Was this the best episode yet?
The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 4 picks up exactly where The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 3 leaves off, with our favorite Mandolorian -- Mando -- flying through space with the cutest Jedi baby ever in the world, er, galaxy. Koochie koochie koo, da poochie poochie poochie, Jedi baby!
Sorry, it's just too difficult not to erupt in baby gibberish when that a-dork-able CGI/puppet graces the screen.
But first: that cold open was frightening. A beautiful village by the name of Sorgan got attacked and pillaged by scaley-skinned warrior creatures who stole the harvests and didn't mind-destroying any beings that got in their way.
An AT-ST Imperial Walker accompanies them, which means, these raiders gon' get what they came for!
Omera, played by Julia Jones (Goliath, Twilight Saga), is a village beauty who saved her young daughter, Winta, by hiding in a nearby swamp until the battle was over. Funny, I don't think anyone mentions anyone's names -- except Winta -- in this episode, so one wouldn't figure out what to call them without doing some research.
But Star Wars fans are nothing if not avid researches of random little galactical facts.
Hey, though, did anyone notice how much this village looks like an Earthly one? It's green, the inhabitants seem human, and best of all, there are froggies jumping around and colorful fish in the waters.
Back in space, Jedi baby -- do we call him JB for short, as he has yet to be named (if it's even a "he"), and George Lucas never identified the species of the globally-loved Yoda and the not-as-well-known Yaddle? -- was having a blast playing with the buttons in the cockpit of the Mandolorian ship, much to Mando's chagrin.
[Jedi baby pushes buttons in cockpit]
Mando: Stop touching things.
[Jedi baby coyly pushes one more button]
[Sound effects: rattle jang boom]
See, even a fierce bounty hunter can't get angry at such a boochie-boochie-goo-goo. How do we go from such a brutal village attack to a cutesy kid-friendly scene like that one? Oh yeah, this is Star Wars! Anything can happen.
It turns out, Mando was trying to find a place to hide out and protect the kid.
Mando: Let's see ... Sorgan: looks like there's no starport, no industrial centers, no population density -- real backwater skuggle-home. Which means it's perfect for us. Ready to lay low and stretch your legs for a couple months, you little womp rat? Nobody's gonna find us here.
And they were off to Sorgan.
Is this series starting to seem sort of classic Star-Trekkie at this point in the game, or is it just me? But it's like a good version of a Star Trek show. The different lands, planets, missions -- they invite adventure. The visual quality is so cinematic, though, that it surpasses that of most television shows -- streaming or network -- airing currently.
Fans awaiting the appearance of athlete-turned-actor Gina Carano (Deadpool) can rest assured; that character introduction was worth the wait.
Mando: That one over there. When did she arrive?
Waitress: Uh, I've seen her here for the last week or so.
Mando: What's her business here?
Waitress: Business? There's not that much business in Sorgan. So I can't say she ... doesn't strike me as a logrunner.
Carano plays ex-Imperial shock trooper Cara Dune, a bad-ass warrior who shares soup with the two other visitors while quickly expositing her history.
Cara Dune: Then when the Imps were gone, the politics started. We were peacekeepers protecting delegates, suppressing riots -- not what I signed up for.
Mando: How'd you end up here?
Cara: Let's just call it an early retirement.
In a comical exchange, Cara cut the convo short by informing Mando there's only room on the planet for one of them.
Cara Dune: This has been a real treat. But unless you want another round, one of us is gonna' have to move on, and I was here first
Mando: Well, looks like this planet's taken.
Mando agreed to leave, but -- just before he took off with JB -- he got begged by desperate villagers to take on a vital mission: help the citizens defend against the raiders.
The villagers didn't have enough cash to hire Mando -- who assured them that he's no mercenary -- but when they agreed to house the threesome, a deal got made.
Mando was welcomed by Omera and daughter, Winta. The youth immediately took to JB and took him outside to play with the other kids. Omera is a strong yet collected woman who -- we find out later -- knows how to shoot with the best of them.
Omera and Mando began to bond. He explained why he hasn't shown his face to anyone since he was a child and that the Mandalorians took him in when his parents got killed. For that, he is grateful.
Omera: How long has it been since you've taken that off [referring to the mask]?
