The Mandalorian Episode 1 Recap: A Bounty Hunter Walks Into a Bar….

The Mandolorian Walks Into a Bar
(inverse.com)

I love Star Wars, and dads love Star Wars, but it wasn’t until the end of the first-ever episode of the first-ever live-action show set in our favorite galaxy far, far away that I had a concrete reason to cover Disney+’s flagship show for The Dad. We’ll get to that in a bit, but first, let’s cover our bases by slapping a big ole’ Spoiler Warning on this here piece of content. Since I wasn’t thinking we’d do this when the show premiered, I was…not prepared for this column at first. So this article will cover the first episode, immediately followed by a recap of chapter two here. I’ll have coverage of the rest of the episodes as they release. 

Chapter One:

Meet The Mandalorian. He’s a Mandalorian. On a mission to collect a bounty on Blue Horatio Sanz, he has to rescue his mark from some standard-issue scum and villainy first. The two quickly head back to The Mandolorian’s ship, the Razor’s Crest, which is no Moldy Crow, but I’ll take it. (CAST ME AS KYLE KATARN, DISNEY+ YOU COWARDS).

The opening sequence of the show establishes two things: First, this show will capture the much-coveted “dark and gritty” tone in the Star Wars universe, and #2: they bein’ silly. Brian Posehn shows up as a Star Wars Uber driver, but his landspeeder is immediately eaten by a monster. It’s a comic beat for sure, followed by the second action sequence in the first ten minutes of the show. Despite the “Spaghetti Western” influence, a lot of things happen very fast in The Mandalorian.

Once we get into space, Blue Horatio Sanz is quickly frozen in carbonite after finding the first toilet ever seen in Star Wars. If it sounds like a lot is going on, brace yourself cause we just got started. The Mandalorian meets with his guild rep, Carl Weathers, who only has Empire credits to offer as bounty for former SNL cast members. The Empire is about 5 years done at this point, so the exchange rate there is less than ideal. To compensate, Carl says “Go talk to Werner Herzog, he’s a weird asshole with an under-the-table job and possible existential crisis for you.” 

Werner turns out to be an Imperial. Perhaps a disgraced Grand Moff like Peter Cushing’s Tarkin or something similar. There’s a squad of dinged up stormtroopers that add nice weight and texture to what’s going on. With little spoken exposition about what the galaxy has been up to since Return of the Jedi, we still get plenty of information if you pay attention. Werner and his goon squad don’t reveal what they’re up to – just that they will pay in a Super Special Metal™  for a special bounty, alive or dead. Werner suggests that it’s time to put things in the galaxy back to order, in very Werner fashion. In the grand scheme of Star Wars, I’m very curious if we’ll see the seeds for the First Order planted in this series. 

Before heading out on his mission, Mando takes his new Super Special Metal™  to his Mandalorian village, where it gets turned into a shiny new shoulder pad. What’s awesome is that we learn everything about our boy’s motivations. He’s not just Boba Fett clone, he’s fighting to help rebuild his tribe. If you follow director Daven Filoni’s previous Star Wars work, you know that Mandalorians are tribal warriors who got the shit end of a lot of deals; learning that our protagonist is working in service to a higher cause sets him up for a hard choice at the end of the episode, and (deep breath) makes him way more interesting than Boba Fett ever was *ducks from various tomatoes and furniture thrown at me.*  

We get flashes of a traumatic event from Mando’s childhood, and I honestly hope we never hear more about his past. The whole mystery box structure, where a character’s backstory is the main dramatic question doesn’t serve the immediate nature of Star Wars or spaghetti westerns. I think people forget that Vader being Luke’s dad wasn’t a big deal just because it was a reveal, it mattered because that reveal meant Luke couldn’t kill the bad guy, which is a tough pickle to have at the climax of a movie. Star Wars is best when its problems are rooted in the moment.

About halfway into the episode, Mando heads to some planet to get his job going. If I have one criticism of the show so far, it’s that while the locations are gorgeous, the planets themselves are lacking some personality. “Third Planet In The Hoth System.” “Forest Moon of Endor.” Let’s get some fun geography here, The Mandalorian.

