Thursday, December 7, 2023
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The Mandalorian – Chapter Two – The Child

Appealing to the manbabies with a literal baby of a beloved character, The Mandalorian presents its audience a cute plot device to latch onto. That seems to be the main style to this storyline, especially here in the second episode. The Mandalorian – Chapter Two – The Child offers us the opportunity to get to grips with this new pairing that will inevitably stagger through the next few episodes, providing unfulfilled prose and lacklustre energy to all.  

Feeling like a bit of light entertainment is fine, but The Mandalorian – Chapter Two – The Child is both a mouthful to say and a tonal mess. Its scenes of acceptable action are paired with failed bouts of comedy. Nick Nolte returns at least, clearly unable to say no to that sweet allure of Disney money. Director Rick Famuyiwa presents the odd bit of decent cinematography or lighting, but the sheen of the Star Wars brand is too hard to break free from. Filled with simple shot-reshot storytelling, and some transition shots that would fit nicely into A New Hope (I don’t mean that as a compliment), it’s very hard to differentiate anything The Mandalorian does as unique.  

With the main set piece blending some horribly poor slow-motion, generic quick cuts and moments of banal realisation, I fear that this scene will set the tone for the series moving forward. Bland isn’t quite the word for how this episode feels, but there’s certainly nothing within that feels like it progresses the story. If it were a videogame, it’d be an annoying fetch quest. A film editing suite would cut this entirely. Half an hour of happenstance nonsense that could’ve been prevented if it weren’t for needing an extra episode to fill in the time. We were handed too much excitement in that first episode, a whole two moments of interest and writer Jon Favreau has thankfully pulled his foot off the clutch and slammed us into neutral. Too right, we can’t be getting too excited just yet. 

A fine episode. The Mandalorian does nothing to prevent tropes and cliché from wading into its view, in fact it accepts them with a grace and fear only creatively bankrupt minds would feel. The love of this series stems, in part, from the original mechanisms working in a wider universe. Yet to see anything truly unique or engaging outside of that Star Wars sphere of influence, The Mandalorian begins to rely more on faux scenes of action-packed mediocrity and commonplace jargon than it does on its immediately forgettable, one-note story.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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