In this week’s episode of The Mandalorian titled “The Prisoner”, writer Christopher Yost and director Rick Famuyiwa team Mando up with some old “friends” to liberate a captive from a New Republic prison transport. Seeking refuge from the bounty hunters looking for him and the child, Mando had contacted the leader of his old team, who is allowing him safe harbor in exchange for a little work.
“The Prisoner” reunites Mando with an old flame and has him butting heads with the newer members of the crew who are uncomfortable with his anonymity and unwillingness to remove his helmet. The show continues to tap into different genres each week, and this week’s episode is the classic “heist gone wrong” story. Not all is as straightforward as it seems, and Mando has his work cut out for him in the sixth episode of the season.
As always, be sure to check out “The Mando Fan Show” later today with the Resistance Broadcast’s John and James as they dive into this week’s episode with special guest Nick Ghanbarian from the band Bayside.
After last week’s fan service-filled trip to Tatooine, which was enjoyable but ultimately felt like an unnecessary sidestep from the larger and more intriguing story, I was very much looking forward to this week’s episode getting things back on track with a more plot driven tale. I was expecting Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon to finally show his face, to perhaps get more answers surrounding the mysterious child and the Mandalorian’s past, and possibly even see the return of Gina Carano as Cara Dune. Alas, this is not what we get this week, but what we do get is in my opinion, the most entertaining episode since Deborah Chow’s Chapter 3: “The Sin”.
As I mentioned above, it seems that each new episode of The Mandalorian plays around in the various sandboxes of different genres, and this week’s episode is no exception. While last week’s “The Gunslinger” had a distinct western feel, “The Prisoner” tackles the team-heist genre, introducing new characters to the show that intentionally play on viewer paranoia. You just know that at any moment, any one of these characters could betray Mando, and seeing how each character responds to the situation at hand in the episode was a lot of fun.
We’ll get into the twists and turns of the episode in the spoiler section below, but for now, suffice it to say that “The Prisoner” is action-packed and frought with chaos and betrayal at every corner in the claustrophobic atmosphere of the New Republic prison transport that serves as the setting for the majority of the episode. Like all other episodes of the show, Easter eggs abound, and while nothing ever touches the level of nostalgia found in “The Gunslinger”, this episode certainly gives viewers a good dose of Star Wars callbacks. From Bill Burr’s character mocking Gungan-speak to a dig at the accuracy of the average stormtrooper, this week has its moments of pure fan service, though they felt a lot more natural this time around.
However, while the obvious Easter eggs and references take a back seat compared to some of the other more reference-heavy episodes, this one will probably be known for its multiple cameos instead, and man are there a lot of them. It’s almost like the crew just decided to go ahead and get everyone’s cameo out of the way this week, featuring three of the show’s directors in one scene, a surprise live-action appearance of a Clone Wars mainstay, and the prolific actor/voice actor Clancy Brown, who contributed his iconic voice to Clone Wars and Rebels, as the Devaronian “Burg”. But while the Star Wars die-hards will certainly pick up on these cameos right away, the average viewer probably won’t even notice, so they play out quite unobtrusively in the episode.
While “The Sin” remains my favorite episode of the series so far, with Mando taking on the role of the Star Wars galaxy’s own version of John Wick, “The Prisoner” is a close second for me, with its fun new characters and its delightful Batman-like portayal of the show’s titular hero (that hallway scene with the flashing lights is about as close as you can get to the Dark Knight outside of watching an actual Batman film). The Mandalorian continues to be a fantastic ride in the world of Star Wars, and I can’t wait to see what the final two episodes have in store.
Before heading into the spoiler filled section of the review, it’s time to reveal who won the Black Series Sith Trooper from The Rise of Skywalker! Our random name generator chose Dan Solo as our winner for last week’s discussion. Congratulations! Please send an e-mail to email@example.com for shipping details.
This week we’ll be giving away a Mandalorian T-Shirt to one lucky commenter, so make sure to post your thoughts on the episode below.
So it turns out that Mando hasn’t always worked alone, and this week’s episode introduces us to some of his old crew as well as some new members of the team that he isn’t familiar with. The team leader, Ranzar, is played by actor Mark Boone Junior. Though we don’t get a lot of exposition about their past together, it’s clear that Ran respects the Mandalorian, if only for his exceptional trigger finger. However, his true loyalties remain up in the air, and as he later notes, he doesn’t really trust anyone, which we eventually learn was most definitely foreshadowing regarding the general untrustworthiness of Mando’s new team.
