The Mandalorian Episode 3 Review
Three words ...
Holy ... Fucking ... Shit
After two very well-received episodes, The Mandalorian hits a mammoth 3-run homer into the stars with "Chapter 3: The Sin". The first two episodes of the series have been a well crafted slow burn for what we finally saw come to fruition in episode 3. We're hopping right into this review, and as always...
First-things-first, this is another episode clocking in at 37 minutes, but there is not a second wasted that does not have you captivated. The Child seems to be building a relationship with Mando, possibly seeing him as a father figure. There is a possible chance for Mando to nurture the bonding but nips it in the bud.
The Child reaches a knob on the ship's dashboard to eat (play with it?) and Mando quickly takes it away from the Child much to his sadness. Mando is keeping this professional, even after the Child saved his life from the beast from the previous episode. Whether it's the Mandalorian in him or the bounty hunter in him, Mando is cold towards the child and it's hinted to why he can be lacking any emotional capacity for attachment.
We get the best of the first two episodes plus more character development for Mando. We learn more about his relationship with the Mandalorians and his deep-rooted hatred for the Empire. We see flashbacks of Mando as a child on the run with his parents from an Imperial attack and it is the last time he sees his parents as they are killed. We have no indication that Mando and his parents are Mandalorians.
After dropping of the Child to the Client (Werner Herzog), Mando sees the fright on the Child's face and hears his cry out for help as the child. Mando asks what they are to do with the Child breaking protocol for members of the Bounty Hunter Guild. Long story short, the Client basically tells Mando to fuck off. Bounty hunter protocol doesn't allow guild members to ask clients questions about their jobs. It is at this point, we start to see Mando's layers peel away.
He has some concern for the Child. With the purported reputation of being the best bounty hunter in the galaxy, Mando risked a lot by asking this question. For the first time in The Mandalorian, we see some sort of heart from Mando.
Mando returns with his Beskar iron to the Mandolorian Covert enclave (a hiding place for the tribe Mando belongs to) to forge a new suit of armor, and the Armorer came through with the new drip for Mando. The remaining Beskar is used for the Foundlings. It is then we are introduced to Paz Vizla, another Mandalorian in the enclave. Paz and the other Mandalorians in hiding, shame Mando for working for the guild and taking on Imperial contracts after the damage done to the Mandalorian people by the Empire.
This is when the Mando flashback occurs and it is here in the story we see his internal conflict grow. It is revealed that Mando is a foundling, and the Mandalorians rescued him from that Imperial attack. His servitude to the guild is wavering and his loyalty to the Mandalorian for rescuing him as a child is conflicting.
Mando returns to the facility and spies on the Client and doctor's conversation about extracting "materials" from the Child and realizes the Child's life is in danger. Mando retrieves the Child and escapes through a facility filled to the brim with Storm Troopers. Mando goes full-on John Wick mode and takes care of these rent-a-cops with ease. With the Child being taken back, a new bounty is put on Mando and he is now the top target for the entire guild led by guild leader Greef Karga. A shoot out ensues and Mando is pinned and things are looking grim for him.
Was is the wrong decision? An obvious question he asked himself as he laid in covered looking at the Child. It is then the Mandalorians come out of hiding to save Mando. Mando escapes but not without Greef Karga being able to get a tracking beacon onto Mando's ship. In a moment of cuteness, Mando lets the Child play with the knob on his dashboard from earlier in the episode and finally allowing his emotions to come out and care for the Child.
Off into hiding or off to another job?
Who knows, but what we do know that the show is not going to be a boring western where Mando has a new target every week. It's his inner conflict or finding out who he is.
Is he a bounty hunter, Mandalorian or something else completely? Now even more mystery added with the Child seeming as he will be a permanent fixture on the show.
Are they trying to extract Midichlorians extracted? Why are Midichlorians being extracted? What does this remnant sect of the Empire want with force-sensitivity? Are they trying to clone more force-sensitive children?
Episode 4 (A New Hope) is a story that starts off slow and kicks off into adventure and this is the same formula The Mandalorian has followed. The first two episodes of the series combined with this latest one feel like the first act of an adventure movie. We are now building up to something more important and epic in the series.
As a standalone episode, this is an absolute 10/10, but looking at the whole picture (the first three episodes) there are problems. A premium streaming service lends itself to not having the restrictions of network television and having each episode being under 40-minutes is a tough look. I'm not calling for 90-minute episodes but there are moments in the first two episodes which could've easily been condensed as part of episode 3.
These are minor issues but as the action seems to be picking up, I'm sure we can also see the story pick up and even more character and story development to come. Deborah Chow helmed the directorial chair for episode 3 and what a visual masterpiece she turned in.
Somewhat an unknown, she has an impressive resume including directing episodes for Mr. Robot, Better Call Saul and American Gods. Chow delivered interesting and beautiful visuals that captured Mando's mental gymnastics, dazzling action and a budding relationship between Mando and the Child. Star Wars fans should be excited to see Chow again, she is listed to direct episode 7 later in the season and to be the director of the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney +.
Stay tuned to Burbs for reviews all season on The Mandalorian.