Review: The Mandalorian Chapter 4

Chapter 4 falls flat trying to give the Mandalorian a glimpse at normal life
Rating: 4/10

In my review of Chapter 3, I left off feeling excited to see what kind of challenges the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) would face now that he has defected from the bounty hunter guild. This episode had so much potential, and it truly let me down.

Chapter 4, entitled “Sanctuary,” has a simple purpose: give the Mandalorian a taste of what a normal, peaceful life could look like. This plot point logically follows the events of Chapter 3 — by breaking guild rules and retrieving Baby Yoda, he must find a new path of life while taking care of the mysterious child.

The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda land on a forest planet called Sorgan hoping, in search of a haven. Here they meet Cara Dune (Gina Carano), a former Rebel “shocktrooper” who has already staked out the planet as her hide-out. After brawling to a stalemate, the Mandalorian and Dune develop a level of mutual respect, and he soon enlists her help when asked by the villagers to protect their home.

Brawling to a stalemate

As it turns out, that protection involves battling an AT-ST walker, an Imperial vestige that will remind viewers of the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi (1983). While this reference effectively invokes fans’ nostalgia, it also makes the plot harder to believe: if Ewoks were taking out these AT-ST walkers by the handful, I can’t see how two elite fighters, given preparation, would struggle to take down a single unit.

As the Mandalorian spends time at the village, mostly interacting with their pretty host Omera (Julia Jones) and watching the children play with baby Yoda, he catches a glimpse of “peace.” It’s too bad that the writers didn’t write in more interactions between our protagonist and the villagers. Maybe he could have watched them harvest their krill, or maybe he could have developed a bond with Omera’s daughter Winta.

Peace looks like playing children

Instead, this sequence revolves around the villagers’ conflict with Klatooinians, and Mando is forced to train the villagers to wield spears and shoot blasters in a manner reminiscent of Mulan (1998). They predictably win the battle, and the villagers suffer no casualties. The completeness of the victory makes the conflict feel contrived: without seeing any consequences, we’re left wondering whether there was any point to including the conflict in the first place.

The Mandalorian then foolishly plans to leave Baby Yoda at the village, knowing his only protection would be some krill-farmers who can barely wield a spear. The previous episodes made such a big deal over the number of bounty hunters who had been tasked with hunting down Baby Yoda, yet Mando has seemingly forgotten about them. Reality soon slaps him awake when a hunter nearly guns down Baby Yoda. Only then does he realize that he must bring the child with him, and we’re left questioning his instincts.

Baby Yoda will never be safe

Holistically speaking, this episode aimed to test the Mandalorian’s commitment to the Way, and the showrunners missed a chance to thoroughly develop that conflict. If they omitted the Klatooinian/AT-ST conflict, they could have shown more of the villagers’ culture and lifestyle — eliciting more audience sympathy for these characters and enhancing the impact of the Mandalorian’s time with them. Instead, we are abruptly thrown in, abruptly pulled out, and the Mandalorian character seems to be right back where he started at the beginning of the episode. Only one change has transpired by the time the credits roll: I have lost 35 minutes of my time.

I hope Chapter 5 brings with it some meaningful developments.