Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products. Amid a brief absence of new content, Evan is creating throwback recaps for each episode in the first season of The Mandalorian for his latest installments.
The Child is my favorite episode of The Mandalorian and close to my favorite Star Wars product of the Disney Eera, which is saying a lot because I genuinely like most of the Star Wars stuff from this era; even the stuff that didn’t initially work for me, like Solo, grew on me over time. But this episode, though, I have loved from my first viewing and have only grown to appreciate more over the last couple of years. It’s a shorter episode than most, laser-focused on an action plotline that integrates fan service and character building in such an organic fashion that it really puts most IP-driven storytelling to shame. I think about it all the time.
The setup: After locating the title character (whom we’ll come to know as Grogu), Mando returns to his ship, the Razor Crest, only to discover a group of Jawas has stripped it for parts. He needs his parts back, and bargaining isn’t on his mind.
But first, we open with a brief canyon fight when a group of Trandoshan bounty hunters attempts to steal the Child, which expands on the last episode’s reveal that Mando isn’t the only one sent on this job by the Client (Werner Herzog) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). It’s a decent fight, establishing ongoing plot details and gets us in the mood for what comes next … which is sniping some Jawas.
Mando’s Amban sniper rifle is, like so much of this show, based on earlier concept art and forgotten Legends material. In this case, the Amban is reminiscent of Boba Fett’s weapon in his initial Star Wars Holiday Special appearance. We saw it used as a melee weapon in the pilot episode, and here we get to see him use it as an actual rifle. It’s basically an elephant gun. Each shot is manually loaded and seems to disintegrate whatever it hits. This is what Vader was presumably referencing when he told Boba Fett “no disintegrations” in Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back, but there are no such constraints here. Mando straight up destroys several Jawas in a wonderful display of PG-13 slapstick violence, with Grogu watching in what seems to be excitement. It’s a wonderful scene, made better by the subsequent chase.
We first saw a Sandcrawler in Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, and it remains one of the iconic Star Wars vehicles. Concocting a Mad Max-style sequence where Mando must pursue and climb a moving Sandcrawler is a stroke of pure action genius, and it never gets old to me. It has a kinetic quality that feels so fundamentally Star Wars. George Lucas loves chase sequences (and put them in each of his movies), but this one outshines his later prequel work. It’s just so damn cool and so coherently choreographed, with a great little punch of an ending that doesn’t feel like a cheat. The bonus of Grogu following in his pram adds some cute comedy. It’s just a standout scene. I watch it frequently.
That’s not the end of the episode, though! After being beaten by the Jawas, Mando is forced to do a job for them to get his parts back. This involves retrieving a Mudhorn egg for them, which leads him to the show’s second big-monster fight — one Mando almost loses. It costs him his armor. I love the mud-covered Mando fight so much that I spent $40 on a Black Series 6” figure of him covered in mud. What is wrong with me?
With Grogu’s help, Mando defeats the Mudhorn and brings the egg to the Jawas, who promptly break it open and devour the gooey innards. It can be inferred that the Mudhorn that Mando killed was a mother protecting its nest, which feels pretty bleak and sad. There’s quite a lot of that grittiness to The Mandalorian. The first episode had the roasting monkey (a la Salacious B. Crumb) with its counterpart caged and screaming. Next season would see Grogu eating the “Frog Lady’s” eggs. It’s a strange, dangerous universe on the Outer Rim.
My Black Series Elite Rey Skywalker Force FX lightsaber arrived this week. It’s my first Force FX Elite series, and it blows the Legacy sabers from Galaxy’s Edge out of the water. I’ll still collect those when possible because of the price (I don’t need to buy a blade with each of them) but damn, this may be the nicest single replica I own. The metal handle has real weight to it, and the cloth wrappings feel like they’ll last. More importantly, it actually behaves like the saber does in the movie. It only appears at the very end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but its unique qualities are rather clearly shown off. Rather than a traditional switch, it operates with a spinning gear at the top of the handle. When activated, the blade flashes blue and green before igniting a yellow-gold color. These features are just so damn neat. I’ve spent far too much time flipping it on and off.
I also pre-ordered the upcoming Jedha Patrol Trooper figure from Amazon. I hope to find it in person but won’t get my hopes up.
In a late-night fit of boredom and anxiety, I ordered the Black Series Darth Maul: Sith Apprentice figure. He’s a slight redesign of the exiting Maul figure, which I also own, but his bare chest means more flexible arms. He was a little pricier than normal, but it was worth it.
This is a fairly well-documented episode in terms of plastic recreations. I mentioned before that I purchased the recently released Muddy Mando. I already own an Offworld Jawa, too, which I bought a few years ago just to re-create the sniping sequence. The only figure I dream of Hasbro producing from this episode is a Mudhorn, but that feels like a pipe dream.