Once on the ground, we meet Ugnaught Nick Nolte who teaches our hero to ride a Frog Dragon in a cool sequence that shows the resiliency of the Mandolorian and gives a bit more setup to their whole “be stubborn” way of life. Essentially this sequence is a lead up to Ugnaught Nolte showing Mando the bad guy’s lair, which is right out of a Clint Eastwood movie. Our hero reluctantly teams up with a droid bounty hunter, IG-Taika Watiti to take out the oddly huge band of generic bad guys. This is the money sequence of the show, and it’s a shame they showed it in the trailers, even though I get it. If you created IG-88 way back in 1980, seeing that character design in action like this must be as satisfying as a cold beer after a freshly mowed lawn. Maybe a smidge more, even.

The episode ends with our bounty bois finding what all this commotion has been about – a Baby Yoda! He’s not Yoda, I know, but his name is still Baby Yoda, I don’t care if the show ever says otherwise. IG-Taika Waititi wants to kill the lil’ bub, but not on The Mandolorean’s watch. With an ice-cold pull of the trigger, our hero makes the choice to become a dad (and give me the opportunity to write about Star Wars for work.) The faceless warrior reaches out to the innocent child. Perhaps things won’t be put back in order quite so soon, after all, Moff Herzog.

Blaster Fire:

  • If dads everywhere don’t start saying “I have spoken” to get their kids to do chores, what are we even doing here? Try with your wife to suffer a 10,000-year painful death, though.
  • I’m so disappointed that we only get one episode of IG-Taika Waititi. The Thor: Ragnarock director showed great comedic acting chops as Korg, and more recently as Imaginary Hitler in his latest film, JoJo Rabbit. It’s a real shame we won’t see him get to play with this restrained character more.
  • The fan service is almost obnoxious at first. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing Cthulhu Chin Boys, Long Snout Dudes, and the Eyeball Door Knocker Guy* too, but the whole thing with Star Wars was that it was a sprawling galaxy of infinite creatures and gizmos. I get that people like seeing their favorites, and Filoni and Favreau are nailing it, but it does remind me how much I appreciate the new movies for not just playing the hits in the design department.

If you’re all caught up, check out The Dad’s recap of The Mandalorian Chapter Two: The Child. New episodes drop every Friday, and I’ll be recapping them in a much more timely fashion here on out. 

Get Disney+ for $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year.

*Yes, I know what Quarrens, Kubazes, and TT-8L/YZ Gatekeeper Droids are, I have all the Essential Guides To Star Wars Bullshit, do not come at me.

I have spoken.

ESPN Moves up Release of Highly Anticipated Michael Jordan Series

The Last Dance
(Twitter/ESPN)

The sports world is feeling the crunch of suddenly having absolutely nothing going on. Athletes are creating makeshift sports at home, while fans cling to repeats of The Ocho. Kids got Frozen 2 early and free Amazon content but sports fans have been left in the cold.

Until now.

ESPN as stepped up and is delivering the hotly anticipated, 10-part Michael Jordan documentary months early. It will now be premiering now on April 19th.

The documentary series, The Last Dance, details Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls. For millennial sports fans, it’s tough to understate how big this is. In the late 90s, there was nothing cooler than Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. And with literally nothing else in the sports world even happening, everyone will be tuned in for this. Even the final trailer seems incredible and leaves fans awash in nostalgia for a time when people could actually gather in public.

This is big enough news that even athletes can’t wait for the series. LeBron James is the only basketball player in a generation to even get close to the Jordan discussion (and some may say James is the better player). And even LeBron can’t wait for the documentary.

The 97-98 Bulls was one of the more unique versions of the dynasty, as outside of Jordan you had Steve Kerr (now a wildly successful coach), Scottie Pippen (at the height of his career), Dennis Rodman (before he was a North Korean spokesperson) and Phil Jackson (always the Zen Master). That’s a lot of personalities around the biggest personality in basketball history.

Check Out the Trailer for New Rick and Morty Episodes

New Episodes of Rick & Morty
(YouTube/Adult Swim)

Last week, news came down of Solar Opposites, a new show from the Justin Roiland, the co-creator of Rick and Morty. The show has a very Rick and Morty vibe, complete with the science-fictiony twist about a group of aliens who crash-land on earth and need to make their way in this strange new world.

