The Mandalorian’s latest chapter, “The Gunslinger,” is finally here, and not only does it contain plenty more Baby Yoda, but it’s got a plethora of awesome Easter eggs for Star Wars fans everywhere.
So what happened in this latest chapter? How awesome was it? More importantly, who is “The Gunslinger?” Let’s recap.
We pick up not too long after The Mandalorian’s departed from Sorgan at the end of the previous chapter. We meet our titular hero and the Child as they’re pursued by an unnamed bounty hunter. The hunter successfully tags The Mandalorian’s ship several times, and for a brief moment things look bleak, but after hearing the hunter use his line, “I can take you in cold, or I can take you in warm,” The Mandalorian literally blasts him to bits.
With his ship barely functional, he takes it to a nearby planet, but it’s not just any planet. It’s Tatooine: the home planet of one Luke Skywalker.
There, he meets a mechanic played by an unrecognizable Amy Sedaris – yeah THE Amy Sedaris. The Mandalorian asks her if she can repair his ship. She agrees, but unfortunately he doesn’t have enough credits to pay her. He gives her as much as he can and then sets off to find some local “work.”
Enter Toro Calican, a newbie bounty hunter looking for his first big job. At a nearby saloon, he encounters The Mandalorian, and tells him about an elite mercenary, named Fenned Shand, hiding out on the planet. Shand is played by Ming-Na Wen, who we also know as May from Agents of Shield! Toro asks The Mandalorian to help him track Shand down, and tells him that he can keep the reward because he only needs her to finally be allowed entry into The Guild.
The Mandalorian reluctantly agrees, but tells Toro to gather two speeder bikes and then meet him at the hangar where his ship is being repaired.
A little while later, the two depart, and here is where the series really does start to trigger the Star Wars nostalgia. Not only do we see the two ride the sands of Tatooine on speeder bikes, but they even meet Tusken Raiders, and bargain with them in exchange for safe passage through the desert.
Eventually, the two of them encounter Shand in the desert after she lures them to a trap. While she fails at killing them, she still forces them into a corner. Realizing that they’re at a disadvantage, The Mandalorian decides that the two should wait until nightfall that way they can maintain some element of surprise. When the suns go down, they successfully attack and subdue Shand. In the process though, one of the speeder bikes is damaged. With no other way for all three of them to get back to the hangar, The Mandalorian decides leave Toro and Shand alone to wrangle a stray dewback he saw in the desert earlier.
While alone with Toro though, Shand tells him who The Mandalorian truly is says that he and the Child would be worth more to The Guild than her. Convinced, Toro agrees to let Shand go, but instead stuns her, leaving her for dead in the desert. He then makes his way back to the hangar to find the Child and lure The Mandalorian.
Not too long after, The Mandalorian finally makes his way back to Shand, sees her body, and realizes Toro’s true intentions, before heading back to confront him. When he arrives to the hangar, Toro threatens to harm the Child unless The Mandalorian cuffs himself and agrees to turn himself in. The Mandalorian initially agrees, but manages to outsmart Toro before ultimately stunning him.
After ensuring the Child’s safety, The Mandalorian takes the credits from Toro’s stunned body and uses them to pay for the ship’s repairs. He then boards the ship and heads back off towards his next adventure.
However, before the credits roll we see an unknown figure approach Shand’s unconscious body in the desert, hinting that we have definitely not seen the last of her.
This chapter had a lot to unpack! But it wasn’t without error. Some of the writing was admittedly bad, particularly 90% of the things that came out of Toro’s mouth, as well as the final showdown between he and The Mandalorian. It was far from climactic.
Also, while this chapter delivered a satisfying story as a whole, and while it may have been layered with tons of fun Star Wars throwbacks, it still felt repetitive. At this point in the show, we know that there is no other objective for The Mandalorian but to find a safe place for he and the Child to lay low. Up until this chapter, it hasn’t really felt like there was too much going on in the background. Yes, the Empire and The Guild are after the Child, but that’s it. Here though, with the introduction of Fennec Shand, and especially that final shot of the mysterious figure towering over her, it finally feels things are picking up. And I know I said that about the previous chapter, but this time I really mean it!
Personally, I think Shand is “The Gunslinger” the title refers to. It’s the only thing that makes sense considering Toro was way too much of an amateur. As I said before though, we’ll just have to continue along The Mandalorian’s journey to find out for sure.