The Mandalorian Recap: S01E04, “Mando Nearly Pops His Helmet Cherry”

The latest episode of The Mandalorian opens on a small, quiet village; a place where the cerulean shrimp swim like so many midi-chlorians in the bloodstream of Jake Lloyd, and where the team colors are apparently teal and grey.

But their solitude is soon to come to an end.

Disrupting that peaceful life of crustaceans and local sports support, a band of barbaric, gross raiders suddenly invade the place. They basically look like the soldiers from Willow halfway through turning into pigs. Their apparent boss looks like a Pugman, which is like a Puggle except it’s a pug and a man.

Meanwhile, in the surrounding space of this planet, we return to the series’ real star: Baby Yoda. He’s being an absolute lil’ darlin’, his charming antics earning him a seat on Mando’s lap. It’s cute as shit.

Mando thinks this planet would be a great place to hide out for a while, so they land and head to a local watering hole seemingly made for Wood Elves. And—big news for dad—Baby Yoda is walking by himself now! No more hover-pram for this guy.

It’s around this time that I realize Mando’s gloves make his hand looks exactly like Nicolas Cage’s prosthetic hand in Moonstruck. I only bring it up to mention that Moonstruck is a really good movie. It should be the romantic-comedy standard, and I’d pit it against When Harry Met Sally any day of the week. I’ll fight you on that.

Speaking of, shortly after this, Mando ends up in a fight with fellow mercenary Gina Carano. The two square off in a deadly meet-cute that ends with them both on their backs, guns pointed at each other’s heads as Baby Yoda watches, sipping his broth in an image that immediately became a meme.

But as darling as that meet-cute was, she’s not the one, Mando. That’s still to come.

Later that night, as Mando is preparing to leave the planet in respect of Gina Carano’s absurdly broad claim of the entire place, he’s approached to help that initial town to fight off the raider menace. Thinking at at least no one will find him in their little middle-of-nowhere shit-hole, he takes the job—and enlists Gina Carano to help.

Once they get there, Mando is given, like, whatever the wicker equivalent of a garage is as accommodations. But he’s loving it, because this single dad has just been placed in the care of the village’s most eligible single mom.

Single Mom asks Mando how long it’s been since he took off his helmet, and he says he’s had it on since he was a child, never revealing himself to anyone. We, a smart audience, understand that this is a not-so-subtle metaphor for Mando’s emotional vulnerability. Lift up your helmet and open your heart, dude.

Anyway, Mando and Carano find out that these raider guys actually have an AT-ST—the former Empire’s two-legged All Terrain Scout Transport made specifically for looking awkwardly stupid on any ground.

“Fuck it, easier to find a new home than fight that,” Mando tells the villagers. In a speech that was hopefully meant to be ironic, Carano adds that a group of stick-wielding forest-dwellers could never take down an AT-ST. We’ve all seen Return of the Jedi, alright?

But Mando and Carano have another idea.

The two train the villagers to fight slightly better with their sticks, and to shoot Mando’s arsenal of blasters. Single Mom ends up being really good at shooting, and Mando is so hard he can’t get his Mandalorian codpiece off.

The other part of the plan is to turn the village’s shallow marshes into a proper moat, so that the AT-ST will sink in that. Seems a lot more convoluted and untested than the standard “box their ‘ears’ with swinging logs” Ewok method, but sure.

Thusly, Mando and Carano head off to the bandit camp. There, they could blow everyone up with their bombs, shoot them all dead, or just head over to the parked AT-ST, beat up the guy with the keys, and throw them in their stupid moat.

They do none of that.

Instead, they head to this kind of shed-tent thing where the raiders have this kind of futuristic witch’s brew going. They beat up some guys there, set a bomb, and blow up specifically just that single little hut. But it indeed works in that it brings out the AT-ST.

Soon after, the two return to camp, Empire walker following quickly behind. Going after them, the AT-ST nears the water, literally lifting one of it’s legs toward the moat trap before ever so tentatively pulling back its metal toes; a huffy little boy afraid his bath isn’t quite the right temperature.

Fucking knew they should have gone with the two log plan.

After some battling against the giant walker and its hideous minions, Carano has an idea that honestly isn’t that much of an idea at all: running up closer and shooting it some more. That works somehow, though, and she gets a shot in its ‘eye.’ (That we specifically set up Single Mom as a crack shot is apparently irrelevant.)

That ‘eye’ shot is for some reason enough to make someone drive the thing forward, and it sinks into the moat. For good measure, Mando tosses a grenade into the other ‘eye’ hole, because why not? Screw that thing and all the ugly boys who would pilot it.

The rest of the revolting barbarians flee. The village has won.

The next morning, Baby Yoda is loving all the attention he’s getting as being a pet of the human children, and Mando is still loving the attention he’s getting as the cool hunk of Single Mom. She offers to take his helmet virginity, trying to sensually lift it off his delicate head, but he resists. And good thing, too: there’s some assassin trying to JFK him!

Gina Carano takes care of that assassin, but the disruption makes it clear that Mando and Baby Yoda can’t stay here among the village’s endless shrimp and salad bar. They must move on.

So, our single dad and his charge head off again—Baby Yoda doe-eyed and full of wonder as Mando thinks, “Still, could’ve got bare head, though.”

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