The Mandalorian - Chapter Four - Sanctuary

ctg

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I don't have to wonder about this series any more. I am sold. It is what I wished Disney would do, while I dreaded that they would deliver something mediocre, like the Star Wars Rebellion. I was personally hyper critical, when that show turned out to be such a huge flop that not even the characters in the small screen believed about what they were doing. The Mandalorian is battling on another class. It is up there with the Clone Wars and Rebels, and it is clashing with the Rebels on the favourite spot.

The thing is Rebels is still leading with a comfortable margin, as it simply involved so many of my favourite things in the Star Wars Universe, and while doing it, it breath whole new life into the dusty old story that so many masters has tried to handle since George Lucas left it in Disney's hands. It is also interesting that Jon Favroue has written and directed last three episodes, while Dave Filoni achieved the credit on the pilot episode. Maybe more interesting is that this episode features the last character, Care Dune from the Mandalorian poster.



She is a veteran rebellion drop soldier, and she's hiding for some reason in the backwaters planet called Sorgan. What is interesting about this planet is that it's fairly primitive compared to many other places in the galaxy. Some could say that it should have been kept out from the whole Empire, New Republic business, because it is so primitive. But when you see droids, hoverboards, and an AT-ST trampling down its forest paths, you know it's far from being back waters and there is no need to wish they would have stayed out of the First Contact.

Maybe there are no longer places, where the Star Wars culture hasn't touched the galaxy and left behind its mark. We know that there is the great unknown in the Unknown Regions, but even that has now been explored in the new trilogy. And it puzzles me, because in our own history, every time technically superior race encountered another, the lesser one disappeared and all that was left behind were ruins.

So why is that didn't happen? Is the answer simple, meaning that all the races and all their cultures were melted into this huge cultural melting pot, where individuals like The Mandalorian and The Child somehow retained their identity?

It is an interesting subject to study, even in just an idea level as we cannot physically go there and do things. Maybe more interesting thing is, how do the robots and other machines function so well in swamps? In our own culture waterproofing and making sure that the automatons function perfectly, we still have enormous mountain to climb before we reach level, where we are even beginning to compare to the SW society.

Knock on the wood because we are getting there slowly, but I don't think we'll ever reach a point in our universe, where we mirror Lucas' vision. After all it is a fantasy and a good one, even if it show the galaxy in ruins. The reason why I'm writing about this, is the training and fighting scenes. My mind couldn't handle someone brandishing a crude wooden stick and fight against a mechanised enemy.

Before you say it, it's true they only had one AT-ST and it was in questionable shape, doing what the villagers did takes enormous balls, because going against a hardened opponent like that and win requires luck and those balls. The training might help you a little, but still, if you read real world reports about the bayonet battles, it takes some spirit. The reason is, you know when you do the charge that this is it, do or die, no other way forward. And so you give yourself into the combat and put in it everything that you are, willingly, while knowing the other one might blast you away in moments notice.

To these people, the battle was their first one as in all the previous cases, they ran. So for Cara Dune to install that spirit into the villagers, the New Republic should have given her a medal of honour. She would have deserved that same thing from charging against the AT-ST, and drawing its attention long enough so that it dropped into the ditch. And the thing is, whoever pilot the Imperial Walker, they knew what they were doing. In fact in my eyes, the pilot was more capable than any others we have seen in the canon material.

The stormtroopers were generally sh*t with any Imperial Warmachines and their shooting skills are comparable to the villagers abilities. To be honest, I was shouting to Mando: "Take the kid and leave these fools behind. This is a lost battle!" when I saw them missing targets in pistol practice range. So, you see, winning the battle for the Sorgan shrimp village was a triumph victory. And Yodaling didn't even take part on it.

He remained with the other kids, sharing their terror, when the battle started.

I know that I should not draw him into the village fight, but thing is, he could have because essentially not even Mando can control him. Nobody can, because he does what he wants, and if he cannot reach it, he'll use Force. So in theory, he could have taken down the AT-ST and trashed it in the pond all on his own. What is really intriguing thing about him and the above concept art, is that in it the Child is showing traditional posture for Force influence.

