The Mandalorian - Episode 1.04 - Chapter 4 - Review
Chapter 4 of The Mandalorian introduced ex-Rebel shock trooper Cara Dune, played by Gina Carano. Her introduction added a unique and necessary layer to the show. It took until episode 4 for there to be any female representation in The Mandalorian. Which was a bit too late. There were 4 females who had anything of significance in this episode, so a 400% increase is a good start.
The battle scenes, directed by Bryce Dallas Howard (daughter of Solo: A Star Wars Story director Ron Howard) were some of the best battle scenes that the franchise has to offer. It felt like something out of Rogue One, which is one of the highest compliments it can get.
The bond between the Mandalorian and the Child continues strengthen. But the Mandalorian also got a glimpse at a potential peaceful life. That was short lived of course, but it shows the complexity of the character and reinforces the grey area he lives in.
The show also brought the Klatooinians into the forefront. They've appeared in the background of the prequels and a few animated things, but this is the most prominent they have ever been. It is great that The Mandalorian is deep diving in the well. That is something that is easier to do when you have Dave Filoni around.
To see a band of farmers come together to bring down an AT-ST was so much fun to watch. It was quintessential Star Wars (outnumbered good guys against overpowered bad guys), yet felt fresh and new. Howard is a wonderful director, and takes a lot more risk than her father does.
This episode had the perfect balance of feeling self contained, but also contributed to the larger overall story. The protagonist stopped on a planet, helped some helpless farmers, learned some things about himself, and was off again to somewhere new. It was written to make it feel like Cara Dune was a one-and-done, with the chance of a return, but Carano was so good (and so promoted) that it feels like she might join The Mandalorian on the rest of his adventures this season.
The Child continues to be adorable, and wins over everyone every episode. There was a fleeting moment where it seemed like the show was going to move on from him (after all, the show is called The Mandalorian, not The Child) but that didn't happen. They are bonded for at least the remainder of the season now, if not longer. Lucasfilm and Jon Favreau know they have a crowd pleaser on their hands, and will milk it as long as possible.
The Mandalorian finally took off his helmet, though we still didn't get to see his face. But one line in particular lent some clues into his origin. He mentioned that he was taken in by the Mandalorians when he was young. The episode also had a conversation that asked if he was one, and made the clarification that if he wasn't it was Mandalorian armor at least. So it is planting seeds that he might not be a born and bred member of the Mandalorian race.
Star Wars feels dangerous, relentless, and intimidating again now because of The Mandalorian. The show looks great, but is also not polished and clean. It is down and dirty. It doesn't sensationalize the universe, it portrays it as a real, raw, dangerous, war riddled place that shouldn't be appealing to the masses to want to live there.
It is taking its time, but The Mandalorian is slowly building a nice stable of characters and themes. It is at the halfway point now, and it seems we know what to expect from the remaining episodes. The Mandalorian will keep running and keep the child safe, while helping anyone he runs into in the "adventure of the week."
This was one of the strongest episodes of the series. It was also one of the biggest in terms of scope. Howard crafted a hell of an episode, with some of the most memorable moments of the series yet.
The Mandalorian is now streaming, exclusively on Disney+.