It’s easy to see why Deborah Chow, the director of Chapter 3: The Child, was granted the entire Kenobi series after watching this episode of The Mandalorian. This is easily the best episode of the show thus far, one that is action-packed raises the stakes and pulls the veil back ever so slightly on the Mandalorian himself and his people’s culture.
The episode opens in a pretty unsurprising way; Mando returns to the planet on from the first episode to turn in Baby Yoda to the Imperial Remnant. In exchange for the child, Mando is granted enough Beskar Steel to craft an entire set of new armour while also donating the leftovers to the Foundlings mentioned in the first episode. We still don’t know what Foundlings are; are they orphans, are they even of Mandalore, but they are the “future” of the people we learn, which means they are extremely important to the other Mandalorians hiding beneath the city. It’s cool to see these other Mandalorians; they all look like they mean business and don’t perse respect our protagonist due to his dealings with the Empire.
This third episode echoes a lot of the story beats from the first episode, including his visit to The Client and Carl Weather’s Greef Carga at the cantina, but we see how things are different this time. Mando walks a little differently now, his resolve not as cold.
Those Mandalorians that were hidden in the shadows in chapter 1 finally emerge to confront Mando, getting in his face about his Beskar Steel reward. The Mandalorians are proud but they’re also down on their luck, forced to live in hiding, surfacing one at a time to protect the group. The Steel comes from the Empire, the faction that saw the planet Mandalore gets possibly wiped out in some sort of purge. No wonder there’s not much love for the Empire but Mando does the work that pays the bills to get the image he wants, to feel accepted. While Mando’s new armour is being forged with the steel, we see that his parents were killed by Super Battle Droids during the Clone Wars, which is likely why he hates droids so much.
I personally thought Mando was only going to get part of the Beskar Steel as a reward for Baby Yoda and that he’d carry on doing missions for The Client until his conscious got the better of him a few episodes later. Mando however, wastes no time and its only a few hours later until he mounts a mission to rescue the little guy from the curious Doctor Pershing, who may be interested in cloning baby Yoda. What follows are some awesome action set pieces that showcase just how adept our lead character is in the art of war, taking out stormtroopers and bounty hunters with ease. When Mando took Baby Yoda, a moment reminiscent of John Wick played out, showcasing all the hunters in the cantina being made aware of the quarry via a tracker. When they confront him en masse and odds shift against Mando in the shootout, the other Mandalorians come to his rescue via jetpacks. It’s awesome. But now Mando has seemingly abandoned the bounty hunter life, the thing that kept him going and was his drive. What is he to do now? What’s his purpose, aside from being a protector to The Child?
Now that Mando is on the run, the future of the series is shrouded in relative mystery, which is a nice twist. Where is he going, who will come after him, why is this baby so important alive? I can honestly say I have no idea what will come next, other than he’ll likely come into contact with Cara Dune and Moff Gideon in the future. Werner Herzog’s client remains alive and will likely make Mando’s life very difficult for him as he looks for a safe place for the baby to hide. The first three episodes very much feel like the first act and now we can look forward to what comes next.
Chow did a great job this episode not only giving us cool action but showing us the most emotion, empathy and interest in the Mandalorian to date. Despite being faceless and pretty gruff and quiet, we can see this anti-hero has a heart of gold, donating his earnings to the foundlings and risking it all to save the child. He’s got a chip on his shoulder and a dark past and is honest in the face of prestige. Mando is awarded a signet at long last, the Mudhorn from the last episode, but rejects using it as his symbol, citing he had help from an “enemy”. Time will tell what his symbol-and his name-will be. For now, learning what it is to be Mandalorian, beyond a piece of armour that’s made him a target, is what we’re going to be watching out for. Despite his tough exterior, Mando has quite a bit of humanity and isn’t the invincible warrior we may have thought him to be. We now fly off into space at the end of the episode, into the unknown. Stay tuned next week for our review of the fourth episode!
Before heading out, why not check out our latest work, including some suggestions for the future of DC Black and a look into how The Lighthouse torments its audience.