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The Mandalorian

Sanctuary (The Mandalorian - S01E04) - Live Action Series

Series: The Mandalorian

Title: Chapter 4: Sanctuary

Season: One

Episode: 4

Original Air Date: November 29, 2019

Runtime: 39 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

The Two Samurai! SPOILERS.

"Don't touch that button!" - touches button

The fourth Mandalorian episode is basically the Star Wars version of The Seven Sumarai, only with fewer dead heroes and fewer Samurai. Since Akira Kurosawa was a strong influence on the Original Trilogy - and here especially A New Hope - it's only fitting that The Mandalorian would use another Japanese classic for inspiration.

A peaceful village on the backwater planet Sorgan

The episode begins with a bandit raid on a small, peaceful village. The natives have no chance to defend themselves and the bandits steal food and cause mayhem. Meanwhile the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda are on the Razorcrest, trying to find a planet to hide on. Baby Yoda has discovered that pushing buttons is fun. They light up, they do things. The Mandalorian is a patient foster father and simply puts him on his lap so he can't reach any buttons anymore. The Mandalorian scans his database and finds a promising planet. Sorgan has only few people living on it, no industry to speak of, it's as backwater as it can get. So the Mandalorian plots a course.

Baby Yoda will accompany the Mandalorian, whether he likes it or not

After some more funny Baby Yoda shenanigans on the Razorcrest (he simply won't be left behind and follows wherever the Mandalorian goes) the Mandalorian seeks out a tavern in some village on Sorgan. Here a woman catches his eye, could she be a bounty hunter?

Meet cute Star Wars style

The Mandalorian follows her tracks when he's suddenly attacked by her. A short but quite intense fight breaks out that reaches an impasse with both of them pointing blasters at each other. Which is when Baby Yoda, who always follows the Mandalorian, turns up and the tension eases, as both realize they may be wrong about each others intentions.

You want some soup?

The woman is Cara Dune of course. An ex Shocktrooper with the Rebellion, who retired from service when all she had to do was play bodyguard for delegates after the war. Gina Carana is a perfect fit for the role here. Unlike some other female action heroes in recent times she absolutely looks the part and is convincing in her role. Also, the series shows that Cara is a very competent fighter who can hold her own, but not at the expense of the Mandalorian. It was a good decision to let the fight end in a draw. It turns out Cara thought the Mandalorian was after her. And she doesn't want the Mandalorian around, because she's already hiding on the planet and fears the Mandalorian may be too high profile and disturb the peace should people come after him.

So the Mandalorian is about to leave and back at his ship when he is approached by two villagers we saw in the beginning of the episode. They want him to help with their bandit problem and offer him money. The Mandalorian refuses, because it's not enough, but when he learns the village is far off the beaten path and in the middle of nowhere, he agrees to go with them. Because that sounds like the perfect hiding spot. But he won't come without help. He goes to Cara, gives her the money he was offered, and recruits her help.

Once in the village the episode slows down quite a bit, but we learn more about the Mandalorian. Yes, he does take off his helmet, he even removes his helmet in the episode to eat, without the camera showing his face of course. But he never removes it in the presence of other people, not since childhood when he was adopted by the Mandalorians. Once he would remove his helmet in the presence of someone else he could not put it back on. This is the way... Omara, a young widow with a daughter, is very understanding of the Mandalorian's customs and offers him food he can consume in private. It's obvious there is some immediate bond between the two.

But the real issue are the bandits. When Cara and the Mandalorian learn that the raiders are in posession of an AT-ST things change, however. The AT-ST is depicted as a fearsome weapon here that they really stand no chance against. But eventually Cara comes up with a plan, since she has experience fighting against the Empire. So preparations begin with the typical training montage and the digging of a ditch for the AT-ST to fall in. The plan is to lure the raiders to the village so they and their AT-ST can be taken out there.

Cara and the Mandalorian sneak to the enemy camp at night and blow up a tent, killing a few raiders in the process. This got their attention and the AT-ST turns on, rises from the ground and chases after them. Now previously the AT-STs were never much to think about in Star Wars, Ewoks destroyed them with tree trunks, they are generally disposed of rather quickly. But the Mandalorian goes a different route here, the AT-ST is depicted almost like some fearsome monster in the forest with its dark red windows that look like eyes. And when the AT-ST chases after Cara and the Mandalorian it's almost like a scene from Jurassic Park with the T-Rex chasing after the heroes.

