Welcome to my latest episode review for The Mandalorian. I’ve really enjoyed writing my episode reviews of Resistance so there was no way I was going to miss the chance to do the same here. The reviews will take on the same format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole.
I have been looking forward to this show so much, so there was no way that I wasn’t going to watch this as soon as I could. Unfortunately, living in the UK, Disney+ is not going to be available over here for a while, so I’ve had to channel my inner Hondo Ohnaka to see this! Today, we’ll be looking at Chapter 5: The Gunslinger.
The Mandalorian is flying through space in the Razor Crest but is being pursued by a a pursuing bounty hunter. The Mandalorian manages to destroy his attacker, but the Razor Crest suffers damage, including a fuel leak. He is forced to land on the nearby planet Tatooine. Landing in a hangar in Mos Eisley owned by Peli Motto, he tasks her with making repairs and goes to find a job to pay for the repairs. While he is away, The Child – who the Mandalorian had hidden on the ship while he went to explore – wakes up and leaves the ship, being stopped and looked after by Motto.
“Hand over the child, Mando. I might let you live.”
Arriving in Chalmun’s Cantina, The Mandalorian asks a droid behind the bar where he can find work as a bounty hunter, but is told that there are no jobs available, either Guild work or otherwise. A nearby bounty hunter, Toro Calican, overhears the conversation and offers The Mandalorian the chance to help him with his bounty – a skilled assassin named Fennec Shand. Calican needs the bounty to be accepted into the guild, so offers the Mandalorian the credits in exchange for getting credit on the capture.
Quickly returning to the Razor Crest while Calican gets hold of 2 speeder bikes, The Mandalorian thanks Motto for looking after The Child. Motto and The Child watch as The Mandalorian and Calican ride off towards the Dune Sea. As they track down Shand, they come across a tribe of Tusken Raiders, who The Mandalorian negotiates with and gives Calican’s electrobinoculars to in exchange for passage through their territory.
“How long you been with the Guild?”
They eventually come across a dewback dragging a body behind it. The Mandalorian investigates and finds that the body is another bounty hunter, not their target, and he soon come under fire from Shand, who has taken up a sniping position on higher ground. With her having the superior position, Calican and The Mandalorian wait until night before rushing over to her ridge on their speeder bikes and taking advantage of The Mandalorian’s flash charges to blind her as she tries aiming through her scope. They are successful in catching her, but The Mandalorian’s speeder bike is destroyed in the process.
Unable to carry all 3 of them on 1 speeder bike, The Mandalorian tells Calican to go and get the dewback, but Calican refuses to leave him with the speeder bike and their target, so The Mandalorian goes instead. While he is gone, Shand tells Calican that The Mandalorian is a traitor to the Guild, who left Nevarro with his target, rumoured to have been a child. Calican realises that the child he saw with Motto is the target. As The Mandalorian and The Child are worth more than the bounty on her, Shand offers to help Calican capture The Mandalorian in return for her freedom, but he shoots her and rides back to Mos Eisley.
“Your name will be legendary.”
The Mandalorian returns to find Shand’s body and guesses Calican’s motivations. Returning to the Razor Crest, he finds Calican holding Motto and The Child hostage. The Mandalorian uses a flash charge to disorient Calican, allowing him to get a clean shot and kill him. With the Razor Crest repaired, The Mandalorian takes Calican’s money and gives it to Motto as payment, before flying away.
The episode ends with Shand’s body being found by a mysterious stranger.
When I start by saying this is in my bottom 2 episodes so far, I want to make clear that this is not necessarily a negative, as I think the quality of the series has been very high.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah. Hit me in the beskar. And at hat range, beskar held up.”
“Wait, I don’t wear any beskar.”