It feels like Rick and Morty, but it’s not Rick and Morty.

Thankfully, Rick and Morty is coming back, and today they dropped the trailer for the long-awaited batch of episodes that makes up the second half of season four. Rick and Morty: The Other Five looks like more of the same, which is exactly what fans expect, and why they’re so rabid about the show.

The first five episodes of the season saw the pair running through various types of stories, but some fans were disappointed that those outings didn’t seem to connect to the larger story that the show had been building the previous 3 seasons. We’ll see how the second half connects, but there’s one plot point that continues: the search for Summer.

The trailer is set to Thin Lizzy’s rollicking “The Boys are Back in Town” and showcases the titular duo continuing their mission to find Morty’s sister, Summer. The last time we saw the gang, they were hawking Pringles during the Super Bowl, so it’s nice to see them back in their typical surroundings on Adult Swim.

The half-season hits the Cartoon Network on May 3, which is probably going to be exactly when we need some hi-jinx most.

Former NBA Star Working to Secure 10 Million Masks for NYC

Stephon Marbury Masks
(Instagram/starburymarbury)

New York City is the new epicenter for COVID-19. The hospitals have been overrun by cases, sirens are the only constant sounds on the streets, and healthcare workers are in desperate need of PPE. And on that last need, one former NYC basketball star is trying to come to the rescue.

Stephon Marbury, a talented baller from Brooklyn who starred for the New York Knicks, is working to negotiate the delivery of 10 million of the much-needed N95 masks, and at a steep discount. Marbury played in the NBA for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until he moved to China that he became a basketball hero.

In China, where he still lives, Marbury became an icon. And as the country of origin for COVID-19, they know a thing or two about fighting the illness. Now that cases are lower in China, they don’t have a significant need for protective equipment. Marbury wants to help move the surplus to his hometown and found a mask supplier willing to sell them at cost (which is about three times cheaper than what NYC has been paying for masks).

“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” Marbury told the New York Post. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”

The basketball legend still has family scattered throughout the city, and recently lost a cousin to the deadly virus. He said he’s working to have the masks delivered in weekly shipments of 2 million.

Marbury has always been a charitable figure, donating frequently to various causes when he was a Knick. This latest act is another testament to the legacy of one of the most important players New York City has ever produced. He wasn’t exactly known for assists, but this one would be a big one that’s never been needed more.

Finally: Jello Shots and Jenga Together at Last

(Etsy | Stone Point Woodwork)

Who doesn’t love a good game of Jenga? Extracting wooden blocks with the deliberation of an engineer and the hands of a surgeon, moving said blocks to the top of an increasingly rickety structure, and howling like lunatics when the tower inevitably topples over. Everyone emerges the victor, save for one loser tasked with cleaning up the mess they alone made.

It’s a sport of kings.

The only thing that could make it more fun?

Booze.

We’re all familiar with Drunk Jenga, aka Tipsy Tower, a variation that incorporates time-tested drinking game rules. Each block pulled is inscribed with a command, rule, or mini-game. Take shots, give shots, rhyming challenges, things of that nature.

(Pinterest/Nicole Snovicky)

Yeah yeah, we know. It’s been done.

But!

What if we told you someone has integrated Jenga with booze by literally integrating Jenga with booze? Introducing Little Tipsy Jello Shot Towers.

(Etsy | StonePointWoodwork)

Built and sold by the Etsy store Stone Point Woodwork, the Little Tipsy Jello Shot Tower is exactly what it sounds like. It’s way bigger than your standard-issue Jenga stack, standing at a colossal 27 inches. This is because hidden throughout the 54 blocks are 25 holes in which you can comfortably nestle 25 Jello shots.

Literal game changer.

(Etsy | StonePointWoodwork)

“Fifteen of the blocks in this tower contains single holes for Jello shots and five of the blocks contain double holes,” reads their Etsy page. “Pull the block with the shot/shots and you take them or share with a friend!”

This update of the Hasbro classic looks like a rollicking good time, and the inclusion of alcohol should pose no safety issues as long as you don’t keep adding to a really high Jenga. Speaking of which, nobody invent High Jenga.

