After last week’s excellent, action-packed (though admittedly slightly less kid-friendly) episode, The Mandalorian Chapter Seven delivers an excellent penultimate episode. It hits all the right beats as it sets itself up for the first season’s finale while also leaving just enough unanswered that a second season is all but necessary.
There’s no way Chapter Eight will slake all of our thirsts concerning the dozens of questions sure to be left unanswered once its credits roll. But Season Two of The Mandalorian is already locked-in! You know the rumor and speculation mill will be all the buzz in the time between them.
Recap of The Mandalorian, S1.E7: Chapter Seven “The Reckoning”
We open on a holo from Greef Karga of all people reaching out to Mando and asking for help; help that will both prove mutually beneficial and serve as a burying of the very large and looming hatchet that is the fallout from Chapter Three, “The Sin.”
As it turns out, the Imperial presence back on Navarro has significantly increased and is cramping the Guild’s ability to do its thing. Karga’s proposition: Come on back, use The Child as bait, kill the Client. In return, Karga will clear Mando’s name with the Guild.
Mando decides he needs some backup, so he heads back to Sorgan and recruits Cara Dune (Gina Carano’s character introduced in Chapter Four, “Sanctuary”). He finds her kicking some Dathomirian’s butt in a sanctioned barroom brawl in which the fighters are tethered together. She’s not too keen on the idea of joining Mando at first because she’s “been a lot of things since [serving as a Shock Trooper], and most carry a life sentence.” But once she hears the target is an Imperial, she’s in.
En route to Navarro, while Dune admires the Mando’s weapon’s closet, the Razor Crest begins to roll, pitch, yaw, and rattle, and sirens and lights communicate some kind of problem! It is no attack or tractor beam, though – it’s just Baby Yoda at the controls. They’re going to need someone to watch Baby Yoda while they’re on Navarro, and Mando knows just the Ugnaught.
Upon returning to Kuiil’s planet to ask of his services, IG-11 makes an appearance, spooking both Mando and Dune. Kuiil explains that it has been reprogrammed, but this does not bring Mando any comfort. Kuiil explains that droids are neither good nor bad, but are instead a reflection of those who imprint them and asks Mando to trust his work. Mando does so begrudgingly, and they board the Razor Crest and continue their journey to Navarro.
To pass the time, Dune and Mando engage in an arm wrestling contest during which Dune vocalizes that she’s got him beat. Baby Yoda interprets this as violent and uses what we know as The Force to choke her from afar. Kuiil has heard rumors of such a power but doesn’t put a name to it, and Dune seems totally shocked by the ability…
This leads to a heated exchange between Dune and Kuiil about previous alliances, current intentions, and more; a lot of character development takes place in these moments for Kuill, in particular.
Upon arrival, the crew is met by Karga (who is still wearing the vest he was shot in back in Chapter Three) and three other bounty hunters. He explains that they’ll use The Child to get close to the Client in order to kill him; severing the head of the snake and sending the rest of the Imperial presence on Navarro scattering. The sun sets fast on Navarro, though, so it’ll have to wait til morning.
While they camp, a flock of pterodon-looking creatures attack in a sequence that felt like it came straight out of Pitch Black. A blurrg is taken and a second one killed before the dust settles. Karga also has a nasty wound to his forearm from the creatures, and their poison is working its way fast through his system. The only first aid kit the party had proves insufficient, but Baby Yoda uses The Force to heal him completely – much to the shock of all watching. Laughably, Karga exclaims that Baby Yoda is trying to eat him, ha!
This changes everything for Karga, who shoots his escorts and explains to Mando that the plan all along was to kill him and take The Child in himself (duh), but he couldn’t go through with it after Baby Yoda saved his life the night before. The new plan: Send Baby Yoda back to the ship with Kuiil, haul Mando in as a false prisoner captured by Dune and escorted by Karga, and kill the Client.
Karga says there will be four Stormtroopers to deal with…but the town is swarming with them. They’re met at the gate by two leaning on speeder bikes while at least a dozen others mill about the square. This is looking hairy already.
Upon gaining an audience with the Client (Werner Herzog), the Imperial begins with his characteristically beautiful prose with lines like, “Can I offer you a libation to celebrate the closing of our shared narrative?”, along with questions directed at the cuffed Mandalorian regarding his people’s resistance to the Empire. After all, everything the Empire touches is improved, and the Revolution, he says, has not brought peace but chaos.
