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How can you possibly follow up all of the high-flying action that Chapter 3 of The Mandalorian gave us? With critical character details, of course, which emerged in Chapter 4 on Disney+ this morning. This is the way.
Written by Jon Favreau and directed by Bryce Dallas Howard, this latest round of Mando mayhem continued the winning streak of this first live-action Star Wars series. What did the Mando do after ... all of that? Did he finally meet former rebel shocktrooper Cara Dune (Gina Carano)? Did Baby Yoda continue to be the cutest thing since, well, nothing? Nothing is as cute as Baby Yoda. We said it and we stand by it.
Ready that jetpack and secure that beskar armor, because it's time to rocket our way into a breakdown of Chapter 4.
**SPOILER WARNING: From this point forward, there will be spoilers for Chapter 4 (and Chapters 1, 2, and 3) of The Mandalorian. If you are not caught up and do not wish to be spoiled, then consider the spoiler klaxon sounded ... fly away, fly away now!**
To catch up with the previous three episodes (and hear a special bonus interview with the Armorer herself, Emily Swallow), then SYFY WIRE's new Star Wars podcast, Jabba the Pod, will catch you up on all of that and more. It is embedded at the bottom of this post and is so very much wanting to make your aural acquaintance.
WELCOME TO SORGAN
After a gorgeous underwater shot, we find ourselves in a village of humble-looking farmers. They are going after jumpy blue fish and some frogs with the help of a fishing droid. Soon enough, a band of Klatoonian raiders (a species seen in Jabba's retinue) attack. A widow, Omera (Julia Jones), and her daughter Winta (Isla Farris) hide under a basket, and we hear some very familiar "walking" sounds. With that, we cut to the title — "Sanctuary."
Then we're back with Mando and Yoda Baby in the cockpit of the Razor Crest, and Yoda Baby can't stop pressing buttons. Mando needs to find them a place to lay low, and the planet Sorgan seems to fit the bill. He flies there with Yoda Baby on his lap (awwww) and calls him a little "womp rat." You love him more than life itself, so don't even play, Mando.
Wouldn't you know it, Sorgan is the same planet we saw in the opening! The farmers who were attacked see the Razor Crest fly over, and Mando lands on the outskirts of a very small settlement. Though he says to Yoda Baby, “Don’t touch anything, I’ll find us some lodging and I’ll come back for you. You stay right here, you stay, don’t move, you understand? Great," the minute he opens the door to leave, Yoda Baby is right next to him. What a scamp!
“Oh what the hell, come on," Mando says, and they both walk off into the settlement.
The little settlement features a Twi'lek woman, some space noodles, and for the first time ever in live action, a Loth-cat. We saw them frequently in Star Wars Rebels, but never like this. Even Yoda Baby is impressed, until it snarls at him. This is when we finally — finally — get our first glimpse of Cara Dune.
Mando orders some bone broth for Yoda Baby, and asks the woman in charge about Cara ... who has now walked off. He asks the woman to look after Yoda Baby and goes outside to track Cara using infrared, but Cara gets the drop on him. They kick each other around in the dirt until they're pointing blasters at each other's head. Standoff! “You want some soup?” Mando asks, and they're back inside.
“Some of us were actually mopping up after Endor …” Cara says, showing no great love for the New Republic or the Alliance. She talks about dealing with the remaining Imperial warlords, but then adds, "... when the imps were gone the politics started. We were peacekeepers, protecting delegates, suppressing riots, not what I signed up for.”
She suggests that she is now taking "early retirement." She doesn't care what Mando is there for (she only attacked because she thought he had a fob on her), and she makes it clear that she wants Mando gone. “Looks like this planet’s taken,” Mando says to Yoda Baby.
That night, two farmers from the attacked village approach the Razor Crest — Caben (Asif Ali) and Stoke (Eugene Cordero). They ask Mando for help, and though he initially turns them down, he realizes that they live far off and have lodging. Mando changes his tune right quick, grabs some credits from them, and enlists Cara Dune to join them, saying, "Ready for round two?”
THE KIDS LOVE THIS ONE
Mando, Cara, and child arrive in the village and meet Omera and Winta. “This nice man is going to help protect us from the bad ones," Omera says. Winta and the rest of the children in the village are highly enamored of Yoda Baby, and are probably wondering when the merch is going to come out. Soon enough, kids.
Omera brings Mando some food and then offers to leave him alone so he can eat it without his helmet. She asks how long it's been since he's had it off, and he tells her, “Yesterday.” In front of others, though? He points to some village kids and says, “I wasn’t much older than they are.” He adds, “I was happy that they took me in. My parents were killed and the Mandalorians took care of me.” Though Omera says she's sorry, all Mando says is "This is the way."
Once Omera is gone, he actually does take off the helmet so he can eat his odd little meal. We don't see his face, of course ... but he does take it off for the first time (that we've seen) in the series.
Mando and Cara are then on the hunt for the raiders, and they come across a giant footprint in the forest. Cara immediately recognizes it as the print of an Imperial AT-ST Walker that the raiders must have found and retrofitted.
