The Mandalorian S01E06 Review: The Prisoner – The Expendable(s)

We’re continuing our episode-by-episode review of Disney+’s flagship show, The Mandalorian. It’s the first live-action Star Wars show ever produced and Lucasfilm has spared no expense with it, giving it a feature film-worthy budget, top creative people overseeing it, and an all-star cast. You can check out previous reviews here…

The Mandalorian S01E01 Review: Episode 1 – Disney spared no expense and it shows

9/10 – The Mandalorian starts strong with a visually-entrancing debut outing. The series is confident, highly produced, with a great lead and a great premise…and there’s even room for improvement.

The Mandalorian S01E02 Review: The Child – Flashy, fun and little else

8/10 – The Mandalorian continues to be gorgeous to behold. After eighty-minutes of the story, however, I’m ready for things to start happening.

The Mandalorian S01E03 Review: The Sin – Act one ends with a bang

9/10 – The third episode of The Mandalorian is a lot of fun in a short amount of time and, if nothing else, finally launches out into the expanded Star Wars universe and to all the fun that’s sure to be found therein.

The Mandalorian S01E04 Review: Sanctuary – Nothing memorable or consequential…

7/10 – Not a bad episode, but nothing memorable or consequential either, and for a show with only eight (weekly-released) outings, that’s a bit of a disappointment.

The Mandalorian S01E05 Review: The Gunslinger – High quality fan fiction

7/10 – In a vacuum, this is a mostly-fun little short-story sort of episode. There is no vacuum, however; The Mandalorian is an eight-episode special event that feels far too run of the mill in its scripts lately to live up to its potential…or its hype.

After episode five ended, I said this…

At its worst, it’s derivative, shallow, and has some horrible acting from its two guest stars. At its best, it’s filled with all the creative uses of the universe that good Star Wars fan-productions have, except with a budget infinitely better.

This week is basically the same except most of it is a half-notch better. That’s a half (1/2; 0.5%) notch. It’s not a big step up but it’s something I suppose. All the problems that existed last week, and the week before, are here once again. Namely, (1) it’s completely expendable as a plot, even more so than last week, (2) it has horrible acting, though not as bad as last week, and (3) it feels like a Clone Wars throw away episode which, as I’ve said three weeks in a row, is fine when you have twenty-two shows a year, but here there’s only eight: Quality over quantity demands quality.

And while I enjoyed several little moments in isolation (namely everything with Baby Yoda, and the Mando taking out the turncoats one by one like some combination of Jason Voorhees and Batman) the overall episode was wholly pointless.

The title of the episode is The Prisoner, named for the target Mando and his posse of ruffians have to break out of a New Republic Prison Ship. As you might guess, things take a turn for the treacherous and our anti-hero is forced to go solo to save his skin and get back to Baby Yoda before his galactic-value is discovered and exploited. It all sounds very exciting on paper but for the most part, it was just okay. A better title would have been The Expendable because that’s exactly what the plot is to the season’s storyline!

Maybe I just need to rethink the way I perceive the show. I went into it with the idea that it would be an eight-part story, frustratingly parceled out in weekly installments. Maybe I should stop waiting for it to find its overarching plot and just enjoy the little half-hour slices of Bounty Hunter life that it provides. If you had shown me any of the past three episodes without any context other than to say “here, Disney released this Star Wars short film” I would have scooped it up and loved it, no reservations.

And now that I’ve finally come to terms with the show, I’m sure the final two episodes will return to the arc of the season.

Stray Thoughts:

  1. Why does Mando keep doing these reckless things with the baby on board! At least put a lock on Baby Yoda’s little cubby!
  2. I wonder how much of this week’s budget was spent on that one explosion scene when the two droids collided.
  3. Two episodes in a row of amateur-hour directing is frustrating, but I expect a step-up in quality with the last two directors of the season.
  4. Mando used fire on Devil Face. It wasn’t very effective.
  5. At this point, they’re just editing these baby Yoda scenes to achieve maximum .gifiness and I am just fine with that.

8/10 – A slight step-up from the past two episodes but the show has stalled.  Hopefully it finds its footing for the final pair of shows, the next of which comes with The Rise of Skywalker hot on its tail.

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