SPOILER REVIEW: The Mandalorian Ep. 6 - 'The Prisoner'.
We are now six episodes and an entire month and half in to our adventures through the Mandalorian’s first season on Disney Plus. The show continues to be fun, meta and self-referential but also seemingly without a clear path through the galaxy. With just two episodes left, I’m not quite sure where this story will end up. With that in mind, we have to look at this episode from two different perspectives. One perspective is the episode itself and the other is as it fits in to the season as a whole.
In episode six, Mando and the Child have just left episode 5’s Peli Motto (looking like Ellen Ripley's less Xenomorphic sister), the somewhat annoying rookie bounty hunter Toro Calican and the grossly underused Fennec Shand - Ming-Na Wen - on Tatooine.
From there, Mando meets up with an old contact, Ran, and his ragtag band of bounty hunters. This entry in to the show gives us a sultry yet bordering on violent Twi’Lek named Xi’an, Mayfeld from Space Boston and Clancy Brown, the voice of Savage Opress and who also played the Kurgan in Highlander. The group, joined by Richard Ayoade as a black droid named Zero - similar to Triple Zero from the Doctor Aphra comic book series, are tasked with using the Razor Crest to dock with and board a New Republic prison ship to break a prisoner out. On the ship, we also get to meet a human, surprisingly, in Matt Lanter. Lanter plays Davan, the egg-headed New Republic prison guard manning the vessel amidst a legion of droid troopers. For those reading this who are unaware, Lanter is the voice of Anakin Skywalker on ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’. It was a fun easter-egg inclusion for those 'in the know'. I suppose as Dave Filoni also cameos, it makes sense.
The interesting thing here is what the New Republic is dangerously close to becoming in this post-Death Star II, Post Empire reality. Davan’s uniform, while harkening back to the rebels of A New Hope, also evoke stormtrooper imagery and it’s even commented on during the episode. The ship corridors themselves resemble the Death Star detention block corridors, albeit painted in a much different coating of space paint. You can almost see how the New Republic, in trying to fill the void of power left after the fall of the Empire is slowly becoming the very thing they vowed to destroy. Is this how the First Order rises?
We get some very fun lines in Space Boston accent from Bill Burr, keeping the show ever-so-meta, referring to Gungans and Stormtroopers’ general lack of aim with their blasters. Quite funny, if you ask me, but also quite Bill Burr and not so much Mayfeld.
After the not-so-carefully laid plan goes haywire and the bounty hunters turn on Mando, apparently they had history and a grudge, we have some fantastic scenes, laid out excellently by director Rick Famuyiwa. These scenes really feel like the space-horror scenes you would find in Predator or Aliens. It was quite fun to see Mando rip through them all, and a cadre of these new C.O. Droids as well, utilizing all his tools and equipment to put them all down. He’s a master of his deadly craft and he makes it all look so easy.
The episode is capped off with a cat and mouse game between The Child and Zero with another hilarious scene as Mando shot the droid in the face and the Child is left to wonder is his Force abilities cause the droid’s head to explode. Finally, we’re treated with a fun sequence involving three New Republic X-Wing fighters piloted by directors Deborah Chow, Dave Filoni and Rick Famuyiwa.
The are Sash Ketter, Trapper Wolf and Jib Dodger.
Ok, so as I said at the top of the article, we have to look at the episode from two different perspectives. From one perspective, as the episode itself and solely by itself, I quite enjoyed it. The cameos, references and light horror feel had me engrossed from start to finish and it was most certainly better than last week’s episode five, my least favorite episode thus far.
But as far as where this episode fits in terms of the overall plot for the series, I am not quite sure. With just two episodes left in this first season, I do not understand where they are going, nor do I know how this will all come together
for the finale. But I suppose that is not entirely a bad thing. En vogue in the cinematic world today is super-interconnectivity and massive meta-plots reaching across dozens of films and decades of story-telling; we've almost been trained to think "this is the way". But what about anthological stories without connectivity, save for some light pull throughs? What is wrong with having separate stories, linked through Mando and The Child, which individually highlight the strengths of a murder’s row of directorial talent? I have been training my brain to think in this way - to change my expectations of a serialized format - as the show has gone on and that there is no solid, obvious plot direction. This is the way ... and this is ok.
With that in mind and with a renewed mindset, I believe I am fully prepared for next week’s penultimate episode!
About Jesse Stillman
Jesse lives in Fort Lauderdale Florida and enjoys the beach, film, Star Wars, and creating content for YouTube.
He is thrilled to join the Beyond the Blast Doors crew to share his love of Star Wars with everyone else who lives in the Dagobah System. You can follow Jesse on Twitter @ComicsJls