Mando (Pedro Pascal) is in a tricky spot at the start of Chapter 3: The Sin. It’s time to hand The Child (AKA internet sensation Baby Yoda) over to the Client (Werner Herzog), but the bounty hunter isn’t sure of his sinister employer’s intentions for the poor creature. A man surrounded by Stormtroopers is surely no friend, but its in the Guild code to not ask questions. In the end, the promise of a large amount of Bheskar Steel pushes Mando over the edge: he needs it, the Mandalorians need it, and it’s all part of the job. It’s a somber way to start this third installment and I have to give credit to director Deborah Chow (who will helm next year’s Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off series) and the actor physically playing Mando (be them Pascal himself or a talented stunt double) for portraying the anguish in the character. You almost forget that he looks like an action figure.
A lot of Chapter 3: The Sin feels like call-backs to Chapter 1: The Mandalorian, with Mando completing his job for the Client, taking on a new job from Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and getting a new set of armour courtesy of the Armourer (Emily Swallow). It’s a nice parallel and a delight to see more of the city these characters explore, which feels like a great extension of the universe we saw in the original Star Wars. It’s dark, grimy and filled with the scum of the universe. There are a few more glimpses of Mando’s past, and while I suspect we’ll see this sequence in full at a later date, I was intrigued by the inclusion of a Super Battle Droid from the Star Wars prequels.
But alas, Mando’s broody personality has to break its cold shell, and if Baby Yoda can’t do it, who can? He decides to launch a break-in and take The Child away from the clutches of the Stormtroopers (the Client, meanwhile, having disappeared). Thus, we get an extended action sequence that wouldn’t seem out-of-place in a Star Wars feature film, with Mando battling a small army of Stormtroopers and then a horde of bounty hunters in the streets, before being rescued by his Mandalorian brethren and escaping. Quite where he goes from here though, we’ll have to see.
The sequence is a bold showcase of what The Mandalorian, as a show has to offer, and I was impressed – even if the murky cinematography made it a little unclear what was going on at points. I appreciate its consistency with Star Wars spin-offs Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story, but I could do with it being a bit clearer and more colourful, as it would make the on-screen action more visible. Chow does a great job directing this sequence though, which manages to feel both large in scale but also very intimate, keeping us invested in Mando and The Child through plenty of expressive close-ups. The effects work was strong throughout, and there was an appropriate range of blaster fire, a small-scale flamethrower and an electrical charge from Mando’s rifle. It’s great Star Wars popcorn fun and if Chow can take these skills into the Obi Wan series, I look forward to seeing it.
Chapter 3: The Sin is certainly the most impressive episode of The Mandalorian so far; suitably underwritten by showrunner Jon Favreau but serving a great extended action set-piece. It’s not as fun or silly as Chapter 2: The Child, and it feels tighter and more focused than Chapter 1: The Mandalorian, but also reminded me of how well the first installment has set the stage for the show. I’m looking forward to seeing where the show goes from here…