The Mandalorian (S01E07) “The Reckoning”

After a lull in the action on The Mandalorian, we got right back on track in Chapter 7. Everything is lining up for a final showdown, and this episode got all the chess pieces on the board.

A surprise message from Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) got the ball rolling. An amnesty offer, to bring the child back to Navarro to use as bait, to  allow them to get close enough to the client (Werner Herzog) to kill him. After Mando’s (Pedro Pascal) breach and mayhem as he took back the child, things hadn’t fared too well in town. The ex Empire official and his storm troopers declared Marshall law, then set up camp in Karga’s bar, effectively shutting down Karga’s operations. Mando considered the offer, then changed course. But not back to Navarro. Not yet. A little team building was in order.

First stop, Sorgan (from chapter 4, Sanctuary), where Cara Dune (Gina Carano) was earning some spending money by fighting the locals. When Mando approached her for assistance, she refused to help with a local war lord problem. But when she heard the guy was Empire, then she was all in. As Mando filled her in on the plan, she chose weapons from his cache. And right at that moment the ship went haywire. The lesson here? Never leave an unattended green child in the cockpit. As Mando plucked his wayward kid off the controls, it was clear they needed someone to help take care of the baby. “Got anyone you can trust?” Cara asked. Why yes, yes he did.

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Next stop, the place it all began,  Arvala-7. Mando landed right outside Kuiil’s (Nick Nolte) moisture farm (scaring the blurrgs). There, Mando outlined the plan, asking Kuiil to help. When a droid entered the room (serving tea), Mando jumped to his feet, drawing his blaster. It was IG-11 (Taika Waititi), the bounty droid. The one who’d had orders to kill the child. But Kuiil explained what happened. He’d found IG-11 where Mando had left him, then rebuilt the droid from scratch. Newly reprogrammed, the droid was no longer the killer he once was, but now a protector. An unconvinced Mando refused to let the droid near the child. But he still needed Kuiil’s help. So Kuiil, IG-11 and three blurrgs joined the party.

The team complete, Mando flew the Razor Crest to Navarro, but something interesting happened along the way. While Mando and Cara arm wrestled – neither one besting the other – the baby thought Mando was in trouble. And that cute baby did something we have only ever seen from one other. Darth Vader. Raising his little green hand, he used the Force Choke on Cara, seeing her as a threat to his new dad. As Cara choked, they had no idea what was happening. Mando realized it was the child, and grabbed him, telling him no, Cara was his friend. The confused child stopped, and a shaken Cara caught her breath. Kuiil told them while in servitude to the Empire, he’d heard rumours of such a power.

It was an eventful flight, as Cara and Kuiil had words. She a former rebel soldier, and Kuiil an indentured servant for the old Empire, they fought the same war on different sides. In an effort to restore peace, Mando asked Kuiil if he’d mind making the child’s bed more comfortable, with some padding. But Kuiil, good with his hands, built a brand new egg, just like the child’s original one, but fortified. I can’t help but wonder what other enhancements Kuiil built into it.

Arriving at Navarro, Mando landed some distance from the town, where Karga and three bounty hunters waited. No one trusted either side. While IG-11 stayed on board, out of sight, Karga suggested Cara stay with the ship, but she refused to leave Mando without backup. As they camped that night, dragon like creatures (I’m sure they have a real name) attacked the group. Swooping down, they attacked the blurrgs, killing two of them plus one bounty hunter, and badly injured Greef Karga before flying off. They didn’t like Mando’s flame thrower all that much when they attacked him.

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Karga was in trouble. The creatures hadn’t just clawed his arm, but they had poison in their talons. With no med packs, Karga was done for. But baby Yoda had other ideas. Approaching, he did what we saw back in episode two, when he tried to help Mando’s wound. His tiny  green hand touched Karga’s wound, and as the stunned group watched, the wound healed. Now Karga understood what the fuss was about, and why the client insisted he get this child.

The following morning they stopped right outside town. Karga then turned back, raised his blasters and killed the two bounty hunters. The plan had been to kill Mando and take the child, but Mando already knew that. But when the child healed Karga, he couldn’t do it. But they still needed to kill the client, to end marshal law, and protect the child. While Mando refused to let the child be bait, he offered himself instead, surrendering his blaster to Karga. He ordered Kuiil to take the child back to the Razor Crest for safety, and the ugnaught took off on the lone blurrg. While Kuiil held the blanket wrapped baby close to him, the empty baby egg decoy went with Mando.

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We then got a scene reminiscent of Han leading the shackled Chewbacca into the Death Star detention block.  As Karga led a handcuffed Mando into town, Cara stayed at his side, should Karga decide to pull a fast one. The town was full of storm troopers as they approach Karga’s old hangout, now the client’s base (after Mando destroyed his previous one). As they sat across from the client, he talked to Mando, extolling the virtues of Empire rule. How nothing had changed since the rebellion. Mando wasn’t listening. But the wind was taken out of the client’s sails when he got a hologram call. An important one from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). The big boss.

When Gideon asked if the client had the asset, the client said yes, but the child was sleeping. Gideon did not believe that for one second. His underling had failed again to retrieve the child. And Gideon took care of that, Unseen outside, a line of his troops opened fire, taking out the client and his guard as Mando, Karga and Cara dove for cover. A troop carrier arrived, and ranks of Gideon’s storm troopers stood in formation outside.  As the smoke cleared, Mando got on the comlink to Kuiil. They’d been made and were pinned down. Kuiil needed to get the kid on board the Razor Crest and take off and get the kid out of there. Outside the bar, the storm troopers intercepted Mando’s message to Kuiil, and sped off on their bikes toward the ship, chasing Kuiil on his blurrg.

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As Mando called in vain for Kuiil to answer, there was no reply. And out in the lava fields, we got a shot of our green baby, wrapped in his blanket, face down on the ground. What?! The camera panned up and we saw why Kuiil had not answered Mando. He was dead, his back smoking from blaster fire. Behind him lay the dead blurrg. They were so close to the ship. Kuiil almost made it! And the storm trooper sped in, leaned down and scooped up our little green baby. And that’s where they left us!

We have one more episode to go! Will newly programmed IG-11 take off after the storm troopers, to protect our precious baby? Or did IG-11 actually shoot Kuiil?! Was Mando right not to trust the droid? Did the trooper really take baby Yoda, or did Kuiil fool them with a decoy? On that note, is Kuiil really dead? How will Mando get out of this one? Will we find out who discovered the dead Fennec Shand (Ming-na Wen) from The Gunslinger? Will they show up to help Mando? But most important of all, will Mando be reunited with his green kid?? So many questions to be answered!

The final Season 1 episode will air on Disney+ on Friday December 27th.

Images copyright Disney.