***WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for Episode 5 of The Mandalorian!***
Now over the halfway hump, The Mandalorian takes us to a familiar locale in Episode 5: Tatooine.
Fresh off their Magnificent Seven-inspired adventure on Sorgan last week, Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Baby Yoda find themselves locked in a space battle with yet another bounty hunter, who's got them on the ropes. Proving his resourcefulness once again, Mando gets the upper hand on his adversary and blows the other bounty hunter to smithereens.
Unfortunately, the dogfight leaves Mando's ship in questionable shape and he's forced to land at (wait for it) Mos Eisley Spaceport! Yes, we're back to where the Star Wars saga first began in 1977's A New Hope.
The place feels even more ominous after the fall of the Empire, especially because it's got a grisly exhibition of Stormtrooper heads mounted on spikes. As Tatooine was the home of Luke Skywalker (and Obi-Wan Kenobi) for many years, it stands to reason that its people harbor even more of an anti-Empire sentiment than folks found on other planets throughout the galaxy.
Landing in the hanger, Mando meets a frizzy-haired mechanic hilariously played by Amy Sedaris. The BoJack Horseman alum previously worked with series creator Jon Favreau on this past summer's “live-action” remake of The Lion King.
Sedaris, who is one of three guest stars this week, sort of feels like she's walked in from another show—and maybe even a Mel Brooks-style parody—but it strangely works. It just speaks to the vastness of this world and how every character has their own unique quirks.
The Mechanic (with the help of her one-eyed “pit droids”) agrees to fix the ship as Mando heads off in search of a new job. While he's gone, Sedaris' character meets Baby Yoda, who wakes up and walks off in the ship in search of his new dad. That's when “The Gunslinger” (Episode 5's official title) slightly turns into Adventures in Babysitting.
The Mechanic instantly takes a shine to the kid and agrees to watch over him while Mando takes on a job to find Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), a former crime syndicate assassin on the run from the New Republic. But hold on, let's back up for a second here.
The Mandalorian learns about the bounty on Shand's head in a seedy Mos Eisley cantina from Toro Calican (Jake Cannavale, son of Bobby Cannavale), a young and cocky wannabe bounty hunter looking to get into the Guild with one big score.
It's obvious that this character is based off on Han Solo. He even props his feet up on the cantina table in the same way Han did while speaking with Greedo in A New Hope. Maybe Toro looked up to Han growing up, but despite that possible idolization, he's got all of Solo's cockiness with none of the smuggler's charm or confidence.
Just wanting to be let into the Guild, Toro says that Mando can keep all the reward money if he helps capture of Shand. As such, the two set off into the dunes of Tatooine in search of their target. On the way, they cross paths with (who else?) some Tusken Raiders and instead of employing violence against them, Mando negotiates with them for safe passage.
For me, this was actually one of the best parts of the episode since we've never really seen anyone treat the donkey-braying, desert-dwelling savages as normal people before. Anyway, Mando and Toro catch up to Fennec Shand and capture her, but not before Mando makes a “high ground” reference that should get any prequel meme fan excited.
Unfortunately, the Mandalorian makes the mistake of leaving Toro alone with Shand, allowing the wanted assassin to get into the head of the aspiring bounty hunter. She informs him that Mando ran afoul of the Guild and is worth more than herself, especially if Toro was to return the child as well.
She promises to help make Calican a legend if he un-cuffs her but instead, Toro (knowing that Fennec will immediately kill him if he sets her free) blasts Shand and heads back to Mos Eisley Spaceport to hold Baby Yoda hostage. This plan doesn't last long and Toro, too big for his own britches, is killed by Mando, who then blasts off with the kid for their next adventure.
Before the credits roll, the episode cuts back to Shand's lifeless body, which is approached by a mysterious character with clinking spurs on their boots. The person, who also wears a cape, begins to lean down as the picture cuts to black.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this could very well be Boba Fett, a Mandalorian clone and bounty hunter from the original trilogy. He was eaten by the Sarlaac after falling off of Jabba's sand barge in Return of the Jedi, but since the creature takes so long to digest its prey, Boba was able to blast his way to freedom. The tale of his escape was chronicled in the 1996 anthology book, Tales from Jabba's Palace.
Next week, Rick Famuyiwa, who helmed Chapter 2, returns to the director's chair for Episode 6, which he co-wrote with Christopher Yost.
I really hope we get to meet Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) or Bill Burr's character in the next episode. One thing we can count on is a special look at The Rise of Skywalker, which will reportedly be attached to Episode 7 on Dec. 18. Season 1 will finish off with its eighth episode, but don't worry, Season 2 of the series is already filming.
For our guide to the entire series, click here. For our recaps of Episodes 1 – 4, click on one of the links below: