The Mandalorian Episode 6 Recap: Attack of The Cameos

After last week’s Tatooine adventure, The Mandolorian is making a jailbreak in the latest episode that combines heist and horror tropes for the most well-rounded episode yet. The show continues to defy modern TV convention by favoring the old-timey serial format that originally influenced Star Wars; but “The Prisoner” hits a narrative sweet spot with a mid-episode turn that gives this episode more heft without adding excess weight.

As always, slapping a big ole *Spoiler Warning* for the episode here, and let’s talk about it.

Mando arrives at a space station run by That Guy From Sons Of Anarchy, looking for work. Back in the day, these two used to run space capers together, and if I know anything about heists, it’s that coming out of retirement for one last job is usually bad news bears. But with the Bounty Hunter’s Guild on his ass all the time, Mando needs to make cash on the DL, and sometimes that means asking old coworkers if they know of any freelance assignments.

The first chunk of the episode plays out like any good Ocean’s 11-type deal, with Mando meeting a crew and everyone looking at blueprints. There’s Bill Burr as an ex-special ops stormtrooper, continuing the show’s gimmick of giving comedians the most fun role of each episode. It’s cool to see this angle on a formerly faceless Imperial – he’s kind of a jerk, but he’s not outright evil. To quote another space western that takes place after a big war, “We’re all just folk now.”  You might not recognize Tonks from Harry Potter or Osha from Game of Thrones,  but Natalia Tena plays the Twi’Lek Lady, which you just love to see. She has an unspecified but obviously PG-13 history with our Mandalorian friend, but Mandalorians and Twi’Leks don’t kiss and tell. Or whatever it is they did to work around that helmet. Rounding out the squad is big ole’ Clancy Brown as one of those devil guys from the Mos Eisley cantina, and Richard Ayoade reprising his role from IT Crowd, but as a robot.

The job is simple – they let Richard AyoDroid fly the Razor’s Crest in a fancy maneuver that will let them slip by the sensors of a New Republic prison ship, sneak past the all-droid crew, and rescue an old accomplice of The Guy From Sons Of Anarchy. Your basic “smash and grab” as people in heist movies like to say.

Once they’re underway, the team gets to know each other a little better in the ship’s hold, and since they’re all a bunch of scum and villainy, that goes not great. They mostly pick on the Mandalorian way more than necessary, teasing him about his helmet. I’m not sure they are actively making parallels between how Mando is a big droid racist while also the victim of harassment and discrimination or not, but it’s interesting. Anyway, Devil Guy and Mando get in a little scuffle leading to the door to Baby Yoda’s little secret chamber opening. Hey, there’s Baby Yoda! Remember him?

The ruthless gang of mercenaries all coo and kaa over Baby Yoda appropriately, since they’re not part of the Bounty Hunter’s Guild, and don’t know what they’ve just discovered. However, you can tell Mando is running a bunch of different “murder everyone and somehow still get paid” scenarios in his head when Bill Burr gets a little too flippant about our man’s boy. Before everything goes to shit, though, Richard AyoaDroid brings the ship out of hyperspace, throwing everyone into some Star Trek-style turbulence acting. Bill Burr drops Baby Yoda so hard, everyone in my house all shouted “Whoa whoa whoa!” at the screen at the same time.

Once they’ve stealth landed on the Republic ship, we get to phase two of the heist and a nice change of scenery for the first time in the episode. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with gritty back worlds, but for my money, Star Wars is the most Star Wars-iest when there’s a group of weirdly dressed friends doing a bad job of sneaking around monochromatic 70s-era space-hallways.

We pass through the detention cells of the ship, and because he’s bored(?), Devil Guy shoots a mouse droid, alerting the entire ship that they’re there. I always thought the mouse droids seemed too cute to be Imperial purists, so it’s nice to see them getting work in the New Republic after the war.  Anyway, they murder this one, so now there’s a squad of robot guards to deal with. These security droids are new, and I’m glad we get to see some character designs that aren’t recycled. Mando takes the droids out handily, and everyone is still a prick to him.

The control room is where things get really interesting. The all-droid ship apparently has one human onboard, a jittery Republic officer played by none other than Matt Lanter, who voiced Anakin Skywalker on all seven seasons of The Clone Wars! Matt’s got a tracker that will bring the New Republic down on them if he activates it, and the team argues about how to handle the dicey situation.

