The Mandalorian: The Search For ‘Sanctuary’ Continues – Review, Ep. 104

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You knew it wasn’t going to be that easy, right? The chance to find a home for Baby Yoda seemed to be within The Mandalorian’s grasp. Unfortunately, it was not to be as our wandering baby-sitting bounty hunter learned soon enough that he and his ward leave a big wake – and there are plenty who would track them both. In Chapter 4 of The Mandalorian, “Sanctuary,” we see that the road for our two favs is going to be a long one, and strewn with potential pitfalls.

So, if you’re going to follow along, be aware that SPOILERS are on the horizon. Forewarned is forearmed, so you know what’s coming. If you’re good with that, let’s talk about Chapter 4 of The Mandalorian.

First, I have to mention how much I enjoyed this episode. A little more dialogue, a bit more action, and some interesting new faces to ponder. Bryce Dallas Howard took the director’s chair for this one and I think she crafted a gem of an episode, one that offered the feeling of safety, family and hope tied up in some deposed Imperial threads. I thought “Sanctuary” had a nice little “Seven Samurai” vibe running throughout. And I dig that movie, so I was delighted.

Bryce Dallas Howard directing Chapter 4.

You may not have felt it, but the heroes helping hapless victimized villagers will always, I suppose, resonate in that “Seven Samurai” type of way. I thought BDH put together an episode that spoke to that classic while also offering more than a few fun twists and some, dare I say it, emotional potential. My feeling was Howard put just the right touches of humanity and healthy fear together in a wonderfully packaged episode. Well done, Bryce Dallas Howard.

Episode 4 sees The Mandalorian looking for a quiet, backwater type of planet, a place he and Baby Yoda can lay low. It appears he finds one and heads on in for a landing. The episode opens with a farming community beset by bandits who steal their crops and cause general havoc. From there, given the title (Sanctuary), you get the feeling these two stories are going to intersect…and they do.

But not before we meet a wonderful new character. At a little cantina on this new world, the Mandalorian (with Baby Yoda in tow), runs face first into the strength and power of Cara Dune, a soldier in the resistance when the Empire fell, then a soldier of fortune type in the years since. Gina Carano plays Dune with a strength and wariness that is both a bit nervy and alluring. You instantly want to know more about this woman than the little tidbits she drops – after her fight with The Mandalorian. Nice dust-up between the two and shows she’s every bit his equal.

Gina Carano as Cara Dune in The Mandalorian on Disney+

And it’s in the aftermath of their strenuous meeting and short chat that the world of the farmers and the world of these two warriors begin to intersect. As in Seven Samurai, the farmer are willing to pay for protection and make the offer to the new arrival. After some back-and-forth, the Mandalorian accepts and enlists Dune in the job. While the plot is one we’ve seen before, the twist is fun … the bandits have an Imperial Walker, something that makes defending the faming village problematic.

While The Mandalorian and Dune are assessing their chances and coming up with a strategy, there’s a softer, warmer story that is developing here. Baby Yoda has been taken in and the village (particularly the children) are in love with this child. While that’s going on, another woman makes her impact on the story. Julia Jones gives us the character of Omera, a widowed farm wife who does a pretty effective job of starting to get underneath The Mandalorian’s armor.

On several levels, the hard shell of the Mandalorian, visually represented by his armor, is softening. Omera is able to reach a part of him that Baby Yoda has started to open. It’s an interesting twist as we have a little heartstring action in the midst of all that is about to happen.

And what’s about to happen is a throw down with the Bandits. Farmers trained to fight (somewhat) or shoot (Omera is a dead shot…who knew?), strategy to take out the walker in place, The Mandalorian and Dune roll out to cause havoc in the bandit camp lure them into a full scale fight at the farm. A couple things right here – there was probably more dialogue in this episode than we’ve had in the first three, which was nice.

Julia Jones as Omera, protecting her daughter in The Mandalorian on Disney+

We got some tidbits of information about the Mandalorian (he’s not a Mandalore, but a child whose parents were killed, likely by Imperial troops. And, he’s not had that helmet off in front of someone since he was about 9-10 years old). He did take it off to eat, but no one sees that. Omera almost got it off later, but to no avail.

What we also received was a very nice battle scene where the farmers held their own while The Mandalorian and Dune had to rework their original plan in the midst of battle. There was shooting, stabbing, an explosion and the final victory for the farmers. The walker was destroyed and the leader of the bandits was skewered by a pair of farmers whose faces you’ll recognize. It’s a nice win and one that leaves us wondering what the aftermath might be.

Unfortunately, the trail the story was going down didn’t make it the finish. The Mandalorian hopes to leave Baby Yoda in the village because it is loved and loves being there. Our hero, knowing that his life on the run is no life for a child is torn about the decision, but knows it’s best. Even with Omera doing her best to convince him that he can build a life there, sans armor, he tells her he must go.

Baby Yoda and The Mandalorian.

Sadly, the best laid plans are interrupted by a blaster shot. Turns out, a fellow bounty hunter had tracked them to this planet and only the timely intervention of Dune saved Baby Yoda from having his brains blown out. A tracking fob on the deceased’s body tells the tale – they are the hunted and no place is safe for either of them.

So, it’s obvious there’s an element out there that prefers Baby Yoda dead and I’m curious about that. Who? Why? Where? Also, how are they tracking Baby Yoda? Is it via DNA or some other chemical or is there a chip in our little fella? Regardless, it becomes clear that this village, no matter how welcoming and secluded, simply isn’t safe and they must run.

I’m hoping that our duo run into Dune again because I really liked that character. In fact, this episode had a pair of women that really took things up a notch and that was delightful. Another great example that strength and power can come in different shapes, sizes and forms. Omera and Cara Dune displayed both in their own unique ways, something I think The Mandalorian liked in each – for different reasons. Hopefully, We get more Dune down the road. She and The Mandalorian make a good team. They are worth watching some more.

The world-building continues through four episodes of The Mandalorian. I really enjoy the little references we get to The Empire and the fall of that realm. I think the odes to those older movies, as well as other Star Wars vehicles, help enrich The Mandalorian. The writing of Jon Favreau and direction of Bryce Dallas Howard in “The Sanctuary” ticked all the boxes for me and I’m anxious to see where being on the run takes or hero and Baby Yoda next. Right now, I’m truly enjoying the journey.

Follow me on Twitter: @jbakeR2D2 and @threeifbyspace.

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John Baker