Welcome to a very special edition of The Mandalorian Guide, featuring the first episode of this eight-chapter season that I straight up did not enjoy. Folks, I do enough recreational drugs to know how fun it is to smash Star Wars toys together. I’ve made Bib Fortuna and Bossk kiss. I’m aware of how this works. But paper-thin “The Gunslinger” didn’t do much of anything besides take a walking tour through the Stuff You Recognize Museum. “Look, some Tusken Raiders!” this episode yells, forgetting to factor the Tusken Raiders into the plot in any meaningful way. Ludwig Göransson‘s score still slaps something fierce, the Western-influenced cinematography is still mighty nice to look at, and I’m never going to say no to seeing Ming-Na Wen or Amy Sedaris in any scenario. But if the episodes of the first-ever live-action Star Wars series are going to be bite-sized, at least include something to chew on, ya now?
Here’s the gist of “The Gunslinger”: The Mandalorian makes an emergency pit stop on Tattooine, that all-too-familiar desert planet that Luke Skywalker called home. There, our main Mando has to seek out another bounty to pay Peli Motto (Sedaris) for repairs. This search leads him to Toro Calican (Jake Cannavale), an aspiring bounty hunter who wants to take on a dangerous mission, not for the money but to earn enough clout to get into the bounty hunter’s guild, a position where it kind’ve seems the only benefit would be the money. Toro Calican’s a strange character. He gets shot in the dang head by episode’s end, so, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Much more intriguing is their target, Fennec Shand (Wen), a deadly assassin on the run after all her skeezy employers got taken down in the fall of the Empire. Fennec…also gets shot to death after Toro betrays the Mandalorian, but a highly intriguing pair of boots suggest that we haven’t seen the last of this rifle-toting badass.
(Note: Baby Yoda, who played almost zero part in these proceedings, is still an icon and I would gladly boot a family member into the Mustafar lava pits to ensure his well-being.)
I’ve still got a few questions. You’ve probably got a few questions. Let’s get on into it…