***WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for Episode 6 of The Mandalorian!***
Episode 6 of The Mandalorian (now streaming on Disney+) delivers the most amount of celebrity guests than any previous installment seen thus far.
A classic heist story, “The Prisoner” finds Mando (Pedro Pascal), in need of money, reconnecting with an old friend, Ran, (Batman Begins‘ Mark Boone Jr.), who runs a criminal operation from a floating space station. It turns out that Mando (and more importantly, his ship) are needed to spring a prisoner from a New Republic criminal transport.
He joins a crew that includes: Mayfeld (comedian Bill Burr), an ex-Imperial sharpshooter; Xi'an (Harry Potter‘s Natalia Tena), a seductive, dagger-wielding Twi'lek; Burg (SpongeBob‘s Clancy Brown), a savagely-inclined Devaronian and the crew's muscle; and Zero (The IT Crowd‘s Richard Ayoade), a snarky droid who recalls Alan Tudyk's K-2SO from Rogue One.
Mayfeld is probably my favorite new Star Wars character, as the show isn't afraid to lean into Burr's career of cracking jokes for a living. When Mando learns that he was an Imperial sharpshooter, he remarks, “That's not saying much.”
Mayfeld fires back with, “I wasn't a stormtrooper, wiseass!” a delightfully meta reference to how stormtroopers can't hit anything with their blasters. It's a great nod to the fans, who have been pointing out that little fact for decades. To be quite frank, I literally laughed out loud.
Mayfeld also name drops Canto Bight, the casino planet from The Last Jedi. Aside from being able to callback to stuff we've seen before, Mayfelds comments are hard evidence of why a project like The Mandalorian works so well.
Through its dialogue, the show is able to doff its cap to just how much world-building and fan service has been created over the last four decades since Star Wars first began. As the mythology continues to grow, it's cool to see something that ties all of it up in a neat bow—at least for now, since the universe continues to expand.
On their way to the prisoner rescue, the motley crew tries to learn more about Mando, asking the age-old question of whether he's ever taken off his helmet. Xi'an, a former colleague of Mando, hints that she might have seen his face sometime in the past.
Mayfeld jokingly says that Mando may be Gungan: “Is that why yousa don't wanna show your face?” Gungans, as you're probably aware, are the water-dwelling species on Naboo that spawned Jar Jar Binks in Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
Burg tries to remove the helmet by force (brute force, not the mystical stuff) and reveals Baby Yoda to the group. BY doesn't have much to do this episode, except look cute and nearly use his Force abilities on Zero. More on that later.
The group finally reaches the New Republic prisoner transport ship and begins the extraction mission. Once onboard, they pass a number of holding cells, one of which contains an Ardennian, a member of the same species as Rio Durant in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Why is that notable? Because The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau voiced Durant in Solo. It's a nice little Easter egg for fans who are really paying attention.
Luckily, the ship is mainly manned by droids, which means Mando has no qualms about wrecking a bunch of soulless machines in a bunch of cool ways. Making it to the bridge, the group meets the first human, a New Republic officer named Davan (Matt Lanter). The problem is that Davan's got a distress beacon that, if activated, will summon an entire squadron of New Republic fighters to blow the ship to kingdom come.
Mando doesn't want to kill the spooked officer, which leads to a Mexican standoff with Mayfeld. Xi'an ends up breaking the Western tension by killing Davan herself. Mando ain't happy, but what's he gonna do, especially since Davan activated the beacon right before he kicked the bucket?
The crew rushes to the cell of their prisoner, who turns out to be (drumroll please) Qin, Xi'an's brother. Qin, who is even more cold-hearted than his sibling, is played by Berlin Station‘s Ismael Cruz Córdova. He also alludes to a time in the past when Mando abandoned him during a mission. In a twist of fate, the group pushes Mando into Qin's cell, shuts the door, and leaves him for dead as they make their escape.
That proves to be a big mistake because the Mandalorian, proving his resourcefulness once again, frees himself and begins messing with Mayfeld, Xi'an, Burg, and Qin. In the meantime, Zero, learning about BY from an old hologram recording from Carl Weathers' Greef Karga, begins hunting the child down. The droid corners the kid (who starts to go into Jedi mode) but meets his end at the hands of Mando's blaster.
Mando makes short order of his double-crossers (it's implied that he kills them, but the ending tells us that's not the case) and returns to Ran's space station to deliver Quin and collect his pay.
Mando makes a comment about “the good old days” and takes off in his ship.
Ran then orders his people to kill the Mandalorian. Still, you should never (and I mean NEVER!) double-cross one of the best warriors in the galaxy because it turns out that Mando's got one more trick up his sleeve: he pinned the New Republic distress beacon to Qin's belt, drawing a squadron of deadly X-wings to the space station.
Unless you're intimately familiar with the folks working behind the scene of the Star Wars series, you probably won't notice that the X-wings are piloted by three of the show's directors: Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow, and Rick Famuyiwa. They're fun cameos that speak to the close-knit family of creatives working on this awesome project that exudes love, charm, and expertise.
Filoni (creator of The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series) also serves as a writer and executive producer.
Anywho, the New Republic X-wings make short work of the space station and Mando—usually so uptight and tacit—hands Baby Yoda a toy and says, “I told you that was a bad idea” as they make the jump to hyperspace. Yes, the main character is now making dad jokes, and I couldn't be more here for it!
Episode 7—the penultimate chapter in Season 1—airs next Wednesday, Dec. 18. It will contain a special look at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Speaking of, make sure to keep an eye out for our review of that next week!
Deborah Chow (helmer of Chapter 3: “The Sin”) directed Episode 7 from a script by Favreau. The character I've been looking forward to the most—Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon—has yet to show his face. Here's hoping he shows up next week.
For our guide to the entire series, click here. For our recaps of Episodes 1 – 5, click on one of the links below: