Cataline Recommends: The Mandalorian

Boba Fett was easily the most pointlessly squandered character of the Lucas years. He was first introduced to us, riding a swamp dinosaur during the cartoon segment of the infamous Christmas Special. We all knew who he was when first saw him live on the bridge of the Executer getting told by Vader, (very specific to him), “no disintegrations!” And the interesting thing is, we never heard his name spoken in Empire once. Yet, we all knew that this mysterious bounty hunter was named Boba Fett.

The last we saw of him he was being turned into a belch joke because Lucas had lost his fastball and could no longer tell good from shit. That was it for Boba Fett, all set up and no payoff. A terrifying harbinger of the horrors to come.

George apparently came to regret this decision. Jango Fett faired better than his son as a screen presence but here too Lucas got it wrong.

The real attraction of Boba Fett was mystery. He was a new iteration of Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name. A bounty hunter, who was also a man in an iron mask. Sure, I loath Abram’s “mystery box,” but mystery has its place in storytelling.

Just imagine Clint Eastwood riding out of town. His poncho flapping around him in a high breeze, a thin cigar clenched between his teeth and a hard squint in his eyes.

Random Townsman (slowly shaking his head): We never found out his name. He saved us all and we never found out his name.

Town Barber: It’s Carl.

Random Townsman: What?

Town Barber: He said his name was “Carl”. I asked him when I was giving him a trim.

Random Townsman: Carl huh? Carl. Maybe it’s as well that he’s leaving.

Boba Fett was wrecked as a character years ago, so it’s a good thing that he is not the title character in The Mandalorian.

The start of this new series resets aura of mystery that surrounded the first Mandalorian we ever saw.

The number one question on everyone’s mind is, does it feel like Star Wars? The answer is yes.

Yes, it feels like Dave Filoni Star Wars. That comes with some minuses but the pluses outweigh them.

Unlike any of the monstrosities created by Kathleen Kennedy. There is love for Star Wars at the heart of this show. That’s the big thing here. Genuine affection for the movies we saw as kids.

The show starts out with some very bad types about to cut up a Blue Creature from the Black Lagoon for his very valuable glands. The Mandalorian interrupts them by walking into the bar. The bad guys decide to menace him for a bit and get the shit beaten out of them for it. He is now way out in front of Boba Fett in the ass-kicking department. One of them gets snipped in half when the door irises shut. The Cantina Gore is back…in spirit anyway, this property is still owned by Disney. You saw all of this in the trailer.

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This was sort of a Save the Cat scene. Have the good guy do something randomly nice so the audience will like him. The Blue Creature from the Black Lagoon starts thanking Mando (I think he literally doesn’t have name a yet) profusely. Mando throws a bounty puck on the table and the BCFTBL’s appears with his bounty over it in hologram form. He goes quietly (well not quietly, he babbles constantly, mostly about how he has money and really, really doesn’t want to go to jail). Mando doesn’t seem to care. Just as his ship is taking off it is attacked by some under the ice sea monster and Mando used the tuning fork rifle from the Christmas Special cartoon to zap it away.

This is the only time he lived up to his rep

The Christmas Special actually gets a reference here a second time as the Blue Creature from the Black Lagoon laments the fact that he probably won’t be home for Life Day. I don’t know if this was an easter egg or slap in the face for George Lucas.

Then Mando freezes him, thus shutting him up. This also helped win the audience’s affection as he was annoying as hell.

Mando then goes to another gritty bar, (the Mos Eisley grit is back as well). And tries to collect his bounties from Carl Weathers. Carl slaps some credits on the table. Mando is pissed because Carl is trying to pay him in Imperial Credits and the Empire is gone.

Nice bit of set up there. We now know that this is a post-empire, pre-First Order period. Also, it’s our first hint of what is likely to come of a post-Kathleen Kennedy Star Wars. The Third Trilogy is going to remain canon but waaaay off in the future for a while. At least until the SJWs get bored with defending it and then it will be quietly swept under the carpet, like an unwanted roach carcass.

Anyway, the Empire is gone but it’s clearly not all happiness and light on galactic rim. With the fall of the Imperial order has come chaos.