John Krasinski and Steve Carell Talk Good News and The Office

Some Good News
(YouTube/SomeGoodNews)

John Krasinski was supposed to be celebrating the premiere of the sequel to his 2018 blockbuster The Quiet Place. Alas, COVID-19 had other plans, and the movie, along with just about every other major studio release slated for this year, was delayed. So, like the rest of us, the former Office star needs to find other ways to fill his time.

Thankfully for us, he decided to do that publicly. And with his famous friends.

The actor/writer/director has started a series on YouTube called “Some Good News,” via which he attempts to spread a little positivity during these trying times. The channel, which only launched yesterday and already has over 650,000 subscribers, features Krasinski himself sharing heartwarming and positive stories of humanity during the pandemic.

His first full episode featured a “visit” from his Entertainment Correspondent and former co-star Steve Carell, aka Michael Scott. Carell appeared on the show to chat with his friend about The Office’s 15th anniversary, and to share some of their favorite moments from the classic sitcom and talk about the enduring bond between the cast members.

The pair had a good time laughing and reminiscing together, and Krasinski also featured an interview with Courtney “Coco” Johnson, a teenager who recently had her last chemotherapy treatment but remains under isolation due to the coronavirus.

Check it out for Some Good News – then around the 5:30 mark John talks Office!

Crocs Is Giving Away up to 20k Pairs to Healthcare Workers, Daily

Crocs Daily 20k Giveaway
(Instagram/Crocs)

If there was an honorary member to the dad shoe class, Crocs could make a case. It checks all the boxes; they’re comfortable and durable. They’re affordable and easy to clean. Oh, and they’re an awesome company.

The shoe is popular in the medical community, for many of the above reasons. And as our nation’s healthcare workers are facing a pandemic, the shoe company is trying to show its love, by giving away up to 20,000 pairs to healthcare workers daily.

The president and CEO of Crocs said in a statement the duration of the giveaway to these ‘heroes’ would depend on inventory. But after offering 10,000 daily the first few days the campaign ran – they upped the number to 20k a day.

He also said: “These workers have our deepest respect, and we are humbled to be able to answer their call and provide whatever we can to help during this unprecedented time.

This is the hour where people are rallying to help those on the front lines in any way they can. Maybe it’s free shoes. Or maybe it’s stopping the manufacture of jerseys, opting to make medical masks and PPE. Or maybe it’s donating supplies from your TV show, or making hand sanitizer instead of (or along with) booze.

Companies across the spectrum are doing their part to support those in the pandemic trenches. If you are a healthcare worker (or know one), you can get your free Crocs by going here at 12:00 p.m. ET every day.

Family Guy’s Brian and Stewie Launch Quarantine Podcast

Stewie and Brian's Podcast
(Instagram/mcfarlaneseth)

If you’re anything like me, this quarantine has got you pretty bored.

Sure, there are jobs to be done, and homeschooling to help with, and parenting to half-ass, but there’s also a fair amount of free time that can’t be filled with trips to our favorite restaurants or bars or movie theaters or concert venues or friends’ places. We’re all stuck inside, killing time with Netflix and jigsaw puzzles.

Thankfully, streaming services have stepped up to offer as much content as they can, both new and old, artists and musicians and streaming performances on Instagram and YouTube. You can even find stripped-down versions of late-night shows, with hosts like Seth Myers and Jimmy Kimmel speaking to viewers from their homes.

You can even hear podcasts featuring your favorite animated characters, like Stewie and Brian from Family Guy.

Like the rest of us, Stewie and Brian are bored AF, stuck inside, looking for ways to entertain themselves, so they’ve started a quarantine podcast. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane posted an image of Brian wearing a mask on Instagram to announce the podcast: “Stewie and Brian made a podcast. Check it out on IGTV.”

