In “The Mandalorian” recap for the season 1 finale, Mando faces off with Moff Gideon in one final attempt to save the child from falling into the Empire’s hands…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Given the criticism that “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has faced, the universal praise surrounding “The Mandalorian” has been something special.
Jon Favreau deserves all the credit for taking the reins of the first ever live action “Star Wars” series, creating something completely new while still weaving plenty of iconic history throughout the eight episode first season.
While the story has largely taken place far away from the battle between the Rebels and the Galactic Empire, Favreau managed to slip in plenty of teasers from “Star Wars” canon that hardcore fans were satisfied while casual viewers were never once confused about what they were watching.
It’s a true achievement, especially in the age where “Star Wars” is seeking to move beyond the Skywalker saga with very few answers about the direction of the franchise following the conclusion in “The Rise of Skywalker.”
Here’s hoping that Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy will allow more unique and visionary filmmakers like Favreau to create these new pockets of the “Star Wars’ universe as the franchise moves forward in years to come.
Just like the Marvel Cinematic Universe allowed for talented directors like Taika Waititi (who also directed the season finale of “The Mandalorian”) to give his own take on “Thor: Ragnarok,” the future of “Star Wars” will largely lie in the hands of filmmakers like Favreau, who have their own vision for what a series or film set in this universe should look like.
“The Mandalorian” was an achievement on a lot of levels, especially considering the scrutiny that thrives in the “Star Wars” universe. The first season was remarkable from start to finish and here’s hoping there’s more of the same when the show returns for season 2.
With that said, let’s get to our recap of “The Mandalorian” season finale titled “Chapter 8: Redemption”…
This is The Way
Rather than start the episode with the arrival of Moff Gideon and the stand off with Mando, Cara Dune and Greef Karga at the cantina, we instead pick up with the two Storm Troopers on speeder bikes, who killed Kuiil and took baby Yoda. They are currently awaiting clearance to return to the town with Moff Gideon’s prized asset and that’s when we get a rare insight of two Storm Troopers holding a conversation.
After one of the smacks the baby Yoda a few times to keep him quiet — an act that almost certainly makes him one of the most hated people in the galaxy — the other Storm Trooper tries engage in some target practice. After both miss several shots at a target just a few feet away, further enforcing the fact that Storm Troopers are not precise whatsoever with their blasters, the two man team is interrupted by the arrival of IG-11.
The former bounty hunter droid turned nurse unit by Kuiil has arrived after his protocol kicked in — he’s to protect the baby Yoda at any cost. He then proceeds to snap the neck of one of the Storm Troopers and crushes the arm of the other one before snatching up the baby Yoda and procuring the speeder for himself.
Back in the cantina, Moff Gideon makes his presence known by announcing to the three people trapped inside that he has started powering up an E-Web cannon — a particularly nasty bit of Imperial technology — that Rebel shock trooper Cara Dune knows very well after some of her fellow soldiers were vaporized by this very weapon during the war.
But Moff Gideon doesn’t just address her by name — he calls her Carasynthia Dune of Alderaan — and now we can begin to understand why she hates the Empire so much. Alderaan was obviously blown to bits in the first “Star Wars” film, which likely means Cara’s entire family was obliterated during that show of Imperial power.
Moff Gideon also calls the Mandalorian by name as his identity is finally revealed. His name is Din Djarin and through a series of flashbacks we learn that after his parents were killed during the raid on his home planet that it was a group of Mandalorians who swooped into save him. The Mandalorians destroyed the droids tasked with raiding the planet and they helped save little Din Djarin before initiating him in their ranks.
As Cara points out, Mandalorians aren’t a race — it’s a creed and that’s an oath that Din Djarin took many years ago as he joined the group after the saved his life.
The fact that his name was used confirms to Mando that this must be Moff Gideon, a former ISB (Imperial Security Bureau) officer, who was part of the purge that took place on Mandalore when the Empire first came to power. It seems Moff Gideon was part of the Siege of Mandalore and the ‘Night of a Thousand Tears’, which likely references when the Empire took over the planet as the power dynamics in the galaxy shifted from the Old Republic to the Galactic Empire.
Moff Gideon tells the trapped party that they have until nightfall to surrender to him or he will rain down fire upon them all.
Mando believes they could escape through the sewers, which would then lead them to the underground lair where the rest of the Mandalorians are staying but they can’t cut through the grate to get down there. It appears they are trapped with no possible escape — until the IG-11 unit shows up on a speeder, blasting his way through the Storm Troopers, which gives Mando, Cara and Greef a perfect window to launch a counter attack.
Mando even manages to grab the E-Web cannon before unleashing its power on the troops it was meant to serve. The fight is going well until Moff Gideon puts a stop to Mando by blowing up a power box near him and he’s thrown back violently as his head hits the ground.
Cara, Greef and IG-11 rush to rescue Mando and pull him back inside as the stand off continues following the brief skirmish.
It seems the explosion that sent Mando crashing to the ground busted open the back of his head and as he lies there bleeding, he knows he won’t escape this situation. He orders Cara aand Greef to take the baby and seek out the Mandalorians for help. He will stay behind because he would only slow them down. This all happens simultaneously with a flame trooper dispatched to set fire to the cantina in hopes of either killing or capturing the people left inside. Thankfully, baby Yoda jumps into action and forces the flames back at the trooper and he explodes in a fireball.
