The sixth episode of The Mandalorian released today, and it just might be my favorite one yet!
The episode, directed by Rick Famuyiwa (the second episode he’s directed this season), is subtitled “The Prisoner”, and it sees the Mando joining up with a group of scum and villainy to infiltrate a New Republic prison transport and extract a certain prisoner.
It’s an episode that is packed with tension from the beginning to the end, and it’ll have you on the edge of your seat, but it will also reward you with some thrilling moments and awesome cameos. Let’s dive in to our review!
The Mandalorian arrives on a space station and meets up with Ranzar Malk (played by Mark Boone Jr.), with whom he apparently used to run missions. Malk has put together a team for a job and enlists the Mando’s help, primarily because he needs the Razor Crest. In quick succession the Mando is introduced to the rest of the team: Mayfeld (played by Bill Burr), Burg (played by Clancy Brown), the droid Zero (played by Richard Ayoade), and the Twi’lek Xi’an (played by Natalia Tena). The Mando has a history with Xi’an as well, and the implication is that their history was actually romantic.
The target for this job is to extract a prisoner – which the Mando is surprised and upset to learn is actually imprisoned on a New Republic prison ship, with maximum security. The others assuage him by assuring him that the ship is only manned by droids. The reason the Razor Crest is needed is to be able to get past the ship’s security scanners and the like. Zero flies the ship, which leaves the Mando to hang out with the rest of the crew. They tease him and tell him to remove his helmet. Soon after this, they discover the Child, stored safely away in a hold. The others are confused and mistake it for a pet. The Razor Crest immediately drops out of lightspeed, taking everyone by surprise and throwing them around (including the Child!). The ship lands safely on top of the New Republic cruiser, and the job truly begins.
The Mando gets them into the ship, and Mayfeld, Burg, Xi’an, and the Mando begin making their way through the hallways, with Zero controlling everything from the Razor Crest. They are soon discovered by New Republic security droids and the team tries to fight back, but to little success. The others notice that the Mandalorian has disappeared and wonder where he is, but he then appears behind the security droids and proceeds to take every single one of them out on his own. They soon come to the control room on the ship, where they discover a human officer. The Mando is upset that the intel was wrong about only droids being here, and the New Republic officer (played by Matt Lanter!) threatens to call the New Republic for reinforcements. Mayfeld threatens to kill the soldier, but the Mando attempts to reason with him. It is clear the Mando doesn’t want this guy to get killed, and he, Mayfeld, and Burg wind up disagreeing – only for Xi’an to kill the soldier. As she does so, however, they discover that the soldier called the New Republic. Zero says they have 20 minutes.
They come to the prison cell they’ve been looking for, and they free the prisoner… to reveal a Twi’lek named Qin (played by Ismael Cruz Cordova), the brother of Xi’an, who is actually imprisoned because of the Mando. The crew turns on the Mando immediately, throwing him back in the cell and running to escape. The Mando manages to escape by capturing a security droid, and he gets to the control room; he turns off all the lights (forcing red security lights to come on), shuts blast doors, and cuts off Zero’s control of the ship and communication with the others. The Mando tracks down and faces off against the crew one-by-one, eventually leaving him with only Qin, who surrenders.
Zero, meanwhile, discovers the Child and proceeds to hunt him throughout the ship with his blaster. The droid finally finds the Child and raises its blaster at it, and the Child raises his hand in an attempt to use the Force… and the droid explodes by blaster shot! The Child looks at his hand (in a, “did I do that?” moment), but it turns out the Mando had returned to the ship and killed the droid before it could kill the Child. The Mando and the Child take off, and they return to Malk’s station to drop off Qin. Malk pays the Mando, but as soon as the Razor Crest leaves, Malk orders it to be shot down. It is at this point that Qin realizes that the Mando had planted on him the New Republic tracker, and three X-Wings emerge out of hyperspace just as the Razor Crest leaves. The three X-Wing pilots (played by directors Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow) identify the tracker and a ship taking off (the one that was supposed to kill the Mando), and they fire into the station’s hanger, causing a big explosion.
As he flies away, the Mando removes the ball from one of the levers and gives it back to the Child. We then cut back to the New Republic prison ship, where it is revealed that Mayfeld, Burg, and Xi’an are all still alive and trapped in a cell.
