On Friday the fourth episode of The Mandalorian dropped, meaning that we’re now officially halfway through the first season!
That’s pretty crazy to think about, but this show has quickly established itself and is just really, really good. Bryce Dallas Howard made her directing debut on the series with this episode, and while things slowed down a bit, we learn that the Mandalorian and the child can never truly hide…
Let’s dive in to this week’s episode, subtitled, “Sanctuary”!
On the planet Sorgan a group of farmers live in peace in a small village… but raiders soon attack the village, plundering it. A woman named Omera and her daughter, Winta, hide in the river with a basket over their heads, waiting for the raiders to leave.
The Mandalorian and the child soon arrive on Sorgan, seeking sanctuary after having escaped the Imperial remnants and the bounty hunters in the previous episode. While stopping at a place to eat on the planet, the Mando spots Cara Dune sitting in the corner… but then the next moment she’s gone. He leaves the child to eat while he goes searching for this mysterious woman, but she finds him first. The two engage in a fistfight, with neither really getting an upper hand, and they ultimately pull blasters on one another – only to be stopped by the child, who is watching. Inside, they sit and talk, with Cara Dune revealing that she was an ex-Rebel shock trooper who is now settling in for an early retirement. She ran because she knew the Mando was a guild member.
The Mando prepares to leave the planet with the child, but some members of the village arrive at the Razor Crest pleading for help fighting the raiders and offering money. The money doesn’t do much to sway the Mando, but the offer of a quiet village in the middle of nowhere does. He takes the money and uses it to recruit Cara Dune to help him, and together the two of them plus the child head to the village. The child immediately fits in with the kids of the village, while the Mando strikes up a relationship with Omera. Upon exploring further, however, the Mando and Cara Dune discover the presence of an AT-ST. They balk at this, but soon decide to train the villagers to fight back. The two of them formulate a plan to stop the walker, then train the villagers in both how to fight with a blaster and how to fight in close combat.
Putting the plan into motion at night, the Mando and Cara Dune sneak to the raider encampment in the woods and begin taking them out quietly, planting an explosive in the tent. They are ambushed by the raiders and begin fighting them off before escaping just before the explosive triggers, destroying the camp and awaking the AT-ST. This was exactly what they wanted, and they lure the walker back to the village, hoping to get it to walk into the trap set for it. The walker stops just short, however, and begins firing on the village while the raiders charge. The villagers fight back, and Cara Dune takes the Mando’s rifle and charges the walker, attempting to lure it into the trap while the Mando provides cover fire. After a few tense moments she does so, which allows the Mando the chance to use a detonator to blow up the walker. With the walker down, the raiders are defeated and forced to flee back into the woods.
In the wake of the victory, the Mando sees how happy the child is on the planet and readies to leave him behind. But a bounty hunter has tracked the child to the planet! Cara Dune kills him before he can kill the child, but the Mando realizes that the child isn’t safe, so he packs up and prepares to leave with the child.
In a franchise called Star Wars, we don’t really often get a chance to see the galaxy at peace. But this episode gave us a few moments to glimpse that, including at the beginning when we see these simple farmers in a village on a planet far removed from the bigger picture of the galaxy’s drama. And though they’re not really at peace due to the raiders who plunder their village, this episode presents a possible life for the Mandalorian: he can settle down with Omera, watch over the child, live in peace, and only have to fight in rare occasions.
This is, in fact, the very thing that Cara Dune and Omera suggest to the Mando at the end of the episode, suggesting that he should stay there (and remove his helmet!) and settle down. So through this display of the more peaceful side of the galaxy comes the temptation for the Mando to just retire to this planet. It’s clear he doesn’t want that, however, and based on what we know of him so far it seems that’s neither something he would like nor something he can do, given the other Mandalorians he is with. But he is very willing to leave the child behind at the village, thinking that it will be his best chance at survival and life.
What the ending of the episode establishes, however, is that it’s not the case: other bounty hunters are tracking the child, which means that he isn’t safe anywhere. Thus the Mando won’t leave the child behind but instead takes him with him, but in doing so we are reminded that there is nowhere the Mando and the child can go where they won’t be hunted.
I can’t believe I’ve made it this far without mentioning Cara Dune in this review section, and that’s because she’s the star of the episode (besides the child, of course!). Ever since we learned about her backstory as an ex-Rebel shock trooper I’ve thought she had the potential to be a very interesting character, and in this episode she more than handles her own in a fight. It is pretty cool seeing the Mando work together with Cara Dune to combat their enemy, even though it seemed that the two of them joined forces almost too quickly. I can’t wait to see more of her, and considering the fact that the Mando and the child haven’t actually left the planet by the time the episode ends, I wonder if things could pick up there next week?
There’s also the romantic tension between the Mando and Omera that runs throughout the episode, and much of that revolves around his helmet and letting someone actually see his face. She wants him to settle down with her in the village, but he declines. I really hope we see more of Omera this season too.
This episode takes the time to slow things down, but it still manages to give us some great action sequences that are pretty exciting (it’s the first time in the show we’ve seen the Mando involved in a true war-like battle). I think it’s probably the weakest episode of this first season, but that’s not saying a whole lot – because it was still great.
My grade: 9.4/10