Showcasing his growing morality, the Mandalorian tries to resolve the Matt situation without violence. He’s come a long way as a negotiator since a few weeks ago when he was *checks notes* …trying to beat up a Sandcrawler. I’ve seen some people complain about the episodic nature of The Mandalorian, thinking that these one-off stories aren’t “about anything” but I have to disagree. We’re getting an incremental look at how the character grows as a person, one adventure at a time. I know people want to know why Baby Yoda is so important but the answer is: “Because the Mandalorian likes him.” One day there will be 2,000 youtube videos about Baby Yoda’s backstory for people to get mad about, but for now the show’s focus is on characters, and I dig it.

All that’s for naught, however, since Twi’Lek Lady kills Matt with one of her little daggers, but hey, good try Mando! Now it’s time to free the prisoner they came for who turns out to be….

…A guy we don’t know. But Mando does, and it’s his fault the guy got pinched in the first place. Here’s the turn of the episode that makes it the most narratively satisfying yet – it turns out the whole mission was a big setup to free Twi-Lek Lady’s brother and trap Mando in the New Republic prison instead. “You deserve this,” Twi-Lek Lady tells him as the crew leaves Mando to his fate.

What happens next is a hard pivot in a genre that some are saying is reminiscent of Die Hard (just in time for Christmas!). In my opinion, though, the next bit plays out more like the last act of Alien. Mando escapes his brig, through some Mando badassery, and in the red gleam of emergency lights, separates and hunts down each of the mercenaries who betrayed him. Even though apparently he betrayed them first a while ago. It’s a moral gray area.

Oh, meanwhile Richard AyoaDroid stumbles onto Carl Wether’s old voicemail about Baby Yoda, prompting him to search the ship while all his friends get merc’d.

 

But back to the action: Devil Guy gets the door treatment Mando is partial to…twice. Twi-Lek Lady tries to go all Knives Chau on her ex, but that Beskar armor ain’t got time for that. And finally, Bill Burr gets full-on Batman-ed.

The Prisoner surrenders to the Mandalorian and promises his fair share, as long as he lets him live. “Aren’t you a man of honor?” That seems to be the million-dollar question of this series, my dude.

Richard AyoDroid finds Baby Yoda at last, and the kid goes to force-choke the droid, only to be surprised when it’s heart explodes in front of him. Turns out Baby Yoda hasn’t tapped the dark side of the force just yet, though: it’s only Mando back onboard and doing his very favorite thing. (Killing robots).

The Mandalorian returns The Prisoner to The Guy From Sons of Anarchy and takes his payment without much ceremony. It seems like nobody has any hard feelings about the ole triple double-cross, and everyone can go on their merry way- oop, nope, Guy From Sons Of Anarchy is gonna blow Mando out of the sky with a gunship. Except it turns out Mando is still an ice-cold badass who slipped Matt’s New Republic tracker into The Prisoner’s back pocket.

Faster than you can say “Porkins” a squadron of old school era X-Wings shows up. This episode is a cameo-spectacular, and the icing on the cake is that the three main directors of the series, Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow and Rick Famuyira, play the X-Wing pilots. Without asking a single question, the New Republic Space Cops blow the hell out of the space station without thinking twice about the Mando’s ship that just high-tailed it out of there.

Mando gives Baby Yoda his favorite little doodad, and tells him that he knew this whole thing had been a bad idea, and off they go. Meanwhile back at the space prison, it turns out Mando didn’t kill his whole crew, and everyone’s locked in a cell- just like how they left him. Mando said they “got what they deserve,” and it looks like he’s a man of honor after all.

Blaster Fire

  • Bill Burr is officially the character I relate to most in this show with the line “I’m a little particular about my personal space.”
  • The way the show discusses honor and morality is the most interesting thing about it, besides Baby Yoda. Mando lives his life by a set code, which he perceives as his morality. By caring for a child, his code changes, but he arguably becomes a more honorable person, even in betraying that preset morality ~*ThEmEs*~.
  • Baby Yoda thinking he blew up Richard AyoDroid and looking at his little hand is the best thing that’s ever happened.
  • Devil Man’s horns are cut off in the last scene, which is a nice little detail after getting double squished by the blast doors.
  • Last week’s mystery is left still hanging. There are only two episodes of the season left to learn the identity of Spurs, and while the bettin’ money is still on Moff Gideon, there’s always the chance we’ll get a big cliffhanger featuring that other guy to wear the Mandalorian armor.

A Lunchables Shortage May Be Coming to a Store Near You

We do not want to freak anyone out, but it appears there is a Lunchable shortage hitting grocery stores around the nation. When it comes to packing a school lunch, especially if you have a picky eater, Lunchables feel like a cheat code. It’s an easy way to check a meal (sort of liberal use of the word meal but you get it) off the list and get the kids off to school during a hectic morning. But that’s not so easy, now that some customers can’t find inventory in the aisles.

