before making his getaway. Baby Yoda hides from Zero as it searches for him. He hides in the sleeping compartment but is found by the murderous droid. The child attempts to use the Force on the droid before the Mandalorian blasts him from behind.
Mando returns to Ran’s station, Qin in hand. Ran wonders where the rest of the crew is but pays the bounty hunter for a job well done. Ran orders a gunship to destroy the Razor Crest as it pulls out of the hanger and Qin discovers a parting gift left by the Mandalorian in his pocket: the still-active New Republic tracking beacon. Right on cue, a trio of X-wings drops out of hyperspace and blast the station into pieces.
As the Razor Crest jumps to hyperspace, the Mandalorian can finally relax. He unscrews the knob (Baby Yoda’s favorite toy), telling the child, “I told you that was a bad idea.” Back on the New Republic prison ship, Burg, Mayfeld, and Xi’an get used to their new cell. Cut to black!
Review of The Mandalorian, S1.E6: Chapter Six “The Prisoner”
“Oh, but you liked it. See, I know who you really are. ‘This is the Way.’” Xi’an mocks the Mandalorian with these words en route to the prison ship. She’s referring to a job they took together on Alzoc III, but it adds more definition to the mysterious main character of the show. Does anyone know who the Mandalorian really is?
We’re six episodes (out of eight) into the season and our hero remains subtly sketched. We know he’s good at his job and we know he treasures his Mandalorian culture and brethren. We also know that he’s developed a distinct soft spot for the internet’s reigning prince, Baby Yoda. Beyond that we have nothing concrete, so small conversations like this one or the one between him and Cara Dune on Sorgan provide tantalizing details and backstory.
If The Mandalorian was an eight-part miniseries, the title character’s lack of development and depth would be a serious issue. But knowing we’ve got at least another season’s worth of episodes changes the calculus. What looks like a shortage of development six episodes in becomes a delicious slow burn when we know there are more than two episodes coming.
Holding back on the Mandalorian’s backstory also gives the show time to play with a concept George Lucas kicked off almost forty years ago. The Empire Strikes Back introduced Boba Fett, the enigmatic bounty hunter who captures Han Solo and freezes him in carbonite. The character had maybe 3 minutes of screen time in Empire and its sequel, Return of the Jedi, but the world couldn’t get enough of him. Toys, comic books, novels, videogames, t-shirts—you name it and Boba Fett’s been there.
Considering the fact that the character speaks just two or three times in the films, Boba Fett’s appeal can be hard to understand. But The Mandalorian is taking time to explore the idea of why we find masked characters like him so magnetic. The Mandalorian doesn’t say much; he lets his actions (and awesome gadgets) do most of the talking. As a result, we see the Mandalorian as other characters on the show see him: a feared hunter, a noble warrior, even a father figure.
It’s a sly commentary on what’s happened to Boba Fett ever since he sidled into frame on Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer way back in 1980. And it makes a point about the Mandalorian, too—maybe we’re better off not knowing much about him.
Alright, time for some quick hits and observations from “The Prisoner.”
- “The Prisoner” might be the best example of what fans wanted from Lucasfilm when The Mandalorian was announced. It nails the western-meets-space opera vibe perfectly, features a rogue’s gallery of mercs with rad tech and questionable motives, and is packed with cool setpieces and action.
- Mayfeld says the Razor Crest looks like a Canto Bight slot machine. Considering how glitzy the casino looked in The Last Jedi, I’m not sure that’s the insult he means it to be.
- Zero looks to be a repurposed RA-7 model, a protocol droid manufactured during the Empire’s glory days as a spy droid.
- If you’d told me even a year ago that we’d see Bill Burr doing a Gungan impression in a Star Wars TV show, I would’ve said you’re crazier than a rabid womp rat. But the Force works in mysterious ways…
- Looks like the helmet’s not coming off, y’all. Not even a little bit.
- We see some interesting prisoners on the New Republic prison ship, including an Imperial officer and a four-armed Ardennian. The Ardennian looks just like Rio Durant, the affable pilot from Solo. It’s a cool shout-out to the 2018 anthology film that didn’t get much love from fans (for what it’s worth, I loved it!) and a little wink to the fact that Jon Favreau, creator of The Mandalorian, voiced him.
- The sequence where the Mandalorian stalks Mayfeld looks like something out of Alien. Well done, Rick Famuyiwa!
The Mandalorian keeps getting better. This episode is a definite improvement over the last one. The slow burn might turn some fans away, but they’re missing out on a show that’s becoming more thought provoking by the episode without sacrificing any of the action.
The next episode of The Mandalorian releases Wednesday, December 18th.