This story felt like very much a side story that didn’t progress much, but I don’t want to go as far as calling it a filler episode at this point as the remaining episodes may tie into this so heavily that this becomes one of the key episodes of the season. At this moment, however, it feels like the only real connections to the wider story were the continued attempts of bounty hunters to get Yoddle and the mysterious stranger we see finding Shand’s body at the end. While on the subject of this stranger, who could it be? The fact that we don’t see their face makes me confident that it is going to be either a character we have already met or someone whose reveal has not yet happened in the series. While Boba Fett would make for a great reveal, the cape made me think back to Moff Gideon from the trailers – as leader of an Imperial remnant, it would make sense if he was Shand’s rendezvous as trying to get a skilled assassin on his side would be a good way to get Yoddle.
In terms of the new characters who we actually got to see, Fennec Shand was the standout for me in this episode and much like Gina Carano in the last episode, I thought that the role was perfect for Ming-Na Wen. I must admit that it was a shame to see her have such a small role considering Cara’s also only appeared in 1 episode, though at least we got a great fight in the time she was onscreen. Jake Cannavale’s Toro Calican had some annoying and silly moments, but on the whole I liked the way that he was portrayed as overconfident and brash, but with an undertone of being out of his depth and needing help, while I felt he came into his own in the later scenes when he negotiates with Shand and turns against The Mando. Sadly, I just couldn’t get on board with Amy Sedaris’ Peli Motto. She just felt out of place in most of her scenes and I can’t help wonder if the role would have worked better as an alien species speaking Huttese.
“I can’t do it alone.”
As much as I am a fan of Dave Filoni, I don’t feel that this episode was written as well as the preceding ones but, barring some awkward moments with Motto and Calican, I thought that the direction wasn’t that bad for only a second episode of live action. There were some beautiful shots, especially during Shand and Calican’s negotiation and the storing of Shand’s ridge, while I also thought that the opening dogfight looked great considering that this was a series rather than a movie. What was done very well in this episode was giving us a lot that is familiar – Tatooine, Mos Eisley, Chalmun’s Cantina, Tuskens, dewbacks, pit droids and more – but in a way that felt natural rather than just thrown in for fan service. I loved as well just how familiar Mos Eisley felt from the Original Trilogy and Star Wars Battlefront II, right down to the exterior and interior of the cantina – being able to identify it without needing some throwaway line was great! Ludwig Göransson’s music was on point again and I loved how the score had a slightly different feel again with this different planet and story. It feel like a scene that I keep coming back to, but again I think the score in the scene of Shand and Calican was perfect for the situation – that was almost certainly my favourite moment in the episode.
With just 3 episodes left, I hope that we can get back to the main story rather than what feels like separate unconnected stories, as it feels like there has been little consistency in these middle episodes after 3 episodes that felt like part of a longer story. Due to the way Chapter 2 linked in with the episode either side of it, I currently consider this my least favourite episode, but I think that things could potentially change when I look back over the season as a whole.
“I can bring you in warm… or I can bring you in cold.”
“That’s my line.”
A few final thoughts from the episode:
- Having watched the episode in full twice and a handful of YouTube reaction videos, I am really enjoying how I find new things each time I watch, such as 2 of the pit droids swapping cards under the table while playing sabacc. I love little moments like this that can be so easily missed on first viewing
- I liked how we finally got a name for the planet that The Client was on – Nevarro – in a way that felt natural to the narrative, rather than having a throwaway line in the earlier episodes
- Considering what the Empire appears to have done to the Mandalorians, it was interesting to see how The Mando appeared to sympathise with the Tuskens’ having their land invaded, whereas Calican felt that they were the invaders. Further to this, it was great seeing The Mando treat the Tuskens with respect and negotiating with them – it reminded me very much of Cobb Vanth in the Aftermath Trilogy
Moments in Canon
- It looks like Wuher no longer works at Chalmun’s Cantina. He hated droids, but we now see droids both behind the bar and around the cantina in general, while the droid detectors near the entrance are also gone
- The Bounty Hunters’ Guild is no longer active on Tatooine
- From what Calican was saying to The Mando, it would appear that the New Republic are trying to shut down the crime syndicates
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. This is the way.