The Mandalorian Episode 6 Recap: Attack of The Cameos

Mandalorian in Red
(Disney+)

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.

Mahomes Signs 10-Yr, $400+ Million Extension, Keeping Him in KC Through 2031

Patrick Mahomes Signed
(Getty/Andy Lyons)

As the NBA’s imminent return grows a bit complicated with players opting out amid COVID concerns, and Major League Baseball experiencing similar issues as they prep to resume a shortened season, the NFL has yet to really weigh in. Thye’re probably waiting to see where we stand, as training camps don’t typically report until the end of July. Whether or not they’ll have a season this fall is yet to be seen.

That would be really disappointing for NFL fans everywhere, but at least one team has a silver lining: the Kansas City Chiefs will remain the champs until they are dethroned, and a delayed season would keep that Lombardi trophy in house even longer.

Of course, the primary reason they have that trophy is the play of their Super Bowl MVP – and former regular-season MVP – quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. And as of today, they’re going to have him in-house for another decade-plus.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported via Twitter than Mahomes has re-upped with the Chiefs, extending his contract another ten years for a contract worth over $400 million.

That makes Mahomes’s contract the biggest in the league, and in the history of the league, which makes sense, considering quarterbacks are the game’s most valuable player, the dude has skills few quarterbacks do, and after winning an MVP award and a Super Bowl in his first three years, he’s still only 24!

The Chiefs will have him behind center until 2031, which, fans hope, will secure them a bunch more rings. He certainly has the talent, and the weapons, to keep his team in contention, but the NFL is a tough league, and getting back to the Super Bowl is difficult, let alone winning one.

I remember when the Greatest Quarterback of All-Time, Dan Marino, set the league on fire when I was a kid, breaking every passing record and winning league MVP on the way to the first of many Super Bowl appearances, only to never make it back, thanks to the lack of a running game and far stricter passing rules that would give Patrick Mahomes, and Tom Brady, and every other dominant QB of the last 15 years a heart attack.

But hey, congrats to Mahomes and the Chiefs, and here’s hoping he gets to earn his paycheck and defend their title come September.

Teen Helps Little Brother Travel the World Through Chalk Art

Teen Helps Little Brother Travel the World Through Chalk Art
(YouTube/WGN News Instagram/macairesmuse)

Being in the middle of what seems like year six of quarantine has left many kids grasping at straws when it comes to entertainment. Most camps, sports, and pools, have been closed indefinitely. With many parents still having to work from home, kids have had to become more self-sufficient at staying occupied for a lot of the day. Two kids in Illinois found themselves in this exact situation when their parents explained that due to their work schedules, the kids would have to keep themselves busy once they finished their classes for the day.

Unlike most teenagers who would have spent their spare time locked in their rooms making TikTok videos, Fourteen-year-old Macaire Everett took it upon herself to keep her 9-year-old brother Camden entertained while her parents worked in their provisional home office. Years ago Macaire dabbled in chalk art, and she decided that this was a better time than ever to design some new masterpieces. This time though, she had an extra spark of inspiration in the form of her eager little brother.

Not only was Camden supportive of his sister’s chalk art, but he was also the key motivation behind his sister’s incredible creations. Macaire told Today, “We have never traveled outside the United States. Cam really wants to travel, so he likes going places in the chalk. I’m giving him a little preview.”

Macaire has been taking Camden on the trip of a lifetime, right from the safety of their own driveway.

He’s traveled through the Sahara Desert,

 

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And done the classic Leaning Tower Of Pisa pose.

 

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He visited an active volcano but stayed a safe distance away thanks to his trusty jetpack.

 

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He lounged like a star in Hollywood,

 

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And even made it to the top of Mount Everest.

 

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Macaire and Camden plan to continue their chalky travels for 100 days. Follow them on Instagram to see where they’re off to next!

Paul Walker’s Daughter Shares Sweet Selfie With Vin Diesel’s Kids

Meadow Walker with Diesel Kids
(Instagram/meadowwalker)

Paul Walker’s daughter showed the bond between his family and co-star Vin Diesel’s is still strong, as she posted a sweet picture with Diesel’s kids. She left a simple caption, recognizable to all Fast and Furious fans:

“Family, forever”

 

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family, forever

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It’s been almost seven years since Paul Walker passed away in a tragic car accident, but the bond between him and co-star Vin Diesel was a real one, as the two became fast friends (I mean, that was just sitting there).

And the bond between their families is also a strong one. Diesel is Meadow Walker’s godfather. And Diesel’s daughter Pauline (now 5) was named after his late friend.

In the pic, Meadow (now 21) shared the shot with the three Diesel children (who range between 5-12).

In the past, Vin Diesel has spoken about how he values his relationship with Meadow and being a part of her life. And he credited Paul Walker for inspiring him to be a better dad.

Meadow was 15 when her dad passed away, but she and the Diesels have kept his memory alive, especially through the special bond between their families.

