The Mandalorian (S01E08) “Redemption”

The Season 1 finale of The Mandalorian did everything it needed to. Tied up most loose ends, gave us all the feels, and set up the plot for Season 2.

At the end of episode 7, things looked dire with Mando (Pedro Pascal) and the gang trapped inside Greef Karga’s (Carl Weathers) old cantina. Kuiil (Nick Nolte) was (presumably) dead, and storm troopers had snatched our green baby.  We picked up with the two storm troopers waiting on orders before taking the kid into town, before IG-11 (Taika Waititi) showed up. And I’m so thankful he did, because those storm troopers kept hitting (yes, hitting!) our baby. But newly programmed IG-11 – a nurse droid, not a bounty droid – dispatched both storm troopers, and rescued baby Yoda.

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Mando located an access point to the sewers inside the cantina, their only way out. Cara (Gina Carano) shot the grate, but it refused to budge. Moff Gideon (Gioncarlo Esposito) called them out. And here, we learned Mando’s name – Din Djarin.  (Though we already knew that, thanks to Pedro dropping the name weeks ago.) Cara Dune’s full name was Carasynthia Dune of Alderaan. We all know that planet. The one the Death Star used for target practice. Since the guy outside knew his name, a name he had not used since childhood, Mando realized their captor was Moff Gideon.

All seemed lost, until IG-11 zoomed into town on the speeder, and shot up most of Moff Gideon’s storm troopers single handedly. All with one very excited baby strapped to him. I liked IG-11 back in chapter one, and he has remained a favourite. Taika Waititi also directed this episode, giving us some great scenes.

Now outside the cantina, Mando, Karga and Cara held their own against the remaining forces. Until they brought in the big gun. Literally. Blown off his feet by a large explosion, Mando lay mortally wounded, before Cara dragged him back into the cantina. I loved seeing how protective Cara was of him, shielding him as more explosions went off. And their hand holding. Can’t forget that. But Gideon had another plan. A flame throwing storm trooper walked in, showing that Mando isn’t the only one with a penchant for flame throwers. With Mando injured, Cara unwilling to leave, the place aflame, it looked like curtains for all of them. Until our green baby stood up, raised those little hands, and pushed the flames back onto the wielder. It was an amazing scene. With the flame thrower trooper gone, our baby collapsed, exhausted after saving them all.

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Dying, Mando told Cara to take and protect the child. He told her to find the Mandalorians who’d help, and gave them his name and the Mandalorian pendant he wore around his neck. She reluctantly left, leaving IG-11 with Mando. Assuming the droid would kill him, Mando chose that over being killed by Gideon. But IG-11 wanted to treat Mando’s head wound, but he’d need to take his helmet off.  Raising his weapon, Mando refused, saying he never takes the helmet off in front of any living being. IG-11 reminded Mando he was not a living being. And as Mando lowered his weapon, IG-11 removed Mando’s helmet. Beaten up, bloody and worse for wear, we saw Pedro at last. Healed with some bacto spray on his damaged skull and brain, a shaky Mando was soon up on his feet again and joined the others in the cleanest sewer tunnels ever.

As they walked through the tunnels, a pile of discarded Mandalorian armour brought Mando to his knees. The Imperials had wiped out his fellow Mandalorians after revealing themselves when Mando saved the child. But the clan leader, the armorer, survived. I loved the scenes with her. She met the child, and told them he had the same powers as Jedi. It was our first reference to them in the show. And even though our knowledge of Jedi is vast, spanning 42 years, it reinforced that the Jedi are few, and not well known in the galaxy.

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She explained to Mando that the child was not an enemy, but a foundling. Being too young and weak to train in the Mandalorian way, until the baby was of age, or reunited with his kind, Mando was now as a father to it. Aaaww! He’s officially the child’s dad now! We got the full flashback to Mando’s past, and the deaths of his parents. Mandalorians rescued him, after death droids took everything from him. One held the boy Mando close, and took off, keeping him safe. It had also been explained earlier that Mandalorians were not a race. Their way of life was a creed.

While the clan leader melted her dead tribe’s armour in her forge, she made Mando’s signet with it. The mudhorn. Previously Mando had declined the mudhorn signet, as it had not been a noble death. An enemy who did not know it was an enemy had aided him. But now the child was a foundling, they were a clan of two, with the mudhorn as their joint signet. I loved that! After replenishing their weapons, the clan leader gave Mando one last gift. Mando had earned his jet pack.

To escape the sewers, they traveled down a lava river, but their exit was swarming with storm troopers. IG-11 knew there was no way to shoot their way out. He would initiate his self destruct, taking out the storm troopers. I knew he’d do it, but it was sad! Especially when Mando tried to talk him out of it, totally reversing his former stance regarding this droid. This was the titular redemption. Their way clear, they exited the lava tunnel, but Gideon’s TIE fighter buzzed them.

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Firing at it had no effect, so Mando strapped on his brand new jetpack, and took off. Still groggy from his head injury, and never having flown before, he managed to stick two detonators onto the TIE fighter. It crashed, but when it didn’t explode, you kinda knew Gideon had survived. Back on the ground, Karga asked Mando to stay, after Cara decided to remain on the planet. He’d reinstate him back into the Guild, and wipe the past.

But Mando declined, with a new job now. Take care of the child, find the child’s race and home planet, and perhaps some Jedi. When Mando flew off, holding the child to him, the shot mirrored his own rescue by Mandalorians years before. It was lovely! Back at his ship, Mando buried Kuiil (Nick Nolte). We then got a beautiful shot when he walked back to the Razor Crest, child in his arms against the setting sun. As he took off in the ship, the child was chewing on something. Mando’s Mandalorian pendant symbol he’d given Cara. He’d received it as a foundling, and now he gave it to his own foundling. My heart!

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But then we panned down to Gideon’s crashed fighter. Jawa’s surrounded it, those pesky scavengers. But an opening appeared in the side of it and out stepped Gideon, very much alive, and wielding a dark saber. Now, I know nothing about it, but on reading up on it, he took this dark saber from the Mandalore during the purge. Talk about a great bad guy and enemy for the show! I have a feeling we may see Mando yield that dark saber in Season 2.

This was the final episode in the premier season, and Season 2 will return in the fall of 2020. That’s a long time to wait without seeing Mando and his green baby! But the season was excellent, marred only by two filler episodes. The show has solidified its place in Star Wars canon. It’s brought new life into a failing – or ultra commercialized – franchise, and we needed it.

I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here!

 

The Mandalorian Season One is streaming on Disney+

Images property of Disney