The Mandalorian reaches out to an old contact looking for work, but a simple job turns into a double-cross and plenty of action. Come inside for our latest breakdown!
As is always the case with my Mandalorian break downs, I don’t shy away from spoilers. So if you haven’t checked out the episode yet and want to remain unspoiled, I’d come back later.
First of all, if you’re looking for answers to the ending of last week’s episode, toss those expectations out the window now. Whoever that mystery figure at the end of Chapter 5 is, will likely be held onto until the last couple episodes of this season (maybe even the finale itself).
Much like last week’s episode, Chapter 6: The Prisoner, is something of a standalone adventure (though it comes in at one of the series’ longest episodes so far). This time around, however, we’re not visiting a familiar planet, but seeing a tiny glimpse of Mando’s life before he hooked up with the Bounty Hunter’s Guild.
Still on “the lamb” with the Child, the episode kicks off as the Mandalorian lands on a small space station. We learn he’s contacted an “old friend” from his days BEFORE being in the Bounty Hunter’s guild, looking for work. This man, Ran Malk, runs his own jobs that work outside of the Guild, so he’s even less reputable than the other people we’ve been dealing with in this series so far!
Ran is putting together a crew to breakout a prisoner from a New Republic Prison Transport ship. Yes, it seems that the Mandalorian, notorious for working alone is now in enough need of money to be forced into working with a team for jobs. It makes sense considering he can’t take any official Guild jobs and work for a Mandalorian on the run probably isn’t overflowing.
Anyway, the rest of the team is a rather unsavory lot with no moral compass to speak of; definitely bringing in the “scoundrel” element of the Star Wars galaxy:
Mayfeld (Bill Burr) – is the leader on the job and former Imperial sharpshooter.
Burg (Clancy Brown) – is the muscle of the group; a ridiculously strong Devaronian.
Zero (Chris Bartlett) – is a droid (Q9-0) and we all know how much Mando loves dealing with droids.
Xi’an (Natalia Tena) – is a Twi’lek who has a “history” with the Mando, which we’ll dive into more in a bit.
The breakout goes off fairly well, aside from a New Republic officer getting killed and alerting the authorities, but that’s the least of the Mando’s problems. It appears that the rest of the team had absolutely no intention of letting the Mandalorian leave the ship. Instead, they try and leave him locked up with plans to take his ship (and that precious baby). Xi’an even says it’s what he deserved, which probably has something to do with the prisoner they’re extracting being her brother.
The result is one pissed off Mandalorian who goes back to doing what he does best: hunting. As he makes his escape and kicks all kinds of ass, the audiences are treated to yet another example of why he’s so feared.
What I think is more interesting about this week’s episode, are the teases we get about the Mandalorian’s past BEFORE he was with the Guild. Ran mentions their past a few times while getting the details of the crew/breakout together.
Ran mentions the “good old days” a handful of times as well, explaining to Mayfeld that Mando used to run with his original crew back when they were trying to make names for themselves. So obviously, their bit of history hits at a point where Mando himself has ventured out on his own, yet before he became legendary within the Guild.
Whatever caused him to ultimately leave Ran and his crew, it doesn’t seem like it was on the best of terms. Ran is surprised that Mando reached out to him after all this time and that’s not to mention whatever’s going on with Xi’an!
It’s made very clear that the two were an item at one point in time. From the sounds of it, it seems as though Mando left the crew without really saying goodbye. My feeling is that it probably has something to do with Xi’an’s brother, who we see near the end of the episode. Who knows, we don’t get an answer, but the teases to the past are a lot of fun.
So far, all we’ve really seen of Mando’s past is him as a little kid during the Clone Wars, right as his parents die in a Separatist attack. Other than that, his exploits have rarely been discussed aside from his badassery.
That’s what made this episode so fun to watch. We see the type of scoundrels he hung out with while still working to make a name for himself in the wider galaxy. I imagine he hooked up with Ran’s crew soon after leaving the Mandalorian covert (wherever it may have been at the time); striking it out as a younger man looking to prove himself in some ways.
From some of the conversation context, it seems as though the Mandalorian was REALLY close to that group/crew whenever he was with them. Xi’an essentially confirms she knows who he really is, and that she’s seen him without the helmet (most likely in a more intimate setting). Hell, even when the Mandalorian lands on his station one of the first things Ran says, “Is that you under that bucket?”
While that could be a jab at Mandalorians in general and making sure it was the Mando he’d worked with in the past. Could Mando have been close enough to Ran that he allowed the man to see his true face at some point? I doubt it, but it’s clear that Ran, Mando, and Xi’an were very close at one point.
