Friday, December 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Mandalorian' - Mando Teams with a New Bounty Hunter to Track an Assassin in 'Chapter 5: The Gunslinger'

Disney+'s The Mandalorian - Episode 1.05 "Chapter 5: The Gunslinger"

The Mandalorian helps a rookie bounty hunter who is in over his head.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Disney+'s The Mandalorian.

"Chapter 5: The Gunslinger" was written by Dave Filoni and directed by Dave Filoni

The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda will face threats no matter where they go. They don't even have to land on a planet in order to be targeted. They can be traveling in space when they come under fire. That's where this episode picks up. They are forever being tracked by the members of the bounty hunting guild. That presents as the most legitimate form of work in the galaxy following the fall of the Empire. The pay may not be great. The work may not be enticing or exciting. However, it presents as a form of stability while allowing for action to dictate one's life. It is a thrilling experience no matter what the hunt is. Mando just happens to be a huge target. His actions have already become well known throughout the galaxy. Even his targets know who he is and what he has done. He escaped with one of his targets. He broke the guild's rules. He is more wanted than any other fugitive. He just happens to possess the skills and tools necessary to evade capture. That is once again the case in this episode. Mando lands on a planet and soon gets entangled in a perilous mission. This time the story connects more directly to the Star Wars mythology. He lands on Tatooine for repairs. As such, he roams around the same places that have already been seen and defined in this universe. That means it's startling to see how scarcely populated this region of the world has now become. This was the home planet for the Skywalker family. And now, the infamous cantina is no longer packed with people weary from their travels. There is still the instant visual of Toro Calican having his legs up on the table in the same way that Han Solo did all those years ago. That immediately creates the connection that he is a rebel and outlaw just like him. However, that's not true in the slightest. In fact, Toro is just a naive kid who wants to join the guild. He has to prove himself and is more than willing to make a deal with Mando in order to get that legitimacy. In the end though, Mando is the one who does all of the work to travel this land and capture their target, assassin Fennec Shand. She immediately presents as having the advantage in the situation because she's a sharp shooter and is positioned on higher ground. Mando's armor protects him from the immediate hits. However, it won't protect him forever. But again, his plan of attacking is certainly entertaining and exciting. It ends in a brief physical fight between Fennec and Toro. But it's mostly about how Mando is effective at the job but that is no longer good enough to keep him as a valuable resource in this galaxy. Fennec knows exactly who he is. As such, she believes she can leverage that information in order to earn her freedom when left alone with Toro. That isn't the case. He is a killer who would rather kill this target in order to secure the more lucrative one. He doesn't last long in battle with Mando. Again, the various tools that Mando carries in his armor are more than effective when it comes time to eliminating his target. Baby Yoda doesn't even get hurt in the process despite being in harm's way. This may just be the life that these two will have together. They find allies on the various planets where they land. The woman repairing the ship, Peli Motto, wants to care for this child. Mando may not have the right paternal instincts just yet. Baby Yoda is still shrouded in mystery when it comes to exploring why he is so important. This episode once again displays just how this show can function on an episodic basis. It can feature quick and concise stories in which Mando has a mission that needs to be completed. That has formed the foundation of this new show. It's very effective and efficient in that regard. This episode does end on the tease that something more may be going on. Someone else is lording over Fennec Shand's body. That could be the person she was meeting for her cryptic mission. Or it could be someone new entirely who also wishes to track and exploit Mando and Baby Yoda. Right now, that speculation is the most tantalizing quality from this particular episode. It should be cleared up sooner rather than later considering the season is already quickly approaching its conclusion. There is nothing inherently wrong with simple and clear storytelling. It just doesn't feel like there is much momentum to the proceedings either. It's just Mando doing whatever it takes to protect Baby Yoda while causing a disturbance wherever he lands.