Anecdotal reports of shortages are seen any time the brand posts anything on social media. The posts, however innocuous in nature, are soon flooded with comments from angry parents about how they can’t find the product anywhere (which, if you’re going to have some anger, this is the kind you want as a brand).

 

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Some blame the supply chain hiccups, which have thrown holiday shopping into disarray for a second straight season, have impacted car sales and made the wait time for new furniture around six to 96 months. And surely there’s something to that. But a spokesman for Kraft Heinz says it’s much more than that. It’s that a ton of people want Lunchables these days.

In a statement to NBC, they said:

“Compared to 2019, nearly 2 million more households bought Kraft Heinz brands in the second quarter of 2021. We are also seeing all-time high demand for many of our brands, including Lunchables, which in that case has been driven by proactive steps and investments in marketing and brand renovation that deliver on expectations of modern parents and kids. As such, Lunchables is seeing double-digit growth for the first time in 5 years.

“We’re actively investing in our supply chains and have teams working fast and furiously so our retailers and consumers can get more of the Kraft Heinz products they love, wherever they like to shop,” said the statement.

So if this hasn’t hit your hometown yet, consider yourself lucky. After a year plus when parents have had to do more at-home cooking than we’d like, the idea of losing that Lunchables get-out-of-packing-free card is just one more inconvenience.

You Can Get the Super Rare Mew Pokemon Oreo for a Measly $100,000

Pokemon hunters are next-level collectors. We’ve seen that in many iterations, starting with cards, obviously, and later with the mobile game. And now that fervor has even spread into cookies. Oreo and Pokemon launched a collab last month, allowing fans to get their hands on the specialty Oreos with 16 different Pokemon character designs.

This really feeds into the collector’s mindset, because they are randomized. You don’t get all 16 in each pack. So Pokemon fans have been out in full force in local grocery stores, trying to get their hands on some of the rarer characters.

And the hardest to get? That would be Mew. But if you *really* want one, it’s not that hard to get. You can just go to eBay and walk away with a rare Mew Pokemon Oreo for a cool $100k.

Yep, $100,000 for a COOKIE. That is an insane amount of money for something a toddler could eat in a fit of hunger.

Of course, it all comes down to condition. You can get a less-than-stellar Mew for $100. Some pristine listings even come in at a much more reasonable $1,000, with the mint-condition Mews going for around $25,000. But, if you want the very premium version of the psychic Pokemon, you gotta shell out that six figures.

What’s crazy is seeing where this ends up. Cookies are still on the shelves of stores, but this is a limited edition run. What happens sixth months from now when you can’t buy packages anymore? How much will a Pikachu or Charmander run you then? How much will an unopened package run? And how many kids colleges could you pay for if you happened to snag a Mew, the type of cookie that will age more appreciably than any other financial asset you own.

Marvel Is Scrambling To Retain Control of Avengers Characters

Remember a few years ago, when it looked like the deal Marvel had made with Sony to use Spider-man in the MCU was gonna fall apart before the new Spidey trilogy, and the Infinity Saga, could wrap up? Thankfully, the two companies were able to come to terms to keep Spidey around, and this winter, the web-slinger’s highly-anticipated third movie will be a key component in the multiverse storyline that is picking up steam. Unless a new, even bigger, rights issue derails the whole thing.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Marvel is currently working behind the scenes to ensure that they don’t lose full rights to, well, pretty much every Avenger in their stable. They are suing the heirs of the people who created these characters, including Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Gene Colan, who want to retain some ownership of their creations.

This news comes on the heels of the Ditko estate filing a notification of termination for Spider-Man, which they are allowed to do since the set period of time provided by copyright law has passed. If the Ditko estate is successful, Marvel would have to relinquish the rights to Spider-Man – and the attendant billions of dollars associated with the beloved superhero – in 2023. So unless Tom Holland’s put-upon super teen perishes in December’s No Way Home, Marvel better hope they find a solution.

Spidey isn’t the only character facing termination (former Marvel writer Larry Lieber filed a suit of his own in May) that could impact fan favorites and franchise centerpieces Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Falcon, Thor, and more. The lawyer representing the heirs going against Marvel/Disney has been down this road before, having represented Jerry Sigel and Joe Shuster when they tried to get Superman back from DC. It didn’t work out (though neither have the recent Superman movies, tbh).