Back at the village, Mando shows his awful bedside manner when he tells everyone they have to leave. Cara explains it a little better, but the farmers aren't budging. Cara says they aren't fighters, but then Mando says that they can learn. "You cannot fight that thing," she says, to which Mando reponds, “Unless we show them how.”
THE FULL KUROSAWA
This is when the episode fully becomes a film by Akira Kurosawa, which everything has pretty much been building to. Mando and Cara are going to concoct a trap with the farmers and teach them how to fight, and it's all highly reminiscent of the Kurosawa classic Seven Samurai. This isn't the first time Star Wars has done such an homage, either – the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 2 episode "Bounty Hunters" has a very similar story, and that episode even begins with a dedication to Kurosawa.
They start building traps, and also training with pointed sticks and an array of blasters that the Mando brought with him. It turns out that Omera is a really good shot, using the Relby-v10 mortar gun (Bossk's weapon of choice) to great effect against some pots and pans. Mando and Cara's job is to stalk into the raider camp at night, piss them off, get the walker to chase them, and have it fall into the trap. Mando and Cara are already working together fantastically.
They find the raider camp, and Mando places a thermal detonator on the wall. Raiders enter, they get their butts kicked, and soon the thermal goes off as Mando and Cara leap to safety. They are back in the woods, and then we see two giant red eyes appear in the darkness. It's the walker ... we would remember the particular sounds it makes anywhere. The walker chases them through the night, blasting everything in sight, and soon we're back in the village where the farmers are ready with their sticks and guns.
(It bears mentioning that Yoda Baby is safely in the care of the village children, who are hiding out somewhere safe. It looked safe. Hopefully it was safe.)
The walker comes out of the forest but stops just short of the trap. Raiders come running in, and Mando starts disintegrating them with his Amban rifle. They have to get the walker into the trap, so Cara has an idea. She borrows the Mando's rifle and charges the walker, shooting at it and saying, "Come to momma." After shooting it right in the eye, the hulking thing does walk into the trap and falls over. Mando tosses another thermal into its eye, and the walker goes boom.
The raiders flee, the farmers celebrate, and Mando asks if that was the plan. Cara says, “Something like that.”
IT'S A BOY!
As Yoda Baby puts a frog in his mouth and then spits it out as the village children laugh, Omera finally reveals to us all that Yoda Baby is, in fact, a "he." (Yoda Baby was also called a "him" earlier by Dr. Pershing, but that could have been a case of assuming too early. After spending more time with Yoda Baby, it's now more likely that they would know for sure.) She tries to get Mando to take his helmet off again, and he says that once you do that in front of someone, you can never put it back on again. This definitely must have been something that Mandos took to doing after the Great Purge, because we've seen Mandos take their helmets off in public plenty of times ... just not in this time period.
Cara encourages Mando to settle down here with Omera and drink Spotchka, but Mando says he's gonna move on. He also says he's gonna leave Yoda Baby there, because he's safe, and he's done his job. Cara speaks for all of us when she says, “It’s gonna break his little heart.” Mando's response is “He’ll get over it. We all do.” NO, Mando, we, the audience, will not get over it.
That's when we see an unidentified bounty hunter in the woods, with a tracking fob fully active, closing in. Mando is having a final word with Omera, talking to her about them taking in Yoda Baby. We see the gunsights of the unnamed bounty hunter zoom in on Mando, but then the sight travels over to Yoda Baby. A shot rings out, and we think all hope is lost.
Not really, because the shot came from Cara, who just wasted that bounty hunter with a shot to his back. We officially love Cara Dune more than we love air. It's clear that the hunters aren't going to stop coming, so Mando and Yoda Baby have to shake some dust.
Mando packs up, but sadly Cara isn't going with him. “Well, then, until our paths cross," she says, and we're all cursing because when is this guy gonna put a team together? Mando and Yoda Baby, never to be parted, jump on another astromech-driven speeder, and they drive out of the village. Yoda Baby looks like he's holding court on a parade float.
SO ... WHAT NOW, MANDO?
Any hope of lying low and just "riding this thing out" is now gone. For one thing, the guild isn't going to stop coming. The Client wants his Yoda Baby, and Greef Carga probably has everyone he can possibly find out hunting. Also not helping things is the fact that, despite some huge issues with intimacy (and armor/helmet removal), the Mando can't stop helping people. He's an honorable man (if you have the cash), and it's gonna get him into even bigger trouble someday.
Thank the Force, though ... Yoda Baby was not left in that village. Also, the sooner we see Cara come back into Mando's life, the better. Gina Carano was a fantastic addition to the show and we're greedy, so bring her back immediately if you please.
The Mandalorian will return next week for Chapter 5, only on Disney+. For more on The Mandalorian, Star Wars: Episode VIII —The Rise of Skywalker, Baby Yoda, and everything and anything else having to do with the galaxy far, far away, be sure to listen and subscribe to Jabba the Pod, SYFY WIRE's sound-a-rific home for everything Star Wars. Until next time ... we have spoken.