‘The Mandalorian’ Returns to a Familiar ‘Wretched Hive of Scum & Villainy’ (RECAP)
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 5, “The Gunslinger.”]
One of the best things about The Mandalorian is that it has something for everyone; it’s accessible to fans of Star Wars who haven’t seen the animated series, it offers Easter eggs for those who have encyclopedic knowledge of the franchise, and even for those who haven’t seen anything else Star Wars-related, it’s still great fun (everyone can appreciate the adorableness of Baby Yoda). But this week’s episode re-introduces a location likely familiar to those who don’t know much about the stories taking place in the galaxy far, far away: Tatooine.
After all, Tatooine is a cornerstone location in the saga. It’s where Luke lived his young adult life, and he Obi-Wan meet Han Solo, and where Han most definitely shot first. Long before that, it’s where Qui-Gon Jinn and company find Anakin, and where that same boy, now grown, took his first steps toward the Dark Side with the executions of all those Sand People. So, yeah, Tatooine is a pretty important place.
For Mando (Pedro Pascal), it’s not so much important as it is convenient. His ship has taken a hit — or two, or three, or four — and he needs a mechanic to get it working. He also needs a job to pay the mechanic, which leads him to Mos Eisley… and to a clueless young bounty hunter in need of some guidance, who might just have the work he’s looking for.
Mando gets into a firefight with another bounty hunter, and although he blows up the guy’s ship, his own is left in nasty shape. This leads him to a familiar Star Wars location: Mos Eisley. He leaves his ship with a mechanic (Amy Sedaris), and leaves Baby Yoda inside. Then, with everything sorted out, he goes to find work.
Work, as it turns out, is hard to find on Tatooine. Mando manages to find one job, though — well, more like half a job. A young bounty hunter, Toro Callican (Jake Cannavale), is trying to complete his first job, but the tracking fob he has is for Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), a well-known mercenary who’ll surely kill him. Needing work and seeing no better options, Mando tells him to meet him outside the hangar where his ship is being kept.
Have the Force, Will Travel
There’s one complication: Baby Yoda has woken up, and the mechanic and her team of droids find him when he walks out of the ship. Thankfully, they don’t know who he is. Rather than calling him in to someone who’d kill him and take the child, she simply reprimands Mando for not knowing how to take care of a “little one.” Toro also sees the child, but he, too, doesn’t seem to know a thing about it.
Mando and Toro head out on their mission, and without Mando, Toro would’ve died several times over in the first few hours. It’s only thanks to Mando that they cross the Tusken Raiders’ land (he’s able to negotiate with them), and when they fall into a trap set by Fennec and she starts shooting at them, Mando makes a new plan. He says they’ll wait until nightfall, and then go after her on the opposite side of the ridge.
Once it gets dark, they put that plan into action, riding across the sand dunes on their speeder bikes and alternating flash charge shots to make themselves impossible to see. It almost works, but Fennec gets Mando in her sights and shoots his bike, then blasts him in the chest (thank goodness for that Beskar armor). She almost gets him in the head, too, but Toro comes up behind her. “No so fast, Fennec,” he says. They fight for a bit, until Mando, too, makes his way up the ridge. “Nice distraction,” he tells his pal.
They cuff Fennec and head back down, but there’s only one bike. Mando retraces their steps to get the Duback they saw earlier, but it takes him a while… and in that time, Fennec is able to convince Toro that Mando’s worth more to the Guild than her. “You bring the Guild that traitor, and they’ll welcome you with open arms,” she says. She says she can help him fight Mando, and that if he wants to be a bounty hunter, he needs to take the best deal for himself.
Toro does just that, just not in the way Fennec thought he would. He shoots her, saying that if he took her cuffs off, she’d kill him. “And if the Mandalorian’s worth more than you are,” he says, “who wouldn’t want to be a legend?” Then, when Mando returns with the Duback, he isn’t there; that’s because he’s gone back to the mechanic’s shop, where Mando finds him holding her and Baby Yoda hostage. Of course, Mando keeps his cool. When his traitorous friend tells the mechanic to cuff him, the steel-armored bounty hunter fires one more flare charge and shoots him. Then Mando pays the mechanic for her service, and he and Baby Yoda soar away in his repaired ship.
…but wait, there’s more! Across the sand dunes, someone — maybe another Mandalorian, maybe not — approaches Fennec’s body. Who? Why? We’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
The Mandalorian, Fridays, Disney+