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Every time an episode of The Mandalorian lands, Fantha Tracks will be giving their responses, and here are our initial gut feelings, deep dives and thoughts on the fifth episode – Chapter 5: The Gunslinger. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.

Paul Naylor

Now this is more like it…. Chapter 5 of The Mandalorian was a treat for fans of all eras. If you haven’t seen it, Mando visits a familiar planet, instantly recognisable droids, a much loved location and…Ellen Ripley! Watch it and you’ll get the reference.

Mando hooks up with a new sidekick, a cocky young chap who blended elements of Han and Luke, but more so for me Dash Rendar from Shadows of the Empire. It all would have fit so well into that lineage. Next up, great speeder bike cinematography that at times was like watching Easy Rider. Speeder bikes have come a long way since the Return of the Jedi. This series is so cinematic.

More nods to the original trilogy followed, with beasts of burden and a camera shot that took me right back to a TOPPs trading card from 1978. If you see it, you’ll know.

A bounty hunter is tracked, another is double-crossed and Baby Yoda makes a guest appearance. But the episode ended on something of a cliffhanger, with a mysterious figure picking up in the tracker that will inevitably lead to an encounter in Chapter 6.

I can’t wait to see who the much debated character is, but I believe it will be a crowd pleaser.

Greig Robertson

This episode had me jumping out of my chair and goosebumps running up my arms! Having visited one of the locations featured in this episode last year with one of my brothers in the force, it really moved me. So many incredible things in this episode for fans of the saga which I won’t go into for fear of spoiling this for anyone who hasn’t had the luck to see it as yet.

Another great episode directed by the legend Dave Filoni that has me counting the days until Chapter 6. Thanks to Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, Christmas has really come early this year! HOT DANG!!!

Mark Newbold

For fear of casting any kind of shadow on prior episodes of The Mandalorian or past or future film and TV shows THIS IS WHAT WE WANT!

A familiar planet –  VERY familiar planet – soon becomes our destination in a sequence of events much like The Phantom Menace, and as Mando and child land and get repairs done to the Razor Crest, once again we’re living the Star Wars life. Travelling from planet to planet, looking for work, trying to find the right currency to pay for coaxium, repairs, food and board (clearly there’s no no currency exchange system in the Star Wars galaxy) and making ends meet while keeping your bucketed head on your beskar-armoured shoulders.

Indeed, this episode has so many deeply satisfying nods and easter eggs it’s undoubtedly a distraction on first viewing (check out our weekly The Mandalorian – The Guide for all of those hidden treasures) but as always that second viewing reveals plenty more about the episode.

Life out here is tough, and knowing who to trust is even harder. We’re introduced to a cocky but green young wannabe bounty hunter and an assassin with a lethal reputation, To spoil the denouement of that encounter would be selfish for those who have yet to watch, but suffice to say this is the GFFA, where nothing is guaranteed.

So many great moments, nostalgic throwbacks, smart detail and world building in the sense of showing us just how cut throat and transitory a life on the hyperspace lanes can be. In a galaxy teeming with worlds and life, that anyone ever goes back to a planet again after visiting once is remarkable. In the case of this particular world, I’m itching to get back there again.

Friday’s simply can’t come round fast enough.

Dave Tree

Episode 5, a reference throwdown that will have sadly overshadowed the story. Still, it worked for me and opportunity to spotlight Pit Droids and EV-9D9-like units are what make the series enjoyable. Given the snobbery to The Prequels, I never thought I would ever see the neat concept of Pit Droids ever again.

Although folks minds possibly exploded seeing Tusken Raiders up close like that, they kind of looked awkward and unconvincing based on what we have seen before. The Ellen Ripley (great spot @Paul Naylor) monologging to what was around her (Pit Droids, Yodaling) was a nice throwback to Ewok movies.

My main worry, particularly with this episode, is the shoehorning of references at the expense of expanding or driving the story forward. Missed opportunity in this episode of Garindan and a snoot flute.

Brian Cameron

Wuher:  “Hey! We don’t serve their kind here!”
Luke: “What?”
Wuher:  “Your droids. They’ll have to wait outside. We don’t want them here.”

For people who hate droids like me, Wuher was a Star Wars legend.  His bar a place of refuge in another wise droid filled world.  How nice it would be to sit back and relax away from the irritations of droids like C-3PO, and the beeping of astromech, to watch people taking pot shots at each other from across the table, and creatures having their arms decapitated.  What a glorious place to be.  RUINED.  How could you Dave Filoni, how could you…

Just a short few years after the glorious moment from A New Hope, Wuher’s bar has been turned into some kind of modern day wine bar.  Droids serving from behind the bar, and not a bounty hunter guild in site.  No much wonder the bar was deeply down in trade.  I blame Droidexit.  I can only dream that Wuher has gone up in the world and now run’s Jabba’s Palace as an out of town super pub.

Beyond the sacrilege done in my former Mos Eisley home from home, the episode lumbered a little.  It was nice to see little prequel elements like the pit droids, granted it was fun seeing them shot at too… but there was also lots of little fan service moments that served the plot well.  The Tusken’s sneaking up from behind, a direct parallel to Luke’s own moment in the original Star Wars.

Jake Cannavale debuts as a non-guild bounty hunter, sitting in Han’s seat where Greedo did or did not shoot first.  He didn’t connect to me, a poor man’s Han, and even a poor Dash Rendar.  The short lived Fennec Shand, portrayed by Ming-Na Wen, was much more interesting however.   It was a shame she lasted so little time on screen.  As for the ending, with the tease of a big reveal.  Will it be Boba Fett returning, or just Bill Burr?  The payoff will be important on this one, as the series slowed too much with Episode Five and needs a fresh blast into space.