Today ought to mark the watershed moment. I caught my ex-wife and her paramour red handed. She wasn’t expecting it, I suppose. Her face became red as I was walking the daughter and her to her…
The eighth and final episode of the Mandalorian was released this week, and unfortunately, it was super disappointing considering how much promise the show had starting off.
The biggest reason for this was the fact that the last half of the season didn’t drive the story forward in any meaningful way.
To put it bluntly, the Mandalorian character simply isn’t interesting enough to carry the show on his own. Only the budding father-son relationship between him and Baby Yoda was enough to drive the story forward. So when the Mandalorian was focused on the titular character’s relationship with Baby Yoda and his plans for survival, the show as good. When it focused too much on the adventure of the week at the expense of Baby Yoda, the story suffered.
The first half of the Mandalorian’s first season was particularly good because it focused on the story and its characters in a meaningful way. It also established an effective cadence in how it established the story’s plot points by not trying to do everything all at once.
The first and third episodes were almost entirely story-driven episodes, and episodes two and four were sidequest episodes that had just enough bearing on the overarching story to be interesting while having effective character moments that led us to care about the Mandalorian’s plight.
The latter half of the season lost this particular rhythm of offsetting each sidequest episode with a story-driven one and barely pushed the story or the characters forward in any meaningful way.
Episode five introduced overtly annoying and badly written characters and episode six was even worse. Episode six was content to have characters lazily walking around without any urgency driving them forward. On top of that, characters that should have been competent were simply lazy caricatures that had no purpose in the overall story and didn’t provide any meaningful growth for the titular character.
Simply put, these episodes had nothing to do with anything important.
Because the middle section of the first season did next to nothing to explore the story or develop its characters, the season began to sag. It could have almost been salvaged had the last two episodes gone above and beyond, but unfortunately, they were merely mediocre.
There’s going to be some spoilers for those of you who have not yet finished the Mandalorian, but for some reason, the showrunners decided to kill off the two most interesting characters in the show, namely Nick Nolte’s fan favorite, Kuiil, and Werner Herzog’s villainous Client.
I have to admit that one of the main reasons I decided to give the Mandalorian a shot was purely because of Werner Herzog’s part in it. Ever since I saw the first Jack Reacher, I’ve been a huge fan of Herzog, especially in villainous roles, and his contribution to the Mandalorian was excellent in every regard.
To put it in perspective, the final episode should have been chock-full of character revelations and story-driven plot points, but what did we get instead? The first part of the last episode focused on two speeder-riding stormtroopers that spent their screen time making stormtrooper jokes.
While their scene was hilarious and deserves a video series of its own, it was wholly out of place in the Mandalorian universe and it merely used up valuable time that should have been spent on fleshing out the story.
While there were some good moments in the final two episodes, not a lot happened in terms of the plot which was a huge letdown. A new baddie showed up who subsequently offed said Herzog’s character, and he had a fun fight scene with a TIE Fighter at the end, but we didn’t learn anything interesting about him, and worse, we didn’t learn anything memorable about the Mandalorian or Baby Yoda with the introduction of this new character.
And that’s the kicker. We know that the remnants of the Empire wanted Baby Yoda for some reason, but it’s never explained or even teased as to what their motivations in the first place are. I’m sure this was done on purpose to get people to tune in to season two, but that doesn’t make it good storytelling. In fact, it’s pretty much a letdown and come across as lazy writing to bring up story questions without answering any of them.
I went from thinking that the Mandalorian might be one of the best tv shows around to merely shrugging it off at the end. Sure I’ll watch season two when it comes out, but any sense of excitement for the show is gone for me. It will merely be a show that I’ll watch instead of something that I actively look forward to.
While the Mandalorian has been the year’s most popular tv show, I’ve been far more impressed with the likes of the second season of Lost In Space. Not only does Lost In Space have terrific production value that rivals and almost exceeds its Silver Screen counterparts, but the writing is tight and the characters all get a chance to shine and develop into better versions of themselves.
If only the Mandalorian would have been able to maintain such consistency.
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