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Star Wars The Mandalorian Baby Yoda

Star Wars: The Mandalorian - Season One Chapters Ranked

Posted by Steve on January 8, 2020 at 10:16 AM CST


Minor spoilers ahead...

Now that Star Wars: The Mandalorian has completed its first season, we can now focus on what Star Wars fans do best, rank stuff!

Ideally, rankings are a great way to stir up debate and hopefully engage in a healthy discussion about our favorite movies, characters, or in this case, chapters. And with only eight episodes to choose from, there shouldn’t be too much play between people’s lists. But, there’s always a rogue pilot out there looking to mix things up or just have a different take than others.

So, without further ado, here are all eight chapters from Season One of The Mandalorian, from best to worst…in my humble opinion.

Enjoy!

Star Wars The Mandalorian

Chapter 8 – “Redemption”

Directed by Taika Waititi
Written by Jon Favreau


This is probably the unanimous and easiest choice on the list. “Redemption” ends the season in just about the best way possible and leaves us foaming at the mouth for more. Taika Waititi is a visionary, there’s no doubt about that, and he proves it here with his unusual brand of off-beat humor and meticulous photography. And his emotional beats work so well, you start to feel like he doesn’t have any weaknesses.

This episode is beginning to end perfection with inspired performances, memorable gags, and just about one of the best expositions dumps I’ve ever seen from the wonderfully evil Moff Gideon. There isn’t a single bad shot to be found, with enough visual metaphors to shake a gaffi stick at.

And that last shot? Gold Jerry!

DESCRIPTIVE TEXT GOES HERE

Chapter 7 – “The Reckoning”

Directed by Deborah Chow
Written by Jon Favreau


Deborah Chow firmly cements her place in Star Wars and finishes Season One going two-for-two with a tremendous second effort. In “Reckoning” she ratchets up the intensity frame by frame right up until the very last shot, leaving our heroes, and the Child, in just about more trouble than you can imagine.

She adds layers and depth no other director can do and stands as the series MVD (Most Valuable Director). Favreau’s best script this season and Chow makes it sing, providing some of the best moments from this inaugural season, including season best performances from Kuiil and Cara Dune. And, we finally meet the “big bad”, as Moff Gideon makes about the best entrance you can make.

I’m forever grateful to her for the IG-11/Kuiil sequence which is my favorite of the season. “Kenobi” couldn’t be in better hands.

Star Wars The Mandalorian

Chapter 2 – “The Child”

Directed by Rick Famuyiwa
Written by Jon Favreau


This is Rick Famuyiwa’s first crack and he absolutely knocks it out of the park. It took two unbelievable season ending chapters to bump this to third for me, but it stands apart for a few reasons besides being the shortest chapter of the season.

This chapter effectively sold the idea that this show was going to be more than just pew pews…although, there’s certainly some of that. It showed us there was going to be a deep emotional and philosophical side to the series, giving us the gift of the Child, exploring the relationship between all things.

From the Raiders of the Lost Ark inspired Jawa pursuit, to the physically brutal one-on-one with the mudhorn, this episode brings the pain for our Mandalorian punching bag. But, it’s the quiet moments between Din and the Child which had me at hello and the healing scene still gets me. It’s also the best photographed chapter of the season with some of Ludwig’s best work scoring.

Who would have known Jawas could be so weird? Sookah! Sookah!

DESCRIPTIVE TEXT GOES HERE

Chapter 3 – “The Sin”

Directed by Deborah Chow
Written by Jon Favreau


This show is called “The Mandalorian” and Deborah Chow used “The Sin” to remind us why Mandalorians are not to be trifled with. Fans of The Clone Wars were given the gift of the fire when Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni put this chapter together, showing us live-action Mandalorians in a way we never thought possible. That and the Mandalorian puts it all on the line to save his would-be foundling…incredible.

We see what the Mandalorian is made of in “The Sin”, forever setting him on a very dangerous path in order to keep the Child out of the hands of those weirdos. While the first 2/3’s are spent having the Mando wrestle with some demons, the final sequence is a visual spectacle where the phrase “This is the way” becomes consequential for the first time.

Indeed, Dinn Djarin in many ways, is every bit the troubled hero archetype, we love so much. This episode proves that.

This is the way.

