The Mandalorian Chapter 5 ‘The Gunslinger’ finds Mando and The Child in the Mos Eisley Cantina
Well, the 5th episode of The Mandalorian has arrived and we are officially over the halfway mark for the 8 episode series. And I couldn’t be sadder. Even though I adored Solo, I haven’t been happy with Star Wars as a whole since 2005. And The Mandalorian really pumps me up every week. I will miss it when it comes to a close (at least for this season). That being said, even though I love the show, this episode was much weaker than the first 4. and that probably has something to do with the fact that it is the first one not to be written by Jon Favreau.
Dave Filoni wrote and helmed this episode and I’m not a huge fan of his. I admire his skill and talent in bringing new concepts to life, however, a lot of the stuff he writes also has ‘Filoni baloney’ in it.
The episode opens up in a space dogfight that feels rushed, as The Mandalorian is being pursued by another bounty hunter. The Guild is now hunting him down for betraying them. Mando survives and limps to a nearby planet (which I assume he was going to anyway since you can’t go far at sublight speeds). And, of course, the planet is none other than Tatooine. Ugh. I’m all for nostalgia and everything, but Tatooine is the most overused planet in the Star Wars mythos. It simply does NOT always need to appear.
Dave doesn’t even “do” Tatooine correctly! The sands are too white, Mos Eisley is too quiet. And the Tusken Raiders….know sign language?! So I had to swallow a poor portrayal of Tatooine to start, and the story is not much better. Mando needs money to get his ship repaired. And since it’s unknown if the guy even has his GED, he seeks to get it the only way he knows how: bounty hunting. Yet he can’t obviously accept Guild assignments. And strangely, Tatooine (the wretched hive of scum and villainy) doesn’t operate with the Guild anymore. WHY?
A COMPLICATED PROFESSION
Anyway, Mando accepts an off-the-books job with a rookie bounty hunter trying to establish himself, named Toro Calican. Toro is a cocky Han Solo-Esque guy who doesn’t know how much in over his head he is with this chosen mark. Mando is surprisingly very patient with the kid and shows he is an expert mentor. Their target is named Fennec Shand, and Shand is let’s say, a much better sniper than Zam Wesell.
The Mandalorian’s plan to capture Fennec is pretty smart, but it’s also a little too simplistic. And is very similar to Chapter 4’s AT-ST takedown maneuver. The action doesn’t last long, and we barely get to see any of this new character. The double-cross going into a triple cross was surprising, I’ll admit. But when all is said and done, everything kinda happens the way you would expect it to happen. The Gun on the Wall used in Act 1 is used in Act 3. Let’s put it that way.
Besides the misrepresentation of Tatooine, Filoni sprinkles the episode with bits of familiar dialogue from the older movies. It’s again, not necessary and Filoni is only fanboying out. I prefer more subtlety and original dialogue. Give us new mantras to repeat! Mando’s phobia of droids is getting a little much as well, as he can’t even let cute little pit droids touch his ship. Speaking of pit droids; I love those little guys. And for the first time in this series, we have something cuter than uh….Mando’s little green friend.
However, the droids couldn’t save this episode. And I am 50/50 on whether a certain familiar face shows up at the end. We’ll see next week. The Mandalorian is an excellent “book” but I felt this chapter was one you skip over, barely absorbing it. I give it 2 out of 5 Death Stars.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!