Friday, October 30, 2020

What I’m Watching: The Mandalorian (Season Premiere)

The Mandalorian: Season 2, Episode 1 “Chapter 9: The Marshal” (B)

After deciding that, following the pilot, I wasn’t interested in this show and then coming back to watch the entire thing this summer when it earned a surprising Emmy bid for Best Drama Series, I’m now committed to watching this show as it airs and trying my best to like it. This season opener was a decent start, featuring a somewhat standalone storyline that actually served to drive things forward in a few ways. I expected that we might see Moff Gideon again after he emerged from his downed TIE fighter at the end of the season finale, but instead we were introduced to a new character played by another former Emmy nominee, the fantastic Timothy Olyphant. I knew who it was under that Mandalorian helmet before he took it off thanks to the “Santa Clarita Diet” and “Fargo” actor’s distinctive voice, and how great was it that he got to play another law enforcement personality here not entirely unlike the one he originally portrayed on “Justified”? I liked that he was straightforward and honest about his story and his intentions, and that, after some encouragement, he was able to trust the Tusken Raiders, who made a fair offer to leave the settlement alone if they got to keep the carcass of the downed beast. That process was typically fantastical and effects-heavy, and though it’s similar to what we’ve seen before on this show, the scale was considerably greater and it worked well. That parting shot of an unknown character played by New Zealander actor Temuera Morrison, who appeared as Jango Fett in the prequels, is a superb tease to indicate that, even without his armor, there does appear to be another Mandalorian on Tattooine. I’m all for seeing how that plays out.

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