The Mandalorian is the Legend of Zelda of television series.
In The Legend of Zelda, you have to save the princess, right? To do this, you have to go into a dungeon but, before you do that, you have to complete a series of tasks to get into that dungeon that range from finding creature living in a forest to buying a shield so you can leave your village and, once you’ve done that, you have to unlock a door inside the dungeon by finding a key which you can only get by defeating a miniboss and then, once you’ve unlocked that door, there’s a chest on a platform that you can’t reach unless you find the hidden special item in the dungeon and, hopefully, that chest contains the Boss Key so that you can finally fight the dungeon boss and rescue the princess.
In a video game, that works… in a television series, it’s incredibly frustrating for me. I like forward progression and, with The Mandalorian, is often feels like the show is spinning its wheels waiting for the three or four episodes a season where it actually does something with the plot.
By no means am I insinuating that “The Believer” is a bad episode because it is not by any measure, but it is also, aside from a few character moments, inconsequential. An episode that could have nearly been struck from the entire season and it wouldn’t have affected the overall plot to find a Jedi or rescue Grogu one bit.
If anything, it seems like The Mandalorian is a baiter, enticing fans to come back for the more important episodes that they super pinkie-promise will come later.
I will say again, because I can feel you all lighting those torches and sharpening the pitchforks, that “The Believer” is not a bad episode. As a character piece, it’s fairly solid. I’m always happy to see Bill Burr do, let’s face it… anything because the man is a gift (and if you have never watched F is For Family, you really need to) and to see a character who, quite frankly, was a little one-note last we saw him evolve right in front of our eyes was pretty decent writing.
Seeing Mando make the decision to remove his helmet in front of other was also a fairly big deal, showing that his love for Grogu has grown above and beyond the dogma he’s been hammered with ever since he was a boy though, I do have to wonder why he bothers having that perfectly manicured moustache under that helmet he never takes off.
As for the episode, aside from a few philosophical discussions and an interesting moment where we find ourselves humanizing the stormtroopers who are immediately killed later, the episode was, you guessed it, full of pew-pew-pew and pow-pow-pow but, as I’ve said in the past, that’s just The Mandalorian. If I wanted more complex storytelling, I’d be watching Star Trek which I do and, when I want action, I watch The Mandalorian. It’s the best of both worlds.
Frustrating as it may be, I still just adore this series.