*******Spoilers for the series premiere of The Mandalorian below*******
The premiere episode of The Mandalorian kicks off with Pedro Pascal’s titular protagonist hunting a bounty on an icy planet. He finds the alien he’s looking for at a bar after a short tussle with some rowdy patrons. After leaving the planet he goes to meet a man named Greef Carga, who pays him for his troubles but can only offer a few more low-paying bounties. At least officially. Carga gives the Mandalorian a tip for a mysterious new job from a client with deep pockets and a very specific target. Our protagonist goes to meet this high-roller, who turns out to be affiliated with the old Empire as he’s guarded by Stormtroopers and flanked by an Imperial scientist. A few not-so-pleasant pleasantries are exchanged between the Mandalorian and the Stormtroopers before the client gives him his mark. Unfortunately, he doesn’t give him much to go on with only a tracking beacon and the mark’s age. The client does, however, offer a down payment in the form of Beskar steel, an extremely valuable type of metal used to craft Mandalorian armor.
After getting this down payment crafted into a new pauldron, the Mandalorian heads off in pursuit of his next bounty. That’s easier said than done though as he arrives on a desert planet seeking guidance from a local alien known as Kuill. At first, Kuill seems hesitant but agrees to help guide him. Once there, Kuill turns heel and hurries back to his home as the Mandalorian comes upon a bounty hunting droid called IG-11. At first, they’re at odds however, the two hunters end up working together to take out a courtyard full of ruffians, who at one point use a laser gatling gun against them. However, some teamwork and quick thinking get the duo into the small bunker where their mark is. Once inside, the mark is actually revealed to be a “baby” version of the unnamed species to which Yoda belongs. IG-11 insists on killing it, however, the Mandalorian takes out the droid before staring at the creature in front of him with empathy as the episode cuts to black.
Since The Mandalorian was announced way back in March of last year, it’s been at the top of my hype list. And I can gladly say that the first episode of the series lived up to that hype and then some. The writing in the first episode truly felt like a western in space as the titular character feels like he could take on a mythical lone-gunslinger reputation by the series’ end. Beyond that, the camera work and direction were tight, focused, and fell in line with the uber attention to detail seen in The Last Jedi and Rogue One. Which are, in my opinion, the two most visually pleasing Star Wars films to date. The music was as swash-buckling as you’d expect from a Star Wars property. It even managed to sneak in a few homages to John Williams’ iconic score from the films. But, the highlight of the episode is without a doubt Pedro Pascal’s performance as the titular bounty hunter.
Pascal is extremely expressive in his delivery of lines and the physicality of the role brings out much more of the character’s personality than you’d expect. Especially from a character who wears a mask constantly. For example, the final shot of the episode, where he stands with a finger outstretched to the young alien creature conveys an incredibly deep emotional connection to the mysterious alien. Pascal’s also, surprisingly, genuinely funny in the role. Specifically, his interactions with Taika Waititi’s IG-11. One particularly memorable moment of humor comes when the duo has to find a way through a locked door and simply look to their left at the laser gatling used just moments before.
With strong direction, music, performances, and an incredible script to boot, it’s no wonder that Favreau has already begun working on season two. I’m all in on The Mandalorian after just one episode and I doubt I’m the only one. So, I expect we’ll be watching this series for years to come.
The next episode of The Mandalorian will drop Friday, November 15th exclusively on Disney+.