 

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happy birthday to the loveliest soul I’ll ever know

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Sopranos Creator Accidentally Reveals What Really Happened to Tony

What Happened to Tony
(HBO)

The Sopranos was one of the greatest TV shows of all time. The darkly funny drama ushered in the age of the anti-hero, as Tony Soprano paved the way for morally dubious dads like Walter White and Marty Byrde. While fans eagerly await the prequel the series continues to be remembered for its infamously cryptic finale, which was hotly debated by fans for years. Until now. The creator of the series accidentally let it slip what really happened to Tony in the final scene.

In the series finale, which aired in 2007, Tony and his family are eating at a diner while Don’t Stop Believing is playing. The tension builds throughout the scene, as the mob boss in the middle of a mafia turf war keeps scanning the room for threats, until…everything goes black.

Was he whacked? Was it the guy in the Members Only jacket at the bar?? It had to be, right? Or is the fade to black symbolism for what the rest of Tony’s life is going to be like, where he can’t even enjoy a family dinner without being on high alert for danger??? Maybe it’s all a metaphor for something esoteric and pointless (every 10th person has some wild theory like this, and they are obviously trying to stand out by being dumb).

We have an answer now, as Sopranos creator David Chase was doing an interview for a book commemorating the series when he let it slip during an answer to a question the author, TV critic Alan Sepinwall, asked.

Sepinwall: “When you said there was an end point, you don’t mean Tony at Holsten’s [the diner], you just meant, ‘I think I have two more years’ worth of stories left in me.’ ”

Chase: “Yes, I think I had that death scene around two years before the end … But we didn’t do that.”

The author called him out for acknowledging it was a death scene and noticing his mistake, Chase cursed out the authors. So, we finally officially know what we always suspected we knew…Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss, was whacked.

The prequel movie, “The Many Saints of Newark”, is scheduled for a 2021 release.

And, with respect to one of the most compelling TV dads, and to what a great actor James Gandolfini was, here are his most bad-ass moments on the series.

Father and Son Create Back to the Future Guitar for Michael J. Fox Charity

Back to the Future Bass Guitar
(Doner Designs)

There’s a reason people keep wondering if Back to the Future is ever going to be rebooted (it’s not): it’s a classic. People love it, and they’re scared Hollywood is going to mess with it. There are so many indelible parts of the movie, including catchphrases, outfits, props, and soundtrack.

Michael J. Fox, the one and only McFly, knows how important the movie’s legacy is, and he’s leveraging it for a good cause.

Doner Designs has created a bass guitar inspired by the Back to the Future DeLorean, and, built to look like the dashboard, complete with a flux capacitor, this thing is a sight for sore eyes.

 

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Here’s the official description of the guitar, which was auctioned off, with all proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation:

This one-of-a-kind custom creation results from a ~300-hour labor of love by Steve and Richard Doner …Direct reference to the Back to the Future movie series was avoided, out of respect for intellectual property, but the bass features a selectable destination year display, a device resembling a flux capacitor and other electronic gadgetry sure to please fans of the time travel entertainment genre, 80’s pop culture and musicians alike.

Look at the detail!

 

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That’s not all, the flux capacitor – baked right into the body of the guitar – actually lights up. You can see it in the video below. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go back in time to be the one who buys this thing!

Guy Built Off-Road “Wheelchair” for His Wife, Now They’re Selling Them

Off Road Wheelchair
(Youtube/JerryRigEverything)

Being out in nature is one of the most freeing, exhilarating experiences imaginable. That is unless you have one kid who has to pee, another who’s hungry (he ate 4 granola bars in the car?), and a sunburn so bad you may as well just get new skin. Or, in Cambry’s case, if most paths out in nature are inaccessible because of your wheelchair.

Fortunately for Cambry, she happens to be married to YouTuber Zack Nelson, who calls his channel “Jerry Rig Everything”. This guy is all about technology – he builds things, takes things apart, and tests the durability of different tech products. Very few people have the resources or the ability to do what Zack did when he decided to give his then-girlfriend the gift of a lifetime. He wanted to help Cambry access parts of the world that she had, until this point, only been able to dream of seeing in person.

Zack did exactly what any tech-savvy guy with two spare electric bikes would do – he fused them together and stuck a seat in the middle (I assume there was a lot more to it than that, but that’s the gist). This innovative wheelchair-like contraption allowed Cambry to experience things she had only ever dreamed of experiencing. It operates as an electric wheelchair, but it’s far more capable of handling off-road terrain than nearly any wheelchair on the market. The wheelchair operates so quietly that the sound doesn’t at all detract from the peacefulness of being out in nature.

Now, Cambry and Zack have started selling their off-road “Not-A-Wheelchair” AKA “The Rig” to allow others to experience the same level of freedom. The Not-A-Wheelchair costs $4,750, which is more affordable than any other wheelchair branded for “off-road” terrain. It is also faster, quieter, and can last from 10-20 miles on a single battery.

The Not-A-Wheelchair website explains, “Shopping for an off road wheelchair can be frustrating. There are a few different options out there, but they can cost as much as a car or are super slow. Cambry and I decided to put our heads together, and build our own off road wheelchair. Something that’s quick and light with a super long range. And we finally have it! We’d like to introduce ‘Not-a-Wheelchair’ a fully electric, super quiet, accessible bike that can go 12mph with a range of about 10-20 miles. Our whole goal is to provide something that is capable and affordable. We hope you enjoy! Be safe! Wear a helmet.”