The Hollywood Reporter gets really in-depth about the challenges Marvel is facing, and how they plan to fight back in court (likely by using the “Marvel Method,” which claims that the atmosphere was one of loose collaboration and ownership wasn’t so cut and dry). The bottom line is, Marvel stands to lose a lot of money, and future MCU projects could be in real jeopardy if this doesn’t get resolved soon.

Hopefully, it will be, and hopefully, that resolution won’t come at the expense of some of the best and most influential comic book creators of all time.

90-Yr-Old William Shatner to Boldly Go to Space With Jeff Bezos

In the 60s, he boldly went where no man had gone before. Now, when he’s well past his 60s, he’s finally going to get his chance, sort of.

I don’t know if I’d call it the new space race, but over the past few years, the world’s billionaires have taken it upon themselves to extend our forays into outer space. Elon Musk is building ships, Richard Branson is hosting flights, and over the summer, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos flew into space (did that count?) with a few other civilians. Now Bezos plans to go back – this time, with some experienced backup: legendary spaceship captain William Tiberius Kirk – aka William Shatner.

The flight, which will last 15 minutes, and all the preparation for it, is part of a documentary that has yet to find a buyer. Perhaps the participation of one of pop culture’s most famous spacemen will speed up the process, or else the fact that, at 90, Shatner will be the oldest person to ever fly into space.

Shatner has been angling for something like this for a while now, even cheekily tweeting to NASA.

And last summer, at San Diego’s Comic-Con, he hinted that a private spaceflight might be in the cards, saying “There’s a possibility that I’m going to go up for a brief moment and come back down,” Shatner said during a panel about on NASA’s Artemis program that aims to put people on the moon in 2024.

It seems Bezos has found room for the actor, writer, singer on his next trip, scheduled for October. Hopefully, they’re saving some room for the ride home, because if anyone is going to find extraterrestrial life, it’s Captain Kirk himself.

At the very least, he’ll find some green alien women!

First Official Image Revealed for HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ Series

I have never been so hyped to see the backs of two people before.

In celebration of “The Last of Us Day” yesterday, developer Naughty Dog officially revealed the first look at the highly anticipated The Last of Us HBO series that is currently in production.

It’s not much, but it’s one hell of a teaser and definitely captures the feel of the games.  Joel and Ellie (Pedro Pascal & Bella Ramsey) look extremely accurate to their video game counterparts, and some of the comments on the Twitter post even mentioned that they thought it was a screenshot from the game.  I just want to see them in action fighting off Infected like Clickers and Bloaters.  With each episode costing around $10 million to make, the special effects should be top notch.  Along with that massive budget, Craig Mazin, who was behind the excellent ‘Chernobyl’ mini-series on HBO is acting as showrunner.  If he can commit to the source material as faithful as the characters look, I think fans are going to be in for quite the horrific treat.

Unfortunately, there’s still no word on a release date or when we’ll get the first trailer, so we’ll just have to keep patiently waiting.  News surrounding The Last of Us HBO series has, for the most part, been coming from the cast.  Gabriel Luna, who will play Joel’s brother Tommy in the series, showed off some behind-the-scenes photos when production began, but nothing official has been shared, that is until now.  I’ve got high hopes that HBO can pull this one-off.

The NFL’s Taunting Penalty Is Garbage and That’s One Thing We Can All Agree On

We live in divisive times so it’s nice when something can bring us ALL together and the NFL’s enforcement of the taunting penalty is one great example. It is universally hated, loathed, and despised, largely because it’s a completely trash rule.

A caveat. As a parenting media company, we would be remiss not to take this opportunity to mention you should never yell at someone officiating a youth sporting event. The refs are often kids too and are also learning their craft.

However, professional sports are a different beast. These are adults making a living playing a game, and adults being paid handsomely to officiate some basic rules. There’s been a weird shift over the past few years where refs think fans all attend the games to watch them, and they are not shy about inserting themselves into every other play.

The rash of taunting penalties through the first few weeks of NFL play is atrocious. Even baseball has started to ease up on some of their archaic opinions about “sportsmanship” and other things 80-year-olds complain about. You know your sport is in bad shape when your lag behind Major League Baseball’s procedures.

It is amusing that the NFL has made policing taunting their chief priority, especially during a time when everyone has gotten reaaaal quiet about CTE and concussions. But yeah, a guy celebrating a cool sack is what we need to crack down on.

It’s a game, it’s entertainment, let the players celebrate. Fans DO NOT CARE. But it is the biggest of buzzkills to see a huge momentum shift when an NFL ref throws a flag because of feelings.

The NFL has gotten more lenient with end zone celebrations, and it’s time to apply that to all parts of the game and keep their flags clean for the dozens of other infractions that will inevitably be whistled.

