and Mando took a trip to Star Wars' past in of last week, but the gives a look at our bounty hunting hero's old life as he does a little networking and takes on a job. The episode landed on bright and early Friday, getting me even more hyped for and next week.
Chapter 6, called The Prisoner, was directed by Rick Famuyiwa and co-written by Famuyiwa and Christopher Yost. It's a whole lot of fun, so let's get into it. Be warned, spoilers and betrayals lie ahead.
An ill-advised job
Mando's awesome ship, the Razor Crest, lands in the hangar of a space station run by greasy criminal Ranzar Malk, aka "Ran" (Mark Boone Jr. from ). Things are pretty tense as our hero (Pedro Pascal) moves through this place.
"What if these jerks know about Baby Yoda? Run, Mando, run!" we all think.
This feeling continues in his dealings with Ran, who alludes to Mando'sbefore outlining a job to spring an "associate" from a competitor's clutches. How ambiguous, almost like Ran plans a little backstabbery!
Mando will be part of a five-person team, and they'll be using the Razor Crest to pull off the job. Since Baby Yoda is on board, Mando is pretty uncomfortable with the idea but also kinda committed now.
The crew will be led by human Mayfield (comedian andhenchman Bill Burr), whose status as an ex-Imperial sharpshooter causes Mando to doubt his aim.
"I wasn't a Stormtrooper, wiseass!" counters Mayfield.
The rest of the team includes Twi'lek Xi'an (Natalia Tena, who played wilding Osha in and Tonks in Harry Potter), hulking Devaronian Burg (Clancy Brown, whom Star Wars fans might remember from and ) and droid Q9-0, aka Zero (Richard Ayoade, from The IT Crowd).
It's implied that Xi'an and Mando had a thing, which brings up all kinds of imagery considering Mando never takes off his helmet… nice.
Mayfield reveals that their target is being held on a prison ship run by the New Republic -- the government that ran the galaxy between the fall of the Empire and its destruction by the First Order in-- and Mando isn't happy about attracting that kind of heat. However, the ship is apparently crewed exclusively by droids.
It's a pretty standard briefing section, but the sweeping camera work and uneasy relationship between Mando and his allies keep the tension alive.
"Just like the good old days Mando, huh?" says Ran as our hero joins his scummy teammates on the Crest. We know Mando has been forever changed by his compassion for Baby Yoda -- just like the whole internet -- but Ran doesn't.
Hello, Baby Yoda
As they enter hyperspace and everyone hangs out in the ship's living quarters/cargo hold (it's basically Mando's one-bedroom bachelor pad), we're all thinking: "Where the heck is Baby Yoda?! These jerks better not touch our sweet green one."
The tension ratchets up when Xi'an mocks the Mandalorians' "" mantra, and Mayfield suggests Mando is a Gungan under the helmet.
"Is that why yousa don't wanna show your face?" he asks, mirroringof fans' Jar Jar Binks impersonations.
Mayfield nods to Burg, who tries to remove Mando's helmet. Their altercation ends with the Devaronian hitting a switch... which reveals Baby Yoda, hidden in a compartment.
Mayfield has no clue what our little green pal is, but picks him up and suggests he'll keep the wee lad as a pet, before mock-dropping him and sniggering. It's classic bully behavior really and further proof that Mando should just throw this crew out the airlock.
The Crest suddenly drops out of hyperspace and Zero kicks off a bunch of complex maneuvers to attach them onto the New Republic prison ship undetected. This causes some major turbulence, and Mayfield DROPS BABY YODA ON THE FLOOR! His little cry is heartbreaking. Why wouldn't they put him in a car seat or something?!
Mando puts the unharmed Baby Yoda back in his compartment (which didn't stop him from wandering in the last episode), and goes to work on opening a hatch into the prison ship. Xi'an, Mayfield and Burg exchange furtive looks, which practically screams "betrayal."
Mayfield takes point, waiting until some patrol droids pass before smoothly hopping onto the ship with his dual-blasters at the ready. Xi'an leaps in like an acrobat, showing off her blades. Burg jumps down with a big thump, and Mando follows, somehow the smoothest of the lot despite his beskar armor. This group is pretty badass, and the prospect of seeing them in action together is exciting.
They move through the ship's clinically clean white corridors (I like this place, aside from the intimidating prisoners eyeing the crew from their cells) until they run into a nervous mouse droid. Unsurprisingly, burly Burg casually blasts the squeaky 'bot, which alerts a squad of New Republic security droids to their presence.
Xi'an, Burg and Mayfield are immediately pinned, but Mando sneaks up behind the droids and uses his various gadgets (and bare hands) to absolutely wreck them.
"Make sure you clean up your mess," says Mayfield mockingly, because he's an ungrateful weasel.
Entering a control room, they're surprised to find human New Republic soldier Davan (Matt Lanter, who played Anakin Skywalker in Clone Wars). It's our first time seeing this outfit in live action. It's a nice evolution of the Rebel Alliance uniform from A New Hope.
Even though the soldier orders them to drop their weapons, it's clear he's outnumbered and screwed. Mayfield cockily strolls by and locates the prisoner, but the soldier pulls out a tracking beacon.
"If he presses that thing, we're all done. A New Republic attack team will hone in on that signal and blow us all to hell," says Mayfield, setting it up as a Chekhov's Gun.
Mando tries to defuse the situation and holsters his blaster, apparently determined not to kill anyone. It's all for naught, since Xi'an flings a knife at the soldier, killing him... but not before he activates the beacon. They have 20 minutes before New Republic death comes for them all.
