A good old fashioned double crossing. Visiting old friends at a local saloon. Sailing across the dunes of Tatooine. A shadowy figure walking to the sound of spurs chiming. The space western themes continue to shine in this standalone episode of The Mandalorian.
Chapter 5, titled “The Gunslinger,” starts out the gate with a space fight. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a space war in Star Wars but this solid action scene was only doubled down by Mando’s best line of the series.
“I can bring you in hot or bring you in cold,” says the bounty hunter chasing Mando’s ship from behind. In an instant, Mando turns off his engine, obtains leverage and destroys the bounty hunter’s ship. “That’s my line” says Mando as the title of the episode is revealed. You couldn’t have asked for a better start to Chapter 5.
Going back to Episode IV: A New Hope
On spare auxiliary power after the space fight, Mando and Baby Yoda seek refuge on a Mos Eisley spaceport. We are returning to Tatooine, the same place that featured Chalmun’s Cantina in Episode IV: A New Hope. Even better, we’re hanging out at the same place where we were first introduced to Han Solo.
This show has had its fair share of nostalgic moments this season but revisiting the old saloon where it all began was absolutely surreal. Visiting Chalmun’s Cantina, Mando is approached by a rookie, bounty hunter named Toro Calican who requests help on his first job. I may be wrong, but it appeared that Toro Calican (played by Jake Cannavale) was lounging in the same booth where we saw Han shoot Greedo in A New Hope.
Mando and Toro set out to take down a legendary assassin named Fennec Shand (played by Ming-Na Wen). Shortly after, we see the return of the Tusken Raiders. Not only is Mando one of the most feared killers in the galaxy, but he also has the ability to speak multiple languages. Through gestures, Mando was able to negotiate with the sand people and continue on with their mission.
We also see another throw back by the return of the dewback. We saw storm troopers ride the dewbacks towards the beginning of A New Hope. This show continues provide call backs to the original trilogy and this one was certainly fun.
The space western theme continues
The last two episodes have made it very clear that The Mandalorian is a space western in its core. We saw Baby Yoda and Mando ride off into the sunset on a speeder in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5, we’re now biking across the sandy dunes of Tatooine. This show has repeatedly shown it has a master’s degree in its source material and Chapter 5 didn’t let you forget it.
Ming-Na Wen was the real standout in this standalone episode, who played a legendary assassin and wields a sniper rifle. Fennec’s deceptiveness shines as she nearly convinces Toro to release her and retrieve Mando’s armor rather than hand her in. Toro surprisingly shoots Fennec after learning that Mando has a significantly larger bounty than Fennec.
Mando’s tech is on full display as he makes quick work of Toro back at the Mos Eisley spaceport, who is holding Baby Yoda and Amy Sedaris’ character hostage. But let’s get to the biggest storyline of Chapter 5: Who was the shadowy, cloaked figure in the end? First on the list has to be Greef Carga played by Carl Weathers.
Overall Thoughts on Chapter 5
First things first, this episode was beautifully shot. The cinematography and the effects are really incredible. The music accompanying Mando and Toro as they ride across the sandy dunes of Tatooine was striking.
However, there were definitely some negatives about Chapter 5. At 24 minutes long, this episode was simply too short. There are only 3 more episodes left in season one and chapter five gives us yet another standalone episode? There is too much to explore with the world, Mando’s past and overall plot to have such short episodes. I really hope they extend their duration time in season two.
Most importantly, Ming-Na Wen needed more screen time. She owned every scene she was in and unfortunately it appears that her time in The Mandalorian has come to an end. The shadowy figure in the last clip of the episode seemed to emphasize that her character has certainly passed.
We also do not see the return of many of our favorite side characters in Chapter 5. No Cara Dune, IG-11 or Kuiil in this episode. Is The Mandalorian just going to give us these characters on an episode by episode basis? This has been a phenomenal show through and through. It’s just too short. Period.
My Grade – 6/10
Chapter 5 doesn’t move the overall plot at all. We get zero indication of a tie in into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. We don’t learn anything more about Mandalore or the culture of the Mandalorians. In fact, you probably could skip this chapter and you wouldn’t miss a thing. Other than the amazing cinematography and call backs to A New Hope, this was a very forgettable episode.
Some other thoughts and notes on Chapter 5
- We see the return Mando’s droid bias, as he requests zero droids to work on repairing his ship. He only allows humans to work on his ship. Where is this arc going?
- Beskar steel shines in this episode, which easily redirects a couple of bullets and one directly into the chest from Fennec Shand’s sniper rifle. Awesome stuff.
- This episode of The Mandalorian was written and directed by Dave Filoni. Filoni had a huge part with Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
- Chapter 6 will be directed by Rick Famuyiwa, who is returning after giving us Chapter 2 “The Child.”