Thanks, Zack and Cambry, we’d love to roll with you any day.

Batfleck Might Be Coming Back too, Giving DC a Batman Multiverse

Batfleck is Coming Back
(Warner Bros)

Hollywood may still be largely shut down as the pandemic continues to rage across the country, but that hasn’t stopped the superhero machine from chugging along. Black Widow’s release was delayed, so it will be a few months before we get the next phase of the MCU, and despite the fact that Wonder Woman 84 was pushed to fall and production on Matt Reeves’s The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson, has been delayed, DC has been making news behind the scenes.

First, HBO Max announced their plans to release the Snydercut next year, and then details emerged about the long-awaited Flash movie. The most interesting nugget? That Michael Keaton will be reprising his role as Batman in a co-starring part as a mentor to the speedy superhero. And now there are whispers that DC has plans to bring another former Batman back into the fold.

The rumors, which Cosmic Book News reports first appeared on 4chan but have since been supported by leaks in other places, like The Cultured Nerd, suggest that Ben Affleck has already signed a deal with HBO Max to re-appear as Bruce Wayne and his vigilante alter-ego in future films related to Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

“Ben has indeed signed a new contract and he is coming back,” claims Taylor Murphy of The Cultured Nerd. “The official announcement is expected to happen either at DC FanDome or during JusticeCon. One of the two, we’re going to get that announcement but it’s going to happen before September. We’re going to get the official announcement and we are going to get the Snyderverse Batman is going to be returning.”

Murphy suggests that Affleck is returning because he is fully on-board with Zack Snyder’s vision, and now that Snyder’s Batman is back, so is Ben. Apparently, DC doesn’t see a conflict between the three Batmans – Affleck’s, Keaton’s, and Pattinson’s – and that part of the idea is for multiple Batmans to exist within a broader DC multiverse.

“They are bringing everybody back,” says Murphy. “This is planned… This is a design because of Zack. This is a plan that they’re moving forward with. I mean, I keep saying it is a great time to be a DC fan.”

It’s certainly might be if any of this is true. It’s hard to know, and until – and unless – an official announcement is made, it’s probably best to take this all with a grain of salt. After all, Affleck has spoken about the difficult time he had portraying Batman in Justice League, and he may not have any interest in revisiting the role.

But with the Snydercut on the way, and Keaton and Pattinson already on-board, it’s not that difficult to imagine DC bringing in a third Batman, and differentiating themselves from the MCU with a Batman triple-play. Hopefully Hollywood gets back to business soon so we can find out.

At the very least, three Batmans would give fans a lot to argue about!

Father Figures: What I Remember Most

“My dad worked third-shift his whole life. He was exhausted most of the time and we didn’t have a lot of money, but he literally gave me everything I needed, and a lot of what I wanted.

In 2011, he passed away unexpectedly. When I reflect back, it’s not the material things he gave me that I remember most.

It’s wanting to hang out with him after his 12-hour night shifts. It’s him unselfishly taking me to the park after buying me a kite, even though he hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours. It’s the times he sacrificed sleep to watch my basketball games and support me during his small window of rest on Saturday mornings.

It’s the times his last dollar bought me back-to-school clothes and an old car that I could drive on my own to school. It’s his constant reassurances that he was fine, despite his health problems, just so I wouldn’t worry about him when I knew he was in pain.

It’s him preparing me for the day that he wouldn’t be here.

And it’s knowing he was there with me, long after he’d passed, as I nervously welcomed my son into the world in 2019. His presence reassured me that we would be okay.

He was the best dad, and the dad I someday hope to be.”

– Aaron Chandler

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

New LEGO Line Lets You Make Pop Art

LEGO Pop Art
(LEGO)

For the uninitiated, “pop art” was a movement that emerged in the 1950s in which artists created bold, colorful, vivid depictions of familiar subjects, from celebrities to comic books to the everyday mundane. You probably know the style best from the time Andy Warhol painted 32 cans of Campbell’s tomato soup.

(MoMa)

Now LEGO, who recently announced upcoming sets based on Home Alone and Seinfeld, is launching a line of LEGO Art products that will allow you to create stunning works of pop art. Each set costs $120, and includes a canvas, build guide booklet, and all the bead-like pieces you’ll need to assemble such iconic subjects as…

Marilyn Monroe

Darth Vader

(Lego)

The Beatles

(Lego)

and Iron Man!

(Lego)

Some sets allow you to make multiple pieces of art. For example, you can make various versions of Iron Man’s suit, while the Sith kit shows you how to make Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and Kylo Ren.

(Lego)

And it gets better! Also included in each set is a unique QR code that, when scanned, provides you with a soundtrack you can listen to while you build. You can also combine canvasses to make even bigger, beadier, more badass pieces pop art to hang in your living space. The sets are expected to hit toy shelves on August 1st internationally and September 1st in the United States.

Your move, Mega Bloks!