Director Rick Famuyiwa should have his own Star Wars trilogy.
As with the second episode of The Mandalorian the Dope filmmaker has a nack for playing with the Star Wars toys. Where his first episode played with the fan-film idea of pitting a Mando against Jawas, episode 6, “The Prisoner,” brought us a prison break. Both episodes are playful, but “The Prisoner” also reveals an added confidence in establishing character like Xi’an (Natalia Tena), Mayfeld (Bill Burr), and Burg (Clancy Brown).
To put in another way, Famuyiwa (who co-wrote the episode with Christopher Yost) is good with dialogue.
The storyline saw the Lone Mando and Child accepting a job from one of The Mandalorian’s (Pedro Pascal) old friends. The assignment: bust out a prisoner aboard a New Republic transport. The ship is supposedly automated with guard droids and service units, so it just requires the five-man team to go in an extract the person of interest. Oh, it also needs the Razor Crest to transport everyone.
It is a classic set-up, with foul-tempered characters introduced, things going wrong, and the late reversal. But it also features The Mandalorian getting one-up on his sudden opponents. Now, that might seem like too slight a plot, but the classic feel and Famuyiwa’s direction makes up for that. As does the final shot of Xi’an and the others on the prison barge. The Mando is collecting a lot of of enemies in his flight across the galaxy and it is going to matter at some point.
Which means it is worth examining the show’s relationship with Lone Wolf and Cub, the manga series creator Jon Favreau seems to be drawing from in terms of the show’s overall design. Great swathes of that series take place within discrete tales of the former execution and his son roaming Japan, making money where they can and avoiding the eyes of the Shogunate. But every so often, stories crescendo into bigger plots. Presumably, anyone the Mando leaves alive will be back to either ally with him or get sweet revenge. In fact, we’re going to presume the final episode of the season will be a crescendo as we still haven’t seen Giancarlo Esposito’s moff character — although, he totally could’ve been the man looming over Fennec’s (Ming-Na Wen) body last week — and, at some point, The Mandalorian has to stop running from the Imperial Remnant.
In fact, the message from Carga (Carl Weathers) droid pilot Zero (Richard Ayoade) saw may indicate we’re headed to that resolution pretty quickly. The episode also gave us some new details about The Mandalorian. He is a ladies man, having apparently been an item with Xi’an around the time he left her brother behind. He also, clearly, associates with reprobates like this crew. It challenges the colder exterior we’ve seen from him so far, but like his attempt to save the New Republic soldier, it suggests a warmer heart than maybe even the Mandalorian Way allows.
But isn’t that point of Lone Wolf and Cub and the better westerns featuring these quiet-spoken warriors? They may often kill without mercy, but they are capable of a surprising amount of empathy.
The Mandalorian streams Fridays on Disney+
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