Main cast: Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian), Gina Carano (Cara Dune), Julia Jones (Omera), Isla Farris (Winta), Asif Ali (Caben), and Eugene Cordero (Stoke)
Director: Bryce Dallas Howard
Wait, Bryce Dallas Howard directed this episode? How did that come about? Who’s next to show up in the director seat – Rachel Weisz? This whole thing feels quite random.
I mention direction because, as per IMDB tells me, this episode is Ms Howard’s first full-length, non-documentary small screen directorial effort, and I am not surprised. I look this up once the episode ends, because the entire thing feels like a patchwork of scenes taken from two different shows. Sometimes it feels really bland and dull. Then, all of a sudden the enemies show up and things go straight to the polar opposite end, to become over the top campy. Then, things become more sedate again, and repeat and rinse.
Sanctuary begins with a scene composed of clichés. Simple, happy villagers all dressed in the same uniform doing the mostly same things – are we on Planet Yanggang or Bernieville? – while the future generations of socialists play around until the trees begin to rustle and the earth begins to shake. Oh no, a
T-Rex AT-ST! A girl screams for her mother. The bad guys charge looting and destroying all in their path. Yawn.
Meanwhile, after the events of the last episode, Mandy plans to find a sparsely populated planet with no space ports, for him to lay low with Baby Yoda for a few months or so, until the, er, drama of the previous episode dies down a bit.
As an aside, Baby Yoda really looks like an animatronic here. Maybe it’s due to the camera angles or lighting, and if this is the case, this seems to be another case of the episode direction that could have been improved. Wait… is that a mic at the corner of the screen? Okay, what happened to the post-production work as well? This is easily the least polished episode so far, in the sense that I am bored enough to notice these things.
Anyway, Mandy opts to land at Yanggang Planet, which puts him in the fabulous position of having to defend Bernieville from the raiders in order to get them to take him and Baby Yoda in for a while. Baby Yoda meanwhile displays an inability to follow simple instructions such as stay still, don’t touch, oh god. Oh, and there’s Cara Dunne, a big strong woman whose sole misfortune is having Gina Carano play her. Ms Carano looks like a kick-ass warrior, yes, but she is as robotic as Mandy’s appearance. So far there is no sign of her and Mandy getting all ooh and aah together anytime soon; he’s more into the mother of that wretched girl in the opening scene, although he still isn’t taking that helmet off, sigh.
As for Mandy, he’s a little too sarcastic and quip-happy here, compared to him in previous episodes, so there’s something off about him here, kind of like seeing a normally dour person one day talking like he’s auditioning for a Joss Whedon show. It shouldn’t be this way, as Jon Favreau is still the writer here, but… I don’t know, maybe he was in a chipper mood when this episode happened.
Also, despite having suffered a raid recently, the villagers are still going all la-la-la Yang Gang la-la-la a thousand a month for all right there in the open, and the kids run up to strangers without a second thought. Why are we saving these people again? They don’t even take measures to defend themselves! Let selective evolution do its job and wipe out the idiots!
Sure, there are some action scenes late in the episode, but these scenes are ruined by the fact that all that coolness is wasted on a bunch of useless hippie socialists. Plus, for the most part the episode just plods on and on like some Middle-Earth version of a Panasonic commercial – all that is missing is Sarah Brightman going all “Shall be done, done, done!” on everyone – while Mandy acts like he’s high on some kind of drug that makes him more sarcastic than usual.
If third’s the charm, then fourth’s the dud. Sanctuary is unworthy to be part of what has been to date a very watchable series.