REVIEW: ‘The Mandalorian,’ Episode 6 – “Chapter 6: The Prisoner”

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The Mandalorian has never been shy about wearing its cinematic influences on its sleeve, and episode six, titled “The Prisoner”, is no exception as it pays homage to the heist film. Director Rick Famuwiya returns to helm this episode, and also co-wrote it with Christopher Yost (Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Star Wars: Rebels).

Mando (Pedro Pascal), in desperate need of credits, takes a job from an old acquaintance Ranzar Mark (Mark Boone, Junior) to break into a New Republic transport cruiser and liberate a prisoner. He must work with a group of criminals including Mayfeld (Bill Burr), a former Imperial sharpshooter; Xi’an (Natalia Tena), a Twi’lek assassin with whom Mando had a tempestuous relationship; Burg (Clancy Brown), a Devaronian who serves as the muscle of the group; and Zero (Richard Aoyade) a droid who plans out the whole operation. What seems like an easy job spirals into chaos as Mando butts heads with his temporary teammates and winds up in over his helmeted head.

If episode four drew heavy influences from Seven Samurai, this episode is influenced by ensemble films, especially The Dirty Dozen. Much like that film, we follow a group of criminals who have been pulled together to accomplish an impossible job, each with a special skill. Zero is the brains, Burg is the muscle, Mayfeld is the “leader”, etc. Unlike that film, there are no moments where the crew have a chance to bond, especially since they all hate Mando and end up trying to kill him in the latter half of the episode.

'The Mandalorian,' Episode 6 - Chapter 6: The PrisonerWe also get to see Mando showcase his skill and cunning, as he battles both a ship full of security droids and a group of bounty hunters who either match him in skill or in Burg’s case, outmatch him in strength. He uses the environment to his advantage, hijacking the ship and separating the others so that he can pick them off one by one. Likewise, when the group discovers that the ship they previously thought was only manned by droids is piloted by a lone New Republic officer, (Matt Lanter), Mando tries to talk him down whereas the other hunters would rather kill him and get it over with.

Here, Pascal has a chance to show off his vocal range, switching from concern for the officer to cold rage when Burg mocks the genocide of his people to relief when he comforts Yodito (Baby Yoda) after a jarring drop from hyperspace. Vocal acting can be just as much of a moving performance as a physical one, and Pascal puts his all into his voice.

While “The Prisoner” is influenced by heist films, Famuwiya brings a horror vibe to the proceedings, especially in the latter half of the episode. As the ship goes into lockdown mode, the corridors are shrouded in red light, and Mando sneaks up on the others, using his grappling hook to strangle Burg and ambushing Mayfeld. At times, I was reminded of The Predator and how its titular monster used stealth to its advantage.

If there’s one flaw with this episode, it’s that Yodito is largely absent from it, save for a sequence where he hides from Zero. Likewise, this episode and its predecessor feel somewhat disconnected from the major narrative. Even with the series’ serialized nature, the first four episodes felt driven by a larger story as Mando ended up being the most wanted man in his sector of the galaxy. Episodes five and six have felt like a detour from this plot, and I hope the last two episodes return to it and resolve it.  

Despite feeling like a detour from the main plot, “The Prisoner” is fueled by inventive action sequences and a cast of colorful antagonists. With only two episodes left in the season, my hopes are high for a strong conclusion.

Episode 6 of The Mandalorian is currently streaming on Disney Plus. Episode 7 will be available for streaming on Wednesday, December 18th.

'The Mandalorian,' Episode 6 - "Chapter 6: The Prisoner"
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    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Despite feeling like a detour from the main plot, “The Prisoner” is fueled by inventive action sequences and a cast of colorful antagonists. With only two episodes left in the season, my hopes are high for a strong conclusion.