TV Review: “The Mandalorian” Chapter 4 – “Sanctuary”

Like a lot of series from the Golden Age of Television, the Disney+ live-action Star Wars effort The Mandalorian is heavily serialized, but the fourth episode (entitled “Chapter 4 – Sanctuary”) represents what this show might be like if it were a long-running episodic titles in the vein of the late-1970s The Incredible Hulk or the David Carradine-starring Kung Fu.

On the lam from the Bounty Hunters Guild, the Imperial remnant led by Werner Herzog’s as-yet-unnamed character The Client, and pretty much everyone else in the Outer Rim, the Mandalorian (played by Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal) and the Child– heck, let’s just give in and call him Baby Yoda until we’re told otherwise– find their way to an off-the-beaten-path backwater planet called Sorgan in an effort to hide away for a little while.

After a tussle outside a local watering hole, our protagonist befriends a fellow mercenary named Cara Dune (Gina Carano of Deadpool), a former Rebel Alliance soldier looking for a place to disappear in the new galactic order after the fall of the Empire. In demand as muscle-for-hire, the two manage to land gigs as protectors of a nearby peaceful krill-farming village with a Klatooinian raider problem.

When the mercs discover that the raiders have somehow managed to take control of an ex-Imperial AT-ST Walker, they decide to help the villagers train to fight alongside them and take down their aggressors once and for all. During their time in the tranquil encampment, the Mandalorian becomes the object of a peasant woman’s (Westworld’s Julia Jones) desires, and we learn a little bit more about the responsibilities and consequences of wearing– not to mention removing– that distinctive armor.

Meanwhile, Baby Yoda is fitting in quite well among the resident children, living a relatively quiet country life during the month or so they spend on this world, with the major exception being the large-scale ground battle that makes up this episode’s climax. It’s enough to make the Mandalorian decide to leave the Child behind and head off on his own once again, until another bounty hunter shows up and shatters that illusion.

It’s an exciting and touching chapter, though as far as overarching plot goes, “Sanctuary” could probably be removed entirely from this season’s sequencing without causing too much confusion were it not for the introduction of Cara Dune, who I’m guessing will continue to factor in as a supporting player later on down the line, considering we’ve seen her in different locations in the official trailers. Dune is an interesting personality and presented in many ways as the Mandalorian’s equal in combat, which should prove useful should her talents become needed again, or if she should perhaps find herself fighting on an opposing side.

The end of this episode puts us at the halfway point for The Mandalorian’s premiere batch of episodes, which is probably why it feels a bit like the eye of the storm as far as the narrative action is concerned. With four installments remaining, we still don’t know where the characters are headed or what the Baby Yoda situation’s endgame might look like– which is appropriate as it’s apparent the characters don’t, either. Though it does seem likely that another confrontation with the Client is in the cards, and we still haven’t encountered Giancarlo Esposito’s character Moff Gideon yet. What destinations will these travelers come upon between now and then? We’ll have to wait at least another week to find out.

The Mandalorian Chapter 4 – “Sanctuary” is now available to stream on Disney+.

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