Prepare for some delightful naughtiness from Baby Yoda.Disney
After the twists and intense action of The Mandalorian's third episode, the live-action Star Wars show settled into a new status quo as episode 4 hit Disney Plus on Friday. Baby Yoda (the subject of some rushed merch in the lead-up to the holiday shopping season) and his Mando bud are now on the run from the Imperial Remnant and a whole bunch of bounty hunters.
Chapter 4, titled Sanctuary, was directed by Bryce-Dallas Howard. Her dad Ron Howard directed last year's Solo, so the Force is clearly strong in this family. Beware, spoilers for the fourth episode ahead.
We're just simple villagers here
The episode opens by introducing us to a tranquil fishing village on the backwater planet Sorgan, where things seem to be just peachy until a bunch of Klatoonian raiders burst onto the scene. They wreck the place, stealing the harvest and leaving things in a slightly CGI-looking mess.
While the villagers flee, Omera (Julia Jones) and her daughter Winta (Isla Farris) hide under a fishing basket. When Omera surveys the ruined village, she has the kind of determined expression that suggests she's secretly a badass.
Omera can definitely end some raiders, but the rest of the villagers aren't as capable.Disney
The adorable duo
We rejoin Baby Yoda and his Mando assistant (let's be honest, that's the dynamic we've got now) in the Razor Crest, where the lil' green dude hits a button in the cockpit as Mando flies through space.
"Stop touchin' things," Mando (Pedro Pascal) says, adopting that firm dad tone.
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Baby Yoda continues to look at Mando as he reaches over and hits another button in a moment of beautiful, adorable, perfect defiance. My heart swelled a little bit at this point, but I quickly pushed those feelings down because Game of Thrones (and a lifetime of exposure to toxic masculinity) taught me not to get too attached to anyone.
Calmly moving Baby Yoda to his lap, Mando spots Sorgan on his charts and decides they're gonna hide from the Imperial Remnant's bounty hunters there.
"You ready to lay low and stretch your legs for a couple of months, you little womp rat?" he says. "No one's gonna find us here."
Sorgan offers some safety for our young friend.Disney
Which means they are definitely gonna be found. Silly Mando, don't you know you're in a TV show?
Landing in a clearing on the forested world, Mando firmly tells Baby Yoda to stay in the ship while he checks the area out and finds them lodging. When Mando lowers the cargo bay ramp, he turns to find the little dude right beside him.
"Oh what the hell ... c'mon," he says, and you know his heart is swelling too.
We finally meet Cara Dune in this episode.Disney
Let's get punchy
They arrive at a settlement and enter a shabby tavern, where Baby Yoda looks around in wonder until a Loth-cat gives him a wee fright. We also catch sight of ex-Rebel Alliance shock trooper Cara Dune (Gina Carano), who eyes Mando suspiciously.
He follows her out, asking the barmaid to watch Baby Yoda, and uses his helmet's infrared vision to track her footprints in the dirt. When they suddenly stop, it's pretty obvious that Mando's about to get kicked in the head.
That happens, and the pair get into a nasty brawl (Carano's MMA skillz are put to good use). You know she's ludicrously tough because she punches Mando in his helmeted head and knocks him to the ground, then stops him from using his flamethrower to fry her.
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They both end up on the ground, pointing blasters at each other's heads ... only to have their murder plans interrupted by a slurping observer. Baby Yoda apparently slipped outside to watch, his presence immediately calming the situation.
I'm documenting his every move because I know that's what you're here for. Thank you for reading.
You rebel scum
Cara reveals that most of her service to the Alliance came after the Battle of Endor (so post-Return of the Jedi), hunting down Imperial warlords. When things turned political, she opted for an "early retirement" on Sorgan. She also attacked Mando because she figured he was a bounty hunter coming after her -- some Imperials must still be holding a grudge.
With that exposition done, she declares that Mando and Baby Yoda have to move on -- presumably she doesn't want anyone else hiding out wherever she's lying low.
Back at the Razor Crest, a pair of farmers from Omera's village offer to pay Mando to protect their home. He's all "nah" until they whine about how remote their village is and he realizes it'd be the ideal place for Baby Yoda.
He also recruits Cara (who seems to live in the forest -- how did he find her?!) and they travel to the village, where Winta and the other kids immediately fall in love with the small green fella.
Upon meeting Baby Yoda, Winta and the other kids react exactly like 99.9% of people on the internet.Disney
You've worn that thing for how long?!
Mando soon lets his guard down, letting Winta feed and play with the young'un while he and Omera chat. She noticed that Mando hasn't taken off his helmet at all, even when others are eating around him.
We learn that he hasn't removed his helmet in front of anyone since he was a kid, then confirms what we saw in previous episodes' flashbacks: the Mandalorians took him in after his parents were killed, and he's worn the helmet since.
Omera leaves him to eat and he removes his helmet, but his head remains out of the shot. Gonna go out on a limb and suggest he looks something like this though.
Pedro Pascal plays The Mandalorian, but we may never see his face in the show.Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic via Getty
He's also standing right by a window and kids are playing pretty nearby -- surely one of them might catch a glimpse of his face?
