Another episode of DisneyPlus (or Disney+)’s flagship show, The Mandalorian, a live-action spin-off from the Star Wars franchise, aired on Friday. Called “Sanctuary”, this new episode takes place immediately after the previous episode, in which Mando (Pedro Pascal) has taken The Child (or Baby Yoda) off on his adventures with him. The two arrive on sparsely populated forest planet, Sorgan, where they meet ex-Rebel shock trooper-turned-mercenary, Cara Dune (Gina Carano). The three of them help a group of villagers, whose village has been targeted by raiders and imperial walkers.
This episode is another really terrific episode – it is probably not as utterly brilliant as the third episode (“The Sin”), but it was really effective. Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard (yes, that Bryce Dallas Howard), and written by the series show-runner, Jon Favreau, this episode is a really adventurous and exciting episode that adds another great chapter to Mando’s story.
As opposed to the third episode, which felt like a culmination of the story set up in the first two episodes, this episode feels has a very standalone, whole narrative, and very much has a beginning, middle and end. The episode is somewhat of a bottle episode (with a big budget, obviously), in that it does necessarily link to the overall plot or story development, but it is still an entertaining adventure on it’s own.
This episode, in particular, is really great for it’s lightheartedness and humour. The opening act, in which, Baby Yoda disobeys Mando’s very serious orders, is very cute and sweet. The whole use of Baby Yoda in this episode, and seeing his cute reaction to serious things (like fights and war) gives a lightheartedness and sweetness to the episode, that otherwise might be a bit too serious.
We then go to meet Cara Dune, who is a brilliant new character. The character has been teased since the first trailers of the show, and she makes a great debut in this episode, adding to the pantheon of strong, kick-ass Star Wars heroines, like Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Rogue One’s Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). She is brilliantly played by Carano, who also brings a real physically and grit to her roles. The introductory sequence in which she and Mando fight was a real treat.
Adding to that, the action and special effects in this episode was really great. Howard, a new director not just for the series, but also, for serialized television in general (her only credits include the television film, Call Me Crazy: A Five Film and the documentary film, Dads), does a really great job at the helm for this episode. Her style doesn’t necessarily feel original or auteur-ist, but she feels very competent and solid. As always, the action sequences and visual effects shine and the whole episode feels really polished, exciting and adventurous.
Also, as always, the film has some wonderful character development. This episode really reassures the link between Mando and Baby Yoda, and how wonderful they are together, and how much Mando needs Baby Yoda. It’s also wonderful seeing a more helpful and generous side to Mando – after killing a bunch of people in the previous episodes, he goes out of his way to help and save people in this episode. It was also nice seeing his backstory about his helmet, and how he never takes it off in front of people. Seeing other aspects into his personality is very interesting, and makes a great leading character.
Overall, this episode was really entertaining, funny and sweet. The episode will probably not be as iconic as episode 3 was, in discussing the series overall, but it is very hard not to enjoy it. With this and Better Call Saul (and with the new season of Killing Eve about to broadcast next week), television is at it’s very best. Can’t wait for episode 5.