The Mandalorian: Season 1, “Chapter 6: The Prisoner”

Original Air Date: December 13, 2019
Writer: Christopher Yost
Director: Rick Famuyiwa

“No questions asked. That’s the policy, right?”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was surprised to learn that Chapter 6 is not a fan favorite episode but I still found this to be an intense and engaging episode –memorable to say the least. It plays out like a classic heist story gone wrong. While on the run, the Razor Crest lands at a remote space station where we encounter a host of scummy characters from Mando’s past: a band of mercenaries and bounty hunters. The leader of the mercenary group is Ranzar “Ran” Malk (played by Mark Boone Jr. famously featured in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy), there is also a former Imperial sharpshooter turned mercenary-for-hire, Migs Mayfeld (played by comedian Bill Burr), a Twi’lek and former love interest of Mando named Xi’an (Natalia Tena), a physically strong Davaronian with devil-shaped horns referred to as “the muscle” named Burg (Clancy Brown), and a bug-eyed pilot droid named Q9-0 or simply “Zero” (Richard Ayoade). The reason Mando arrives is because he’s in need of money so he joins this band of ruffians as they attempt an illegal prison break of an unknown figure from a New Republic “Correctional Transport” entitled Bothan-5. Mayfeld notes they have only a small window of time to release the prisoner while the package is being transferred.

Zero pilots the “mess of a ship” (Mando’s Razor Crest) to the prison transport while the group chides Mando for his past trials as well as his refusal to remove his helmet. Early on we get the feeling that these mercenaries cannot be trusted. When their ship abruptly exits hyperspace, Zero jams the New Republic communication codes and boards the prison vessel in its blind spot to avoid detection. They enter the floating prison, passing numerous prisoners in their cells, but their cover is soon blown as they encounter sentry droids parading the halls. Mando kills them all (with no help from the others) before the group arrives at the control room only to find a human guard named Lant Davan (Matt Lanter, who previously voiced Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels). He is carrying an inactivated New Republic tractor beacon. Mando attempts to reason with Davan but the situation quickly escalates until Xi’an stabs Davan, but unfortunately the New Republic beacon has been activated anyway.

They quickly open the prison cell door in search of their package who turns out to be a Twi’lek named Qin, brother of Xi’an (played by Ismael Cruz Córdova). This comes as an unwelcomed surprise –Qin was apparently once abandoned by Mando on a past mission. Suddenly the group double-crosses Mando, they kick him into Qin’s cell and lock the door before escaping. Time is limited and Mando is trapped in a remote prison. However, within minutes Mando ensnares a guard droid and frees himself. Next, we see him enter the control room where he begins shutting down the transport ship’s grid while jamming communications to Zero back aboard the Razor Crest. Mando divides the mercenary group by closing off various doors and he begins picking off each traitor one by one, imprisoning them all in his dormant cell.

Mando escapes and returns Qin to Ran back on the original space port and he collects his reward –“just like the old days.” When Mando flies away Ran orders Mando killed but a final moment of vengeance comes; Mando has attached the New Republic homing beacon to Qin and suddenly a trio of New Republic fighters arrives and shoots the space station.

The Mandalorian Trivia:

  • Episode Writer Christopher Yost is a famous Marvel Universe writer and the creator of Cowboy Bebop.
  • Prior to this episode, Bill Burr was not a fan of Star Wars and frequently made fun of its fans. He met Jon Favreau at a birthday party and was promptly offered a role in the series.
  • Episode Directors Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow each appear as the three X-wing pilots Trapper Wolf (a nod to Filoni’s fascination with wolves), Jib Dodger, and Sash Ketter.
  • Alzoc III is mentioned as the planetary location of a past job Mando needed to complete. It is a deep allusion to Star Wars fanlore. It was likely the mission wherein Mando abandoned Qin.
  • Canto Bight is mentioned in this episode –the silly casino planet from The Last Jedi.
  • At one point Bill Burr’s character jokes that underneath Mando’s helmet is likely a Gungan.
  • The space station at the outset was likely taken from Ralph McQuarrie’s initial concept art from the original trilogy.
  • Several of the prisoners can be spotted through their cell bars, including a former Imperial officer as well as one or two deep-dive nods to Star Wars fanlore.
  • This episode offers unique insight into the Mandalorian’s notably dark past.

Return to my survey of The Mandalorian series

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