Ricky Church reviews the second episode of The Mandalorian…
Just two episodes in and The Mandalorian continues to impress on nearly every front. From the visuals to the acting and especially the music, ‘The Child’ was firing on all cylinders with Dope’s Rick Famuyiwa in the director’s chair. Whereas the premiere was a dive into the gritty underworld of Star Wars, the latest episode was much lighter in tone, but still retained the classic Star Wars feel.
Perhaps the biggest difference between this and the previous chapter was just how singular it felt. The Mandalorian was pretty much the sole character throughout the episode, helped along by Nick Nolte’s Kuiil and the last episode’s surprise. It didn’t build off the premiere’s cliffhanger or raise the stakes in any major way, instead focusing on the Mandalorian’s mission to get off the planet. This led to some fairly light-hearted fare as the Mandalorian played babysitter to his prize and had to chase a bunch of Jawas who stripped his ship in a marked departure from the feel of the previous episode, like when he sliced a guy in half with a closing door.
However, the change in tone didn’t feel out of place or problematic. On the contrary, it felt in line with the classic Star Wars feel and his mini-adventure. Famuyiwa tackles the fine line with Star Wars‘ camp very well throughout the episode, making it fun, entertaining and surprisingly adorable thanks to the Mando’s prize. The humour didn’t feel forced and came naturally to the character, particularly his frustration during the negotiation with the Jawas. Famuyiwa still flexed his action muscles in the big set pieces, though the chase with the sandcrawler is a high point. It showcased how resilient the Mandolorian is while also making Jawas of all creatures seem fairly tough when they want to be. An added benefit to the chase is the clear homage Famuyiwa paid to Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, especially with one shot in particular.
The humour largely succeeded due to Pedro Pascal’s performance as the title character. He sold the exasperation of the Mandalorian without making him look like a complete fool and uses his body language to great effect. You’d think it would take time for an actor to get used to a role with a mask covering their face the whole time, but Pascal slips even further into it than he already was in ‘Chapter 1’. The way he carries his acceptance and then shock at the end of his fight with the beast speaks more to his performance than any lines could say. He’s making the absolute most out of the role.
Just as in the premiere, ‘The Child’ boasted some great and astounding visuals. Nothing looks cheap and Famuyiwa and DOP Barry Baz Idoine capture some stellar images of the landscape, horizon or just the Mandalorian sitting at a fire fixing his gear. The action is presented in a clear manner and the colour palette is vibrant whether in the night or day. Ludwig Göransson’s score is also to be commended as it sounds nothing like what fans might expect out of a Star Wars show, yet still feels like it belongs in that galaxy. It only helps to give The Mandalorian its own feel and style while several of the tunes are quite catchy too.
‘The Child’ was another (mostly) impressive instalment of The Mandalorian. Rick Famuyiwa directed quite an episode that had a nice balance between its humour and seriousness. Pascal continues to shine through his body performance and finds a bit more of the character to explore while the episodic nature of the story gave it that classic Star Wars feel. The visuals and music lend power to the series, making it that much more engaging to pour over all the details. Simply put, The Mandalorian is quickly becoming a high point in all of Star Wars media.