Mando and Baby Yoda ride off into the sunset…
The fourth chapter of The Mandalorian, titled “Sanctuary” and directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, answered some important questions and but also asked some major ones in return. Where does a Mandalorian call home? Does a Mandalorian not deserve happiness? What were some of the top takeaways from “Sanctuary?” What were some of the best scenes?
The pieces are coming together…
Check out our most recent podcast where we dissect Chapter 3 of The Mandalorian. Audio and video provided in the link
After it is revealed that Mando’s parents were killed and the Mandalorians took him in, we also learn more about the Mandalore culture. “This is the way,” as we learned from chapter three, doesn’t only include remaining loyal to bounty hunting and providing mercenary work across the galaxy. We learn a tiny bit more about what it means to be a Mandalorian in chapter four and how these people are extremely dedicated to their craft.
Just as I had predicted in previous reviews and podcasts (here is my review from chapter one), we finally learn that Mando is not actually a real Mandalorian. This reveal came during a very tender moment between Mando and a mother from a village that is being torn apart by Gamorrean bandits. In fact, one of the more famous Gamorreans came from the original trilogy. His name was Gartogg and one of Jabba the Hutt’s guards in Return of the Jedi.
From the very beginning of the episode, we’re quickly reminded that Baby Yoda is a child. In only the most adorable way possible, Baby Yoda does some attention seeking behavior with Mando by hitting different buttons in the cockpit. Before we move on about the episode, we quickly learn that Baby Yoda has learned to walk and that he is a male!
The introduction of a new character, ex-Rebel shock trooper Cara Dune…
If there is one that that The Mandalorian has excelled at, it’s building characters and we got another great one this week. Why can’t Baby Yoda eat his bone broth in peace? First it was Kuiil, then it was IG-11. This time Cara Dune gets center stage, played by the great Gina Carano. We’re first introduced to Cara during one of the opening scenes.
After immediately gaining her attention in the cantina, Mando and Cara fight for respect and rights for the planet. Despite the clear tech and armor advantage, Cara Dune is a brutal and intense fighter that makes quick work of Mando one on one. After taking the loss, Mando offers Cara some soup and they return to the cantina. Offer soup, no foul…
Yet another side quest for Mando and Baby Yoda…
In order to stay off the grid, Mando enlists Cara to help some farmers with a bandit problem. Yet another side quest for our guys Mando and Baby Yoda. I’ve compared The Mandalorian to Skyrim multiple times this season. Unfortunately, there is no piece of armor for Mando when the credits hit this time.
Mando and Cara quickly learn that not only are the farmers outnumbered by Gamorreans, but they also have an imperial walker. You can’t have a Star Wars show without a training montage! In one of my favorite scenes of this episode, Cara Dune trains the farmers to fight and creates a plan to stop the bandits and trap the AT-ST.
The action sequences in this episode were nothing like chapter three. However, this chapter does feature one of my favorite visuals of the season so far. There is an extremely beautiful scene of the AT-ST. The scene is very dark with the red, beady eyes showing through the trees. This scene was brilliantly crafted by Bryce Dallas Howard. Major props.
But I want to talk about some very important dialogue that took place before and after the action sequence. Cara and the mother ask Mando some serious questions during the latter part of the episode.
Does a Mandalorian not deserve happiness?
During these scenes, we learn that Mando hasn’t shown his face to another person since he was a child (8-10 years of age) in a very heartwarming scene with the mother. She asks a vital question- What would happen if Mando took off his helmet in front of another person? The answer was kind of shocking. Other than not being able to put the helmet back on, nothing.
It didn’t stop there. Throughout the episode, there were multiple romantic engagements between Mando and the mother. Cara Dune laughs at Mando in a following scene about Mando refusing to live on the farm, raise a family and live a happy life with the mother. Mando remains neglectful of his own, personal desires and replies in the most “this is the way” possible. Classic, Mandalorian.
On a serious note, I really enjoyed these past two episodes. The last two chapters have really taught us what it is like to live on Mandalore. So far I have identified four, crucial rules to being a Mandalorian. 1) Be extremely proficient in both hand to hand combat and weaponry. 2) Show your value by obtaining badass armor via Beskar steel. 3) Nothing is more important than the mission. And 4) Never take your helmet off in front of others.
What were some of my favorite moments?
Chapter four did a lot of character building and it didn’t end with Mando. Despite having very minimal screen time, Baby Yoda yet again stole the screen. With the children loving to play with Baby Yoda and his endearment for frogs, Baby Yoda clearly found a home that could provide a healthy and positive childhood. However, we must remember that this is Star Wars and we know that a simple life of farming is not exactly in the cards for Baby Yoda. One of my favorite scenes included Baby Yoda’s first glimpses of his destiny while staring up at the stars while riding a speeder.
The Mandalorian shows it’s true strength, which is a series that understands why the original Star Wars were so successful in this first place. Star Wars is a space western. A space western is a subgenre of science fiction which uses the themes and tropes of Westerns within science fiction stories. There have been numerous scenes throughout The Mandalorian that has shown this but none more so than the last scene of “Sanctuary.”
Mando and Baby Yoda ride off into the sunset…
Watching Mando and Baby Yoda ride off into the sunset was a very, Western movie cliché moment. Mando and Baby Yoda save a troubled town being torn apart by bandits. After rescuing and saving the village, Mando and Baby Yoda get on their horse (errr speeder) and the leave the village. We’ve seen this countless times in other Western films and it was a great reminder what why The Mandalorian series has been so successful. It knows what it is.
It is also very clear that Mando is a hero. There were some moments that led me to pause on this. Why? Mando is a bounty hunter. He should not possess these emotions and feelings of sympathy and sincerity. What does that mean for our character? It goes against the code of being a Mandalorian. Mando has chosen the path of the hero and it will surely put him in a bad situation with his people in the very near future.
While previous episodes provided excellent action sequences and drove the plot forward, chapter four was more about character development and giving the audience some great nods to the original trilogy. The first few episodes of The Mandalorian featured numerous call backs to A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Happily, chapter four brought us some significant Return of the Jedi vibes.
Watching Mando and Cara fight off the imperial walker alongside the villagers on a forest planet was eerily reminiscent of Han, Princess Leia and a tribe of Ewoks fighting against the AT-ST’s in Return of the Jedi. It was a great throwback moment and the screen shared a lot of the same tones and heart filled moments that made me fall in love with episode six.
My Grade – 8/10
While “Sanctuary” didn’t have any huge moments, the call backs to Return of the Jedi and the character building were very memorable. Baby Yoda continues to be adorable and Mando has officially chosen the path of the hero. We were introduced to another great side character in Cara Dune, although it’s very likely that her story began and ended in chapter four.
Where are we off to next? Mando and Baby Yoda have saddled up and will likely head to another planet or star system one week from today on December 6th. With every bounty hunter possessing trackers (as we saw at the end of chapter four), expect Mando to do his best remaining off the grid and finding another side mission to complete in chapter five.
Mando has officially accepted his role as parent for Baby Yoda. The relationship between the two orphans is only deepening. Mando’s immediate response of “go get the kids” to Cara Dune after the potential shooting was clear. Mando is caring and has natural instincts to protect children that are not even his own.
Mando continues to be put in situations that share a connection with his past as an orphan and as a Mandalorian. I don’t see this trend stopping any time soon.
Bold prediction: With Mando now developing friendships across the galaxy, I think it is trending very well that Mando may take on crew member or two by the end of season one.