Christy Joe: The Epitome of Strength

“This is my dad, Christy Joe.

Growing up, he was an underwater pipeline welder and the epitome of strength. My all-time greatest hero, and coolest man to ever live.

No joke. The man lost his thumb for a few hours and didn’t even cry.

He made sure my siblings and I knew the difference between every single tool in your tool box, and that you should always have a toolbox.

Unfortunately, he lost his battle to cancer a few years ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t think ‘what would my dad do?’

He raised me to be so self-sufficient, but at 28 years old, I catch myself longing to hop on the phone to give him a call and ask him how to fix a leak. His legacy will live on through my daughter, who I named after him: Joey Christy.

The countless ‘pull-my-fingers’ and sweet ass hairdo’s will never be forgotten.”

– Angie McPhee

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Scientists To Bring Woolly Mammoth Back From Extinction

It’s 2021 so it’s about dang time we got our first company focused on species de-extinction. Colossal, a new company of scientists and entrepreneurs (can’t have companies without ‘em) has announced their goal to bring species back from extinction using gene editing, and they are starting with the woolly mammoth. The creature went extinct 10,000 years ago, but the bioscientists and geneticists behind the new company think they can bring it back….sort of.

“This is a major milestone for us,” George Church told The New York Times. Church is a biologist and one of the company founders. “It’s going to make all the difference in the world.”

Here’s how it works: Basically the same way it did in Jurassic Park. I mean no, it’s way more complicated than what Mr. DNA could explain in a 5 minute presentation, but the basic principle is the same. Colossal will splice ancient DNA with modern living elephants to rebuild the lost creatures.

So it’s not like a magic spell where a woolly mammoth comes outta nowhere. But, they will have a cold-resistant, elephant-mammoth hybrid that has the basic traits of the woolly mammoth and can inhabit the same ecosystem its ancestor did.

Ultimately, the company thinks they can get thousands of their hairy, tusky cold-weather elephants back onto the frozen tundra of Siberia. The reason for the whole experiment isn’t to just play mad scientist, though. Introducing these animals back into the ecosystem can help reverse certain conditions of climate change, by restoring balance to the ecosystem. Okay, they’re probably a little bit into playing mad scientist, but it’s still about saving the world, not taking it over atop a herd of ancient horned beasts.

There are bigger implications as well. We could bring back species that we thought were gone forever. That’s hugely important as so many current species face extinction and have seen their numbers dwindling over the past centuries. Of course, any time you even open the door to de-extinction, people go straight to dinosaurs. No scientist is bringing up dinos at this point. But, as any dad knows, you gotta crawl before you can walk, so maybe this is just the first step to the de-extinction process, and a decade or two from now we could kick-start our own Jurassic Park.

For now, the scientists at the new company are VERY focused on whether or not they can, and definitely not about whether or not they SHOULD.

After Losing His Gamer Dad, Teen Starts Gaming Nonprofit To Help Sick Children

A high school senior started a nonprofit to play video games with sick kids in honor of his original gaming partner: his dad. Nick Priest inherited his love of video games from his dad, who passed away when Nick was six. That experience led him to found “Nick’s Power of Play,” a nonprofit where he and other volunteers game with kids in hospitals or who are dealing with someone else in their lives battling a serious illness. The goal is to put a smile on the face of someone who needs one and to pay tribute to his dad and the legacy he left behind. Nick wanted to spread the love of video games his dad gave him and connect with other kids who are experiencing what he went through.

Nick says playing video games helped him grow closer to his dad and helped comfort him after his dad’s passing. Even as he lost his gaming partner, people stepped in to make sure he “could still find joy in gaming.” Those people made a difference in Nick’s life and recovery from grief at a young age.

Now, Nick wants to be that person who is there for kids going through their own hard time.

“I would like to help bring happiness to kids who are in very difficult situations,” he wrote. “I believe it could give these children a little hope, just like it did for my father and me. It’s something that I wish that I would have had after my dad passed away, I would have loved to have a teenage boy to play Mario with, that would have been awesome. That’s what I’m trying to provide to these kids. I want to be there for them in the hardest part of their lives, and just try to let them forget about it for a while.”

COVID forced Nick to schedule his play sessions remotely, and now one of his biggest goals now is spreading the word to other hospitals around the country.

“When you hop on with me, or you hop on with a volunteer, it’s not going to be about that at all. It’s going to be, ‘Alright, let’s build this huge house in Minecraft. And we’re going to build a mansion for an hour, to help them forget about it for a little.”