Disney Plus’ The Mandalorian season one finale recap: Redemption

Mof Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+
Mof Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+ /

The Mandalorian ends its first season with an action-packed finale, a look at the past, a hopeful ending and many more questions.

The Mandalorian, Cara Dune and Greef Karga were all trapped by Moff Gideon in episode seven of the show. The Moff seems intent on killing them, with little regard for whether they have possession of the Child or not. By the end of the season finale, we are still unsure of the Moff’s end goal, but the first season of The Mandalorian goes out with a bang!

Protecting the Child

Kuill was killed as he raced back to the Razor Crest, leaving the Child defenseless. He was picked up by one of the two scout troopers (voiced by Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally) who chased Kuill. In the finale, the unnamed scout troopers are unable to enter the Nevarro town and deliver the Child to Moff Gideon because Gideon is too busy shooting at his own people. Imperials are weird.

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Scout trooper #1 has no patience with the baby and keeps hitting it to keep him quiet. He’s so vicious! Scout trooper #2 is very curious to see what the fuss is all about, but his colleague is less interested in showing him the Child. Bored to tears, they check-in for an update on whether they can enter the town again. The person on the other side of the line explains that he can’t give them any further information since the Moff shot the previous guy who interrupted him. The troopers try to while away the time with some target practice, but neither can hit their target even though it’s less than two feet away from them. The troopers look quizzically at their blasters as if the weapons are defective. This entire scene screams Taika Waititi’s style – it’s at once hilarious, but also adds dimension to the world. Kudos to Jon Favreau for adding so much flavor to the writing.

When the second trooper begins to worry that his colleague may have hit the baby hard enough to kill him, they check on the Child. He bites them in response and gets hit again. They’re so evil! Just then, IG-11 appears and blasts them to smithereens. He’s been programmed to be a nurse droid and he’s not going anywhere without the baby.

The Past

Emily Swallow is the Armorer and Pablo Pascal is the Mandalorian in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+
Emily Swallow is the Armorer and Pablo Pascal is the Mandalorian in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+ /

Moff Gideon has the Mandalorian’s group pinned down. Their only hope is the Mandalorian covert down in the sewers. Unfortunately, the opening to the sewers is impossible to penetrate.

To drive home the point about his massive arsenal, the Moff brings out a heavy repeating E-Web canon. The Moff demonstrates the impact of this weapon by recounting the devastating effects that this weapon’s predecessor had on Republican Shock Troopers on Alderaan; events witnessed by one Carasynthia Dune. This grabs Cara’s attention; how could the Moff know this about her past? He even knows that Greef is a disgraced Magistrate and that decommissioned Mandalorian Din Djarin would know of how this weapon killed several on Mandalore in ‘The Night of a Thousand Tears’.

These pronouncements give Mando pause. He informs his colleagues that this is Moff Gideon, a man believed to have been executed for war crimes. Apparently not. Mando knows this because Din Djarin is his real name, and the only way the Moff could have known this would have been if he had participated in the Purge of Mandalore and thereby read the Mandalorian records. Greef is confused by this because Mando claims not to have come from Mandalore; but he and Cara set the records straight – Mandalorians aren’t a race, they’re a creed.

We go back to a flashback of Mando’s origins, one we haven’t revisited in several episodes. Din’s homeworld was attacked by droids (which explains Mando’s hate for them) and Din’s parents hid him in a bunker for his protection. They were killed soon after and a droid had found him, ready to shoot when it was destroyed. Din’s rescuer was a Mandalorian, one who was part of an entire battalion sent to liberate his world. This explains why Mando is so beholden to his people. They took him in as a Foundling, trained him and gave him a purpose. Now the Mandalorians may be the only people who can save him again.

Escaping the Moff

Pedro Pascal is the Mandalorian, Carl Weathers is Greef Carga and Gina Carano is Cara Dune in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+
Pedro Pascal is the Mandalorian, Carl Weathers is Greef Carga and Gina Carano is Cara Dune in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+ /

As Mando finishes his story, the three of them try and think of the next steps. Mando believes that Kuill has successfully escaped with the Child, because if the Child was in Imperial hands, Gideon would not have hesitated to kill this lot. But Mando isn’t able to get through to Kuill, so what does that mean?

Just then IG-11 comes on the line and explains that Kuill has been killed, but he is fulfilling his duty to protect the Child. IG-11 rides into town with Baby Yoda. He’s quick and his weapons make him an impossible target. To back up IG, Mando and Cara leave the Client’s office and fight the stormtroopers. With some liquid courage in him, Greef joins them.

Mando uses the canon on the stormtroopers – as a throwback to the first episode of The Mandalorian – but the Moff is too smart for him. The Moff blows up the canon base, knocking Mando to the ground. The group runs back into the Client’s office to escape the Moff. As IG starts opening the grate, Cara realizes that Mando is too badly injured. He pleads with her to leave him and take the Child to the Mandalorians. He gives Cara his Mandalorian pendant and tells her to show it to the covert, they’ll protect them.

