The Mandalorian is owned by Disney
Directed by Deborah Chow
We’re back with the further adventures of Mando and Baby, though frankly I would have preferred if they had just waited a week to release this episode instead of releasing it so soon after the last one. This is the busiest time of the year and you throw THIS at me at the same time I’m doing a million other things; INCLUDING watching your new Star Wars movie!? So if you’re wondering why this is so late, that would be the reason; because Disney are huge jerks for giving us too much to enjoy all at once! In any case, even with a few minor bumps in the road here and there I’ve enjoyed every episode of this series and will certainly be sad to see the season come to an end in just a few more days. Does this episode continue give us high quality Star Wars adventure on the small screen, or are they hoping to give us an episode so bad that we won’t be knocking on their door every day to give us season two right the heck now? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with… Let’s go with Walter and Buddy (Tis the season!) flying around in their space ship when Walter gets a message from Carl Weathers who we haven’t seen since episode three. It’s a very interesting one that sets up yet another trope of the classic western and pulp movies; i.e. the convoluted double cross where Carl Weathers offers Walter a chance to clear his name with the guild if he goes on one more assignment for them. It turns out that The Guild trusting Werner Herzog and his fascists militia turned out to be a bad idea (WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED!?) as Herzog has since grown his forces and has basically taken over the planet of Navarro which is where all this started and where Carl Weathers resides. If Walter will come back with the baby and go through a mock exchange with Buddy to Herzog, that will get him close enough to put a bullet in the man’s head; ending his rule, ending the chase, and clearing Walter’s name once and for all. It’s a very enticing offer to be sure, but the amount of trust that Walter is being asked to impart to Carl Weathers is high and at any step in this process it could turn out to be one big trap. That’s why he needs a few cards close to his chest if he’s going to go through with this, and what better backup than Cara Dune (Gina Carano) who already help Walter protect the kid back in episode four, so perhaps she can be trusted to not stab him in the back; especially when she finds out that the dude they’re bumping off is an ex-Imperial scumbag. Apparently that’s a bit of a sore spot for her, but as with everything in this episode there’s always the threat of mistrust and double cross so I’d keep my eye on her just in case!
She’s not the only one that Walter has backing him up however as this episode is a cavalcade of cameos with Walter going to see Nick Nolte’s little alien dude and on top of that it turns out the IG Bounty Droid from the first episode has been reprogrammed by Nick Nolte to be a loyal servant; much like fellow robotic alumni The Terminator, Android 16, and The Iron Giant. It’s actually a really interesting little aside in the episode where we see Nick Nolte arduous journey in bringing the robot back to life and then training it to function once again since Walter went ahead and shot its robo-brains out. The upside (or at least the hope) is that he no longer has any of his hunter programming which makes him safe to be around, but Walter’s distrust of robots along with the fact he SAW this IG Bounty Droid try to kill little Buddy makes the situation that much more uneasy. On top of that, Buddy is coming off as a bit of a jerk this episode; either out of fear of going back to Werner Herzog or just being a cranky baby with magic powers as he almost crashes the ship by messing with those controls again and even force choke’s Cara for a bit when he thought Walter was going to lose their arm wrestling contest. What are supposed to be his bedrock of protection against whatever Carl Weathers has in store is starting to look more and more precarious and jagged as Walter has to give his trust to these people who have their own agendas that may or may not align with his own.
They eventually get to Navarro where Carl Weathers and a rag tag group of supposedly loyal Guild Members are already waiting for them. They have to meet outside of town which means they have to hike back, camp out, and then reach it by morning. Sounds simple enough except that they get attacked by DRAGONS!! Yeah, some straight up Space-Dragons start swooping down and take one of Carl Weathers’s body guards along with half of his arm. Okay, so if they knew that the place was crawling with just flying death creatures, why didn’t they bother to take a car? You’re telling me Carl Weathers can’t afford a Space-Jeep or something!? Well it turns out to be rather fortuitous that Carl Weathers almost dies because Buddy comes over and uses Force Healing (A THING THAT HAS BEEN A PART OF STAR WARS CANON FOR A LONG TIME BY THE WAY, ALL YOU REY HATERS!) to fix him up so he can still have a boxing career. The next day, right as they’re about to reach town, Carl Weathers spins around and guns down his other two body guards and explains what we all knew already; that the plan was for them to gun down Walter and take Buddy back to Herzog. Now obviously Walter and Cara could just gun this dude down faster than Ivan Drago punched him to death in Rocky IV, but good ol’ Nick Nolte advises that cooler heads prevail and they come up with a plan that will hopefully keep the kid safe and get rid of Herzog for good. Buddy and Nick Nolte go back to the ship for safety while Carl Weathers will take Walter in as his prisoner with Cara playing the part of the bounty hunter that captured him.
They head into town which is CRAWLING with Stormtroopers in dirty armor which you’d think the Republic would have a vested interest in quashing, but I guess no one has bothered to call them yet, and once again we find Werner Herzog waiting for them inside a shady looking building with a creepy speech ready to go. Clearly this dude thinks that The Empire is still a thing even with The New Republic in place, and sure he’ll be right EVENTUALLY in like thirty years or however long it is between now and The Force Awakens, but the dude isn’t making the best case for himself when all he has is a couple dudes in bad armor and a repurposed tavern as his base of operations. He demands to see the baby which they are pretending is in that little egg carrier he always goes around in, but before they flip the table and start blasting guns, Herzog gets a phone call from some Imperial dude played by freaking Gus from Breaking Bad! I mean I guess if you want to make the Imperials seem like bad guys and you already have Werner Herzog, then Giancarlo Esposito would be the next step. I can only hope that we’ll build our way up to Malcolm McDowell, Christoph Waltz, and Mads Mikkelsen (actually playing a bad guy this time) by the time we get around to season two! The message is one that is rather cryptic but VERY familiar if you’ve seen Breaking Bad because if Gus is good at one thing it’s shows of overwhelming and coldblooded force as the message ends with blaster fire ripping apart the tavern and turning Herzog into Swiss cheese! DANG! I certainly didn’t see THAT one coming, and neither did Walter, Cara, or Carl Weathers who all flip the table and hide behind it for dear life as Giancarlo Esposito’s men continue to fire upon them. Soon the men are flanked by a whole squadron of Storm Troopers (these ones in CLEAN armor) as well as Mr. Esposito himself who comes by in style; landing his tie fighter right in the middle of the street and letting Walter know that he isn’t messing around about getting little Buddy.
In his desperation, Walter uses his communicator to tell Nick Nolte to get to the ship as fast as possible and bail as soon as he can which unfortunately gets picked up by the storm troopers and two of them with speeder bikes start rushing to cut him off. Nick Nolte is almost there, he’s mere yards away from getting on that ship and escaping with the baby to safety… but no luck. Nick Nolte is dead, the baby is captured, and the episode ends with little hope for any of them. Well at least this is the penultimate episode instead of the finale because if I had to wait a year for the conclusion of this, I would have been the one flipping a table!
I’m really gonna miss this series! This series has consistently given me something great and memorable with every episode with this one being no exception. The tension is palpable throughout the episode and Pedro Pascal’s rising anxiety as everything spirals out of control is clearly palpable despite the costume limiting how much he’s able to express, and while Nick Nolte and Gina Carano are not the most dynamic characters in this episode, they do their job well and add what they can to the proceedings. Really, the only thing I have to complain about is that the bodyguards Carl Weathers had were utterly disposable and might as well have been cardboard cutouts. I guess it makes sense to not waste time on them when they leave the story so soon, but it also makes it a bit obvious what’s going to happen when you treat them like the obvious red shirts that they are. Fortunately Carl Weathers himself has plenty to do to make up for that as his character, while still following a somewhat predictable path (oh no, he was going to betray them… what a shock…), his natural charisma shines through and you’re still not quite sure where he stands as the episode comes to the a close and the spit REALLY hits the fan. I cannot wait to see how this all comes to an end, and I’ll be absolutely devastated when it does. Season two better be out by February, I swear!