REVIEW: ‘The Mandalorian,’ Episode 4 – “Chapter 4: Sanctuary”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Sanctuary Cara and Mando

The Mandalorian, a Disney+ original series, slows down a bit in its fourth episode, “Sanctuary,” after the world-shaking events of the last episode. It also doubles as a wonderful homage to the work of Akira Kurosawa, especially Seven Samurai. “Sanctuary” finds Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Baby Yoda (The Child) attempting to lay low on the small, swampy world of Sorgen. However, trouble rears its head in the form of a group of bandits terrorizing a village. The villagers hire Mando to help them defend their homes and with the help of former Rebel Shock Trooper Cara Dune (Gina Carano), he fights off the bandits and wrestles with the idea of hanging up his armor and living a normal life.

Star Wars has always used Kurosawa’s films as inspiration, from A New Hope loosely following the plot of The Hidden Fortress to The Last Jedi adapting a multiple point-of-view flashback similar to Rashomon. Series writer/creator Jon Favreau and director Bryce Dallas Howard show the same affinity, using similar elements from Seven Samurai to tell their story. A group, or in this case, a duo of warriors find a small village that is being menaced by several criminals and they teach the villagers how to fight. This is not the first time a Star Wars show has tackled Seven Samurai. The Clone Wars episode “The Bounty Hunters” is a much more straightforward adaptation. “The adds a new layer by showing what the idea of peaceful life could be for Mando.

Mando immediately hits it off with one of the villagers, a widow named Omera (Julia Jones) and her daughter. His usually tense demeanor begins to loosen and he even considers letting Yodito stay at the village. Mando’s body language takes on a more relaxed turn and he finds himself opening up to Omera, even telling her the reason he never removes his helmet. This is a character whose entire life has been defined by tragedy and violence, so the idea of finding someone and settling down is an extremely alluring prospect. However, the battle with the bandits, as well as a surprise assault, only drives home the fact that he can’t have that life.

He also finds a kindred spirit in Cara Dune. Carano makes her long-awaited debut in :Sanctuary” and she instantly endears herself to the audience. Not only can she match Mando in hand to hand combat and marksmanship, she too is seeking a measure of peace. After the Rebellion won the war at Endor, she found herself growing restless protecting politicians and sought out refuge at Sorgen. Considering that nearly everyone Mando has met so far has tried to kill him, it’s refreshing to see a character he shares so much in common with, as well as one he can call an ally. I hope to see more of her in the future.

Howard continues the directorial trend of balancing quiet, character-based moments with fast-paced, furious action sequences. The bulk of the action takes place at night, as Mando, Cara, and the villagers defend their farm against the bandits and a repurposed Imperial AT-ST. The AT-ST is an imposing figure as it rises from the forest, windows tinted red and moss dripping off its frame. It looks less like a war machine and more like a creature ripped from your darkest nightmares, which makes it all the more satisfying when Cara finds a way to take it down.

The Mandalorian continues to mine the influences that helped shape Star Wars and introduces a new character that is sure to be a fan favorite. Hopefully, this is not the last we see of Cara Dune or Omera.

Episode four of The Mandalorian, “Sanctuary” is currently streaming on Disney Plus; episode five will premiere next Friday.

'The Mandalorian,' Episode 4 - "Chapter 4: Sanctuary"
  • 10/10
    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

The Mandalorian continues to mine the influences that helped shape Star Wars and introduces a new character that is sure to be a fan favorite. Hopefully, this is not the last we see of Cara Dune or Omera.