Showdown at night

To their chagrin the AT-ST just stops before the ditch and instead starts firing. After an intense shootout Cara finally manages to get the attention of the AT-ST and it makes that one fatal step forward, falling into the ditch, immobilizing it. The Mandalorian then makes short work of it by blowing it up with one of his explosives.

Little house on the prairie

What follows are some calm scenes in the village. Baby Yoda seems to be particularly happy, and the village children have already taken to him, finding him as adorable as all the Star Wars fans. There's more frog eating, to the disgust of the children, so Baby Yoda spits the frog out again. When Cara suggests that the Mandalorian might stay on the planet with some beautiful widow as company he says he will leave Baby Yoda here, but move on, since his life is nothing for kids.

Baby Yoda loves eating frogs

The Mandalorian approaches Omara and tells her how nice it is in the village and that Baby Yoda is clearly happy. Omara replies that the village really wants him to stay, she asks him if he's happy here and that he can leave his life behind, settle down, keep his things in case he needs them but live a life with them in the meantime.

Omara wants to take off the helmet

Omara wants to take off the Mandalorian's helmet. It's a sweet and emotionally intense scene. But of course it's not supposed to be. Because in the forest a bounty hunter with a fob has found the village.

He's got them in their sights

The bounty hunter aims at the Mandalorian, but then switches targets...

Baby Yoda is his real target

And then we hear a blaster shot. Cara Dune found the bounty hunter and shot him in the back before he could take a shot at Baby Yoda. This settles things. Neither the Mandalorian nor Baby Yoda are safe anymore and they have to leave.

Everyone loves Baby Yoda

So the Mandalorian and Baby Yoda have to make for their ship again and leave Cara, Omara and the village behind.

Never to be seen again? Or will the Mandalorian return?

Chapter 4 was a slower episode this time, it still had action, but much more time was spent with the characters and it was also the most dialogue heavy episode so far. It's also the first time we had several substantial speaking roles with both Omara and Cara. "Sanctuary" was maybe not as action filled as the previous three episodes but still a very solid and highly entertaining episode with some very emotional scenes. Baby Yoda is a scene stealer, but the show doesn't overuse him, but when it uses him it's always a delight, be it pushing buttons even if being told not to, trying to fly the Razorcrest, not staying behind, delighting children in the village - Baby Yoda is the breakout character from the show. And the Mandalorian got some more much needed character development, he cannot always be the taciturn man under a helmet and endless enigma that fights baddies. We learn in this episode that he's definitely not Mandalorian by birth but has taken on the Mandalorian way of life when they took him on after he lost his parents during the Clone Wars. Omara and her village presented the ultimate temptation in this episode with their offering of a simple, peaceful and harmonious life, maybe even love, something the Mandalorian clearly longs for. But it was always obvious that the hero's journey is not over yet. This episode was basically a textbook example of the "temptation" phase.

I really liked what the episode did with the AT-ST, making it into something of a monster that comes after you at night. When it's eventually taken down it feels like a hard-earned victory.

Bryce Dallas Howard directed this episode, but as in the episodes before everything is consistent, camera work was beautiful, performances were great. A few fight scenes in the bandit camp had maybe a few quick cuts too many, but that's a minor quibble.

What may surprise many is that Cara Dune is seemingly just another guest character on the show like Kuill, and is left behind. Unless the Mandalorian will return to the planet later in the season. She was a great character, like Kuill. We know from trailers that Cara will be back in a future episode, so we haven't seen the last of her. But even so it's becoming more and more evident that the Mandalorian will be the lone wolf with a cub for a while longer, so there probably won't be any lasting company for him any time soon. Not when all the bounty hunters in the sector and Imperial Remnants are after him. But if he takes on a partner eventually, then Cara is certainly a prime candidate.

Added: November 29, 2019
Category: The Mandalorian
Reviewer: Thomas
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