Star Wars The Mandalorian

Chapter 1 – “The Mandalorian”

Directed by Dave Filoni
Written by Jon Favreau


I love the cold-open in Chapter One and the ending is ten times that. Favreau lets us know right away that the western motif is alive and well as the “man with no name” makes some new friends and has a good-old fashioned shoot out along the way. Mandalorians, blurrgs, ugnaughts, Bounty Hunter's guild, this episode has it all!

It’s no understatement to say that the stakes were high going into this and pressure on Favreau and Filoni to deliver was tremendous. What they gave us was a near perfect introduction to not only this character, but the world he inhabits, and the current state of things. We learn quickly that this post-Empire world is not for the faint of heart, and they even bring in Werner Herzog as the Client for good measure.

And then, they end the chapter with an incredible IG-11 sequence and a reveal that will be forever talked about, and the universe hasn’t been the same since. We now live in a pre-Baby Yoda and post-Baby Yoda world.

I have spoken.

Star Wars The Mandalorian

Chapter 5 – “The Gunslinger”

Directed by Dave Filoni
Written by Dave Filoni


Favs was given the week off and very few episodes showed us the current state of things better than this chapter, and who better to do that then Dave Filoni. And if not for the lackluster performance of Bobby Cannavale and the all too quick dismissal of Fennec Shand, this chapter would probably rank higher for me. While it doesn't add much to the overall narrative of this season, it does connect to something bigger perhaps more problematic for our Mando, with a shocking ending.

It’s got wonderful world-building, a speeder sequence to die for, and enough Tatooine callbacks to fill a spaceport including banthas, dewbacks, the Dune Sea, Chalmun’s cantina, and a whole lot more. There’s even a Tusken Raider scene which made me very happy as a fan of those crazy nomads!

Amy Sedaris is great as the crazy, but nurturing cat lady Peli Motto (with pit-droids) and Ming-Na Wen’s assassin Fennec Shand is fantastic. Unfortunately, Shand is gone by the episode’s end but her death does leave us with that mysterious end shot which still has folks guessing. Boba Fett? Cad Bane? Moff Gideon?

If this is Filoni’s worst, I can’t wait to see his best.

Star Wars The Mandalorian

Chapter 4 – “Sanctuary”

Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard
Written by Jon Favreau


Much of the talk early on centered on the episodic runtimes, which were too short for some people. This was the first chapter where you felt that affect the actual chapter. “Sanctuary” just had too much story and not enough time to tell it as the characters and concepts (which were good) simply needed room to breathe. The chapter feels rushed, the interactions felt too convenient, and the big reveal was mishandled.

This chapter for me is saved by two things, an incredible sequence involving an AT-ST and Julia Jones playing the part of local Sorgan-ite Omera with wonderful ease and sensibility. A bit disappointing was the mishandled introduction of Cara Dune, who wasn’t given much to say or do. Luckily for us, that wasn’t her only appearance and Gina Carano would get the opportunity later to show us what she’s capable of.

I really do think Bryce Dallas Howard did the best she could with the script she was given, a rare blip on the radar for Favreau. In the end, even the temptress archetype wasn't enough to keep me interested after it was over.

But that AT-ST shot though right? Good stuff.

Star Wars The Mandalorian

Episode 6 - "The Prisoner"

Directed by Rick Famuyiwa
Written by Christopher Yost


I know this chapter ranks higher on most other lists, but “The Prisoner” just didn’t work for me and really kind of stands out for all the wrong reasons. Rick Famuyiwa shoots it well, creating a sense of claustrophobia, turning the prison ship into a nightmare scenario, but it comes down to character work for me.

I had no love or interest for these characters minus Zero, and I’ll never understand what people see in Bill Burr. And shoehorning in the directors at the end, playing a New Republic X-Wing squad, while fun, felt flat and uninspired. It also raises too many questions about the New Republic’s tactics and methods. Shoot first I guess?

It only confuses the Mandalorian’s “no-kill” policy which has been all over the map from the beginning, but here’s absolutely a situation where killing these people makes sense. So, leaving them alive must mean we see them again down the road?

I was hoping the show would employ some sci-fi concepts, borrowing from classics such as Alien or 2001, but this isn’t it. The script by Christopher Yost just had too many head-scratchers for my taste and the only hope is that any threads pulled get some pay-off in Season Two.

So, that's my list, how about yours? Did you have anything else at the top? Am I totally whack to have Chapter Six at the bottom? Let me know!

Till next time...MTFBWY.


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