The Mandalorian, the new live action series that has Star Wars fans rejoicing the world over, took a big step forward this week. With bounty in hand, Mando returned to deliver the tiny green package to his client.
As we’ve already seen, the Yoda baby intrigues Mando. The child saved his life from the mudhorn, and even with that Beskar helmet hiding his features, the conflict within Mando is palpable. This is a child. A foundling, and Mandalorian’s look after foundlings.
As Mando flew his ship back to the volcanic planet, that cute baby crawled out of his floating bassinet. He’d spotted something round and shiny on the ship’s dash. And cute as a button, the baby unscrewed the silver round top of a control lever, before Mando noticed. “It’s not a toy,” he admonished the baby, albeit gently, and took the silver ball from him. He then returned the baby to his bassinet, then after a moment, he looked back. Green baby and Mando held each other’s gaze. There is a connection, undoubtedly. A bond.
But bounty hunters have a code, and Mando has a good reputation among them. As ordered, he delivers baby Yoda to the client (Werner Hertzog), where he and Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) eagerly inspect the anxious child. And with the saddest baby cry ever as they escort the child out of the room, Mando and the client conclude their business. His payment is massive. 20 bars of Beskar steel.
But even while eyeing the prize, Mando cannot get his mind off the child. “What are your plans for it?” he asks. And with that one question, he breaks the bounty hunter code. The client, stunned that he would ask such a thing, sharply reminds him he accepted both commission and payment. His job is done, and a bounty hunter forgets and walks away at that point. Which Mando does, despite his inner conflict, going straight to the underground Mandalorian covert, and heads for the forge.
The huge amount of Beskar steel attracts the attention of his fellow Mandalorians. A brief altercation over doing business with the Empire ensues. The Empire had decimated their numbers and Mando had done business with them. Now they hid in their covert, only venturing out one at a time. When the leader stopped their vibro knife play, they acquiesced, repeating their mantra “This is the way.”
The forger asks how Mando’s damaged his armour, and he explains about the mudhorn attack. The mudhorn should be his signet, she counters. But Mando does not agree. It was not an honorable kill, as he had help… from an enemy. An enemy who did not know he was an enemy, he clarifies. So since he doesn’t have a signet, she forges him some ‘whistling birds’. Tiny rockets on his wrist gauntlet. And while she forges his new armour, once again, Mando recalls his childhood and the attack that killed his parents.
A while later, decked out with new Beskar steel breastplate, pauldron, wrist gauntlets and left thigh pad, Mando visits Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). The bounty hunters at the bar can’t tear their eyes off the expensive armour Mando is now sporting. I personally liked his beaten up red armour. It had more character than the shiny silver Beskar. It’s cool, but I liked his old look. Karga is in a celebratory mood. Probably because he also made out well, and shows off two shiny Beskar bars, tucked under his shirt.
An impatient Mando cuts off Karga, asking what they will do with the kid. A surprised Karga has no idea, nor any interest. It’s obvious Mando cannot come to grips with what he’s done in handing over a ‘defenseless’ baby. At that point, all Mando wants is a new job, the further away, the better. He takes a bounty puck, leaves the bar, then returns to his ship.
The following scene was wonderful. It’s surprising how much emotion Pedro Pascal can show with the armour hiding his face. On prepping his ship for take off, he spots the control lever missing its top – the shiny ball that baby Yoda was so enthralled with. His hand stops mid air. You can see the cogs turning, and the guilt at what he’s done. And mind made up, he shuts down his ship, and strides back to the client. Yes! Time to take that baby back! When he enters the alley behind the building, he sees something. There, tossed into a dumpster, was baby Yoda’s floating bassinet. What had they done to that precious baby?!
Mando was about to find out. Using a thermal and audio scope, he picks up part of the conversation between the client and doctor. The client wants the ‘genetic material extracted’ and the baby disposed off, while the doctor is trying to keep it alive for someone. We don’t hear the name because of static, but they got the baby on orders from someone else. Not waiting to hear anymore, Mando springs into action. A well placed bomb on the wall gives him entry, and from there he dispatches several storm troopers – whose ability to defend themselves still hasn’t improved.
He locates the baby, who is just about to receive an injection from a floating medical droid. As Dr Pershing cowers, begging Mando, he explains that he saved the baby, who would be dead by now if he hadn’t. But Mando was gone, taking the baby with him. Once more, he makes his way through several storm troopers, but when cornered by four of them, he crouches down, as though surrendering. But we know Mando better than that, and sure enough, he lets fly with four ‘whistling birds’, taking out the storm troopers around him.
Exiting the building, he strode down the street, carrying his precious cargo, who is fast asleep in his arms. But before he can get to his ship, bounty hunter tracking fobs blink all over the town. The baby – and now Mando – is their target. The bounty hunter has become the hunted. And in doing so, the show stepped up its game even more. I had no idea that was the turn we would take.
The bounty hunters converge, cutting off Mando’s route to his ship. Under fire, he takes refuge in a speeder, ordering the drone to get him out of there. And he would have made it, but Karga shot the drone, bringing Mando’s escape to a halt. And there is a lovely moment amid the guns and blasters going off around him when Mando gazes down at the baby, as if silently apologizing. That he had tried, but failed, and he was sorry he couldn’t have done more.
And just when it seemed all was lost, Mandalorians filled the air. Breaking their rule that only one was above ground at a time, they swooped down, flying on jet packs. And armed to the teeth, they dispatched the bounty hunters. Telling Mando they’d hold them off, they ordered him to run. The Mandalorian code was stronger than the bounty hunter code. They take care of their own. This is the way.
On the ship, Karga drops from a hiding place, and confronts Mando (who should have closed his ship’s door, right?) But Mando has had enough, and after dispensing steam into the air, shoots Karga. As he flies off, we see Karga on the ground. Still alive, thanks to Mando’s blaster hitting the Beskar steel bars under Karga’s shirt. But Mando knew those were there. I’d like to think he didn’t want to kill his boss, and deliberately shot into the Beskar.
As he flew away, a jet packed Mandalorian flies at his side, saluting him. “I gotta get one of those,” Mando mused, looking at the jet pack. The Mandalorian covert would have to relocate again, now that they’d blown their cover, but it was the cost of taking care of each other. Beside Mando, a little green hand reached up, attempting to reach the shiny silver ball again. And instead of taking it off the baby, this time Mando unscrewed it and handed it to the baby. Aaaww! These two! 🙂
The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney+ with new episodes available Fridays.
Images copyright Disney.