This article contains HEAVY SPOILERS for Chapter 8 of The Mandalorian, “Redemption.”
Hey everyone! Bryan here with my final review of The Mandalorian for this season. This first season has been an amazing ride, and the series has helped to cement the Disney+ streaming service as a heavy hitter in its first weeks and months of existence.
Chapter 8, “Redemption,” opens on the two speeder bike Troopers fresh off their kill of Kuill and the successful capture of The Child. I love the mundane, everyday discussion of the troopers here. And of course, my new favorite droid, IG-11, shows up and handles his business and ‘relieves’ our troopers of The Child with extreme bad assery that we have come to expect from this Taika Waititi-voiced, Samuel L. Jackson-incarnate droid.
Meanwhile, back in town, Mando, Cara Dune, and Greef Karga are pinned down by Moff Gideon and his troops. Moff Gideon provides new background information on our heroes:
- Cara Dune is from Alderaan.
- Mando’s name is Din Djarin, and he was adopted into the Mandalorians as a child.
- Being a Mandalorian is not so much a race but a creed.
- Why Mando hates droids so much.
- Greef Karga is a disgraced magistrate of another world, which isn’t anywhere near as a cool of a reveal, but it makes sense with how sneaky he comes off.
IG-11 arrives after the group is set an ultimatum by Moff Gideon: surrender by nightfall, or die. The reprogrammed droid saves them from their fate, but at a cost.
Mando is severely injured by Moff Gideon (who we also find out was supposed to have been executed for war crimes during the Galactic Civil War) and has ordered Cara Dune, Greef Karga, and IG-11 to take The Child and escape, leaving him to his fate.
After clearing their escape, IG-11 stays behind with Mando, and tells him that he needs to remove his helmet to save his life, which Mando won’t allow. This is an amazing exchange:
Mando: “Try it and I’ll kill you. It is forbidden. No living thing has ever seen me without my helmet since I swore the creed.”
IG-11: “I am not a living thing.”
IG-11 then heals Mando (with some interesting bedside manner) and returns him to his companions. The crew locates the Mandalorian stronghold in the sewers and discovers discarded Mandalorian armor, indicating dead Mandalorians. Mando assumes Greef Karga is responsible until The Armorer (Emily Swallow) reveals herself and informs him that the Imperials attacked their stronghold. She doesn’t know if any of the Mandalorians, other than her and Mando, survived.
She tasks Mando with his quest: to protect The Child as a foundling, the same way he was protected as a child. Mando is charged with this quest until he can reunite The Child with its own kind or it grows old enough to protect itself. She tells Mando of sorcerers known as The Jedi that battled Mandalore The Great. The Jedi are enemies, but the Child is not. He has also earned his signet, and he and The Child are a “Clan of Two”. Their signet is the Mudhorn that the child saved him from earlier in the season. He also gets another iconic piece of Mandalorian equipment: his training in The Rising Phoenix allows him the classic jetpack.
We then come to the ultimate sacrifice of IG-11. His programming being to be a nanny and protector of the child, there are no scenarios where the child is safe with his survival. He self-destructs in the middle of a platoon of stormtroopers, clearing the way for the rest of our heroes.
As the remaining members of the group attempt their final escape, Moff Gideon arrives with his TIE Fighter which brings the season to its final battle. Mando, makes use of his jetpack and disables Gideon’s TIE Fighter leading to the supposed (yeah, right) end of Moff Gideon.
Greef Karga offers Cara Dune a role as his Enforcer, and implied second in command of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild. He also removes the hit on Mando. Meanwhile, Mando leaves with The Child, their journey just beginning.
As the Jawas move in to salvage the wreckage of Moff Gideon’s TIE Fighter we hear a familiar hum, and a black blade of energy emerge to cut Moff Gideon from his prison. Yes! Moff Gideon is in possession of the Dark Saber! This is a MAJOR big deal that makes Moff Gideon an even more compelling character!
What I liked:
- The Characters: All of these characters feel so perfect in this world. No one is out of place. I can’t say anything more compelling than this: these characters just…fit.
- Pedro Pascal as The Mandalorian aka Din Djarin: This is the best casting for a Star Wars property in recent history. I would put it right up there with the casting of Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Alec Guinness, Ewan McGregor, Ian McDermid, and Liam Neeson. Pedro Pascal is such an amazing physical actor that he gives life to this character who’s face you only see for maybe a minute in the entire first season.
- The Writing: I have said it before, but I will say it again; when Kathleen Kennedy’s contract is up with Disney, Jon Favreau should be given the reigns to ALL things Star Wars, the same way that Kevin Feige has the reigns to Marvel. This is the greatest addition to the Star Wars IP since the original series. Go ahead and fight me on this. The storytelling is compelling, the character development is top notch, and I think that the writing makes the job easier for these amazing actors.
- Guest and Co-Stars: Carl Weathers, Gina Carano, Taika Waititi, Julia Jones, Jason Sudeikis, Ming-Na Wen, Mark Boone Junior, Nick Nolte, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, Natalia Tena, Giancarlo Esposito, Clancy Brown, Bill Burr, Horatio Sanz, and Jon Favreau himself–man, this is an all-star team in and of itself!
- Cinematography: Every shot in this film is so amazing. It is immersive to the point that the locations are characters themselves.
- The Dark Saber: I’m so happy to see this outstanding aspect of the series and this amazing weapon in the Mandalorian lore. This will make the impending confrontation between Gideon and Mando even more compelling.
What I didn’t like:
Not a damn thing!
With the, and it hurts me to say, lackluster release of Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian is what is saving the Star Wars franchise as a whole right now. The movies, sadly, have not been bringing the quality to the IP (except for Last Jedi). It has been the television shows, KOTOR, and a few other games and books that have been keeping the IP afloat.
When it comes to quality, The Mandalorian is in another universe, and it is hands-down the best television show that is part of the Star Wars brand*.
I’m sad that this season has ended so soon. The episodes tell the perfect story with the time allowed, but the season ended way too quickly. That, however, is the way it should be: leave the audience wanting more and more.
My overall rating of this season of The Mandalorian, surprise surprise, is an EMPHATIC ZERO SHOT RATING. Even with some of the clunky dialogue, it works because its Star Wars. THIS IS STAR WARS!
The Mandalorian is set to return with new episodes in Fall 2020.
*Admittedly, I haven’t watched Rebels yet, that will change. I haven’t seen much of Clone Wars, that will change. But I have never felt that I HAD to watch those shows. The Mandalorian? Even if I wasn’t writing this article, I would be watching this show closely.