The Mandalorian: Season 1, “Chapter 5: The Gunslinger”

Original Air Date: December 6, 2019
Writer: Dave Filoni
Director: Dave Filoni

“Take some advice, kid. You wanna be a bounty hunter? Make the best deal for yourself and survive.”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Chapter 5 opens en medias res as Mando is being chased by another bounty hunter in space who demands that he hand over the child. The bounty hunter says, “I can bring you in warm or I can bring you in cold,” but Mando slams on the brakes and claims that is his line before destroying the enemy ship. However, with a now-damaged starship Mando looks to land on nearby Tatooine at the Mos Eisley spaceport (a nod to A New Hope). He is greeted at bay 3-5 by a mechanic named Peli Motto (played by comedian Amy Sedaris). Mando leaves the Razor Crest in her hands (with Baby Yoda inside) –and he goes in search of work since he has holds 500 Imperial credits which is not enough to cover his repair costs.

While Mando walks around the streets of Mos Eisley, now lined with the severed heads of stormtroopers on pikes, he enters the classic cantina from A New Hope (Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina) where he meets a young bounty hunter hoping to gain entry into the Guild named Toro Calican (Jake Cannavale). Calican is searching for an elite mercenary who has worked for the Hutts named Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Mando reluctantly agrees to help Calican in exchange for money needed to repair his ship –they travel out together over the dunes on speeder bikes. Noting the shabby construction of the bikes, Calican says “What did you expect? This ain’t Corellia” –Corellia is a famous shipbuilding planet in Star Wars lore where The Millennium Falcon and many Imperial ships were constructed.

In another allusion to A New Hope, Mando and Calican cross the endless dune sea to find a band of Tusken Raiders and banthas with whom Mando negotiates to cross their lands, as well as a dead bounty hunter strapped to a dewback. Suddenly they are fired upon by Fennec Shand hiding out in the mountains using an MK-sniper rifle. They wait until nightfall to make a charge upon the rocky cliffside using flare guns to distract her line of vision. When they arrive, Calican and Shand get into a fist fight until Mando arrives and takes Shand hostage. Realizing that one of them will need to walk across the desert, Mando ventures out in search of the dewback they had spotted earlier to serve as transportation.

As they wait for Mando to return and the sun rises, Shand tries to turn Calican against the Mandalorian. She explains to Calican that an unknown Mandalorian recently went rogue from the Guild with a highly valuable “Child” asset (Calican remembers seeing Baby Yoda back at Hangar 3-5). Calican is intrigued so he shockingly shoots Shand in the stomach and leaves her for dead –in this moment Calican is transformed from a novice bounty hunter into a sinister killer. Mando returns to find Shand lying in the sand and he races back to his ship for a shootout with Calican who threatens to steal the Child. Mando uses his same flare technique in order to blind and shoot Calican. He then pays Peli Motto with Calican’s credits and departs from Tatooine with the Child.

This episode ends with a pair of boots and spurs trudging through the sand until they come upon the body of Fennec Shand. Who could this be? We are led to suspect it is none other than Boba Fett. Yet another terrific installment in the series.

The Mandalorian Trivia:

  • This was the first released episode not to have been written by Jon Favreau. It contains numerous allusions to three central movies: The Phantom Menace, A New Hope, and John Wayne’s The Searchers.
  • The droids in the spaceport are an allusion to the worker/repair droids alongside Anakin in The Phantom Menace. Mando’s initial reaction is amusingly to shoot at them.
  • The phrase “out beyond the dune sea” was used in A New Hope to reference Ben Kenobi.
  • The cantina at Mos Eisley is being serviced by an EV series droid of the kind seen in Return of the Jedi. In this episode, the EV-9D9 droid in the cantina was voiced by Mark Hamill.
  • The game being played by Peli Motto and the droids is called Sabacc which has its origins in the original script for The Empire Strikes Back.
  • When Calican is shot Peli Motto suggests throwing the body down in “Beggar’s Canyon” –another reference to A New Hope.
  • The MK-sniper rifle used by Fennec Shand was also used in the prequel films.

Return to my survey of The Mandalorian series

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