Along with Ran, Mando is reunited with the Twi’lek assassin, Xi’an, played by actress Natalia Tena (whom fans of Game of Thrones or the Harry Potter films may recognize). Xi’an hints at a past romantic history with the Mandalorian, though as the episode progresses, she comes off as more of a flirt than a legitimate ex-girlfriend of Mando’s. It’s never really explained in any detail, but I get the feeling that any sort of romantic relationship is more one-sided on her end. Xi’an definitely gives off some Harley Quinn vibes with a heavy dash of Famke Janssen’s Xenia Onatopp (Goldeneye) thrown in, and honestly, I just don’t think Mando would go for that type of crazy. But the character is a lot of fun to watch, and she’s an expert with those throwing knives.
We also meet some characters that are new to Mando as well. Of course, one of them would have to be a droid, if for no other reason than to add to Mando’s general unease about the mechanical race. “Zero” (voiced by Richard Ayoade) is an exceptional pilot, and when Ran tells Mando that the droid will be flying the Razor Crest on the mission instead of him, it only adds to his discomfort. The other two new team members are Bill Burr’s character “Mayfeld”, an ex-imperial sharpshooter, and the team’s muscle, a Devaronian named Burg (Clancy Brown). Though Xi’an and Ran vouch for Mando, the new team members are more than a little wary of the Mandalorian, and this adds a great deal of tension as the episode unfolds.
After infiltrating the New Republic transport, the team begins to make their way silently through the corridors of the ship, but when Burg gets impatient with a mouse droid, his temper gives away their position, and they are forced to fight security droids on their way into the ship’s control room. Inside the control room, the crew happens upon the sole organic guard, a New Republic soldier, and the first of the episode’s small cameos that I noticed. The soldier is played by Matt Lanter, the voice of Anakin Skywalker in the Clone Wars series.
As Mando and Mayfeld argue over whether to let the man live, Xi’an cuts the tension by taking out the man herself with one of her knives. However, the transponder the man was holding is activated by a dead man switch, and the team is forced to find their target and free them before the arrival of New Republic forces. Before leaving the control room, Mando examines the device and then joins the others at the cell door of their target.
When the cell is opened, the occupant is revealed to be Xi’an’s brother Qin, who was surprised at the irony of Mando’s involvement in the rescue given that the Mandalorian had left him behind on their last mission together. After Qin’s rescue, the true nature of the mission is revealed. Along with the rescue of their comrade, the team had planned to leave Mando behind this time around, and they lock him in the cell before heading back to the Crest.
When a security droid walks by the cell door, Mando uses his grapple to pull it in and uses the droid’s arm to disable the lock and set himself free. Enter…the Batman. From this point on, the episode turns into a cat and mouse game between Mando and the other team members. Separating them and trapping them using the ship’s security system, Mando takes them out one by one before heading back to the Crest and blasting a hole in Zero before he can do any harm to the child. Oh yeah, Baby Yoda is in this episode. He’s as cute as ever, and he has his moments, but the rest of the episode overshadows his contribution. But as always, it’s great to know that the little guy is safe and sound in the end.
Leaving the crew behind in the cell they tried to lock him in, Mando returns Qin to Ran for payment. Ran pays him, but as Mando flies away, Ran orders his destruction. Thankfully, however, Mando’s foresight saves the day. Having snatched the transponder from the man on the prison transport, Mando had left it behind with Ran and Qin just before taking off. Before they can blast him into bits, three New Republic X-Wings arrive in response to the beacon and blast Ran’s vessel instead. The three pilots are given names in the credits as well and are played by three of the show’s directors. Dave Filoni plays “Trapper Wolf” (because of course he does), Deborah Chow plays “Sash Ketter”, and this episode’s director, Rick Famuyiwa plays “Jib Dodger”.
That’s about all I’m going to get into for this week’s episode, but there’s definitely a lot to talk about, and I’m sure I neglected a lot of details in this review. But that’s what the comments are for. Before you go, be sure to share your thoughts on the episode. What Easter eggs did you find? Any cameos we missed? What did you like/not like about the episode? Until next week, so long Mando fandos!