Before I decided to begin writing Star Wars reviews, I listened to an episode of the Force Material podcast, interviewing Korean-Canadian Kim’s Convenience headliner Paul Sun-Hyung Lee. The actor boasted that during production on The Mandalorian Season 1, his friend Deborah Chow invited him to visit Lucasfilm, as Mando executive producer Dave Filoni directed Chapter 5: “The Gunslinger”. Chow informed Lee that Filoni loved Kim’s Convenience so much, that he decided to offer Lee a role in a future Mandalorian episode. File both that role, and Chapter 10 as a whole, under “small, but important,” for now.
Brief Thoughts on Chapter 9
- 9. The Marshal: Some endearing new allies for Din helped this chapter satisfy my starvation for a new Mandalorian adventure.
Airdate: November 6, 2020
Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Jon Favreau
I thought honoring one’s word was a part of the Mandalorian code.
Din Djarin makes a deal with a so-called “Frog Lady” (Misty Rosas in the suit, Dee Bradley Baker providing vocals), transporting her and her un-fertilized eggs to her husband in exchange for access to a Mandalorian covert. Their flight in the Razor Crest gets intercepted by New Republic Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), and X-Wing pilot Trapper Wolf (Dave Filoni), who recognize Din as an accomplice in Qin’s escape from Bothan-Five – as shown in Chapter 6: “The Prisoner”. When the Razor Crest crash-lands on an icy planet, Din, the Child, and Frog Lady struggle to survive freezing conditions, and the Child’s insatiable appetite, until Din can repair his ship.
Thanks to Ant-Man and Ant-Man and The Wasp, the newer half of my exposure to Peyton Reed’s filmography consists of comedic thrillers, exploring stresses and joys of parenting. (The other half includes sexy comedies Bring It On and Down With Love, the latter of which has a Star Wars connection through Ewan McGregor’s leading part.) Din acts especially fatherly towards the Child in this chapter, which begins with him demonstrating a clever new technique for fending off kidnappers, and constantly follows his struggles to keep the kid out of trouble – and away from Frog Lady’s apparently-succulent eggs. The clan’s bond feels strongest when they share a conversation consisting of both English and baby talk – although as someone who praised The Mandalorian‘s ability to convey emotions and plot points without dialogue, the thought of the clan regularly sharing such chats will take a while to get used to. Frog Lady demonstrates some agency in ensuring her own clan’s survival, from earning the trust of the clan’s best friend on Tatooine, to overcoming the language barrier between herself and Din. The climax delivers the intended scares, while building off earlier plot points.
While Carson Teva only appears twice in this episode, he still shows some strides in The Mandalorian‘s department of Asian representation. Among all the named human Star Wars characters I’ve seen portrayed by Asian-descended performers, he seems like the first one to rank highly in his respective affiliation. He also doesn’t seem evil at all – although when Chapter 4: “Sanctuary” cast Asif Ali and Eugene Cordero as defensive farmers Caben and Stoke, they beat Lee to becoming the first Asian-descended performers to portray Mandalorian characters worthy of such a compliment.
Admittedly, I wondered if this would make an odd choice for the first Mandalorian chapter I’d review in depth; it might not break my top five favorites. For the second week in a row, the plot didn’t progress much, aside from Din apparently gaining backup for a later fight. Said backup doesn’t have as much depth as that he gained in Chapter 9: “The Marshal”, but only speaking relatively. I still look forward to Chapter 11, albeit through a combination of both curiosity about the covert, and anxiousness for something really important to happen. “The Passenger” delivers both an enjoyable detour, and a test of the viewer’s patience.
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