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The Mandalorian: Chapter 4 'Sanctuary' Review

Star Wars

The Mandalorian: Chapter 4 ‘Sanctuary’ Review

Last week, the Mandalorian rescued Baby Yoda from The Client and took off with him in the Razorcrest for parts unknown.

This week, we get to see where the Mandalorian ends up, which will undoubtedly lead new adventures, new characters, and even more Baby Yoda cuteness.

Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy

The episode opens on a peaceful scene of people harvesting blue krill from their ponds and children at play. This tranquility is predictably shattered when a group of Klatooinian raiders invade their village. The attack is brutally effective, thanks in no small part to all the villagers fleeing and that the raiders are backed up by some unseen heavy firepower. If you are a fellow Star Wars toy collector, however, then you already know exactly what it was.

Back in space, the Mandalorian tries and fails to keep Baby Yoda from messing with his controls. Luckily, he is able to locate a backwater world (named Sorgan) where he and his highly-sought after companion might be able to lay low. After landing on the planet, he instructs Baby Yoda to stay on the ship. His orders are predictably (and adorably) ignored, giving us a great scene of the mismatched pair embarking on their journey together.

After traveling a short distance, they manage to find a restaurant/bar. While Baby Yoda is busy almost getting himself eaten by a loth-cat, the Mandalorian notices a badass looking woman sitting across the room. When she disappears, he follows her outside, where she promptly ambushes him. The two beat the crap out of each other for a bit before realizing that their fisticuffs have drawn a tiny green audience.

The Mandalorian: Chapter 4 'Sanctuary' Review

The warriors decide to stop fighting and break bread over old war stories, instead. Turns out they also thought the other was tracking them–the Mandalorian for obvious reasons and the soldier (who’s name is Cara Dune) because she was an AWOL rebellion shock trooper who had also made plenty of ex-Imperial enemies during her time in the service.

This part felt a bit forced to me. These are two battle-worn and disillusioned gunslingers suddenly deciding to trust not only each other’s presence, but also tell each other their backgrounds. That being said, it was cool to hear about Dune’s history after the Battle of Endor, which gave us an inside look at the rebellion’s efforts to wipe out Imperial remnants and how even the good guys weren’t immune from the corruptive influence of politics and bureaucracy.

Despite the friendliness of their conversation, Dune declares that since she found this isolated planet first, she got to stay on it–and the Mandalorian needed to find his own. He agrees and heads out to pack up his ship.

That evening while he makes preparations to leave, a pair of villagers from the shrimping village we saw at the beginning of the episode approaches him and offers their people’s entire collection of credits to defend them people from the raiders. The Mandalorian initially refuses, but upon hearing how far away and isolated their village is, agrees to go.

Partners in Altruism

Before heading to the village, the Mandalorian takes the payment from the villagers, finds Dune, and offers it to her in exchange for accompanying him to help. She’s initially skeptical, but quickly agrees…which once again feels a bit forced. I get that it’s what’s needed to happen for the story to move forward–and that an ex-rebellion shock trooper like Dune probably felt some duty to help these people. Still, her and the Mandalorian don’t exactly seem like the type of folks who would buddy up for a mission to a remote village after knowing each other only a few hours.

They arrive at the village the next day, which is full of playful children and delicious frogs for Baby Yoda to play with. They happy little guy and the Mandalorian are set up with lodging by a woman named Omera. Through her conversation with him, we learn that the Mandalorians took him in after his parents were killed (already known/assumed) and that he never takes his helmet off in front of anyone…but does when he’s by himself so he can eat.

Omera’s daughter takes an immediate liking to Baby Yoda–while Omera herself appears to take a bit of a liking to the Mandalorian. Once again, this feels a bit forced, but is also a pretty common trope in the gunslinger/western genre, so let’s just roll with it for now.

The Mandalorian: Chapter 4 'Sanctuary' Review

Walker Stalker

Later, Dune and the Mandalorian head out into the woods to see what they’re up against. They discover a large number of Klatooinian tracks along with the colossal footprints of an AT-ST. Neither are sure why this Imperial war machine is on Sogan, although the obvious answer would be that the Klatooinians found one that was abandoned or commandeered it from some unlucky Imperials.

Whatever the case, facing an AT-ST is not what these two signed up for. They head back to the village and tell the people that their only option is to relocate. When the villagers refuse, the Mandalorian suggests to Dune that they train the people to fight. She seems skeptical, but agrees. She also comes up with a plan: Draw the AT-ST to the camp during the night, then lure it to step into a pond so that it can be taken out.

As you might expect, this leads to a training montage featuring the villagers as they morph from from comically inept to a somewhat passable fighting force. We also see that Omera might be the only person in the village who’s adept at using a blaster–and one hell of a good shot. I’ve got a feeling Omera is either an ex-Imperial or a Mandalorian herself. Unlike the Mandalorian, however, she doesn’t reveal anything to him (or the audience) about her past.

