The Mandalorian (1×07 and 1×08)- “The Reckoning/Redemption”
Written by: Jon Favreau
Directed by: Deborah Chow (1×07) Taika Waititi (1×08)
Time to wrap up Season One… That was fast.
Mando’s on the way somewhere when he receives a message from Greef asking for help… Instead of deleting the message like I might (I don’t make the best decisions when I’m angry… or when I’m not angry, spending years Star Trek Voyager alone proves that.) he listens. It seems The Client has brought an Imperial garrison to Nevarro and the crackdown has not only hurt the city but the guild as well. If Mando agrees to come help them break the occupation force, Greef will clear up Mando’s little “Every Bounty hunter in the GFFA is after him” problem.
Mando makes a quick trip back to Sorgan to enlist the help of Cara Dune. She’s not exactly receptive until he mentions it’s an Imperial warlord he’s going up against. Mando then returns to Arvala-7 (the planet he found The Child on) and enlists the help of Kuiil. Kuiil is a bit more receptive but Mando isn’t since Kuiil salvaged IG-11 (the bounty hunter droid Mando encountered there) and reprogrammed it, and judging by the montage most of the reprogramming was the old-fashioned way. Mando eventually agrees… very grudgingly and the group makes their way to Nevarro.
On their way to Nevarro, Mando and Cara are engaging in some friendly arm wrestling and The Child reacts badly. About this badly to be accurate:
Kuiil is intrigued and thinks he understands what is going on but doesn’t explain. Mando asks him to improve the child’s bassinette but Kuiil does him one better by building a new one. Up in the cockpit, Cara and Mando are discussing the mission and she lays a huge jinx on the whole thing by saying the job should be easy.
They meet up with Greef in the lava fields outside of the city and after some posturing they make camp for the night. As they’re eating dinner they’re attacked by some flying creatures and Greef is injured badly. They don’t have enough medpacks to help but The Child helps Greef with The Force.
The next morning the group arrives at the outskirts of town and Greef wipes out his own men. He explains that he planned to double-cross Mando, but it’s pretty hard to double-cross people when they’ve just save your life. They come up with a new plan, Greef and Cara take Mando to the Client while Kuiil returns to the ship with The Child.
They arrive at The Client’s safehouse and he starts monologuing but he’s interrupted by a call from an Imperial named Moff Gideon. Shortly before Moff Gideon interrupts himself by shooting up the place. They try to get word to Kuiil to bail out but the Imperials are monitoring communications and two scout troopers get to him and take the child and that’s where the episode ends…
This episode picks up with the two Scout Troopers that captured The Child at the end of last episode. They call in to command with the success (and act like real jerks to the kid) while they await instruction. They kind of act like walking memes and this might be my first big problem with the show. The Storm Troopers are played for comedy a little too much and when you almost literally play this meme out:
It will become harder to use them when you need to build menace. This is fixed easily enough with a few scenes of the Stormtrooper leveling a village or something like that but this makes the show a little bit more of a cartoon than it has to be. It also means:
The scene also goes on a little too long before IG-11 shows up to rescue the Child and kills the scouts.
Back in town, Mando, Greef and Cara are still pinned down while Moff Gideon’s troops set up heavy firepower. While they try to break into the sewer grate Moff Gideon start monologuing and shows off how much info he has on the situation by bringing up first Cara’s service record and then Mando’s name, Din Djarin, while he establishes just what kind of threat he represents. Gideon then gives them until nightfall before he leaves them.
Mando (Maybe I should start using his name now) then reveals that he knows who Gideon is (by reputation at least) because he knew Din’s name. Din then remembers the attack that killed his family including his rescue by the mandalorians. They rescued him because, the mandalorians aren’t a race, they’re a Creed. He was raised in the Fighting Corps and joined his tribe by choice. That means the only record of his name would be the official records on Mandalore and Moff Gideon was a ranking officer during the Empire’s purge of Mandalore.
They finally try to call Kuiil but IG-11 answers and confirms that Kuiil is dead. IG-11 then enters the town literally with guns blazing to rescue them. Quickly enough a full-on fire fight breaks out and Moff Gideon severely injures Din before the group is forced back inside. While IG-11 cuts his way into the sewers Din lays dying. His final instructions are for Cara to take the kid to the Covert and tell them he sent them. A Flametrooper comes in to burn them and the building down but The Child uses another burst of The Force to turn the fireball back on him before the others escape into the sewers.
IG-11 stays with Din, and while he presumes the droid stayed to end his suffering the droid stayed behind to heal him for The Child’s sake. However, to do that he has to remove Din’s helmet but Din refuses. He must not allow another living being to see his face, to which the droid points out that he is not alive. He removes Din’s helmet and let’s be honest, you’ve looked worse Din:
The group reunites down in the sewers and eventually find the covert but the tribe has either cleared out or they were cleared out as all that’s left is a pile of armor and The Armorer. She explains that they were attacked by the Imperials and while some may have escaped off world she remains to salvage the beskar from the dead’s armor.