Maybe it was wise that Jon didn't write in the scene, where he would have taken over the LothCat and done some Force manipulation. Even if it would have been for just a few seconds as it would have messed with the whole story. For the Mandalorian, the main character is Mando and the Kid is just an asset that can disappear from scenes as easily as IG-11 and Care Dune.

Until the Paths cross again.

The Sanctuary is one of my favourite episodes in this season as it breath so much lore into the SW universe with a few simple things.
 

Parson

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I agree, this was a really good episode. But what I liked best about it is that it helps us to see how the Mandalorian is evolving from a sort of biological droid, into a fully human person. He is starting to consider how much more there is to life than work and duty. I thought that he was really tempted to take his helmet off near the end of the episode, and maybe that will be the climax of Season 1?

Certainly hoping for more than just what's in the can now from this series.
 

ctg

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I thought that he was really tempted to take his helmet off near the end of the episode, and maybe that will be the climax of Season 1?
We might never see his face, but at least we now know that he eats in private, and he most probably do washing the same way. If it is a climax then removing it has to serve a purpose. You noticed that he was almost ready to let the woman take off the helmet, before the bounty hunter showed up. From what I know, there is no real rule that says, "Do Not Remove Thy Helmet, or Let Anyone To Take It Off!"

If there is, it's stupid and it acts against what Dave wrote in the Rebels. I get that they are mystifying and building the whole background for the larger audience, but to ignore the other canon stuff is stupidity and it would show that Disney doesn't care about the source material. I think the helmet is Mando's safety blanket. He cannot really live without it, and he needs it to function everyday. So, if they'll show him in the bathtub, I expect it to be while wearing the helmet.

the Mandalorian is evolving from a sort of biological droid, into a fully human person.
They are humans, not droids.



Sabine Wren, holding the black sabre. She could have ruled all Mandalore, but she chose not to. So, removing the helmet is not a sacrilege!
 

Parson

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They are humans, not droids.
Of course I realize that, but what I was saying metaphorically was that he is becoming less constrained by the expectations of others and his commitments and is beginning to see another way of living which might be as honorable and rewarding, if in other ways.

but to ignore the other canon stuff is stupidity and it would show that Disney doesn't care about the source material.
I wonder how much of the audience cars about the "canon?" And what percentage of that group would cease watching if it went in a non-canonical way. Plus, even if I look at the Bible you can see how the "canon" changes over time, which is true of the Mandalorian canon as well. At least as far as I know it.
 

ctg

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I wonder how much of the audience cars about the "canon?" And what percentage of that group would cease watching if it went in a non-canonical way. Plus, even if I look at the Bible you can see how the "canon" changes over time, which is true of the Mandalorian canon as well. At least as far as I know it.
Intriguing and good questions. A true geek will be offended. Just like it happened with the Tolkien movies. Hobbit and LOTR or a number of TV series that went too far from the source material, as it happened with Game of Thrones, or with Disney's own SW Rebellion. To me, what they did with the latter one was too much, and I stopped watching it. Completely. I got the episodes, but at the end, didn't watched because it upset me with what they had done.
 

Margaret Note Spelling

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I have to say that the dialogue felt a lot more clumsy in this one than the other three episodes, especially during the battle and inspirational-speech scenes. I think the actors did their best, but it is really hard to forcefully command, "Hold your positions!" at the top of your voice, especially over loud noise. When I'm trying to yell complex instructions across a wide field (and yes, I've done that a lot) I'm usually trying to concentrate on getting my point across in as few and mono-syllabic words as possible. "Stand fast!" would probably have been more effective, although not necessarily less stilted.

And, "It's now or never!" is just weird, and sounds more dramatic than desperate. Not to mention the villagers' loud complaints about having to walk all the way back home after Mando rejects their supplication, a exchange of griping which sounded practically staged on their part. (Which would have been kind of clever. Maybe they were just manipulating Mando and Cara Dune the entire time. But that would be a bit of a stretch to believe on the viewer's part. What it really looks like is that the writers were just trying too hard to make them sound like humble and deserving "pathetic life forms".)