Ouch, is that a knife in my back?
They reach their target's cell and Mando is surprised to see Qin (Ismael Cruz Cordova) -- Xi'an's brother who apparently got busted because our hero left him behind during a job. In a deeply unsurprising betrayal, Burg knocks Mando into Qin's cell in the Twi'lek prisoner's place and the crew leave him to die.
A stray blaster shot ricochets around the cell, revealing that it's magnetically sealed like the trash compactor in A New Hope. Soooooo, he's stuck.
But not really, of course. He uses his grappling hook to pull a security droid to the bars of the cell, then pulls off its arm and opens the door. Freeeeee.
Mando returns to the control room, where he turns off the lights and closes doors to separate his enemies, basically turning this episode into the end of Alien. Mayfield's crew are the human survivors and Mando is the Xenomorph, hunting them. He also picks up the targeting beacon.
Xi'an and Burg try to find Mando, while Qin orders Mayfield to get him off the ship, seemingly unconcerned about his sister's fate.
"Nice family," quips Mayfield.
On the Crest, Baby Yoda wanders into the cockpit and quickly vanishes, prompting Zero to hunt our little pal.
Burg enters the control room and battles Mando, whose grappling line and Whistling Birds prove useless. The demonic-looking Devaronian isn't even fazed by a flamethrower to the face! He tries to pull off Mando's helmet, but our hero seemingly manages to crush his foe with a door.
Mando soon tracks down Xi'an and has an awesome battle with her. It briefly seems like he stabs and kills her, but a second viewing revealed that he just stopped her with a threatening knife to the throat.
His encounter with Mayfield turns out to be the coolest of the lot. Using the ship's blinking emergency lights for cover, Mando sneaks up behind the guy and takes him out, his yell of horror cut off suddenly. It's a little like Batman taking out Bane's goons using the shadows in The Dark Knight Rises.
Just before Qin escapes onto the Razor Crest, Mando confronts him.
"You killed the others?" the Twi'lek creep asks.
"They got what they deserved," Mando answers ambiguously, with Ludwig Göransson's music underscoring his badassery.
Despite the betrayal, Qin convinces Mando to bring him to Ran so he can get paid. Logical, but it's clear Mando can't trust any of these dirtbags.
At this moment, Zero finds Baby Yoda in a compartment on the Crest. The little guy raises his hand and closes his eyes, apparently preparing to use the Force as the heartless droid aims his rifle at our pal.
Zero suddenly collapses in a shower of sparks and Baby Yoda looks at his hand as if to say "Did I do dat?" But it turns out it was just Mando, back to rescue his buddy in the nick of time.
Seriously, dude, you can't keep leaving this kiddo on his own.
They return to the space station. Ran briefly wonders what happened to the others but shrugs it off like a cold-hearted psychopath and hands over a bag of credits. As the Crest leaves, Ran activates a rather cool-looking gunship.
"Kill 'im," he says casually, laughing with Qin like a couple of jerks. The mood soon changes, as Qin finds the still-active targeting beacon in his pocket and stupidly wonders what it is. That's JUSTICE, son!
A trio of New Republic X-Wings drop out of hyperspace, narrowly avoiding the Razor Crest. That isn't their target, though.
"Yeah, I got a clear signal on the tracking beacon," says the lead pilot (Dave Filoni), before he and his allies blast the gunship, causing an explosion that undoubtedly killed Qin, and open fire on the station.
Safely in hyperspace, Mando breathes a sigh of relief and screws the top of the dashboard lever -- Baby Yoda's favorite toy.
"I told you that was a bad idea," he jokingly tells his wee friend.
In an unexpected twist, we cut to the prison ship and find Xi'an, Mayfield and Burg in a cell, still alive. Apparently Mando is nicer than Qin thought.
Some thoughts and Easter eggs
- This episode didn't move the main plot along, but reminded us how unstoppable Mando is and gave us a sense of the kinds of people he used to run with.
- Where is Mando even going?!
- The X-Wing pilots -- Trapper Wolf, Jib Dodger and Sash Ketter -- were played by Mandalorian directors Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa and Deborah Chow, respectively. Filoni, who also created Clone Wars, Rebels and Resistance, is known for his love of wolves, thus his character name.
- The crew don't recognize Baby Yoda, making it clear just how rare this unnamed race is.
- One of the prisoners is an Ardennian; the first member of that race he met was Rio Durant in Solo. Rio was played by Mandalorian executive producer Jon Favreau.
- It's super cool to see Matt Lanter in a live action Star Wars role, after hearing him in so many Clone Wars episodes. He'll return to the role in season 7 next year.
- Burg was Clancy Brown's fourth Star Wars role, but his first live action one -- he previously voiced Mandalorian villain Montross in the 2002 Bounty Hunter game, Darth Maul's brother Savage Opress in Clone Wars and Ryder Azadi in Rebels.
- Ismael Cruz Cordova played a very different Mando on Sesame Street.
- It's very cool that Xi'an, Mayfield and Burg are still alive; they were too cool to throw away in one episode. RIP, Fennec Shand.
- Zero's hunting Baby Yoda mirrors the crew pursuing Mando nicely -- the adopted apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
- What would have happened if Mando hadn't blasted Zero? Could Baby Yoda have used the Force to make the droid's blaster jam or backfire?
Check backfor my recap of episode 7.
Originally published Dec. 13.