Welcome to my latest episode review for The Mandalorian. I’ve really enjoyed writing my episode reviews of Resistance so there was no way I was going to miss the chance to do the same here. The reviews will take on the same format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole.
I have been looking forward to this show so much, so there was no way that I wasn’t going to watch this as soon as I could. Unfortunately, living in the UK, Disney+ is not going to be available over here for a while, so I’ve had to channel my inner Hondo Ohnaka to see this! Today, we’ll be looking at Chapter 8: Redemption.
The scout troopers make their way to a pre-determined point with The Child as their captive, but are told to wait outside the town as Moff Gideon has arrived. While they wait, IG-11 catches up to them, takes them out and rides away with The Child on one of the speeder bikes.
“Did he just say that Gideon killed his own men?!”
In the city, Moff Gideon’s stormtroopers continue to arrive in the square outside the cantina and set up an E-Web heavy repeating blaster cannon. Mando realises that a grate in the cantina leads to the sewers, but they are unable to cut/break through the grate. Moff Gideon tells the group that he will give them until dusk to give over The Child, or he will order his troops to attack. From the information that he knows about Cara, Greef and Mando (including his name, Din Djarin), Djarin realises who Moff Gideon was, which shocks Cara as he was supposedly executed for war crimes. Djarin explains to Greef and Cara that he was rescued by Mandalorians when Separatist forces attacked his home, they raised him as a foundling and he took on the Creed.
IG-11 arrives at the town on the speeder bike and makes its way to the cantina, taking out any stormtroopers that get in his way. His arrival takes out a number of troopers and provides a distraction for the group in the cantina. While Cara provides cover fire, Din and Greef emerge into the square to fight the stormtroopers, but they are outgunned and forced to take cover again in the cantina along with IG-11 and The Child – however Din has been badly injured. Moff Gideon orders an incinerator stormtrooper to burn the cantina, but The Child uses the Force to hold back the flames and direct them back onto the trooper. IG-11 manages to cut through the grate. Din in too injured to escape and refuses to remove his helmet to receive treatment, so tells Cara to get The Child to safety. IG-11 chooses to stay behind with Din while the rest leave. IG-11 takes advantage of the Creed saying that Din cannot take his helmet off around living beings (which technically a droid is not) to take off Din’s helmet and use a bacta spray to begin healing him. With Din recovering, the pair escape and catch up with the others.
“Let me have a warrior’s death.”
The group find the covert, but the Tribe have been killed. The Armorer has survived and explains that they knew the risk when coming into the open. She tells Din that she is familiar with The Child’s powers as they match that of their ancient enemies – the Jedi. The Armorer explains that the Child is now a foundling, and that Din’s duty is not to return him to his people or to tech him the Creed when he comes of age. She gives Din a jetpack and his signet – a Mudhorn – and tells him that he and The Child are a clan of two. While the group leave the covert, the Armorer stays behind and dispatches a squad of stormtroopers that were chasing after the group.
The group make it to a lava river and board a boat that will take them downriver to where the Razor Crest is. However, they realise that the remaining stormtroopers are preparing an ambush where the river meets open ground. IG-11 sacrifices himself by going ahead of the group and self-destructing amongst the troopers. Moff Gideon begins strafing the group in his TIE fighter. Din uses his jetpack and whipcord to get onto the TIE and attaches 2 detonators to the wing, causing the TIE to crash.
“Come on baby! Do the magic hand thing!”
Din returns to the others. With the troopers all gone, Cara and Greef intend to return to the city, so say farewell to Din and The Child. Din creates a cairn for Kuiil and flies away on the Razor Crest with The Child.
A group of Jawas are scavenging the remains of Moff Gideon’s TIE, but are scared away as Gideon cuts his way out of the TIE cockpit using the darksaber.
So I’ve been a bit down on Star Wars after The Rise of Skywalker, but this was just what I needed. I have really enjoyed the whole season and this was a brilliant finale.
“I won’t leave you.”
“This is the Way.”
Chapter 7 did a great job of bringing that main group together and raising the stakes, and it really did feel that this final episode did a great job of carrying that on and expanding on it. While it was a shame to not get Kuiil interacting as part of the entire group, his death at the end of the last episode really upped the stakes, so that throughout the episode, but especially the fight outside the cantina, I never felt fully comfortable that everyone would make it out safely – although I think I would have been even more nervous for the characters had I not known that season 2 was already in production and that both Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano had been filming. All of the characters felt like they completed their arcs by the end of the episode: Din had not just become a willing guardian for Yoddle with a task to undergo, but he also appeared to get over his hatred of droids enough to care for IG-11, who himself went from trying to kill Yoddle in Chapter 1 to sacrificing himself for Yoddle and the others despite that being against his new programming. Meanwhile Cara and Greef both clearly became much better people for the time they spent around Yoddle, while Chapter 6’s look at Din’s old company really suggests that he has too. I also want to really take a moment to praise the way that Cara’s hatred of Imperials was explained in one simple comment from Gideon that mentioned she was from Alderaan – if you know even just A New Hope, you know why any survivors from Alderaan would hate Imperials. Gideon was wonderful and I can’t wait to see more from him. The decision to make him former ISB made it very easy for a scene giving the audience a lot of info about our heroes also made him sound menacing and dangerous because of his knowledge, while it needed some great heroics from Din to beat him. And of course, that reveal at the end that he had survived the crash and is also the current wielder of the darksaber has done a great job as setting him up as the villain for season 2.