Carl tells him about another bounty but this one isn’t standard. It’s a private contract. Mando goes to see the contractor. When the door opens, there is a fire team of Imperial Stormtroopers waiting to greet him. Then we see them in a better light and the Stormtrooper armor is all dirty and dingy. The Empire is gone and these former soldiers are having to hire out as mercenaries. Nice touch.

Werner Herzog is the client and can give Mando very little information other than the Asset’s ID number and a transponder. He offers to pay Mando in Mandalorian steel, which is sacred to them. Mando takes the job and goes to see another Mandalorian. This one is an armorsmith. They speak of Mandalorian concerns and you get the general idea that the Expanded Universe is being brought back after having been banished by the incompetent morons that Disney put in charge of Lucasfilm.

The Mandolorian has so far been very big on “show don’t tell.”

I am not going to recap the whole episode. I just told you enough to give you a general feel for it.

Hopefully this a sign of better things to come. Pairing the inexperienced (in live-action) Dave Filioni with older man/guiding hand Jon Favreau makes good sense if Disney is planning a serious regime change after the inevitable disaster that will be The Rise of Soywalker.

Does it make me feel like a little boy sitting in a theater in 1977 again? No, of course not, nothing will ever make me feel that good again. But I think that Cataline the Younger would be freaked out by it

In Rudyard Kipling’s, The Jungle Book there is a phrase, “We be of one blood, ye and I”. We belong to the same tribe.

The Last Jedi said, “We hate you and want you to go away. The next one is already saying, ‘We are trying too hard and we just want your money’. Here the Mandolorian is saying, ‘this is by Star Wars nerds for Star Wars nerds.’ “We be of one blood, ye and I”.

When the Armorer is presented with the Mandalorian Steel she says, “this was gathered in the Great Purge. It is good is back with the tribe.” You couldn’t help but feel she was talking about the Galaxy far, far away.

Cataline Recommends with Confidence.

I am perfectly aware that The Mandalorian is only legally available, on Disney Plus. However, I am only recommending the series itself.

How you view it is up to you. My religion discourages me from passing judgement on others.

And no lectures about my supporting The Enemy, please. My reviews would look pretty stupid if they consisted of nothing but; “I never saw it and I don’t like it.” Besides I got my subscription during the D23 weekend which is a major loss leader for Disney. Mickey the Great and Terrible is locked into losing money on me for the next three years.

6 thoughts on “Cataline Recommends: The Mandalorian

  1. Cataline
    The last we saw of him he was being turned into a belch joke because Lucas had lost his fastball and could no longer tell good from shit.

    i’ve watched outtakes of the first cut of Star Wars, before Marcia saved it in edit. Lucas always thought shit was good. the dialogue in the Clones ‘lurv’ scenes and stepping in dookie is George at his purest, worse than Ewoks and Endor.

    Lucas has zero chops for narrative and fine story detail, his expertise is the visual FX. kind of like Jew Jew in that way.

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  2. “Respect the aged and infirm!” the crocodile also says in the second Jungle Books, begging any and all passing prey to step closer in sympathy. I’ll stand back with the Nitro Express or the Mark XIX blaster at the ready. Never trust a Devil Mouse when it wants to be friendly.

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  3. Your review is encouraging, but at this point I don’t think it’s possible to reverse the damage that Kennedy did with the sequel trilogy. They could have done so many cool things, but all they gave us was a woke remake of the original film, a side story that makes no sense without the original film’s context, the worst Star Wars production ever (yes, TLJ is worse than the Holiday Special), a show no one cares about, and movie which is supposedly decent but that I refuse to pay to watch. Oh, and they deployed the Lady Ghostbusters playbook against the fans as a rebuttal.

    The show looks cool, but I want Mouse Wars to fail more than I want to watch it.

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  4. This is the best tv series I’ve seen in years. Fun, well made, respectful of the source and full of good surprises. I almost forgive then for the sequels.

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  5. The “Carl” bit was inspired, sir. I enjoyed that so much I’m envious I didn’t write it.
    I suspect George Lucas, had we been a writer of spaghetti westerns, would have written your Carl bit verbatim, then fired anyone who said “maybe less is more on the dialogue.”

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