The Mandalorian: A Baby Yoda Rescue & Uncertain Future – Review, Ep. 103

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Well, you could kind of sense something like this was going to happen when The Mandalorian got his first glimpse of Yoda Jr., didn’t you? Tie that in with those flashbacks to the death of his mother and father (we assume), and some furtive glances and interesting questions, and Chapter Three: The Sin, proved to be an interesting twist in the Mandalorian tale. Three episodes in and our hero is on the run – Yoda Jr. in tow.

If you haven’t seen episode 3 of The Mandalorian on Disney+, you are being forewarned that there are SPOILERS ahead. If you’re okay with that, let’s proceed.

“The Sin” offers us a lot of interesting tidbits, not the least of which is that The Mandalorian has a bit of soft spot for children, having been an orphan of war or violence himself. It also shows us that he’s got a bit more of a moral compass than some of his Mandalorian brothers and sisters, definitely more of one than the bounty hunter world he inhabits. And I’m glad for that, though I sort of expected something like this from the outset of Yoda Jr.

Once again, we see some of that classic western loner vibe playing out through this episode – lone gunman walking through down a dusty town road. The long journey back to his home world, where the cuteness of Yoda Jr. is turned up a notch, right? Come on, let the little one have that round nob off your controller, it likes it. Again, few words are used, but within that ship and the silent relationship that’s building, there are definite vibes that are interesting. A look here and there, some body language and you get a very interesting sense that the job may have some points of deviation.

Of course, The Mandalorian delivers The Asset to The Client and an extra question asked by The Mandalorian lets you know that there’s more going on in that Beskar armor than is obvious. Package delivered, serious Beskar payment given, and the Mandalorian seeks to have his armor replaced and we get a gleaming, new look for our hero…but there’s something nagging at him. He finds that there were a lot of other bounty hunters on the case and he once again inquires what will become of the child, this time to Greef Karga in the bar.

Remember, he had another flashback during his time with the Mandalorian tribe as his armor was being fitted, this time with more detail. I’ve had some people say they don’t like the shorter episodes (this one was about 36 minutes), but I do. I like the sparse dialogue and the way the subtleties make you think a bit more. The Mandalorian wants another bounty and as he sits inside his ship ready to take off…a momentary pause…what could be construed as a sigh…and he shuts down the ship.

What’s great here is that you know full well what’s coming. The lone gunman, suddenly clinging to a moral compass he may have forgotten he had, is going to make a difference. I do love the vibe of The Mandalorian’s home world and the kind of dusty, dirty village he and his people reside in. It screams remote and lawless. I half expect to see a tumbleweed roll through the street and a guy named “Stumpy” walk out a door with a jug.

What’s really interesting about this episode is we get these little snippets of backstory sprinkled like a nice seasoning all over the proceedings. A more detailed flashback by the Mandalorian, a meeting of many Mandalorian minds in their underground dwelling, a meeting of the minds that ends in a bit of a brawl. There’s obviously no love lost for the Empire and the “great purge” that the Mandalorians have experienced. Even when our hero is paid in Beskar that one of his brethren feels is tainted.

“Our world was shattered by the Empire, with whom this coward shares tables,” a somewhat large Mandalorian practically spits in his face. Knives are drawn, cuts in armor are delivered, and snarling is rampant before things are calmed down.

It would seem that the Mandalorians, in order to conceal their true numbers, only come to the surface one at a time, and not in great numbers (though we see that little tidbit changed later). I find this whole religion of the Mandalorians very interesting and with each little revelation, moreso. Also, if I may digress, it is becoming clear that The Mandalorian is providing us with some cool catchphrases.

We got “I have spoken” from Kuill in the first two episodes, and in this one we hear the Mandalorians repeat the phrase “This is the way.” In addition to all the Baby Yoda merchandise hitting the stores just in time for the holidays, I’d say a t-shirt with a cool design and these phrases on them might be coveted. No? We’ll see.

The 36-minute episode finishes off with The Mandalorian breaking into The Client’s abode by blowing out a wall, then dispatching plenty of guards in the hallways. Eventually, he finds his little friend, along with Dr. Pershing, who cowers nicely. Interestingly, though, the good doctor pleads with The Mandalorian that he’s been protecting the child and if it weren’t for him, Yoda Jr. would already be dead.

It would seem The Client wanted the doctor to extract something our little green friend (Midichlorians, perhaps), which I found intriguing. If it was Midichlorians, then for what purpose? If not that, then what…and why?

In the end, it’d didn’t matter as our bright and shiny Mandalorian dispatched the guards with a nice combination of finesse and skill, then proceeded to mosey on down the dusty street. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to be that easy. The Client, or whoever is pulling his strings, alerts the bounty hunters in the area and The Mandalorian must run a gauntlet of the brotherhood, including Karga. You know, I love a good firefight and I love ingenuity within those types of scenes and I thought The Mandalorian delivered a nice level of intensity and fun on that street. Blasters were firing, creatures of all types were going down (or being disintegrated) and it was fun to watch.

I thought it was well done and Karga is an interesting character, to be sure. There’s a bit of loyalty there, but not enough to spoil the chance at a payday. But just as in any good western, where the homesteaders are fighting for their lives in their mud hut, the cavalry does arrive. This time in the form of a herd of Mandalorians to run, jump or fly to the rescue. The fight resumes with much greater intensity and the bounty hunters are being cut down nicely.

There’s a good moment here when the Mandalorian brother who’d had a beef with our hero earlier tells him to get to his ship, with the parting words “This is the way.” The Mandalorians, clouded in shadows and deeply ingrained in their religion and their tribal ways, have their own code of honor. A brother is in trouble and the tribe responds. It was an interesting intervention, one that I hope we learn more about. The Mandalorians are an interesting people.

Unfortunately, before he can leave, The Mandalorian finds that Karga had slipped away from the carnage and awaits him on his ship. Fortunately, a little venting to cloud the issue and a blaster round leaves Karga blind and then shot and tumbling out of the ship. Don’t worry, though, Karga is saved when the blaster hits his own little stash of Beskar. I’m glad for that because I think Karga is an interesting character as well. Carl Weathers gives him a weary, suspicious vibe and I like that.

And with that, The Mandalorian is gone, taking his little charge with him. So it would seem we have a new direction for the show, one that promises to open up many possibilities moving forward. Where will they go? What will become of Yoda Jr. and why? They will obviously be pursued, so there’s going to be a much more over-arching element of danger and intrigue moving forward. I suspect new places and people are going to enter this world and I’m delighted at the prospect. How about you?

It has been interesting to read other’s thoughts on The Mandalorian. I’ve seen some say it doesn’t have that Star Wars DNA, while others have said it belongs squarely in the Star Wars pantheon of shows. Right up front, I’ll tell you that canon means zip to me. I’m in this thing because Star Wars has been a joy in my live for more than 40 years and because I’m very excited about the chance for new faces, new world building, and new ideas to start populating the Star Wars realm. What is and isn’t “Star Wars” seems like a foolish question. It’s not a familial thing, it’s a entertainment thing.

And for my money, the family of Star Wars is diverse and immersive, with worlds and stories that will be and won’t be part of the timeline of the nine movies. And I”m good with that. As I noted last week, the only criteria I have is, does it entertain me, does it make me want to come back and see what’s new in this world, and are their characters that intrigue me enough to wonder about them and their story? Through three episodes of The Mandalorian, those answers are all “yes.” And that works for me.

Follow me on Twitter: @jbakeR2D2 and @threeifbyspace.

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John Baker