The Moff sends another stormtrooper to attack the group. This one has a fire blaster which starts burning the place down. The only reason the group survives is because the Child uses the last ounce of his energy to block the fire from reaching them. Once safe, the Child collapses from exertion, thereby being unable to get up and heal Mando.

Cara takes the Child and she and Greef jump into the sewers (this is also a throwback to the first Star Wars film). IG stays to protect Mando and offers to heal him. Mando refuses, partly because he still distrusts droids, but also because the Mandalorian code won’t allow another living being to see a Mandalorian without his helmet. IG explains that he’s not a living being and Mando agrees to the treatment. This is the first time we see Pedro Pascal’s face on the show – he’s a bit beat up and sweaty, but Din Djarin looks exactly the way we expected him to. With some bacta fluid covering his head injury, IG takes Mando to the sewers.

Finding the Covert

The sewers are a maze, but Mando is finally able to track the location of the covert. It’s not good. There’s a pile of Mandalorian helmets and the sole survivor of the Imperial attack is the Armourer. The covert exposed themselves to save Mando and the Child. They were supposed to leave Nevarro, but the Imps got to them before they could.

The Armourer insists on staying behind to salvage what she can from the massacre. But before sending Mando away, she tells him to find the Child’s people – they were a race of sorcerers called the Jedi and they were the enemies of the Mandalorian. The Child, however, is a Foundling and Mando must take care of it as if he is its father.

While Star Wars fans are used to knowing about the Jedi, the average person in the Star Wars galaxy knows very little about them. Post-Empire, we can only assume that the stories of the Jedi were mythical in nature, and not one highly circulated among hunters and warriors.

The Armourer forges a signet for Mando – a clan of two. She also gives him a jet-pack, something Mando has always wanted. The Armourer gives them directions to escape the tunnels and thereby reach safety.

The Armourer stays behind to stop more stormtroopers from finding Mando et al. She is really good at fighting and I hope we will see more of this character in the future.

The Final Escape

IG-11 (Taika Waititi) in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+
IG-11 (Taika Waititi) in THE MANDALORIAN, exclusively on Disney+ /

The group reaches the lava flats and board a boat. A scary astromech-droid hybrid pushes them downriver, but the exit is covered by a platoon of stormtroopers. There’s no way to stop the boat, but the group doesn’t have enough firepower to kill all the troops. Except they do.

IG-11 explains that his original programming prevents him from being captured, he will self-destruct instead. That’s the only way to take out the army. But Mando doesn’t want to lose IG, it’s evident he’s grown close to the droid and feels beholden to him for protecting the Child and for saving his life. IG detects the sadness in Mando and reminds him that he’s not a living being. That’s little consolation to Mando.

Giving Mando the Child, IG steps into the hot lava and walks towards the stormtroopers. Once he’s in their midst, he self-destructs, giving his friends their escape. As they exit the tunnel, the Moff reappears in his TIE fighter. Now, this wouldn’t be a Star Wars property if people weren’t shooting at a giant spaceship with their tiny blasters, so I’m glad that the showrunners included that in this episode.

Since blasters are no match for a TIE, Greef asks the baby to do his magic hands thing. The Child doesn’t respond in kind. Admittedly, in today’s Star Wars properties, the Force is being used more as a plot device than a learning experience, so the Child only uses the Force when the script needs it. That being said, the unpredictability of the Child’s abilities does ramp up the tension of fair bit.

To stop the Moff, Mando slaps on his jet pack, flies up and grabs hold of one of the wings. Mando leaves two thermal detonators there which blows the ship up. Nevarro is free of Imperials and Greef invites Mando back to the Guild. He also asks Cara to join them. She’d rather stick around to make sure no Imps are still hiding. Mando, however, has a mission, and he intends to search the galaxy for the Child’s people.

Mando buries Kuill and takes the Razor Crest on a new journey. Baby Yoda now wears Mando’s pendant and gnaws on it. As our hero rides into the sunset, several jawas locate Moff’s ship. The Moff is alive, with the Darksaber at his side, and he is not happy. Does this mean that Gideon ‘liberated’ the Darksaber during the Purge? It seems like the Moff has a personal agenda against the Mandalorians since he’s wielding one of their ancestral weapons. Will we learn more about Gideon’s connection to the Jedi, the Sith, and the Mandalorians?

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The Mandalorian wasn’t always perfect, but directors Deborah Chow, Taika Waititi and Bryce Dallas Howard certainly elevated the quality of its production. Backed up by Jon Favreau’s writing, this show was a thoroughly accomplished, original piece of Star Wars fiction. With the show returning for a second season in Fall 2020, what can we expect from the Mandalorian’s adventures with Baby Yoda?