The Mandalorian Episode 6 Review
With two episodes to go in the season, we are treated with another side-quest episode but to call it a throwaway is to not understand the silent character development happening. I admit, after the previous two episodes, I was growing tired of these so-called filler episodes.
After watching "Chapter 6: The Prisoner" I have come to realize that despite not truly advancing the plot, The Mandalorian, is developing Mando is a silent way that is truly reminiscent of Westerns and Samurai movies. Inspired by the silent and stoic characters, The Man with No Name (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) and Ogami (Lone Wolf and Cub), Mando doesn't have to repeat "You are my Queen" or "I don't want it" to prove he is an honorable man, but rather with his actions we are learning more.
Mando reaches out to his old friend Ran (Mark Boone Junior) who is forming a crew for a rescue job. It is there we are introduced to the ragtag crew that you will most likely hate or feel indifferent to except for one lone member. Mayfield is the "best sharpshooter" Ran has ever seen and is played by the comedic genius Bill Burr. Burr is the standout of the crew and the only one who doesn't get on your nerves. The rest of the crew fills out the normal heist stereotypes. Burg (Clancy Brown), the dumb stupid brute, Xi'an (the over-acting Natalia Tena), the femme-fatale, Q-90 or "Zero" (the way too robotic Richard Ayoade), the brains/wheels.
It is unfair to expect much from a character that is described as the muscle but the others are just too annoying to entertain. Xi'an (a Twi'lek) unleashes a series of unwarranted giggles and hisses make for The Mandalorian's worst character so far. Zero (droid pilot) is the most robotic feeling droid in the franchise's history. The crew is barely saved by Mayfield's dickhead-ery and humor that can only come from the great Bill Burr. Burr tolled the line safely between the actor who knows this all stupid and mails in the performance and being too much comedic relief.
Ran and the crew (Mayfield running point) catch Mando up on the plan. It is a prisoner rescue mission as the goal is the break someone out of a Republic prisoner ship. Zero flies Mando's ship to the prisoner holding as he, a droid, is the only one capable to complete the intricate move to bypass the Republic scanners.
While on their way to the job, we see somehow Mando has changed during the course of the series so far and his past. Mando was once part of this crew with Xi'an and she riles him on his Mandalorian culture and gets the rest of the crew to join in on it. They make fun of his helmet and never taking it off, Mayfield even suggesting Mando is ugly and a Gungan (Jar Jar Binks species). Burg tries to take off the helmet and Mando doesn't flinch when Burg makes a move at him. Earlier in the episode, there is another moment where Xi'an makes an aggressive move at Mando's neck with a blade and Mand does not flinch either. A real badass eh?
During the little scuffle with Burg on the ship, the two accidentally open up the door where the Child sleeps and he is revealed to the crew. Mayfield picks up the child and pretends to drop the Child and Mando flinches the way he should've when a blad was pointed at his neck. Mando does not care for his own life, he cares for the Child more than himself. Mando's relationship with the Child has fully grown to something that resembles a father and son.
THEN THE MOST HORRIFIC THING TO FUCKING HAPPEN IN STAR WARS HAPPENS WHEN ZERO'S DUMB DROID ASS MAKES TOO MANY QUICK TURNS AND EVERY ONE ON THE SHIP LOSES THEIR BALANCE AND MAYFIELD DROPS THE CHILD ON THE GROUND. THE CHILD WAS LITERALLY FUCKING ROLLING ON THE GROUND AND MY HEART, ALONG WITH THE WHOLE WORLD, BROKE AS THE CHILD WAS HURT AND CRYING.
Turns out he was fine and Mando put him back in his little cubby-hole BUT STILL. Don't play with our hearts!
They make it onto the prisoner ship and try to find their way to their target. They end up getting pinned in a hallway by some Correctional Officer droids and Mando saves the day. Slaughtering the droids to pieces and really taking his anger out on the. Most likely anger that was built up from the annoyance of the crew mocking his Mandalorian culture. It's been told all season that Mando hates droids and it's known why. His parents were killed by B2 Trade Federation Droids before being (presumably) rescued by the Mandalorians.
They get to a control room that is manned by a Republic soldier who threatens to trigger an alert beacon that will have the ship swarmed with Republic fighters in minutes. A classic Mexican stand-off takes place when Mayfield wants to kill the soldier. Mando steps in trying to calm the situation as he does not want to kill the soldier but let him live. Eventually, Xi'an throws a blade at the soldier but it is too late as he has alerted the Republic that the ship has been boarded by enemies.
Once again, there is a newer Mando compared to earlier in the season and one that has changed since "Chapter 3: The Sin". It cannot be that he doesn't want that Republic heat on his ass. When talking to Greef Karga in Chapter 3, Karga makes a remark to report the mercenary storm troopers to the New Republic and Mando scoffs and tells him that's a joke. Mando has a relationship with the Child and now has a respect for life and some emotion. Chapter 1, he kills three people in a cantina without a second thought. Helping the people of Sorgan, looking for a safe place to leave the Child, to saving the lives of the Child and Peli Motto from Toro Calican to wanting to spare the life of this Republic soldier, the Child has made Mando soft.
The crew finds the cell that's holding their target, Qin, brother of Xi'an. Then the typical double-cross happens when Burg shoves Mando into the cell as the crew closes it shut and try to make it off the ship. With some Mandalorian ingenuity, Mando gets out of the cell and then the most interesting aspect of the episode happens.
Mando shuts down hallways in the control room and the show drops the heist motifs, for now, a horror feel. Mando is stalking his prey around the ship and captures each member of the crew and locks them up in a cell alive (further emphasizing Mando is a changed man). Add in the ticking-clock element of the Republic showing up, it is a tense feeling throughout. The fear on the crew's faces is real and relays the fear that Mando's targets feel when he is hunting them down. Mando is a terrifying figure to see traveling in the red light and darkness. This was an unexpected surprise in the episode but a welcomed one.
Mando captures Qin and brings him back to ship to only find Zero, blaster aimed at the Child. Zero came across Greef Karga's transmission about Mando's original job and delivering the Child to the client. Mando saves the days and blasts Zero as the Child was trying to use the force again. Mando delivers Qin to Ran and flies off. Qin was unknowingly planted with the same alert beacon and X-Wing fighters swoop in and destroy Ran's compound. As Mando and the Child flies off, Mando turns to the Child and says "See, I told you that was a bad idea." and unscrews the knob that the Child loves to play with.
"Chapter 6: The Prisoner" delivers a solid episode that takes a detour from the western motifs of this season to deliver something new to Star Wars. Once you get past the worst set of characters in the show so far, this episode was very entertaining with the showcased growth of Mando. Although we explored heist and horror themes, the slow burn of non-verbal character development feels very western.
Chapter 7 will air this Wednesday, not the normally scheduled Friday.
"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" releases this Friday. Disney doesn't want you to miss the movie because of the show and doesn't want you to miss the show because of the movie. Essentially they want to make sure they have all your money. This altered release schedule has also started rumors that this upcoming episode might tie-in with the film.
Whether it ties-in or not, stay tuned to Burbs for The Mandalorian and Star Wars coverage.