Before the offered libations are dispensed, the Client excuses himself to take a call from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) who asks if The Child is in his possession. The Client affirms as much to which Gideon replies, “You may want to check again,” before a storm of blaster fire rips through the Client and the establishment in which this meeting is taking place. Turns out the Client isn’t the head of the snake after all.
A squad of Shadow Stormtroopers (those responsible for the volley) are reinforced by a couple dozen Stormtroopers (of the more common variety) before a TIE Fighter descends from which Gideon himself emerges.
Mando quickly uses a comm unit to tell Kuiil to book it to the Razor Crest and get the heck out of dodge with The Child. The communication is intercepted by the two Stormtroopers with speeder bikes who race off to prevent that.
Gideon explains to Mando:
You have something I want. You may think you have some idea of what you’re in possession of, but you do not. In a few moments, it will be mine. It means more to me than you will ever know.
Mando is frantically trying to raise Kuiil on comms to ensure his and Baby Yoda’s safety as he, Dune, and Karga hide in cover from the dozens of blasters trained on their position. The blurrg mount doesn’t prove fast enough though, as the final scene features Baby Yoda getting scooped up by a Stormtrooper as both the blurrg and Kuiil lie dead and smoking on the sands of Navarro.
Review of The Mandalorian, S1.E7: Chapter Seven “The Reckoning”
Man, what a penultimate episode! After a few episodes spent more or less “away” from the main plot of the Imperials’ pursuit of The Child, Chapter Seven starts pulling all the threads together.
It is interesting to me how little known The Force seems to be among the characters. It is still as of yet unnamed in The Mandalorian to my knowledge. I thought for sure Kuiil was going to speak the words in this episode, but he just mentions “rumors.”
The Force features so largely in the movies and other television shows that it is hard to think that it isn’t a commonly known element of the universe, but complete lacks of understanding and rumors seem to be the default level of knowledge among the characters in The Mandalorian. Just goes to show how the other Star Wars titles burden us with a curse of knowledge that is not necessarily shared across the fictional galaxy itself.
We are finally treated to Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon who, it should be noted, doesn’t appear to be the mysterious booted figure from Episode 5, “The Gunslinger.” Which I totally dig! More fodder for season two. I mean, Boots might show up in some fashion in Chapter Eight, but if that happens it will 100% be as set up for future Chapters. I’m undecided on whether Boots is going to turn out to be an antagonist or a protagonist. Only time will tell.
The loss of Kuiil was quite the shock at the end of the episode, but I think his death is meant to serve the tension of the standoff in town by indicating that the good guys can die. I think that statement tends to almost always have boundaries though, and sometimes that can make a death like Kuiil’s pack much less narrative punch than some writers are willing to admit. I’m definitely going to miss the Ugnaught, but his death doesn’t make me worry any more for Mando, if that makes sense.
And I sort of wonder if IG-11 didn’t fire the fateful shots…I’m probably wrong, but Kuiil’s death takes place totally off screen and quite a bit of dialogue was committed to trying to convince Mando that IG-11 was domesticated (Chekhov’s gun…?). What if his programming remained intact after all? I think this would take a huge dump on Kuiil’s legacy and prevent IG-11 from becoming a recurring character, so I’m surely off base…but it was a thought I had nonetheless.
Presumably the rest of Mando’s Mandalorian brothers and sisters have already left Navarro in search of a new home, so we’re unlikely to see the jetpacked cavalry swoop in during the imminent battle between the formidable remnant of the Empire and our crew of three.
Baby Yoda is in Imperial hands. Mando, Dune, and Karga are pinned down by a numerically superior force. Will Chapter Eight pull an Infinity War on us? Will the first season end with the good guys having lost the battle and Baby Yoda firmly in the Empire’s possession?
I think there’s a chance this will be the case at least because it might be the best way for Mando and Company (and us!) to finally learn exactly why the Empire wants Baby Yoda. If the crew continues to just play Keep Away, we might not get answers…But if they have to go to the Empire, we might learn a ton! The closest we came to some answers was the last time the Empire had Baby Yoda in its grasp in Chapter Three, after all.
One thing is sure: Chapter Eight is going to be a doozy!
The next episode of The Mandalorian drops Friday, December 27th.