I’m a Star Wars fan so I was definitely going to watch the new series The Mandalorian. Even if you’re not that familiar with the new series, you might heard mention of one its characters nicknamed Baby Yoda on Twitter or elsewhere.
Many spoilers are coming below so if you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading now! Don’t go on in that case. Okay, you’ve been warned. If you don’t want to read The Mandalorian review and get spoilers, maybe go read my past review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi here.
The general premise of the new series is that about five years after the fall of The Empire, a lone Mandalorian bounty hunter has adventures in a space-Western kind of reality. The title character is played by actor Pedro Pascal, who was a fan favorite on Game of Thrones for playing Oberyn Martell.
I’m four episodes into The Mandalorian but have already come to like it a great deal. At this halfway point through the first season’s eight episodes I’d give it five stars out of five based on its potential.
What’s happened so far is that The Mandalorian (nicknamed Mando) is going about his bounty hunter life until he runs into Empire-connected clients, including one in particular just called The Client (played by Werner Herzog), for whom he is supposed to retrieve a 50-year old quarry. The bounty for this “catch” is likely to be huge.
To make a long story short, after a wild amount of fighting he retrieves the quarry only to find it is a child of Yoda’s species. See image above. We’ll call it Baby Yoda for short. Unfortunately during the capture, Mando’s ship has been picked apart by Jawas and the only way to get the parts back is to retrieve an egg laid by a giant rhino-like beast on steroids called a Mud Horn.
He goes to get it and isn’t doing so well in battling the beast. Baby Yoda saves him by using the force to lift the Mud Horn into the air and allows Mando to defeat the beast, collect its egg, and use that egg to buy back many parts stripped from his ship back from the Jawas, who eat the egg.
Note that up to this point we also learn more about the Mandalorians as a group and their rituals, which I found interesting but won’t discuss in detail here.
Once Mando has Baby Yoda, the viewer has a seriously bad feeling about Mando returning it to The Client, who has a terrible creepy vibe. Herzog does a great job imbuing his character with a convincing power of darkness. Can Mando really deliver Baby Yoda to The Client? It seems so as he drops the kid off and collects a massive ransom that will be the basis for him getting amazing new armor.
You get the sense that The Client and his awkward sidekick Dr. Pershing are going to do bad, perhaps fatal things to Baby Yoda. I got a bit of a Nazi vibe from The Client and Pershing, which is amplified by the fact that you as a viewer somehow already have a connection with the baby.
With his badass new armor and a fresh bounty hunting assignment, you almost believe that Mando is going to just go about his life, but you kind of know that is impossible. Instead, he turns back and through some stunning fighting, he rescues Baby Yoda back from The Client. The kid was just about to be dissected or something as Mando arrives.
For violating the code of being a bounty hunter, Mando (and the kid back in his custody) are in deep trouble, but he escapes with the help of his fellow Mandalorians who had a secret HQ on the planet. Note that Mandalorians always wear a special kind of blaster shot-deflecting armor including the distinctive kind of metal helmet that was a trademark of Boba Fet. They’re never supposed to take their helmets off and reveal their identities.
There’s a tension in this series over Mando removing his helmet. I predict that at some point he has to take it off for the camera at least (even if not for other characters) before the end of season one.
With Baby Yoda in his care, Mando starts looking for an out of the way planet to hide on, but in episode four we realize that’s not going to be easy. The galaxy is kind of a small place when it comes to bounty hunting.
I don’t know what the remaining four episodes will bring and the plot is not fully developed, but I’m a big fan already. I like Baby Yoda who is a great partner in a sense opposite of Mando and the show has me wondering if Baby Yoda is a clone of Yoda. Or is it just coincidence that here’s another one of Yoda’s species (a species whose name we don’t even know) who is strong with the force? Could Baby Yoda be the last of his kind? Why do the ex-Empire scumbags want him so badly?
If you like Star wars at all, you are likely to be a fan of The Mandalorian. I’m already grumpy there are only eight episodes in season one. And this is coming from me as someone who never really found Boba Fet particularly interesting as a character.