(WARNING: SPOILERS) 'The Mandalorian's' Second Episode Goes Ugly Early... and it's Awesome

Friday, 15 November 2019 - 1:27PM
Sci-Fi TV Shows
Star Wars
Friday, 15 November 2019 - 1:27PM
(WARNING: SPOILERS) 'The Mandalorian's' Second Episode Goes Ugly Early... and it's Awesome
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The mystery of the Mandalorian remains intact – along with his helmet – in the second chapter (episode) of the show, though his ship and several Jawas stupid enough to strip his ride don't fare so well as the hunter makes his way back to collect his payment of Beskar steel from the mysterious client. Before a single word of dialogue is spoken, the Mandalorian is ambushed by three Trandoshans who seem to have also been tracking his bounty – the small creature that is apparently from the same species as Yoda (and Yaddle, if you were paying attention) whom he readily dispatches, only to find his ship being stripped by Jawas.


That's where things get grim. Turns out that it's a VERY bad idea to try steal a Mandalorian's hubcaps, never mind all the stuff he has in the trunk. Several Jawas get disintegrated and, after an unsuccessful chase, the bounty hunter is left with only the hull of his ship. That's about as much as we'll tell you: there's plenty of spoilers out there, but none of them remotely capture the show.


What's great about this episode is that it doubles down on the bet that Jon Favreau (yes, that was also a reference to Swingers) and Disney Plus has already placed: that Star Wars' multi-generational audiences don't want some "Disneyfied" version of the franchise. They're comfortable with morally ambiguous characters living in a violent universe that, for all of its talk about the dark and light side of the Force, is still a place of perpetual conflict where, like it or not, violence remains the ultimate arbiter of the Force. You could argue, in fact, that as a dispassionate practitioner of professional violence, the Mandalorian is a truer agent of the Force than either the Jedi or the Sith. Unlike Gene Roddenberry's – or even Seth Macfarlane's – vision of a universe where humans have progressed to the point where violence is a last resort and there's an explicit understanding intervention may result in unintended consequences, The Mandalorian embraces the chaos. 


That's not to say that violence is the only answer: despite being from a martial culture, the Mandalorian understands the necessity of "war by other means," insofar as playing politics, dealing with trade (he's able to negotiate for his ship parts with the Jawas despite some mutual hostility: they're an oddly forgiving bunch, and you get the feeling that losing a few of their own is already priced in to their business model), and cross-cultural relations that don't involve disintegrating the locals. That willingness to "play nice" aside, he's still a gunfighter and true to his profession: despite putting down his blaster and the long arm that serves as both stun gun and rifle in a compromise meant to appease the Jawas, he's still armed to the teeth with last-ditch weapons – including a flamethrower – that come out later. 


Given the abundance of competition that the client seems to have added to the mix in the hunt for the YodaBaby, it's likely that The Mandalorian will be returning to the table with some new terms and it won't be pretty. When violence is on the table, the Mandalorian, like other gunfighters, knows it's best to shoot first. He goes ugly early.
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