She explains the history between the mandalorians and the Jedi then tasks him with returning The Child to the Jedi. She makes it clear that he is bound by their Creed to do so. She then gives two final gifts, a mudhorn signet and a jet pack before sending them on their way.
Later she (presumably) makes her last stand against the Stormtroopers.
The group arrive at the lava river and use a ferry piloted by a modified R2 unit. Unfortunately, there’s a squad of troopers waiting for them. IG-11 comes to the conclusion that the only way they get past the troopers is by him sacrificing himself via self-destruct.
While that gets them past the troopers, Moff Gideon is still coming and he came in a TIE Fighter.
Good thing Din finally earned his jet pack. Din uses the jet pack to land on Gideon’s TIE Fighter and leave him a couple explosive surprises and the day is saved!
Greef welcomes Din back into the Guild and offers Cara a job on Nevarro but Din has a new mission now. He’s off in search of the Jedi and after giving Kuiil a proper burial he and Child take off in the Razor Crest to begin their search.
Unbeknownst to our heroes, Moff Gideon cuts his way out of the wreckage of his TIE Fighter revealing that he is in possession of… *Secretly checks Wookiepedia* The Darksaber.
Well that was something, wasn’t it!
Season one is complete and it ends on nearly as strong a note as it started. These were true really strong episodes, though the show’s gimmick of calling episodes “Chapters” works in their favor as it allows each season to be a mostly complete story that can tell a larger story. That Favreau and Filoni are a couple of smart fellows.
Eight episode seasons allows them to keep the fat and filler to a minimum and not have to worry about pulling their punches. I liked the overwhelming majority of what happened, bringing his friends together to help him was good and allowed for some character growth even before events required Din to grow a lot in the final episode.
The introduction of Moff Gideon had a lot of menace and finally we have a Live Action Star Wars villain on par with Tarkin and Thrawn! It’s so refreshing when the villain is more interested in more traditional authoritarian tyranny instead of:
The addition of the Darksaber is good for the Mandalorian arc of the show. Judging by what I’ve read the blade is essentially Excalibur and whoever wields it has a claim to the title of Mandalore which means at some point the mandalorians will start crawling out of the woodwork to get it. Which to me means lots of story opportunities!
As for Din and friends, well first and foremost I will miss Kuiil. He was a good philosophical presence and he was very good at forcing Din to think of things in a new way. Cara Dune and Greef were great as well but Kuiil might leave a bigger void going forward.
Din’s growth as character throughout this season came to light as well. Seeing him finally work through his issues with droids and the traumatic stress associated with them was good to see as well his commitment to his creed. I like it when the hero is willing to die for his convictions but I also like when his faith is tested as it was when IG-11 had to remove his helmet.
I also find it very strange that the Jedi have been treated the way we treat The Knights of the Round Table. It’s only been a generation since Order 66, I wouldn’t talk about Normandy with the term Eons ago. Then again I’ve long held that word might travel slowly in a galaxy, I even remember some of the old Star Wars novels taking places on worlds that not only never heard of the Empire falling they never heard of the Republic falling so maybe I shouldn’t put too much thought into it, but I will keep an eye on this as the show continues.
Lastly there were just enough interesting hook that even if I had to wait for Season 2 they made sure I wanted to.
When it’s all said and done is The Mandalorian THE GREATEST THING EVER? Do I feel like a kid again? Is STAR WARS back? Is it SAVED?
I don’t know, it had some great moments. It’s a show filled with characters I liked in adventures that challenged them and it added something to the Star Wars mythos. It also had some walking memes, more than a few times I found myself rolling me eyes and I even got genuinely annoyed with the show at one point but the good far outweighed the bad, the room for growth is far more exciting than its prospects of regression so it’s way more of a success than it is a failure so it’s a good show.
But we’ll talk more about this when I begin to tackle Season Two. For now…
Things We Learned:
- The Child is being pursued by a man named Moff Gideon.
- Gideon was involved with the Imperial Occupation of Mandalore and possesses The Darksaber.
- He also knows enough about Mando to know his birth name. Din Djarin.
- Din has earned his signet and he has been tasked with reuniting The Child with the Jedi.
- Din’s trouble with the Guild has been cleared up.
- Why does Gideon want The Child?
- How did Gideon specifically come into the possession of the Darksaber? I would think that would have been a trophy of Palapatine’s.
- How many survivors of Din’s covert are there?
- Did The Armorer survive?
- Have the Jedi been purged from history so successfully that they only exist in ancient myth now? Or is that merely something with Din’s tribe specifically?
- Where are the Jedi?