The Mandalorian recap: S01E01, Blaster ‘Em Up

Your surrogate Boba Fett fanboy short is here with the first episode of The Mandalorian, a series that already feels more authentically Star Wars-ian than anything since Return of the Jedi. But let’s not give it a Boba-job just yet.

The series opens a long, long time ago, with a Dog the Bounty Hunter who won’t ever show his face… It’s Pedro Pascal, the latest actor to carry the throwaway character of Boba Fett further into George Lucas’s mythos. He’s the unnamed, ever-helmeted, sparsely speaking lead of the series, and as we meet him in this first episode, the bounty he’s hunting is on some kind of Mer-Man-style idiot.

Boba Pascal enters a bar not unlike the classic Mos Eisley cantina, and its refreshing to see something look so shabby again. Some other dudes are already hassling Mer-Man, and one of them looks like it might be Nick Frost in Fighting with My Family. It isn’t, but it turns out the Mer-Man is Horatio Sanz, so that’s fun.

Not Frost and his crew have a brief altercation with Pedro Fett, he cuts one of them in half with a door iris, and he and Mer-Sanz are off to meet our latest scarcely recognizable comedy ringer: Brian Posehn!

Posehn is their Speeder Lyft to get the two back to the ship, and he does literally nothing but that, which seems like kind of a waste. Mer-Sanz tries to get away—sorta?—but the MandaDorne-ian freezes him in carbonite alongside a bunch of other bounties. Because Mandalorians freezing bounties in carbonite is something we’re already familiar with.

The Mandalorian likewise recycles a bunch of other looks and ideas, from the trash-can-bot, to the dumb robot eye poking out out of a wall, to that little gremlin fucker Jabba had as his secondary sex slave. It’s both pleasingly nostalgic and lazy.

Anyway, it turns out Man Dalorian is making his drop-off to—you guessed it—Carl fuckin’ Weathers. This bounty agent just hoping to drop his newly-acquired carbonite bouillon cubes into some water and get a stew goin’ is pressured into giving THE MANDALORIAN his biggest assignment yet: a scene with Werner Herzog.

Whoever Herzog is meant to be—presumably the same guy from that Tom Cruise movie he was in, from a long, long time ago, etc.—sends Pedrolorian to the Star Wars saga’s latest desert landscape, where the carnivorous, land-bound version of sunfish attack him. He’s saved by a fantastic little Muppet, as voiced by and looking not entirely unlike Nick Nolte by way of Willow, and the two head off to do a short but nonetheless boring training scene about riding those aforementioned dumb animals.

Mandalorian acquired skill: Ride Aforementioned Dumb Animal! So, he and Nolte Muppet ride off to the target in what could scarcely be considered a full scene (did you notice this entire pilot is barely over a half-hour?). There, our video game hero continues toward his mission objective, until—ut oh!—turns out, there’s already a droid on the task. It’s Taika Waititi! And as charming as he is, he’s for some reason nowhere near as distinctive nor memorable as C-3PO nor Solo‘s Fleabag-bot.

Waiti-T1 and our leading man work through the chaff to find that their mission has led them to an uncomfortable target: a Yoda baby. Taikatron is up for killing it, but at the last moment, THE MANDALORIAN steps in, killing the droid and, seemingly, setting up the series as a whole.

It’s pretty much just Shoot ‘Em Up, which was already just Hard Boiled.

See ya next week, when we recap episode two and discover whether The Mandalorian pivots into a Three Men and a Baby scenario!

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