The Mandalorian: The Second Half

Following from my previous post on the Mandalorian, here are my thoughts on the second half of the series. Spoiler alert: it’s exactly as boring as the first.

Episode #6: An alien, a gunslinger, and a Mandalorian walk into a prison ship…

Mandalorian
  • Do locks not exist in the Star Wars universe, or does Mando just not know how they work?
  • The music really does do a lot of the heavy lifting on the show, doesn’t it?
  • Mando really should have some kind of midrange blaster shotgun analogue. Or just something more meaty than that teeny blaster pistol.
  • Why did the team need mando to take care of those droids? That’s the really irritating thing about this show; there’s a lot of small clumsy gaps. The show understands that in heist movies each person on the team should have a skill that’s necessary for the heists completion, but it’s either too lazy or just not smart enough to come up with plausible ones.
  • So… is it just going to be a series joke that Mando’s flamethrower never does anything?
  • That whole last action sequence was bloated and not nearly as kinetic and savage as it should’ve been.
  • What did this episode tell us about about Mando’s character and the themes of the series? His past? How he differentiates himself from other bounty hunters? Nothing? Oh, interesting. How surprising.

Episode #7: The series that could’ve been

Mandalorian
  • Yet again the structure of the episode is far more boring than it has to be. For a show about disreputables and bounty hunters, having Mando’s allies here be completely trustworthy is a real lost opportunity. A better structure would’ve had each member of the team have differing motivations and goals so there’s an underlying tension to the episode.
  • Werner Herzog’s speech really makes it clear what a missed opportunity the series is as a whole. There’s a far more interesting story to be told about the messiness of revolution and the chaotic vacuum that’s formed when even an evil regime is displaced: the crime syndicates armed with abandoned imperial equipment (not unlike the real world ways when the soviet union fell AK-47′s became the weapon dejour of terrorists and third wold militias) that would rise up to take control of the areas the new republic doesn’t have the resources to annex, and the scrabble and infighting of different moffs and imperial warlords.
  • Even just the interaction between Werner Herzog and the other imperial moff could’ve been great fodder for two rival imperial splinter factions. You could have gotten a whole episode or three of Mando using his cunning to pit the two against each or double cross them. Hell, you could’ve gotten some great complex characters and world building out of the differing imperial remnant objectives: one moff could’ve been just a petty warlord while another actually has altruistic motives in wanting to maintain some kind of stability.
  • Dropshock lady still cannot act, but at least jowl face is fun. I have spoken.
  • What is the narrative purpose to Mando having to get over his dislike of droids? Like, what does it say about him as a character? I’m sure his dislike of droids will stem from his childhood trauma or something, but learning to trust them has no greater thematic or character relevance. It’s not as though, cliched as it is, the concept of a droid having choice instead of just doing what it’s programed to relates to, for example, questioning his own Mandalorian training. If his Mandalorian path was something he was indoctrinated with as a child or the only option he saw to live after his parents’ death, then it could make him question himself and who he is.

Episode #8: And so it ends, not with a bang but a shrug.

  • Honestly what surprises me is just how boring an episode this is. The series has always been rather plodding and unimaginative, but you’d think the finale would have some kind of spark to it, some twists or surprises or emotional resonance.
  • This episode, and the series as a whole, is really emotionally flat, without any ups or downs, triumphs or failures, bereft of joy or despair. I’d say it’s a function of having your main character wear a helmet the whole time, but God knows dropshock lady and discount Lando can’t emote to save their lives. Did anyone really feel it as a punch in the gut when they saw the dead Mandalorian armor? That’s what I’m talking about really. A better series would really make that moment hit, make us feel what Mando should feel when he sees them. Instead the emotional landscape of the series is entirely flat, Mando kind of just going alone.
  • Oh yay, Mando got over his dislike of droids. What bearing does this have on his character as a whole? The thematic message of the series? Oh, there isn’t one?
  • But seriously, there’s no theme to this series. This is one of the reasons it feels so aimless and plodding, I think. None of it’s character interactions plots can mean anything, because The Mandalorian has nothing to say. Not about warrior cultures, not about bounty hunting, not about the post war status of the galaxy. It’s just kind of… there.

Photo Credit: IMDB

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