Director: Bryce Dallas Howard
Starring: Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Julia Jones
WARNING: There are some SPOILERS for The Mandalorian Episode 4 in this review.
This is what I was slightly worried about when I was watching the most recent episode of The Mandalorian.
I was worried that this new Star Wars live-action TV show was going to end up becoming rather formulaic and too reliant on fan service, and that’s the case with The Mandalorian Episode 4.
The Mandalorian Episode 4, called ‘Sanctuary’, is directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, and let’s start off with that, it’s rather well-directed (apart from the boom mic which was spotted in one of the shots, but that can happen to anyone).
Again, everything that was good about the first three episodes is on show. It’s great to get to see the Star Wars universe expanded beyond the Skywalker saga. It’s well-acted. The action set-pieces are brilliant and the characters are compelling.
Is it just me, or is The Mandalorian relying too much on fan-service?
Read more: The Mandalorian Episode 1 Review
Baby Yoda is a pure revelation and this episode gives us a bit more backstory into The Mandalorian and we’re seeing him start to ask questions about himself, his journey and his past.
All of that is fascinating, and stuff that’s really keeping me engrossed in this series. However, my issues with this episode, in particular, is that it seemed to confirm my fears that this series was going to fall into the trap of putting fan service first and story and character development second.
We’re four episodes into the series now and the story is still meandering and not really going anywhere. There are no real big mysteries that are yet to be answered (apart from Baby Yoda’s origins and why the Mandalorian really does want to take off his mask).
I feel like this live-action Star Wars series is literally just that, a live-action version of the animated shows we got before, and I feel like I was expecting more from it than just that.
Maybe that’s on me because my expectations were just too high, but look at who’s involved. You have Jon Favreau. You have Dave Filoni. You have directors like Rick Famuyiwa, Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard…
Don’t get me wrong, the directors have done excellent work with the source material they’ve been given, but I feel like this show is too much like a fan-TV show, and that’s really not what I wanted from it, and The Mandalorian Episode 4 is the evidence of that fact.
AT-STs are great, but there’s no real substance to The Mandalorian Episode 4
People want to see stuff like an AT-ST turn-up. People want to see a Mandalorian in action. I get why it’s been so popular, but this isn’t really what I was looking for from this show.
Perhaps one of my issues is that I’m watching this show alongside Watchmen, which is one of the best and most compelling shows I’ve seen in a while.
The Mandalorian, at the moment, is just a bit better than the superhero shows on The CW, and I know that sounds a little harsh, but I do like those shows.
I do enjoy seeing The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda explore more planets in the Outer Rim and have to go up against the likes of an AT-ST and new rather Orc-ish-looking aliens, but I was really hoping for a show with more intrigue, and maybe a bit more cleverness in its storytelling.
That said, this episode is still good fun, and I think that’s what you have to remember when watching The Mandalorian. It’s just good fun, and that’s why it’s been so popular.
It’s a Star Wars series made by fans for fans, and that should be celebrated. However, it doesn’t mean they can’t try and challenge people slightly and explore some big ideas and themes in their new Star Wars shows.
The Mandalorian is a Star Wars show for Star Wars fans made by Star Wars fans
I also think the way it’s being released an issue. The episodes are just too short for it to be a weekly show. I would have liked the episodes to be a bit longer and the show be released all at once, Netflix-style.
At the moment, there’s not enough going on in each episode to make it a weekly event. I feel like I might have enjoyed it more if I watched it in a few sittings and had the whole story play out that way rather than waiting one week for the next little slice of The Mandalorian.
What did you make of The Mandalorian Episode 4? Let us know in the comments below.
And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out Small Screen Radio wherever you get your podcasts!