Omera: I mean, in front of someone else.
Mando: I wasn't much older than they are [indicating the small children].
Omera: You haven't shown your face to anyone since you were a kid?
Mando: No. I was happy that they took me in. My parents were killed and the Mandalorians took care of me.
Omera: I'm sorry
Mando: This is the way.
So once Mando and Cara returned from exploring the raider camp, they laid into the villagers for not admitting ahead of time that an AT-ST Imperial Walker was employed by the raiders to attack.
Oh, they were pissed.
The villagers refuse to leave though -- as advised by their newfound heroes. So there was a montage of Mando and Cara training them to fight. Kinda' cheesy, right? But at least it didn't go too long. After all, the show is only about 30 minutes plus change. There's not enough time to add many annoying, lengthy montages; phew!
So yadda yadda yadda and blah blah blah, the villagers could finally fight, and an underground trap was built.
The plot isn't unpredictable in the least, but that doesn't keep The Mandalorian from being a fun romp in the forrest. The characters and their relationships keep us focused. Oh, and creatures (oh man, I dig cool creatures -- especially Star Wars ones!).
Remember when I said this show was feeling a little bit classic Trekkie? Well, now I'm throwing in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess comparisons, too.
Because -- now that I've been reviewing this episode -- it occurs to me that the feel-good adventures and bizarro creature types prevalent in The Mandalorian bring back fond, nostalgic memories of those other classic fantasy shows.
So, the plan was for our unlikely heroes to attack the raiders' camp and bait the villains into chasing them back to the village.
The villagers would fire and shoot to kill while the AT-ST would be led to fall into the underground trap -- since we're informed nothing from the world can destroy that thing's legs!
Of course, the plan couldn't work straight away because that would make for some terrible television.
That damned Walker could sense the damned trap! Technology from "long ago in a galaxy far, far away" sure can be smarter than an iPhone, eh?
Cara did her part by getting down into the trap itself to launch a closer attack on the Walker, and eventually, the plan was successfully realized -- with the help of the armed villagers and some explosives administered by Mando.
Happy ending, huzzah! But Mando thought it wasn't safe for him to stay there, as the battle would likely have drawn attention throughout the galaxy.
But JB was so happy in Sorgan with the other kids that Mando decided he would leave him there -- in the care of Omera and Cara.
Mando: I did my job, he's safe. Better chance at a life
Cara: It's gonna break his little heart.
Mando: He'll get over it. We all do.
Leaving JB is going to be very sad for Mando, who clearly has bonded with the cute little thang.
While Mando and Omera were exchanging their intimate goodbyes, Omera attempted to convince Mando to stay. She actually almost removed his darned helmet (I know!).
Omera: We want you to stay. The community's grateful. You can pack all this away in case there's ever trouble. You and your boy can have a good life. He could be a child for a while. Wouldn't that be nice?
Mando: I would. I don't belong here. But he does.
Omera: I understand. I will look after him as one of my own.
But before that could happen, the conversation got interrupted by a loud gunshot. Cara shot dead another murderous, reptilian visitor who had his weapon aimed at JB. I totally thought that dude fired his weapon. What a relief Cara beat him to it!
Discovering a tracking device, Mando realized that JB isn't safe here on Sorgan either, as the scary folks he stole JB from clearly know the kid's whereabouts, now.
The happy ending turned not-so-happy when the odd couple had to leave their new friends behind and re-embark on their travels together. But at least Mando and JB are still together. Awwwwwww, da bootchie bootchie!
The ending credits of The Mandalorian are always cool, presented before conceptual artwork for each episode. It's fascinating to see how closely realized the finished product is to these original designs.
Actor Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World, Black Mirror) makes her episodic television directorial debut with "Sanctuary."
She keeps the pacing alacritous while providing our favorite new TV characters -- and us -- continuing thrills and adventures.
I'm hoping the series doesn't grow to ignore the relationships it has built between the leads and the folks they've encountered in these recently explored worlds. Online research shows that we will see Cara again in future episodes; it will be exciting to see how she returns to the fold.
So, what did you think of this one?
And, yes, we're going to try our hardest to get you full reviews of each episode going forward, so please join in the conversation!
Let's get started!
Kerr Lordygan is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.