Review- The Mandalorian Chapters 3 and 4
After a promising and fun first two chapters, we're here at chapters three and four, which will truly test if The Mandalorian has legs as a full series.
After acquiring the bounty that was The Child (Baby Yoda), The Mandalorian returns to his employer where he hesitantly hands over the baby to the sinister Client and Dr Pershing. From his mild interactions in the ship, along with The Mandalorian's questions, it's clear Mando is concerned about what will happen to The Child, a change of pace for this as of yet cold bounty hunter.
The Mandalorian receives his very generous reward before the audience is once again shown how dang cute Baby Yoda is, and how much emotion/ thoughts can be told from The Mandalorian just through a simple helmet.
It's similar to the work done for fellow Star Wars characters C-3PO and Chewbacca, in which movements and body language are vital in telling the audience what the character is thinking when constrained to a simple costume. As for how far this can be done for a main character is still yet to be established.
From herein, the episode is quite interesting as it retreads a lot of the territory and locations of the first chapter. While Mando certainly came across problems during his mission, the journey was never diverted or altered, as is often the case with these types of stories.
The feeling of deja-vu is not helped by the fact many of the sets are pretty bland and generic. Mando's interaction with The Guild further develops how he feels he must help The Child, but the scene looks like it was literally filmed the same day as the scene in chapter one.
The same happens upon Mando returning to The Mandalorian base. The scene acts as a way to give The Mandalorian new armour, which does act as nice world-building to the Mandalorian lore. But it still feels awful repetitive of the scene in the first chapter, even down to Mando having largely the same flashback to his childhood we saw when he last visited the Armorer.
Ultimately the episode is saved by an interesting rescue sequence, which builds to the show's most fan-pleasing moment yet. The scene gives us some classic Star Wars action, along with character's previously teased in the episode.
Topped off with an amusing line from Mando, chapter three ends on a high, and certainly leaves you wanting more.
Onto chapter four in which we feel the story is now starting to set a trajectory. The Mandalorian is on the run for betraying The Guild, and he must now find a place to hide, while also finding a home for Baby Yoda... I mean "The Child".
The chapter certainly gets off to a promising start, as we are shown a new location, and new humans, who aren't villains or bounty hunters. It's a calmer side of the galaxy we don't often get to see in Star Wars. A television series such as this allows us to take more time to appreciate the world, and experience even simple things like how to order broth in a galaxy far, far away.
However, there is danger of course, with the episode taking on a Seven Samurai like story in which Mando and his new friend Cara Dune (Gina Carano) must protect a local village from enemy raiders.
It leads to some nice moments such as The Child getting to interact with the youngsters of the village, and The Mandalorian opening up, slightly, to a widowed Mother. It adds some much-needed character development, and the troupe of a tarnished plan, which was missing from its previous chapter.
But I still can't help but feel somewhat cheated by this episode. Not only did we get this story in a season two episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but it's a pretty stretched narrative structure as it is.
While the final battle does ultimately impress, thanks to an increased sense of danger from a sinister AT-ST walker, the show is still missing that gritty quality that made its first two episodes stand out.
The episode is notable for being directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, who clearly helps with the quieter and more emotional moments. But it's here that the concept of our main character wearing a helmet really starts to make things difficult from an empathetic point of view. Especially when we don't have any other consistent characters, and those we do get, are just tough mercenaries.
Ludwig Göransson's score once again does some heavy lifting here as we get a nice closing moment as Mando and The Child move on to their next adventure. And while the action and concepts of these chapters certainly save them, hopefully, the series can find its groove and add some bigger stakes and investment going forward.