Cara and Greef reluctantly decide to abandon Mando to take the baby to safety as they make their way into the sewers but IG-11 stays behind to offer help. The droid tells Mando that he can help seal the wound and get him back to full health but he has to remove the helmet so the medicine can be applied. Mando responds by telling him that he can’t take his mask off in front of another living creature or it breaks his oath — and that’s when IG-11 reminds him that it’s a droid, not a living being.
So Mando’s helmet is finally pulled off — revealing Oberyn Martell underneath — and the IG-11 is able to apply the medicine. The droid puts the helmet back on and together they flee into the sewers to reunite with Cara and Greef as well as the baby Yoda. They begin working their way through the tunnels underneath Nevarro to seek the help of the Mandalorians.
Sadly when they find the trail that will lead to the secret hideout, Mando is horrified to find piles of armor and helmets left broken and burnt in a pile. The Mandalorians have been massacred.
The one person left alive is the Armorer as she explains after the Mandalorians exposed themselves to help Mando escape the planet with the baby, the Imperial army showed up shortly thereafter and sought retribution. The Mandalorians were slaughtered for standing up to them and she is the last one remaining alive.
The Armorer then takes a look at the baby Yoda, who Mando reveals was the one who saved him from the Mudhorn by using only its mind to move the creature. The Amorer then explains that she’s heard of such sorcery from tales about Mandalore the Great battling against a group known as the Jedi. While Mandalore may have battled the Jedi, this little creature isn’t an enemy but now it’s up to Mando to care for it until he can either reunite it with its people or the creature comes of age enough to protect itself.
It’s part of the creed of the Mandalorian to care for a foundling — much like Din Djarin was rescued the same way when his family was killed.
The Armorer also blesses Mando with his own signet — he is now a clan of two along with the baby Yoda, which he is now tasked with raising. She also gives him his own jetpack, which he was trained on years earlier but was never granted one as he continued his own path as a Mandalorian bounty hunter.
She then directs them to the lava river where they will hopefully find an escape away from the Imperial forces descending upon the planet. As they escape, the Storm Troopers arrive and the Armorer fights back, dispatching numerous soldiers as she gives Mando and his friends time to get away.
When they finally arrive at the lava river, the group jumps into a ferry manned by an R2 unit and it has legs! The R2 unit begins pushing them out towards the exit into the lava flats but Mando scans ahead and sees a battalion of Storm Troopers awaiting them to exit. There’s no escape this time — until IG-11 switches back to his base protocol where he cannot be captured.
This also happened back in the pilot episode when it appeared that IG-11 and Mando were pinned down and there was no way out. IG-11 says that he will forge ahead and self-destruct, which will kill the Storm Troopers and give them a path to survive. Mando actually argues with IG-11 that it doesn’t need to die but the droid knows this is the only way to save the child.
IG-11 jumps out of the ferry, walks ahead until he exits the tunnel and finds the Storm Troopers waiting for it. IG-11 then turns on the self-destruct mechanism and explodes, killing all of the Storm Troopers that were waiting for Mando and the baby.
When the group finally exits, Mando is ready to return to the Razor Crest when a TIE fighter appears in the sky — it’s Moff Gideon come to collect his prize.
Moff Gideon begins raining down on them with his blasters and the fire power from Mando, Cara and Greef is no match for the TIE fighter. That’s when Mando comes up with a new plan — he straps on his jetpack and flies into the sky, waiting for Moff Gideon to circle around. He then latches onto the TIE fighter with his grappling hook before attaching a grenade to the wing as he falls off to safety.
Moff Gideon’s TiE fighter detects the explosive but it’s already too late. The grenade explodes and Moff Gideon’s TIE fighter spins out and crashes somewhere in the distant Nevarro plain.
Mando returns to the ground where he’s reunited with Cara, Greef and the baby.
With the Imperial troops dispatched and Moff Gideon presumed dead, Greef Karga is ready to get back to business and he tells Mando that his record will be cleared and he can return to work for the bounty hunter guild. Cara Dune also decides to stay behind after Greef promises to clear her record as well and she can now work as his personal enforcer on the planet.
Mando decides not to stay, however, because he wants to begin the search to hopefully reunite the baby with its own kind. He says his goodbyes to Greef and Cara before flying back to the Razor Crest where he buries Kuiil and then prepares to fly off with the baby Yoda as they begin the search for its home world. Just before leaving, Mando notices that the baby has a Mandalorian pendant that he initially gave to Cara and Greef as an identifier to help them seek help from his people. It seems Cara gave it back to the baby and now it holds onto the medallion because by all rights, this child will be raised by a Mandalorian.
As they fly away in the Razor Crest, Greef and Cara watch from a distance but even further away, evil lurks in the shadows.
A group of Jawas have arrived to pick at the bones of Moff Gideon’s TIE fighter but they are soon scared away when a laser begins cutting away at the ship from the inside out. When a section is finally cut away, the piece explodes outward and Moff Gideon emerges from the wreckage.
In his hand is the Darksaber — a unique dark bladed lightsaber created by the first ever Mandalorian Jedi named Tarre Vizsla. Unlike a traditional lightsaber, the Darksaber is shaped more like a traditional sword with a black blade. The Darksaber is said to have been passed down through the years from one warrior besting another in battle. It’s unclear how exactly Moff Gideon got his hands on the Darksaber but considering his ties to Mandalore and the purge, it’s entirely possible the owner was killed and he just took possession of the weapon.
It’s an interesting wrinkle moving forward as Moff Gideon possesses a powerful weapon in the Darksaber while also holding onto a piece of Mandalorian history, which will almost certainly interest Mando when he finds out about it.
“The Mandalorian” will return for season 2 on Disney+ in fall 2020.
— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) December 27, 2019