Photo courtesy of Disney+
By Jack Olsen ’21
*Warning this review contains mild spoilers for later episodes in “The Mandalorian”*
“The Mandalorian” was one of the biggest breakout shows of 2019. It was released with the launch of Disney+ as its star series and hit hard with its new audience. “The Mandalorian” follows Din Djarin, a Mandalorian bounty hunter working after the fall of the Galactic Empire. After completing a bounty where he discovered the target was a kid, he rebels against the Bounty Hunter Guild and travels across the galaxy in an effort to protect The Child, eloquently dubbed by the internet as ‘Baby Yoda,’ and meets various people along the way. The Mandalorian is characterized as a cool, lone gunslinger with a cold, serious demeanor and his own set of values. He is portrayed as a heroic anti-hero, someone who typically performs heroic actions and exhibits traditional heroic traits, yet isn’t afraid to follow their own code, even if it means committing actions often seen as immoral.
“The Mandalorian” started out strong with its first episode, introducing a compelling and stone-faced protagonist and brand new world within the Star Wars universe. With what appeared to be an engaging plot, as well as an amazing cast and the return to practical props and effects over the use of CGI, the show appeared to have incredible potential and hefty momentum carrying it forward. However, as the show went on, it ran into a problem: filler.
The middle episodes rely heavily on a consistent overarching problem––that the Mandalorian must keep moving in an effort to not be captured by the Bounty Hunter Guild and to protect his cargo. He bounces from planet to planet, doing small odd jobs that develop some characters but have no actual purpose or impact. These episodes provide small and fun escapades, yet have no consequences, do not contribute to the story, and leave the audience wanting.
However, the last two episodes are an epic conclusion to the show overall, with the reintroduction of old characters that were thought to be one-offs, never to be seen again, and the introduction of an amazingly complex villain.
The show establishes here what it wants to be. It finally gives the plot direction and a main antagonist, as well as much more lore and teasers that have gotten many fans excited for season two. These last two episodes salvaged what looked to be a falling plot and provided the fantastic ending that this story deserved.
“The Mandalorian” can be best described as a sandwich, with an impressive beginning and end being some of the most perfect and delicious buns to be showcased this year. However, with a middle so dry and tasteless, “The Mandalorian” fills those buns with sand, and in the infamous words of Anakin Skywalker, “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.” “The Mandalorian” is an incredible show with its flaws, but overall, provides a compelling and satisfying experience that anyone can enjoy.