I was born in the year 1993, which places my childhood during one of the only time periods in the last 40-plus years not to feature a new Star Wars entry, as there were no Star Wars films released between 1983 and 1999.
As a result, I grew up a Batman kid, largely thanks to the iconic cartoon Batman: The Animated Series. By the time The Phantom Menace was released in 1999, my loyalties were firmly with comic book characters. Besides, given that I was only six-years-old at the time of the film’s release, the political ramblings of the first Star Wars prequel did nothing to bring the property closer to my heart. As for the modern trilogy — while certainly more entertaining than the prequels — they’ve still yet to deliver that famed mysticism and wonder that the original trilogy was famed for.
Which is why I’m confident in calling The Mandalorian the best piece of Star Wars content to be released in my lifetime. In my 26 years of living, never has an entry in the Star Wars franchise been so efficient, so focused, so emotional, and so pulsating. With the luxury of allowing its story to breathe, The Mandalorian is the first Star Wars entry not to be consumed by time constraints and the three-act structure of film.
Episode 4, “Sanctuary”, finds The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda take refuge on the sleepy and swampy water planet of Sorgan following their blaster-filled escape from Greef Carga and the rest of the Baby Yoda-hunting bounty hunters.
While not as frenetic and violent as the previous hour, the episode does well to not only further the legitimately adorable surrogate father-son relationship between Mando and Baby Yoda (who becomes increasingly cuter every time he (it?) appears on-screen). And that’s not to say that “Sanctuary” is bereft of action, as there are three separate set-pieces throughout the course of the episode.
Once again, The Mandalorian succeeds in its focus on the quieter people and moments that inhabit the galaxy far, far away. In stark contrast to the end-all-be-all stakes of the main film franchise, The Mandalorian is more than happy to spend an episode in a quiet farm town still dealing with the remnants of the Empire (which lends itself to an awesome ATST Walker sequence).
And quite intelligently, as soon as Mando and Baby Yoda arrived on Sorgan, they were on their way out, which only adds further emphasis to the desperate us-against-the-world, escape-at-all-costs nature of the duo’s current predicament. This is not a show that’s going to allow The Mandalorian to rest his helmet, especially not now. The entire galaxy is after him and we’re along for the ride, and so far, it’s the best ride Star Wars has given us since the beginning.
The fifth episode of The Mandalorian will hit Disney+ next Friday, December 6. You can catch The Mandalorian, and tons of other Star Wars bangers, on Disney+ now.
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Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Follow him on Twitter @eric_ital for movie and soccer takes or contact him firstname.lastname@example.org