Loth-cat and womp rat

Dune and the Mandalorian sneak into the Klatooinian camp under the cover of darkness. They kill some of the raiders and blow up one of their supply depots, which draws the attention (and fire) of their demonic-looking AT-ST.

The Mandalorian: Chapter 4 'Sanctuary' Review

They lead it–along with a host of Klatooinian raiders–back to the village. The AT-ST nearly steps into the pond, but manages to pull up short and begins blasting the village instead. While the villagers and the Mandalorian return fire, Dune borrows his gun and improvises a new tactic: Slide under the AT-ST like a total badass and shoot until it falls into the pond.

After a few close calls, Dune manages to score a direct hit in the walker’s eye, causing it to slip and plunge one of its legs into the water. As the rest of the villagers charge forward, the Mandalorian darts over to the fallen walker and chucks a detonator into the cockpit, blowing it to smithereens and causing the Klatooinians to retreat.

No Rest for the Heroic

The Mandalorian: Chapter 4 'Sanctuary' Review

Weeks later, we see that the village is still safe and thriving. Dune suggests to the Mandalorian that he settle down with Omera, who clearly has a thing for him. To drive the point home further, Omera herself begs the Mandalorian to stay, going so far as to try and remove his helmet so that they can finally look at each other face-to-face.

Just when the Mandalorian appears like he may allow it to happen, he stops her, explaining that he doesn’t belong with them…but that Baby Yoda does. Despite her obvious disappointment that he won’t stay, Omera agrees to look after the little guy as if he were one of her own.

Unbeknownst to them, a Garindan bounty hunter has targeted his rifle at Baby Yoda. Thankfully, Dune is able to sneak over and take him out before Disney+ could cause a riot among Star Wars fans. The Mandalorian sees that the bounty hunter was carrying a guild-issued FOB, ensuring that more of them will descend upon the village unless he takes Baby Yoda away with him.

After thanking Dune for her help and wishing her well until their paths cross again (which they most assuredly will), a melancholy Mandalorian and openly upset Baby Yoda depart for the Razorcrest to leave the planet.

The Verdict

The Mandalorian: Chapter 4 'Sanctuary' Review

While the second chapter of The Mandalorian was mostly self-contained, Sanctuary can undoubtedly be classified as a bottle episode.

Yes, we learned a little more about the Mandalorian’s history/customs and were introduced to a great new character (Cara Dune). Other than that, this one departed from the Baby Yoda storyline, instead giving us a condensed tale in the grand western tradition of an outlaw anti-hero (or two of them in this case) helping a town defend itself from an evil outside force…or the basic plot of Seven Samurai, if you prefer.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, by the way. The battle against the raiders and their AT-ST looked all types of good and was a lot of fun to watch. There were also definite parallels to be drawn with the Rebels/Ewoks battling on Endor against the Imperials in Return of the Jedi…although I must say that whichever Klatooinian they had piloting the walker was a heck of a lot more aware/competent than the Imperial ones.

I also loved the character of Cara Dune, who gives the Mandalorian an equal with regards to their skill set along with parallel (but equally compelling) reasons for her disillusionment in the current state of the galaxy.

Where the episode lost me a bit was the compressed manner in which Dune and the Mandalorian bonded. I get that it’s a half hour show and the episode needed to move forward, but considering that Dune is confirmed for future episodes, this felt like something they could have pulled back on somewhat.

Also, I know the beautiful widow falling for the heroic gunslinger recusing the town is a common trope, but this is one area where the currently dreaded ‘subverting of expectations‘ could have been well-utilized. Instead, we see a woman who is clearly a badass in her own right falling for a man who never takes off her helmet and barely interacts with her. I guess they could have interacted during the weeks in the village we didn’t see, but that wasn’t ever made clear.

And speaking of their interaction, it felt very odd that the Mandalorian would reveal personal details about himself Omera, but as far as we know, she hasn’t told him anything about her (likely very interesting) past.

All that being said, Sanctuary is still a very good episode of what is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorite television series. Hopefully we can get back to the main story–and maybe another appearance by Cara Dune–next Friday.

The Mandalorian: Chapter 4 'Sanctuary' Review
The Mandalorian: Chapter 4 'Sanctuary'
Is it good?
A western trope-ladden bottle episode that doesn't move the story forward, but is still a lot of fun to watch.
Cara Dune gives the Mandalorian an equal with regards to their skill set along with parallel (but equally compelling) reasons for her disillusionment in the current state of the galaxy.
The battle with the raiders and their AT-ST looked great and was all types of fun to watch.
If you thought Baby Yoda couldn't get any more adorable, you were wrong.
The bond between Cara Dune and the Mandalorian feels a bit too compressed/forced.
Same with the bond between the Mandalorian and Omera, who left a lot of interesting story potential on the table despite getting him to reveal details about himself.

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