I wanted to give The Mandalorian a few episodes before I reviewed it. I was wary coming into the show. I was expecting a fighting, shoot ‘em up, action driven series. But when they introduced Baby Yoda and I could see what kind of show it was going to be, it’s completely blown me away. Now that I’m settled into it, I’m ready to start looking at it critically.
I love the music of The Mandalorian. It’s a great mix of both John Williams and Kevin Kiner. The orchestral scores hit those Williams beats. But honestly, it feels more Kiner to me. Early in Clone Wars run, especially during the Clone Wars movie, there were several tracks that had electric guitars and very modern sounding tracks. In particular, the scene where Anakin and Ahsoka are racing to the top of a mountain to a temple where Asajj Ventress is hiding out. That entire battle music is very similar to The Mandalorian tracks with that touch of Williams. Eventually, Kiner phased out those more modern electric guitar riffs very early season one of Clone Wars, but we saw him come back to it a few times here and there in Star Wars Rebels like in the song “Zeb Rock.” To me, The Mandalorian soundtrack so far feels like a mix of both the movies and the animated shows that have come before it, marrying together those styles.
I also want to point out that I haven’t seen anyone talking about Misty Rosas’ performance for Kuiil. Yes, Nick Nolte is voicing him and has his name on the ticket. But Misty Rosas is the on screen performer. She’s acting her butt off to make that Ugnaught as lovable as he is. Please let’s give her the respect that she deserves.
Okay, so about episode three…
I want to preface this by saying as we climb aboard the Criticism Train, I really love this episode. There hasn’t been an episode that I’ve disliked at all. But “The Sin” was my least favorite so far. I say that like I’m comparing milk chocolate to fudge. Episode one and two were both fudge. This was milk chocolate to me. It’s still good, but it’s not as rich.
I think I put too much expectation in Mando as well as the writing team on this one. This episode was terribly predictable and full of tropes. It was obvious from the moment they introduced Baby Yoda that Mando would eventually make the choice to somehow keep the baby. I knew it was coming from a mile away. That’s not the issue I have.
As the old saying goes, “It’s not the destination but the journey that is important” or something like that. I was hoping they would take this classic story trope and somehow subvert it into the unexpected.
What I would have liked to see was Mando plan the entire thing knowing full well the consequences of taking back Baby Yoda. I wanted to see him hand over the bounty, get paid, get better armor, and storm the building to get it back. Now this is, in a way, what happened in the episode.
The difference is his choice and how it was made. If he had actively planned to make these choices, that would say a lot about his character. He was obvious risking a lot: his own safety, the safety of the Child, the safety of his clan and his people. It would have shown how strong his moral code was knowing full well how much he could have lost.
But instead, they fell back on (to me) the lazier choice that we’ve seen in so many westerns, samurai stories, and really media in general. He turned in the kid, and then felt guilty as hell about it. The writers could have made the choice from the beginning to have Mando be like, “YEAH! I’m gonna turn in this babe! Thanks for the money, jerks! I got myself some new armor! Now I’m gonna get my kid back! I PLANNED THIS THE ENTIRE TIME! TEAM MANDO! PEW PEW PEW MOTHER EFFERS! THIS WAS MY PLAN FROM THE BEGINNING! PEW PEW!”
Instead they chose to take the route of him being like, “I’m a tough guy and I’m not gonna think about this job once it’s done! Oh no! I got some feelings. The guilt is strong in this one. FINE! FIIIIIIIIINE! I… I GUESS I’ll go rescue the kid or whatever. This is my life now!” And this is the most predictable route they could have taken.
It would have been a huge surprise twist if Mando planned the entire ordeal from the beginning. Yes, he would have risked the Child’s life in the time period he was getting better armor. But he would know that he couldn’t take on the Imperials without the armor.
I even thought for a moment he would have told The Mysterious and Probably Super Beautiful Mando Armorer of My Heart lady about his plan to save the Child. That way the Mandos all show up at the end to help out. But no, he was surprised by their arrival and everything just so happened to work out.
Just that simple choice would have changed the episode for me. Both scenarios would have played out the same, but the choice that he made would have told us a completely different story for Mando personally. I just found what was presented very lazy and predictable.
But I am super nitpicking here. I still really love the episode. Seeing Mandalorians with jetpacks made my Rebels heart soar. I also can’t overlook the significance of Deborah Chow’s directing. My issue was with writing, not directing. This episode was beautiful from beginning to end. It makes me excited to see her do the Kenobi show.
I’m excited to see what The Mandalorian brings us next.
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