Basically--in contrast to the other episodes, you could clearly see what this one was trying to do, and that it wasn't really working too well.

At first glance, then, it almost looks like a filler episode, where Mando is taking time out to help a village a la Magnificent Seven, or the Lone Ranger--in fact, I wonder if they're consciously drawing from Lone Ranger, with the mask/helmet parallel. But I doubt it really is a filler episode. They've still established several useful things here: the Cara Dune character, the importance of the helmet, Mando's intentions with regards to Baby Yoda, the "no safe place to hide" concept for him and Mando, and the idea of the Mandalorians "taking [Mando] in," which we already knew, but from the way he talks about it, now sounds like he's not even Mandalorian by blood.

So I'm sure it's not a filler episode, and it's probably got a good reason to be there in the midst of the rest of the plot. It just feels like the weakest link in the season so far.
 
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ctg

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It just feels like the weakest link in the season so far.
You can't expect all of them being uniform. There was genuinely much more material in here than in the previous episodes. It's true that they could have done a better fight, but then again, they only had limited time to do it, and as they had to establish a few thing, including the love angle it didn't give much more room for an improved fight that you'll find in the next episode.

Frankly, Mando and Cara Dune could have dealt with the raider base, and AT-ST on their own, without involving the whole village. But that fight would have taken something out from rest of the story. It would also show Mando being a total badass instead of being a man with a beating, bleeding heart heart in his chest. He is a light character and has nothing to do with the dark side or with the legacy that Boba Fett left behind.
 

Margaret Note Spelling

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You mean, the episode was meant more as a character exploration for Mando, rather than really significantly advancing the plot? I can take that, actually. After all, it's technically a television series. In the old days, they'd have had twenty or twenty-five episodes a season to work with!

I'm not sure, though, that involving all the villagers in the battle instead of taking out the raiders on your own shows a caring heart, but maybe that's not what you meant? So if you mean the actual deed of helping them defend themselves, then it does certainly make for a more sympathetic character. A more heroic character, in fact. They're definitely continuing the Western theme. (And we just watched the fifth episode today--I don't see how anyone could miss the parallels. Those speeders were absolutely being used in the place of horses! :D)

Anyway, I wasn't suggesting that the battle be improved so much as...tightened up. That would rather have helped the pacing--although if they would have then used the extra space for developing the love angle, to be honest I would prefer the battle. I do understand the wish to counteract the character's walking-suit-of-armor presentation with some sympathetic and relatable humanity (and, although that concern hadn't occurred to me until you mentioned it, prove he's not just another heartless Jango). But I would have hoped the writers would be a bit more--I don't know, creative about what they use to show it? A love interest is what writers always seem to fall back on to make a hero more human, or sympathetic, or interesting. Because it's universal, right? But it's used so often, it can start to feel a bit cheap, especially if that's all it's for, and in this instance I think the character just didn't need anything like that. Mando was already a good character before this episode. It's not easy to make a sympathetic hero out of a walking suit of faceless armor, but they're managing it, and frankly they can do it through his protection of the Yodaling just as well as (and probably better than) his deliberating about settling down with whatever-her-name-was. Since they wanted to use both, I guess that's fine; it's just extra.

So while an episode of action intended primarily for valuable character development is certainly an okay concept, even when the material and action is a little bit less linked to the other episodes (although I stand corrected if those villagers or the raiders ever show up again!), most (not all) of what happened just didn't feel very necessary to me, either for further exposition about the character or advancing the overarching plot. By the end, they were basically back where they had started. Obviously, like I mentioned, there were some important things established there. But really, Mando didn't need to rescue a village to prove he's a good person!

So, yeah. The episode makes sense from the standpoint of special character development. But they were already doing well with that--which made this episode, overall, just seem like the writers trying a bit too hard with things. Which is, really, understandable under the circumstances.

It's still fun to watch. :)
 
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