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.

As far as I’m concerned, Rick Famuyiwa is the key director of The Mandalorian‘s first season. That is not to denigrate the stellar work by Deborah Chow, Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi and Bryce Dallas H oward, but Famuyiwa’s work on The Child and The Prisoner is next-level stuff. Both tell smaller-scale stories showing what this type of action show can do when unburdened from big plot developments each episode. As with Sanctuary and The Gunslinger, this episode lifts a classic Western premise and gives it a Star Wars facelift.

Din Djarin is hired by an old friend, Ranzar (Mark Boone, Jr.) to assist with a prison breakout. A criminal named Qin (Ismael Cruz Córdova) is being held on a New Republic prison ship. Djarin is joined by Mayfeld (Bill Burr), an ex-Imperial sharpshooter, and fellow criminals Xi’an (Natalia Tena) and Burg (Clancy Brown). Qin is Xi’an’s brother, and both of them have some history with Din from his darker days. The job takes a turn for the worst when Xi’an and Burg are particularly violent toward the New Republic prison guard … and then they betray Din, attempting to leave him on the ship while they abscond with the Razor Crest.

It’s a fun premise, and that’s before Famuyiwa embraces Din’s breakout, where he becomes an almost slasher-like figure taking out the convicts one by one in creative ways. The whole sequence is great and makes clever use of the fairly sterile “ship corridor” sets that are all over this franchise. I read complaints at the time about the reveal that Din doesn’t actually kill Xi’an, Burg or Mayfeld, but I like the fact that a few episodes into the series, he’s already becoming less willing to end lives. The implication at the beginning is that he has no compunction, but now that he’s a father he’s growing somewhat softer. Somewhat.

This is another episode I had not revisited in a few years, and I’m happy to say it grew in my estimation this time around. I really like the inclusion of Twi’leks and Devaronians, and think they look pretty great here. Xi’an should make a return in the third season, honestly. It’s nice to see Mando collect a series of small-time enemies with grudges even though he’s become preoccupied with bigger-picture problems.

Consumer Report

Two big pickups this week, both pre-orders from September 2021, both from GameStop. My Clone Rocket Trooper arrived, an excellent edition to my 501st army and one of the prettiest figures I’ve bought in some time. Along with him came my Republic Commando Gaming Greats figure. While not totally accurate to his body shape from the games, it’s still nice to have such an iconic gaming figure in my collection. It makes me wish I had time to replay it, but with so many movies to watch, when could I possibly do that?

Shopping List

This episode has a wealth of characters not yet released in my preferred scale. I’d love to collect the entire mercenary crew. Mayfeld has a figure from his second-season appearance already, but that’s just his head placed on the body of an Imperial Tank Driver. I want his weird gun rig. I’d love Xi’an and Qin. We don’t have enough Twi’leks. Zero already got a (fantastic) 6” scale release, but we’ve never had a Devaronian, so add Burg to my wishlist. I wouldn’t say no to a New Republic Prison Guard, who would be a simple re-paint and re-release of the Rebellion Soldier ( … of which I already have five). I wouldn’t even say no to a Ranzar.

What I would like the most, though, is a more affordable release of New Republic Pilot Trapper Wolf, as well as his two pilot companions, Jib Dodger (played by Famuyiwa) and Sash Ketter (played by Chow). A whole set of all the Mandalorian directors cosplaying as pilots would be lovely. Say, why hasn’t Howard had her turn in the cockpit of an X-wing yet?