SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't watched this show yet, then stop reading now and fix that. There are spoilers here.
The Mandalorian is, for some Star Wars fans, the future of their franchise. And the best thing its ever done since 1997's A New Hope.
The Disney+ series, centered on a Boba Fett-like bounty hunter (who may actually be Fett), is two episodes into its run and -- if Twitter is any indication -- fans are happy with Jon Favreau and his team's take. (If you like westerns, or always wanted to see Star Wars' take on Leone westerns and "Lone Wolf and Cub" in space, the you will love this landmark series.)
Even though the premiere episode is really good at being just good, it does instantly hook you into a new and different (and, sometimes, better) take on the familiar. It subverts expectations while wrapping them around what you like to see in this world -- it's basically the live-action equivalent of you and your friends mashing Star Wars action figures and playsets together to bring your playtime fan-fic to life.
While the untitled pilot episode fails to set up a key element to pay off or give the final scene/twist its emotional resonance (more on that in a bit), it does succeed at grounding the laser blasts and aliens in a grittier, more grounded take on that galaxy far, far away. Which brings a degree of stakes and danger we haven't experienced since Rogue One. Had the episode set up the consequences of what happens if its titular character doesn't kill his bounty at the end of the ep -- "Baby Yoda" as the fans call that cute creature -- then we would have been more invested and felt more when Manda makes the choice to not satisfy what scary and dangerous Werner Herzog is paying him to do.
We see no internal conflict for the character externalized until the very end, which, okay, there is a level of effectiveness there. But a better, more emotionally-sound script would have set up some sense of stakes or conflict if he doesn't follow the conditions of his bounty to the letter -- instead of vaguely implying them.
But what do you think? Does The Mandalorian deliver for you so far? What's working for you? What would work better? Sound off in the comments below.
And new episodes of the series air every Friday on Disney+. (The only change to that air scheduled will be the week when The Rise of Skywalker opens; then, that week's new ep will air on December 18.)