*Pics up megaphone*
THIS IS SEVEN SAMURAI, BUT GINA CARANO IS SO BADASS SHE COUNTS AS SIX OF THE SAMURAIS.
That’s it. That’s the recap. Thank you for coming.
Okay, I’ve been informed that declaring undying loyalty to Gina Carano is not “the assignment” or “my job” so let’s talk about Star Wars, I guess. As always, *spoiler alert y’all*
If you missed last week’s recap, it’s important to note that this episode is a bridge between the first and second arcs of the season, and it starts with the problem, rather than the protagonist. There’s a group of shrimp farmers that you can tell don’t know how to be in a star war who are immediately attacked by the orcs from Lord of the Rings. By starting this story away from the Mandalorian, we get a little clue that despite the name of the episode…
…they won’t be stopping here for very long.
When we do meet up with ManDADlorian and the internet’s new God, Baby Yoda, they’re searching for a place to lay low and find some
It’s a fun little ‘member berry for when Han and Leia were looking for a place to hide in Empire. Baby Yoda does some cute shit to annoy dad, but rather than grab the little wamp rat by the scruff of the neck as he did in the previous episode, Mando gently puts him in his lap. They’re family now, you see.
At a bar in town, The Mandalorian and Cara Dune notice each other and get into an awesome fight that is the reason you hire Gina Carano. Technically the fight is a draw, but make no mistake, she drops his ass. As the two old ~friends catch up, we get some post-Return of the Jedi backstory. Cara was a shock trooper in the Rebellion who was sent to clean up the remaining warlords after the Empire fell. With the New Republic in power, her job shifted to more boring things like escorting diplomats around, which wasn’t her jam.
What we don’t get: How these two know each other. Did Mando do some work for the Rebellion back in the day? Also, why is she hiding out? Did she, like, piss off General Leia or something when she left the New Republic? I can’t tell if these are questions the show is deliberately leaving open, or if they just kinda hope nobody will worry too much about that sort of stuff.
Since Cara has dibs on Hiding Planet, Mando goes to head out…since two people can’t hide on the same planet? This is the first time the show has felt like it could use a little more padding. Normally I’m a fan of the lean episode runtime, and how surgical it is with its storytelling. But this episode feels like it’s relying a bit on the audience’s familiarity with tropes to the point where some stuff just doesn’t really land. It’s still good, but I feel like we’re missing actual story beats this time.
Anyway, some dummy farmers come asking Mando to help their village. They have the standard “I don’t want to get involved” conversation, but when the dumb farmers talk about how dumb and screwed they are, they conveniently reveal that their village might just be what The Mandalorian needs after all.
Mando immediately recruits Cara Dune to go help, and once they arrive the entire village immediately falls in love with Baby Yoda. That is the way.
Mando and the lady from the beginning of the episode have a little meet-cute, where we learn absolutely nothing about her or her daughter. Step-Mom Lady brings food for the Mando, and we get confirmation of what we all probably guessed; the Mandalorian isn’t actually a Mandalorian, but a refugee who was taken in by the tribe. Daughter Character takes Baby Yoda outside to play, and Step-Mom Lady is like “they’ll be fine.” Mando’s like “okay, okay” which is some negligent parenting, honestly. You don’t know these people, Mando.
Anyway, after explaining to a total stranger that he can’t take off his helmet in front of people, he takes his helmet off to eat in full view of the whole village. Little sloppy there, boss.
The next day, Mando and Cara go hunting for the raiders but find evidence of an AT-ST Imperial Walker, which is the same as agreeing to go to a PTA meeting, and when you get there it turns out you’re supposed to be in charge of the PTA meeting. It’s like, nope, nu-uh didn’t sign up for this, Karen. Still, the farmers are pretty stubborn about not just leaving town, so with absolutely no convincing whatsoever, Mando is like “Ah, let’s do a Seven Samurai thing here.” Cara agrees immediately because otherwise, the episode would be over.
Next up we get a training montage. The Mandolorian asks which villagers know how to shoot, and Step-Mom Lady does, because we need a shorthand reason for liking her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking that she’s innately good at something, but it just seems like a moment to endear her to the Mandalorian and us, rather than something that gives her agency unto herself.
Mando and Cara sneak up on the orc village without much of an obvious plan, but it’s a cool little heist sequence, complete with a ticking time bomb. When the bomb goes off, Cara says “I hope the plan worked” and on cue the AT-ST rises from the forest, meaning the plan was basically to poke the bear.
The AT-ST is made into a monster character, which is pretty cool. The cockpit lights give it glowing red eyes, and it’s a great effect. Here’s my thing though….you can clearly see no pilot in the windows. When they try and lead the thing to the ditch they dug, it spots the trap. Is nobody driving it? Is it automated? Controlled remotely? Does it have a droid brain hardwired into it? It just feels like we’re missing the opportunity for a real villain in the episode to give it that extra oompf of satisfaction. There’s nothing personal at stake with the conflict, it’s just another obstacle.
Anyway, Cara baits the walker into the trap by shooting it in the brain, and Mando blows it up by tossing a thermal detonator into its eye. All in all The Mandalorian and Cara Dune are almost, but not quite as good at taking down AT-STs as a bunch of Ewoks. Weeks later everyone is living peacefully. Cara asks why the Mandalorian won’t just take his armor off and settle down to raise Baby Yoda with Step-Mom Lady. ManDADlorian says he’s going to leave Baby Yoda at the village, and when Cara points out that would break the little dude’s heart, Mando says he’ll get over it.
“They all do.” (just like him) (Do you get it?)
When he goes to say goodbye, Step-Mom Lady tries to take Mando’s helmet off because he should really stay there so they can be in love. He refuses because he doesn’t think he deserves a peaceful life. Step-Mom Lady accepts this and promises to raise Baby Yoda as one of her own, which will be a problem when she’s like a hundred years old and Baby Yoda is still in his toddler phase.
A random bounty hunter shows up, and while BFF Cara Dune takes care of that problem, it’s clear there’s no escaping the bounty on Baby Yoda, so off our heroes go on their own again. Sad to lose Cara Dune, but we might see her again a little way down the road. I can’t imagine you’d waste this character on one episode, but I’m still bitter about IG-Taika Waititi, so.
Daughter-Character says she’s going to miss Baby Yoda “so much,” as if they had developed a relationship during the episode or spent any actual time together, and our space team departs to find a new world of problems to solve!
- I’m being a little harsh on this episode, but it’s still great and I do prefer the commitment to lean storytelling over overdramatizing things. This is just the first one felt like it was using shorthand in the development of character relationships.
- Everyone just refers to Baby Yoda as The Mandalorian’s kid now, and that’s just really swell.
- The first time I watched it, I thought the reveal of the AT-ST was kinda out of nowhere, but rewatching the opening scene, it’s clear the mech is doing the major damage there, we just don’t see it outright.
- There is NO WAY that Baby Yoda can walk as fast as The Mandalorian.
- Loth cat sighting! The cat-with-duck-feet that hisses at Baby Yoda is from a species introduced in Star Wars: Rebels.