A Darker Side?
One of the more interesting tidbits of Mando’s history came from Xi’an and a reference to a job on Azloc III (more on this fun Easter egg later). The remark comes after Mayfeld asks if there’s any truth about the stories of how good the Mandalorian (or all Mandalorians in general) is.
Mando’s terse reply is, “I did what I had to.” Where Xi’an follows up with, “Oh but you LIKED it. See, I know who you really are.”
This has some ominous undertones to it, implying that whatever Mando did on Azloc was potentially over the top and resulted in a whole lot of dead bodies. While this may not seem unusual for a Mandalorian, the series has done a pretty great job showing that our central hero has a depth to him, along with his own moral code.
Even in this episode, he seems highly opposed to killing. He tries to prevent the New Republic officer from being killed, and even spares the crew of people who double-crossed him (though we’re initially led to believe he killed them). The Mandalorian has a lot of heart, but based off this reference that may not have always been the case. Perhaps his turnaround is something that happened after Azloc, which ultimately led him to leave that group and join up with the Bounty Hunter’s Guild.
The more we learn about Mando’s past, even in these quick teases, the more I come to love the depth of this character. They’ve done a great job on this series making us care about a character who’s supposed to be the ultimate badass. It’s easy to see how these past experiences have shaped him into the character we’re seeing now. I’m curious to see what other aspects of his past will show up in the last couple episodes.
While it’s not a visual Easter egg bonaza like the last episode was (being set on Tatooine and all), but there are still a TON of cool cameos and shout outs to the larger Star Wars galaxy for fans to take note of:
The Cameos: More than just about any other episode this season, The Prisoner features the most cameos for Star Wars-related people than ever before.
- Clancy Brown – Clancy Brown plays the beefy devaronian, but the actor already has a strong history with the Star Wars franchise. He voiced Darth Maul’s brother, Savage Opress, in The Clone Wars, while also voicing a rebel leader in Star Wars Rebels. Even before that, however, he voiced the Mandalorian known as Montross in the old Bounty Hunter game. As such, it’s cool to see him make the jump to live-action Star Wars.
- The Directors – The three primary directors of The Mandalorian‘s first season (those who have directed more than one episode this season) each make a cameo in this episode. They are the three X-wing fighters who show up at the end. Rick Famuyiwa is Jib Dodger, Deborah Chow is Sash Ketter, and Dave Filoni is Trapper Wolf (of course).
- Matt Lanter – Long time fans of The Clone Wars should recognize this guy! Matt Lanter, the one who voiced Anakin Skywalker for The Clone Wars makes his live-action Star Wars debut as the ill-fated New Republic Soldier they encounter on the prison ship.
New Republic: While the New Republic has been mentioned in the season a couple times before, this week’s episode let’s us actually see/interact with them. We get to see the NR symbol (previously only seen in books, comics, and Resistance) on both the security droids and the soldier.
Name Drops: Two fun name drops this episode were for Gungans and Canto Bight! It’s just surreal at times that we’re getting new Star Wars media that are fully utilize material from both the Sequel films and the Prequels.
Ardennian: As the crew first enters the prison ship they walk past a number of cells. I’m sure there are a handful of Easter eggs I missed in these (with the humans I may not have recognized), but we clearly see an Ardennian behind one of the cells. It’s the four-armed monkey-esque species we first saw in Solo: A Star Wars Story with Rio Durant. Funny enough, that alien in Solo was voiced by Jon Favreau.
Alzoc III: This is not the first time Alzoc III has been mentioned in the Star Wars universe. The planet has popped up in both the old Legends material and New Canon. It got a name drop in Daniel José Older’s Star Wars novel, Last Shot, but was also featured in a couple old video games: Empire at War and The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes.
While it’s another standalone episode like last week, something about this week’s episode clicked with me way better. The action seemed tighter, the characters were more engaging, and the Easter eggs/references didn’t feel as forced.
In all, it’s an episode I greatly enjoyed and found myself liking more and more each time I watched it (three so far). While the Yoda-baby is once again sidelined for the most part, we get a better feel for the bond between the two of them.
Rick Famuyiwa, who directed this episode, has shown a deft hand at crafting action sequences. His work on the second episode (The Egg) was filled with tons of action as well, and this only further shows how great a job he does. I’m very excited to see him do more Star Wars, as he’s supposed to be doing a few of the Cassian Andor episodes as well.
Chapter 7 and 8 are set to end the series and will bring the story back into focus. Much as I enjoyed The Prisoner, I’m eager to get back into the main ‘story’ of the season and see Mando deal with the consequences of defying the Guild and going up against the Imperial Remnant.