The Mandalorian (Disney+)
Season One, Episode Three – “Chapter Three: The Sin”
Written by Jon Favreau
Directed by Deborah Chow
My question about the expansion of the Star Wars canon has always been, “Are there interesting stories to tell in this universe outside of the Skywalker saga?” The Mandalorian is becoming the first show to prove to me that there are corners of this world are worth exploring further. It also proves that despite staying masked for what appears to be the entirety of the series, Dyn Jarren is a very compelling character with a clear motivation and viewpoint. This doesn’t mean you will be surprised by a single thing that happens in this episode, it’s evident the arc being told, but it is satisfying and has momentum towards more significant story events.
While I love the vulnerability of Jarren and the way the show has gone out of the way to show him failing, it is satisfying to see him unleash on the Imperials who are planning to dissect the Child. His takedown of them and then the subsequent battle with the bounty hunters is a lot of fun. The moment when the Imperial transponders all suddenly reactivate is a great moment that helps light the fuse and allows the audience to realize things are about to get crazy. There is some great improvisational use of surroundings and resources in the fight. It’s also very cool to see the Mandalorians operating in a group when we’re so used to seeing them solo.
I don’t have deep emotional ties to the background mythology of this world, but I loved the bits and pieces we get about Mandalore and The Great Purge. The simmering hatred of the Empire clashing with the need to stay underground creates an interesting atmosphere in the city. The emotion of reclaiming beskar and the anger over the Imperial stamping is palpable. Somehow, without being able to use his face, actor Pedro Pascal can use body language to communicate all of the conflicts and doubt boiling up in Jarren.
It’s interesting to note that everything I am expecting to happen has happened so far. Everything about this plot is following basic Star Wars formulas and some mythic structure as well. If you have seen American Westerns, then you know Jarren is going back for the Child and will have his guild of bounty hunters turn on him. Even though I can see it coming, that doesn’t diminish how enjoyable it is to watch. Even thinking towards the next episode, I have a pretty good sense of where we’re going. The fragmented Empire is definitely not going to look kindly on Jarren’s actions and will send the full force of what’s left of them after Jarren. I suspect he’ll return to Kuiil, who will take him up on the navigator position possibly.
One worry to have is that Disney isn’t known for pushing the visual boundaries of its properties. See the Marvel films to understand how they have embraced a typically bland, uninteresting shooting method as the house style. The Mandalorian is creeping into that visual territory, looking a lot like Rogue One, muddy & washed out. I can easily see the Obi-Wan series and the Cassian Andor show just being aesthetic copies of this series. They both will deal in the same tropes of a character living among criminals and the boundaries of society.
Here’s hoping there are some surprises in the middle part of The Mandalorian. I suspect I know who that Child really is and wouldn’t be upset if I was wrong, as long as they do something interesting with it. I really hope we don’t have a cameo shoehorned in just to have some sort of nostalgic connection to the movies. The Easter eggs we’ve had so far are enough. However, despite feeling like I’ve heard this story before, I am always happy when Friday’s new episode drops.