The Mandalorian

"Chapter 9: The Marshal"

3.5 stars

Air date: 10/30/2020
Written and directed by Jon Favreau

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

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!

Previous episode: Chapter 8: Redemption
Next episode: Chapter 10: The Passenger

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14 comments on this post

Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 12:23am (UTC -5)
Three mini-reviews now posted.
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 2:03am (UTC -5)
It was a pleasant surprise to see Timothy Olyphant playing Cobb Vanth in this episode after having just seen him play Deafy in Fargo a few days earlier. Went from eating carrots and quoting the bible to looking really silly and undersized in Boba's armor. Then we see Teumera at the end and Boba Fett looks absolutely huge now! I'm really glad they kept the Jango Fett actor from the prequels. While I was a little hesitant at the beginning of this one seeing that they're going back to Tattoine (the most imporant unimportant planet in all of Star Wars) this episode turned into my favorite of the series so far!
Dave in MN
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 3:02am (UTC -5)
I'm happy you're reviewing this show. I agree completely with your rating and review, Jammer.

Other than John Williams's musical scores, I enjoy this progran more than anything else Star Wars related.

The Mandoria is true escapist fare that generates a feeling of instant nostalgia in me (which is ironic because I was never really cared much for the original trilogy when I was younger). It's the same feeling I get watching Indiana Jones or The Goonies or TNG ... that sense of immersive childlike wonderment.

Besides The Orville, I can't think of any other current show that's been able to consistently do that.

Having a showrunner who actually understands and cares (on a personal level) about the franchise seems to be an advantage nowadays. Case in point: Jon Favreau, Seth MacFarlane, even Michelle Paradise over on Discovery (yes, she inherited a mess but I can tell she's trying).
Dave in MN
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Mandoria?! Wtf.

I've spelled out "Mandalorian" at least 100 times by now. You'd think my auto correct would get the hint.
Latex Zebra
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 3:07am (UTC -5)
My Son and I loved this episode. The Tusken raider getting eaten instead of the Bantha bait was hilarious.
Paul M.
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 4:08pm (UTC -5)
A great premiere, and long too! The Mandalorian is usually on the short side as TV series go, with episodes running at only 30+ minutes. This thing however is over 50 minutes long, If I remember correctly, which gives it more room to breathe. Its pace is a bit slower and more deliberate, Pedro gets to speak more than we're accustomed to; at times he's positively chatty as these things go... but, I guess that's what getting a partner does to a guy! And what I say about VFX work? It's breathtaking, leagues ahead of, say, Discovery which somehow can't get rid of that fake quasi-blurry pristine polished look to everything. Not to change topics, but ships on remastered TNG Blu-rays look better than ships on Discovery, which should worry the hell out of Disco's production team!
Fri, Nov 20, 2020, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
If you sit through the end credits it's no surprise the VFX are so good... the team is utterly enormous! And yet it also surpasses Discovery on the music and story levels, which are not just matters of having a huge team. Throwing money at something doesn't hurt, but I suppose talent is important too.
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 10:26am (UTC -5)
One thing I thought about while watching this episode was our own history.. how the Native Americans have their entire culture based around the Buffalos.. everything that they eat, that they make, and even their ways revolve around those beasts. The same goes for the Tuskan raiders.. but their savagery (at least, as it appears) is due to the fact that that the Tuskans get no actual benefit from the Krayte dragon.. all they can do is hope to placate it. When Ben Kenobi used the call in episode 4 to scare them.. we now know why. I love how the Tuskans have become a fully realized culture (even riding single file)

Whereas discovery is using their huge budget to decorate the screen with effects, Favreau is using the money to create seemingly real cultures, and to create things that those cultures would actually USE. Plus, each episode maintains a good sense of humor.. the kind of humor Star Wars does best. things like the funny noises a creature makes
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 4:58pm (UTC -5)
I don't remember hearing the words "This is the way" in this episode!

Another great installment of 'The Mandalorian'!

Mando's solution here was very "trek". He WAS going to get the armor, but chose to help everyone and put his life at risk to get it back instead of killing and taking it... AND, he produced peace between the townspeople and the raiders!

One of my favorite parts of this show is the "Art" they show at the end of each episode as if to capture the events we just saw in a comic book. Just awesome.

I noticed a change in the music theme... I don't like it. Put it back, please.

3.5 star from me.
Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 10:54am (UTC -5)
One question about episode 8: Does anybody think that season 1 while enjoyable ended really badly? I thought episode 8 was by far the weakest. It kind of reminded me of a bad Discovery episode. I was tuning out sometimes.
What I mean:
- Imperium 1 : good guys 157
At the end of the episode only Moff Gideon is left who also gets shoot down. First he comes in killing tons of his own people and then gets everybody else killed. I cannot imagine a more heavy defeat. I could not take the episode serious after this. If you can mow down stormtroopers by the hundreds with ease then there is no threat.

- Robotsacrifice was so eye rolling. OMG there are a dozen stormtroopers ahead. Insurmountable odds!

The humor was the only good thing. Stormtrooper talking and Carl Weathers shouting when Baby Yoda touches him:"He trying to eat me!" I almost fell to the floor from laughing. Though Carl Weather will always be connected to this scene for me.

The episode was made by Taika Waititi (which made the great "what we do in the shadows" movie). He is good at comedy, apparently not at epic/dramatic stuff.

Just looked it up 100% approval rating on rotten?!! WHAT???
Guerres des étoiles
Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
"I could not take the episode serious"

There's your problem right there.
Fri, Dec 11, 2020, 8:38pm (UTC -5)
My friend tells me that this episode's plot is a beat-for-beat recreation of a quest from the Knights Of The Old Republic games. The player character is tasked with driving off Tusken Raiders from harassing a town on Tatooine, and you can do so by killing the raiders but if you talk to them instead you find out they're being driven from their homeland by a giant sand worm. You can end up uniting the two factions to defeat the worm and you even get the big pearl from doing it. Both of those games take place hundreds of years before the original trilogy and apparently deal extensively with Mandalorian lore. They're done by the people who did Mass Effect. I might just have to finally play them for myself.

Between that and the inclusion of that girl from the Clone Wars show it looks like Favreau is getting alot of mileage out of the extended universe that Disney was so eager to throw out as non-canon.
Paul M.
Sat, Dec 12, 2020, 4:07am (UTC -5)

If you're into RPGs, I definitely recommend you play Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2. The first game has a quest you mention, and is a very good CRPG (not surprising coming from BioWare, well, old BioWare). I am partial to the second game, though. It's a phenomenal deconstruction of Star Wars lore and mythos and boasts what I would call one of the best non-player characters in the history of gaming, which is not something I say lightly.
Sun, Jan 3, 2021, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
Paul M, ayup. I just picked up both games for six bucks on Steam, they're going in my backlog. I always shied away from them based on the turn-based combat but at this point I've played enough Dungeons and Dragons that I can enjoy it.

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