This episode might just be my favorite one yet! It had me on the edge of my seat throughout, as pretty much the entire episode was full of tension, and it provided us with some thrilling action sequences, interesting new characters, fun cameos, and an important lens into our main character.
To start, let’s get the cameos out of the way, because that was really thrilling! The New Republic showed up, which was earlier than I expected them to in the show (I kinda didn’t expect them at all in the first season). But it’s such a great plotline for an episode of this show, as bounty hunters and criminals have to infiltrate a New Republic prison ship to extract a prisoner. It’s great! But then seeing X-Wings show up on-screen again was just so cool. There was a fun cameo of an Ardennian on the prison ship (and Jon Favreau played the Ardennian Rio in Solo), but I wished there were more interesting people in the cells. Anyway, the cameos really started once the crew got to the control center, because the New Republic soldier there is played by Matt Lanter! That’s right, the guy who voiced Anakin Skywalker in The Clone Wars and Rebels made his live-action Star Wars debut here! Unfortunately he died rather quickly, but the other people making cameos didn’t. Another Star Wars animation veteran, Clancy Brown, makes his live-action debut here as well by playing Burg.
The X-Wing pilots are played by three of the show’s directors so far: Dave Filoni (as Trapper Wolf), Rick Famuyiwa (as Jib Dodger), and Deborah Chow (as Sash Ketter). When Filoni appeared on-screen, I legitimately started clapping (even though I was watching it by myself). It was great! I think I might have a new favorite X-Wing pilot.
I also liked how this episode introduced us to some interesting new characters. Mayfeld in particular was great. And the thing about several of the characters in this episode was that they have a history with the Mando, so they kept alluding to what he was like back in the day. We didn’t know the Mando then so we’re still wondering about many of those details, but it sounds like he just did whatever was needed to get jobs done.
The crew also spends time discussing how Mandalorians are supposed to be the greatest warriors, but this is mocked a bit – until they see the Mando in action. Him taking down the New Republic security droids was a greta sequence, as he put all his tools and tricks to use and took down each of them. But it was also great how he got to show down face-to-face with each of the others. The way the episode was shot, with tension running throughout, felt a bit like a horror film, but maybe the better way for me to describe it is that the Mando felt a bit like Batman, sneaking throughout and taking people down one-by-one. It was awesome.
Regarding the Child, we didn’t really get much of it, which is the second week in a row where that’s the case. But it was still an important figure, because it made the tension much more real. The crew knew the Child was on the ship, and from that point on I was uneasy about their plans with it. When they left the Mando behind, we all knew that if they took off with the ship, they would also have the Child. Think of it this way: if they stole the Razor Crest, that would suck for the Mando, but he could still hunt them down. But if they stole the Razor Crest with the Child in it? The stakes suddenly are much higher. That’s why the Child was still an important part of the episode, because it made the tension much more palpable and real. Plus, I thought it was a humorous moment when the Child attempts to use the Force against Zero, Zero is killed, and the Child looks at its hand like, “did I do that?” before it is revealed that the Mando did. I thought that was pretty funny, and it’s also a surprise; knowing what we do of the Child, I think many probably thought it would indeed stop the droid.
So anyway, I thought this episode was absolutely fantastic, but the last thing I want to mention is that it gives us an interesting look at our main character. These other characters introduced in the episode are the scum and villainy of the galaxy, and they don’t care about taking lives so long as they get the job done. And since they know the Mando, they know that he used to be that way too. But he’s changed. He’s a bit more hesitant to take the job; he doesn’t want people to get killed; etc. But the real reveal comes at the end of the episode, when we see that he didn’t actually kill any of the crew (besides the droid, which makes perfect sense for him) but left them imprisoned. Like I said, he doesn’t want to take lives any longer. He’s not just going to do what he has to. He’s changed.
Of course, this means that those three (Mayfeld, Burg, and Xi’an) are all still alive, so I’d guess we’ll be seeing more of them sometime (probably in season two). That might not be good news for the Mando, but it might allow an avenue to continue to explore his past. Throughout this season it has become more and more clear that, although this guy is a bounty hunter with a questionable past, he’s the good guy of our show. He’s the one we’re rooting for.
My grade: 10/10