“We knew what could happen if we left the covert.”
I thought that the episode was really well written and director Taika Waititi did a fantastic job with everything available to him. The scene with the scout troopers at the start really felt like Taika’s form of comedy, but still felt completely natural within Star Wars. My only issues with that scene were the gags of the troopers not being able to hit an easy target (it just felt a bit too on the nose) and the line about Gideon having just killed an officer for interrupting him, which didn’t seen to tie in with what we were seeing when we cut back to Din’s group, who appeared to still be in the standoff with no interruption. It also felt a bit convenient that IG-11 went to the city rather than return to the Razor Crest, but I can easily use the head canon that IG-11’s programming is to protect Yoddle and that it interprets the best way of protecting Yoddle as taking out all of the Imperials who are after him. Beyond that, Taika did a great job of balancing humour, emotion, action and exposition and fitting it all in while keeping a great pace throughout.
One of the things I have really liked about the show is the way that it has constantly set things up in an episode for a later payoff. Chapter 6 saw Din go back to get the device generating the signal to the New Republic, and we find out that he planted it on Qin. Chapter 5 set up the flash charges when catching Fennec Shand that he then used to get the upper hand on Toro. The opening couple of episodes set up all of Din’s weapons and gadgets that he would use rescuing Yoddle from The Client’s clutches. In this episode, we got the payoff to the comedy of Chapter 1’s reveal that IG-11 had a self-destruct protocol, which he ends up using to save the group. It is a testament to the writing as to how all of these pay-offs feel that they have been naturally set up, so they ever feel convenient when they happen. Right now, the only time I don’t think we have gotten the payoff was the final scene of Chapter 5, which is now clearly setting up a different character in season 2.
“Mandalorian isn’t a race.”
“It’s a Creed.”
Similar to this, what the show has done very well is give us information when we need it rather than bog us down in lots of exposition at the start. We did not need to know all of Cara or Din’s past straight away and the way it has been spread through the season felt natural to the story, likewise the history of Mandalore and what it means to be a Mandalorian. I also like how there is still plenty more for us to learn, to keep us interested for the coming seasons.
And now for the future. Season 1 as been great and I am full of confidence that season 2 will be able to keep the momentum going, while adding in new directors like Jon Favreau and Carl Weathers. Din has been given the duty to find Yoddle’s people, so whether that leads us to his species or other Jedi (in canon, we have the Skywalkers, Ahsoka and Ezra all around at this point), this story has a very exciting potential. Add in the mysterious figure from the end of Chapter 5, who I now think will be Boba Fett, and Moff Gideon’s survival, and we have some great stories to come. I think that it’s interesting that most of Din’s closest allies (Cara, Greef and The Armorer) are all still on Nevarro, along with Gideon, so I think that we will see them put in danger early in season 2 to draw Din back – hopefully leading to a more permanent team-up with Cara because I am loving her character and Gina Carano’s portrayal. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Din ends up becoming a leader for any surviving Mandalorians, ending with him defeating Gideon and taking the darksaber to become the new ruler, completing a rags to riches story of a foundling who rises to greatness and restores the Mandalorians.
“I’m not gonna make it and you know it.”
My final thoughts on the episode:
- I’m so glad that we got a moment to see Pedro Pascal unmasked. He and his doubles have done a great job working together to create an incredible character. I hope that we get to see him with his helmet off more in season 2, but won’t mind if he keeps his helmet on throughout
- I loved that there were consequences to Din’s actions in the series, with stealing back Yoddle in Chapter 3 leading to the massacre of his tribe, while contacting Kuiil in Chapter 6 also led to the 2 troopers chasing and shooting him
- Considering bacta as a healing substance has been around since The Empire Strikes Back, I think that this is the first time it was really made clear to a wider audience what bacta is and how it heals even serious injuries relatively quickly
Moments in Canon
“You are a clan of two.”
“Thank you. I will wear this with honour.”
- Gideon mentions an event during the Siege of Mandalore called The Night of a Thousand Tears. The Siege of Mandalore will be included in the upcoming season 7 of The Clone Wars, so we may get to see this onscreen
- Before becoming a Moff, Gideon was part of the ISB
- The Mandalorians who saved young Din are members of Death Watch
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. This is the Way.