Cara and Mando track the raiders' footprints until they spot a much larger mark left by an AT-ST (All Terrain Scout Transport) -- these criminals have got themselves a sweet Imperial chicken walker.
They tell the villagers it's too much for them to take on, but Omera and company don't want to leave. So they'll have to be trained through the Power of Montage.
Cara suggests the villagers will have to leave, but they decide to fight.Disney
It turns out that Omera is the only one who already knows how to fire a blaster (see? Badass), and Mando is clearly thinking "I heart her" when he sees how good a shot she is. Excellent helmet acting from Pascal.
Mando lays out the plan: He and Cara will draw the raiders to the village, where they'll have dug a deep ditch to act as a trap for the AT-ST. As this is happening, the villagers will use their new leet skills to battle the rest of the goons.
The raiders' AT-ST looks super cool.Disney
Teamwork makes the dream work
The Cara-Mando power duo sneak into the raider camp, where the bad guys are drinking some kind of glowing blue liquid (maybe made from the krill they stole from the village earlier?). Our heroes use their violence abilities to take out a bunch of the raiders and blow up a tent.
The raiders respond by activating the AT-ST, which looks pretty demonic as the red light activates in the cockpit and it rises up to its full height. It follows them back to the village ... but doesn't step into their trap. Darn.
Instead, it fires on the huts from a distance as the other raiders swarm the place on foot. Cara borrows Mando's awesome rifle and rushes into the ditch, in an effort to draw the AT-ST forward.
The AT-ST pilot isn't stupid enough to fall into Cara and Mando's trap. Until he is.Disney
"Come to momma," she says, firing at its cockpit.
It eventually steps into the ditch and collapses, allowing Mando to blow it up with a detonator. As you'd expect, the raiders immediately wuss out when their big gun is gone.
It seems like none of the villagers were killed in all this, which makes the show feel toothless. However, the raiders may not have been trying to do permanent damage -- the village was their meal ticket after all.
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Baby Yoda's happy place
It's been much too long since we've seen Baby Yoda, who was presumably tucked away safely with the kids during the fight. Now that the village is at peace, we find him hunting and preparing to swallow a live frog, but the playfully disgusted reaction of his fellow children convinces him to let it go.
Omera notes that the little dude is happy in the village, and gives Mando those "I like you and should stay" eyes again as she steps away. Cara asks our hero if his fellow Mandalorians will hunt him down and kill him if he takes off his helmet.
"No. You just can't ever put it back on again," he replies.
She suggests that he could settle down in the village with Omera and watch Baby Yoda grow up, which seems like a sweet idea. But his helmet tilt tells us he's way too much of a grizzled man of action for that.
Instead, Mando announces his plan to hit the old dusty trail and leave Baby Yoda in the village, where he'll be safe. I'm not crying, you're crying.
"It's gonna break his little heart," says Cara.
Danger is coming
In the forest, a bounty hunter approaches with a tracker and trains his blaster rifle's scope at the back of an unaware Mando's head. He's distracted by Omera, who's pushing the idea that our hero stay in the village and raise Baby Yoda.
He's clearly emotional about that prospect and Omera tries to remove his helmet (clearly she wants to see if his eyes are as dreamy as Pedro Pascal's), but he stops her -- unknowingly saving himself from a blaster bolt to the back of the head.
"I don't belong here, but he does," says Mando, and a disappointed Omera promises to look after our lil' pal.
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Horrifyingly, the bounty hunter's sights move to Baby Yoda's cherubic face and our lizard brains as his finger tightens on the trigger.
And the bounty hunter drops dead, his torso smoking as Cara Dune stands over him. It's a bit too similar to the beat with IG-11 in the first episode, but we're much more attached to Baby Yoda now.
Mando destroys the tracker, and they know their young friend won't be safe from bounty hunters after all. Cara and Mando part with a badass handshake , and he brings Baby Yoda back to the ship.
Closing thoughts and Easter eggs
- Mando is much chattier in this episode, almost jarringly so. I guess accepting his love for Baby Yoda and fancying Omera will do that.
- Cara has a really cool Rebel Alliance symbol tattoo on her left cheek. It's a little hard to see in the show, but is clearer on Hasbro's excellent action figure.
- The rule about Mandalorians not removing their helmets is new -- in The Clone Wars and Rebels, they took them off pretty liberally. The change is presumably a result of whatever happened to them after the events of Rebels -- we've heard the Great Purge mentioned but know nothing about it.
- The scene where Mando privately removes his helmet subtly echoes the moment when Vader does so in The Empire Strikes Back.
- The Loth-cat that hisses at Baby Yoda is the first we've seen in live-action -- they were a in Rebels.
- This episode makes the Ewoks taking out AT-STs in Return of the Jedi seem even more unlikely. The Ewoks had massive numbers and the home field advantage though.
- Sorgan has two moons -- they're visible just before the training montage in the village.
Check back next Friday for a recap of episode 5.
Originally published Nov. 29.