The previous two chapters have undoubtedly felt like filler, and with Jon Favreau once again not on writing duties for this episode, it seemed that Chapter 6 would suffer the same fate. Yes, this was unfortunately once again filler and that’s a worry with only two episodes remaining, but I think I can give it a pass this time as I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a hell of a lot of fun with ‘The Prisoner’.
As is the norm with these Mandalorian reviews now, expect major spoilers for this episode and every episode that has come before!
From the beginning it’s made perfectly clear we’re in for another stand alone episode. We’re introduced to an old friend of the Mandalorian – Ranzar Malk (played by Mark Boone Junior) and the two quickly agree on a high paid mission to rescue a prisoner from the New Republic which would obviously take up the majority of this episodes 30 minute runtime. Before I jump into what I liked and didn’t like, I just want to address the fact we’ve had three ‘filler’ episodes in a row now. To be fair I did enjoy episode 4 (more than most people) but it was last weeks episode 5 that finally broke me. Regardless of the quality of this weeks show, it feels like a giant misstep going three in a row without actually moving the overall story along. I’ve seen a lot of people falling away from The Mandalorian and although I’m still on board the hype train, I can understand peoples frustrations. They’re frustrated that the first three episodes felt like a proper Star Wars movie before the following three became classic ‘monster of the week’ sci-fi TV, it’s an understandable gripe and a massive shame that the show didn’t live up to it’s early hype. Regardless of all this, I’m here to review Chapter 6: The Prisoner and in all honestly, it was very good.
The only real character development we get for Mando in this episode is from the group of outcasts, thieves and villains who he reluctantly goes on his mission with, many of which he has a history with – Showing that he definitely has quite a dodgy past. It was fun watching him get around in a group like this, I like that the show is not afraid to encourage us to root for the bad guys as they attempt to rescue a prisoner from the New Republic. Though this is soon flipped as this shady cast of characters turn on our beloved Mando, imprisoning him and putting the life of The Child at risk as well. Before we get onto that fantastic ending, I need to mention just how awesome the mission itself was. The look of the prison ship was straight up taken from the original trilogy, control room and all. Complete with a mouse droid and cells full of recognisable Star Wars races. This episode delivered on what we already know the show is more than capable of – That sweet, sweet Star Wars nostalgia. Even within the gang we see recognisable races, mentions of familiar locations including the weird gambling planet in The Last Jedi and even welcomed jokes about Gungan’s and the poor aim of Stormtroopers. This whole episode was pure Star Wars fan service and I was fully in for the ride, it’s just a shame that it may take away from the series as a whole…
I feel like a broken record at this point but it needs mentioning again how this series is clearly at its best when it features such fun and interesting side characters and that shows again in this episode. It was great seeing Natalia Tena (famed for Harry Potter & Game of Thrones) in the role of Xi’an – a Twi’lek (yes I had to Google that!) of which were most commonly seen in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi. Her seemingly close relationship with Mando raises some interesting questions and she herself was intriguing and entertaining enough on her own to be both a great ally and foe to our hero. The rest of the gang also had their moments with Clancy Brown’s devilish looking Burg taking the spotlight as the most villainous of the group. All of them were great but like so many that have come before, it’s a shame this is a one and done and all we’ll ever see of these wonderful characters.
The ending which takes place after Mando is tricked into a prison cell is brilliant. We get to see what the Bounty Hunter does best and that’s figure his way out of a sticky situation before taking out his enemies one by one. These final scenes are made even more tense by the fact that the gang’s droid Zero (voiced wonderfully by The I.T Crowd’s Richard Ayoade) is on Mando’s ship trying to capture everyone’s favourite ‘Baby Yoda’ and on top of that, a distress call has been sent out meaning a New Republic attack team are on their way. It all plays out wonderfully and by the time the episode reached its dramatic conclusion with Mando collecting his reward before his ‘friend’ attempts to double cross him again, we are treated the arrival of the New Republic in all their glory. As soon as the call is put out for an attack team my expectations went straight to X-wing fighters and I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed. In a proper “OH FUCK YEAH” moment, three X-wings swoop in to blast Ranzar and the escaped prisoner to pieces. Eagle eyed viewers would have noticed that the actors playing the X-wing pilots consisted of the directors for previous Mandalorian episodes including this one (Rick Famuyiwa), nice touch.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this episode because I really did, and out of the filler episodes we’ve been given, it’s arguably the most exciting. Here’s my issue though, when I think back to the first three chapters I remember enjoying them for what they were and that’s Mandalorian episodes. Where as the last three have been purely enjoyed on nostalgia and “oh look, its that famous thing from those movies you love!”. With chapter 4 it was the AT-ST, with chapter 5 it was Tatooine and this time its X-wings. So as I sit here tearing my hair out trying to figure out a score for this episode, I can’t help but go high as I did honestly enjoy this as a stand alone chapter but it must be noted that as a whole, my score for the season is on the decline.
I give The Mandalorian Chapter 6: The Prisoner