This review contains spoilers for Episodes 1 and 2 of The Mandalorian!
Episodes 1 and 2 of the long-anticipated Star Wars TV Show, The Mandalorian, are finally here. And for the most part, it’s pretty amazing! The show follows the exploits of a stoic but morally conflicted gunslinger, played to enigmatic perfection by Pedro Pascal, on the outskirts of the New Republic, five years after Return of the Jedi. It’s a simple but effective narrative that allows Star Wars fans, new and old, to get a glimpse into the galactic underworld.
Pascal brings extraordinary depth and nuance to a character whose face we never see. Through subtle body language and the gravity of his carefully selected dialogue, he delivers a memorable and charismatic protagonist that strikes a stark contrast with the likes of Luke Skywalker and Rey.
With cinematic TV shows looking more spectacular than film nowadays, The Mandalorian is a perfect example of this with its shoot-out scene at the end of Episode One and its protagonist’s pursuit of the Jawa Sandcrawler in Episode Two. Also, the Western-esque soundtrack with an iconic Star Wars spin elevates the show’s many set pieces, setting itself apart from what has come before, whilst still feeling like a natural extension of the franchise.
My only gripe so far with the show is episode length. At around thirty minutes long, I can’t help but feel like I’ve just gotten into the current adventure when it reaches its climax. A little underwhelming – but everything that is packed into those thirty minutes is more than worth your time, regardless of whether you are a Star Wars fan or not.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the true star of the show – Baby Yoda. This unbearably cute (marketing ploy?) addition to the show is both a surprise and a Pandora’s Box of questions about where the story is headed. Ultimately, this is what I think is best about The Mandalorian. Its Easter eggs, lore connections and side characters just highlight how weird and wonderful the Star Wars universe really is.