REVIEW: ‘The Mandalorian,’ Episode 2 – “Chapter 2: The Child”

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Chapter 2: The Child

After an outstanding pilot episode, the second episode of The Mandalorian, “Chapter 2: The Child,” made its debut on Disney+ and it manages to live up to the sci-fi/Western aesthetic that the series has embraced. The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) finds himself in the possession of a young child and must survive a harsh, unforgiving environment. To make matters worse, he is ambushed by Trandoshan raiders and a crew of Jawas has stripped his ship, the Razorcrest, down to its bare parts. The only way to get the parts back is to face a massive horned beast and steal its egg for the Jawas.

Once again, writer/series creator Jon Favreau, alongside director Rick Famuwiya (Dope, The Wood) has managed to perfectly capture the look and feel of the Star Wars universe. Favreau’s script, apart from including several familiar creatures like the Jawas and Trandoshans, features all the hallmarks that have made Star Wars a pop culture phenomenon.

The Mandalorian, even though little is known about his past, endears himself to the audience due to his fighting skill, relationship with the child he’s caring for, and how he handles the various misfortunes that befall him. The creatures, especially the Trandoshans, feel alien in every sense of the word. And there are plenty of action, laser blasts, and spaceships to go around.

Chapter 2: The Child

Famuwiya deftly balances the action-packed moments with quieter, introspective moments. A scene early in the “Chapter 2: The Child” features the Mandalorian battling Trandoshan raiders, their blades glancing off of his armor as he whips out his pulse rifle and delivers punishing blasts. The audience feels every hit and blast. In contrast, several scenes in the episode feature the Mandalorian and his young charge trekking across the desert, the sun descending behind them. It’s a beautiful moment amid the chaos that plagues this planet.

These scenes also help to re-contextualize the series. Instead of the stereotypical lone wolf hero, we now have a hero who has to take care of a child, as well as defend himself. This development also gives the Mando a chance to show a softer side of himself and show that he’s more than just a cool costume.

Great action and scenery mean nothing if you don’t have a compelling character, and Pedro Pascal continues to turn in a wonderful performance as the armored gunslinger. Favreau has said that he drew inspiration from the films like those from Sergio Leone and Akira Kurosawa and other greats while developing The Mandalorian, and it shows. Much like Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name and Toshiro Mifune’s Sanjuro, the Mandalorian is a skilled warrior whose actions speak louder than his words. When it comes to defending himself, he’s quick on the draw and rarely, if ever, misses his target. He also doesn’t take kindly to the Jawas insulting him or stripping his ship and nearly roasts one alive with his flamethrower.

Chapter 2: The Child

But there are quieter, more tender moments featuring him, especially with the child and Kuill the Ugnaut (Nick Nolte). When the child keeps reaching out for a cut on his arm, the Mando keeps scooping him up and placing him in his floating crib; he also tells the child to stop eating a lizard. Similarly, he offers to give Kuill a job after the Ugnaut repairs his ship. These scenes show that the Mando is more than your stereotypical grizzled gunslinger; a heart of gold beats underneath his armor.

The Mandalorian continues to impress in “Chapter 2: The Child,” anchoring familiar imagery with a solid performance from its lead and a balance of action-packed and heartfelt moments. Now that the stakes are set, I hope to see more of the Mandalorian’s past, as well as future threats he will face since the child he’s carrying has a target on its back.

The first two episodes of The Mandalorian are available to stream on Disney+ with episode three available next Friday.

'The Mandalorian,' Episode 2 - "Chapter 2: The Child"
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    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

The Mandalorian continues to impress in “Chapter 2: The Child,” anchoring familiar imagery with a solid performance from its lead and a balance of action-packed and heartfelt moments. Now that the stakes are set, I hope to see more of the Mandalorian’s past, as well as future threats he will face since the child he’s carrying has a target on its back.