The Mandalorian Chapter 5: The Gunslinger

I still enjoy this show so far, and the ending here makes it seem like things are all going to come together at last, but the show finally began to feel like filler this week. I do need to talk some spoilers at the end of this, though, because there might be some long-lasting consequences that might actually move the story.

Chapter 5 – The Gunslinger revolves around the Mando and that sweet little bao, Baby Yoda, barely escaping a dogfight over Tatooine and being forced to land for repairs. When the Mando hasn’t got the cash to cover his landing pad and his repair work (particularly since he won’t let the woman use her pit droids to help), he’s forced to hire on as an assistant to a kid with a bounty puck. This guy is looking to join the guid, his ambition driving him to take on a dangerous assassin for his first target. Everything about this screams that he’ll be a body in the sand if he tries, but hiring a Mandalorian warrior to help him all but guarantees not only his admittance to the guild but also a strong reputation. 

There are also some Baby Yoda hijinks this week. He remains adorable and quick to get out of any secure location with pretty much no effort. The Mando really needs to put a bell on this kid.

While I enjoy some of the fight scenes and pacing of the episode, what bothers me is the amount of fan-service has reached critical mass. Not everything needs to be located on a desert planet. If I never saw Tatooine again in my life it would be too soon, but when you couple that with meta-jokes about line readings and insert prequel trilogy jokes (there’s a high ground reference) it gets muddled. I don’t mind the pit droids, I think they’re fun, and I sort of enjoy watching the cocky young bounty hunter make some interesting decisions, but we saw pretty much nothing to move the Mando on his way this week. I have enjoyed the feel of the show up until this point, reveling in the way it feels like a Genndy Tartakovsky animated series, but this week the planet didn’t even look all that interesting. I’m sick of deserts, I don’t enjoy that they seem to be a requirement for almost all Star Wars movies. I don’t like sand.

But let’s talk about that ending! The newbie murders his target while the Mando is acquiring a second ride to take everyone back to the spaceport. She tries to convince him to team up with her and turn the Mando in to the guild along with his silly little scone, Baby Yoda. He’s not as dumb as he looks and brutally murders her in cold blood, leaving her to die in the sand while he heads back to attempt to seal his reputation by bagging a Mando and that adorable ball of matcha. His death, and their subsequent escape, is a fine scene to watch but the real stuff hits right before the credits when someone strolls up to the body they left in the desert to inspect it. We hear what sounds like spurs (I saw no spurs) and are left wondering who those legs are attached to. I feel like it’s probably someone we know because…there was just no need to hide it otherwise. Current internet theory is that it’s Boba Fett, and I really don’t want to touch that with a ten foot pole. My issues with the show start to arise when it gets too cutsie with nostalgic references I get bored. So far the first episode is still the best, letting us have wild action shootouts and new characters with wild makeup work and settings. Now…we’re just falling into the trap of a tiny universe.

This show is beginning to stumble and I’m not happy about that, but it still managed to deliver an enjoyable episode that let us take a look at some familiar things in the context of new characters. I don’t mind that but…let’s not do it again, shall we?

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