Din Djarin returns to Tatooine (it's always helpful to revisit the most famous planet in Star Wars lore) after receiving a tip indicating there's a Mandalorian roaming the sand dunes. What he finds isn't a Mandalorian, but local marshal Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant) wearing a Mandalorian's armor — specifically the armor that clearly previously belonged to Boba Fett. Vanth has been using this armor for years to defend the town, and he doesn't want to give it up.
The Mandalorian is a space western, and "The Marshal" might be the most space western-y episode of this series yet, with Olyphant (who seems okay with being typecast as laconic lawmen) doing his Olyphant thing. After a long gunslinger's stare across the room, the two men come to an agreement: If Mando will help Vanth kill the dreaded Krayt dragon that's terrorizing and eating the town, he'll give up the Mandalorian armor willingly. But the two need reinforcements, so they must get the townspeople and the Tusken Raiders to agree to work together even though they are typically bitter enemies.
This is a straightforward, archetypal western tale that's told with simple strokes and great clarity. With Olyphant there to offer his mix of dry humor and confident machismo, it's hugely entertaining. Pedro Pascal, under his helmet, deadpans through these proceedings as he frequently does, but I enjoyed watching Mando broker peace between the townspeople and the sand people.
Meanwhile, this series continues to show how it's possibly the best-looking and most convincing FX-driven show on TV, with a cinematic scale that dwarfs possibly anything accomplished in its first season. The Krayt dragon — and, my, it's big — is a creature of absurd Star Wars-ian scale, well realized with visual effects. It eats bantha bait whole. This climaxes in an extended battle sequence where everyone works together (some of them, alas, as cannon fodder) to figure out how to take this mammoth beast down. For a time, things don't look good. When Mando eventually uses his armor and ingenuity to blow it up from the inside, everyone then harvests Krayt dragon meat — lots and lots of it.
As a story, this is a timeless parable (perhaps worth revisiting in our deeply divided and troubled times) — live and work together, or else die.
Also — Boba Fett lives!
Next episode: Chapter 10: The Passenger
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