Stewie and Brian, of course, are both voiced by MacFarlane himself, as is Peter Griffin, who also appears on the show. Aside from the usual Family Guy-style tomfoolery, the podcast actually offers some resources, with characters offering tips for staying occupied, telling listeners not to hoard supplies, and exhorting listeners to stay home.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Seth MacFarlane (@macfarlaneseth) on

MacFarlane also posted a drawing of Stewie and exhorted people to stay home and be safe.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

For this brief duration: STAY HOME. You may feel healthy. You may BE healthy. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild or asymptomatic. But you still may be a carrier, and you could pass it on to someone more vulnerable to it. This is not the apocalypse. The world has seen pandemics before. This will pass, and life will return to normal. But if you don’t make a temporary life adjustment during this pause, you will be helping to increase the likelihood that this disease will spread, resulting in the inability of hospitals to care for the number of serious cases. You can choose to help save lives, or to disregard them. So for the sake of those most exposed to harm, stay home if you have the means. There are people who don’t have that option — from doctors to firefighters to transit workers to all those who don’t have the financial luxury that perhaps you do — and you will increase their exposure as well if you insist on going to that bar. A virus is not invincible. It can be suffocated, but only with a communal effort can we do so with speed and efficiency, and without buying 100 rolls of toilet paper. Be responsible, and it will pay off.

A post shared by Seth MacFarlane (@macfarlaneseth) on

According to TV Guide, Family Guy is one of the few shows still in production, with the animators collaborating over a shared storyboard program called Toon Boom. So maybe we’ll get some new episodes soon.

But until then, we’ve got the podcast!

Album Covers, Reimagined in the Age of Social Distancing

(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / Apple Records)

As social distancing continues to reveal itself as one sobering inconvenience after the next, it’s crucial we keep wringing what chuckles we can from the circumstances dealt.

While we heed stern warnings to keep minimum distances of six feet between one another, two brilliant LA-based artists, Paco Conde and Roberto Fernandez, wanted to reinforce this message. They tasked themselves with modernizing classic album covers so that they adhere to CDC safety guidelines.

From their website:

“A collection of iconic album covers redesigned to raise awareness about the importance of staying at least 6 feet away from each other, to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

Social distancing is the new normal and it will be for a while. 6 feet or 1.8 meters is the distance that experts recommend we keep between each other.

We will rock again soon. Just remember to keep the 6 feet distance. It will save lives.​

On top of keeping your distance, please do support local charities like Feeding America.

Their work is crucial for some of the most vulnerable people struggling with the economic effects of Coronavirus.”

(We took the liberty of retooling a popular lyric from each band to do the same.)

“Ladies, leave ya man at home. Come to think of it, you too. Both of you just stay home please.”

Destiny's Child Album Re-imagined
(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / Columbia)

“Stone me, sure, but I must kindly ask you NOT spit in my eye, thank you”

(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / EMI / Elektra Records)

“You can go your own way, just keep 6′ behind anyone else going theirs”

(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / Warner Bros. Records)

“Call me! Or text. Just, like, do not come over.”

(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / Chrysalis Records)

“Come together. Wait, no, nevermind. Don’t.”

Abby Road Re-imagined
(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / Apple Records)

“Strumming my pain with his I HOPE recently-washed fingers.”

Re-imagined Fugees Album Cover
(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / Ruffhouse / Columbia Records)

“F*** the CO-VID.”

Re-imagined NWA Album
(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / Ruthless / Priority)

“I wanna be sedated. This one works as is.”

(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / Rhino)

“Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud but like cover your mouth if that’s no too much trouble.”

(Paco Conde / Roberto Fernandez / Casablanca)

Check out many more of these clever reimaginings on Paco and Roberto’s website, 6 Feet Covers.

Father Figures: Ready Player Son

“My son had a neonatal stroke at birth, which damaged the left side of his brain. He went to Sick Kids to get his seizures under control. Once regulated, we went back home.

Over the years, he never had a seizure while awake and did everything what a kid does: play video games (his favorite was TMNT 3 on the NES), learned Muay Thai, and is a big cuddler.

He had seizures only at night ranging 5 to 10 a night and we had to take a decision that led to his hemispherectomy (cut half the brain out). This had side effects, including paralyzing his right arm.

He still wants to play video games, so I do the buttons while he maneuvers the character. He also still does Muay Thai and cuddles.

He has rough patches due to being disabled, but showing positive support he retains a positive outlook on life and pushes through every obstacle.”

– Gabriel Blouin

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

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here