This is it, y’all—the last episode of The Mandalorian is here. The past month and a half of memes and water cooler debates have built to “Redemption.”
Last week’s pre-The Rise of Skywalker episode left fans in an internet-wide state of crisis: Mando, Cara Dune, and Greef Karga were pinned down by Moff Gideon, the loyal Kuiil lay dead on the sands of Nevarro, and the Child had been taken by Gideon’s goons.
To echo one of George Lucas’ beloved action serials, how will our heroes get out of this one?
Recap of The Mandalorian, S1.E8: Chapter Eight “Redemption”
We open on the two speeder bike troopers who killed Kuiil and kidnapped Baby Yoda in the last episode. They pull up outside of town and ask for confirmation to safely enter, but are warned that Moff Gideon is displaying a disturbing tendency to destroy his own troops. They settle down to wait, and pass the time with speculation about the Child and taking some much-needed target practice.
The troopers are rudely interrupted by everyone’s favorite assassin droid/reprogrammed nurse droid, IG-11. The erstwhile nurse stomps up, demands that they hand the Child over, and disposes of the troopers. The droid requisitions one of the bikes, Baby Yoda safely in tow (“That was unpleasant. I’m sorry you had to see that.”), and tears off for the town.
Things have gone from bad to worse for the Mandalorian, Dune, and Karga. As the trio looks for a way to escape into Nevarro’s sewer system, Gideon’s troops set up a gnarly-looking E-Web heavy repeating blaster. The Moff knows that Dune, having seen many of her fellow shock troopers “vaporized” by E-Webs during Alliance ops, understands the fearsome power of this weapon. He appeals to Greef Karga’s survival instincts and willingness to make a deal as well.
Gideon’s words have a visible effect on the Mandalorian. The bounty hunter—whose real name is Din Djarin, we learn from the Moff—has heard what an E-Web can do because of the Siege of Mandalore, a terrible ordeal in which thousands of Mandalorian recruits were cut down in The Night of a Thousand Tears. Moff gives them until nightfall to cooperate; if they don’t, they will all perish.
As Dune and Karga squabble, Djarin experiences an intense flashback to the day his childhood ended. Young Din and his parents were on the run from Separatist forces who massacred his people. Din’s parents managed to hide him in a cellar before being killed by a B2 super battle droid, and it looked like the boy would suffer the same fate until a blue-armored Mandalorian rescues him.
He was carried away from the carnage by his rescuer on an extremely rad jetpack and raised as a foundling in the Fighting Corps of Mandalore. Being a Mandalorian isn’t a race (at least not anymore), it’s a creed; as everybody knows, this is the way.
The good thing in all of this is that Baby Yoda’s still alive; if he wasn’t, they’d already be dead. IG-11 comes roaring into town, sowing destruction and death in its wake. Its heightened droid reflexes wreak havoc among Gideon’s troops, with stormtroopers and death troopers falling beneath its onslaught. Mando, Karga, and Dune jump into the fray with weapons blazing.
Dune lays down suppressing fire with her heavy blaster while Djarin commandeers the E-Web. He lays waste to the Imperials but is gravely injured by Gideon when the Moff shoots the E-Web’s ammunition well.
The crew drags the Mandalorian back into the cantina and regroups. IG-11 begins to cut through the sewer grate, but Djarin’s wounds look to be fatal and he prepares to die a warrior’s death. That end rapidly approaches when Moff Gideon sends a flame trooper in to raze the cantina, but the Child uses his Force powers to contain the flames and destroy the trooper.
Dune and Karga escape into the sewers with Baby Yoda and leave the Mandalorian with IG-11.
Kuiil’s reprogramming paid off; the IG unit is able to save Djarin’s life with a healing bacta spray. This requires the Mandalorian to take his helmet off (which he agrees to only when reminded that IG-11 isn’t an organic, living creature) and we get our first glimpse of the bounty hunter’s real face. He looks terrible, but IG-11’s ministrations keep him alive. They catch up with the rest of the crew in the mazelike sewers.
They find the underground quarters used by the Mandalorians deserted and strewn with abandoned armor. The only one left is the matriarchal Armorer. She is apparently the only person who understands the connection between Baby Yoda’s powers and the Jedi, an ancient enemy of Mandalore, but she reassures Djarin that the Child isn’t an enemy. The Armorer reminds the Mandalorian of his duty to the foundling: until Baby Yoda is reunited with his own, Djarin is Daddy Yoda.
She gives him a jetpack of his own, a personalized signet (the mudhorn!), and sends the crew on its way.
They make their way down to the underground lava river and set out into its stream on an abandoned raft. It’s slow going but appears to be safe. The quiet is shattered when Mando’s helmet sensors detect a trap; Moff Gideon’s stormtroopers are lying in wait where the lava river opens onto the flats. IG-11 sacrifices itself to protect the Child by falling back on its manufacturer’s protocol. It self-destructs to avoid capture, killing Gideon’s troops in the resulting blast.
Djarin, Dune, Karga, and the Child make their way out of the sewers only to be attacked by Gideon in his TIE fighter. He strafes the crew with laser fire but Mando uses his new jetpack to hitch a ride on the wildly careening TIE. Gideon tries to shake him, but Djarin plants a couple of explosive charges on the TIE, blasts it out of the sky, and jets safely back to the ground. Victory!
The battle won, our heroes take stock in the aftermath of this episode-long battle. Karga tries to convince the Mandalorian to rejoin the Bounty Hunters’ Guild, but Djarin has the Child to watch over. Cara Dune is more interested in Karga’s offer, though, and plans to stick around Nevarro to hunt down any remaining Imperials. Mando and Baby Yoda head back to the Razor Crest, give Kuiil the honorable burial he deserved, and fly off into the sunset.
But wait—all is not calm back on Nevarro. Jawas comb through the wreckage of Moff Gideon’s TIE fighter before being scared off by a strange, crackling sound. A melting glow appears as something cuts through the TIE’s cockpit from the inside. Moff Gideon climbs from the smoking rubble: he’s alive, and he has the Darksaber in hand!
Review of The Mandalorian, S1.E8: Chapter Eight “Redemption”
What a finale! “Redemption” ties up tons of loose ends from the entire season. IG-11, so murderous in the first episode, proves that you can’t keep a good assassin droid down, even when said murder robot’s been reprogrammed as a nurse for Baby Yoda. Its appetite for self-destruction finally pays off in this episode, and director Taika Waititi gives the droid a fitting Terminator-style sendoff in the lava river.
We finally get to see and hear about more Mandalorian culture too. Djarin’s flashback show the warriors in their heyday, coolly cutting down battle droids and flying around with deadly grace (coincidentally, we also know now why the Mandalorian hates droids).
The Armorer provides even more background as she makes Djarin’s signet, explaining his duty to the Child in the context of the Creed—even if that means delivering Baby Yoda to a “race of enemy sorcerers” also known as the Jedi.
Din Djarin wasn’t born on Mandalore; he was adopted into it and swore to uphold the creed of his own volition (Order 66, anyone?). The loss of his parents at a young age scarred the boy terribly, but Mandalore culture and its brutal creed became the guiding parental figures in his life.
Now the circle has come around again, and according to the creed, Djarin must protect the Child. More importantly, the Mandalorian wants to protect the Child, as shown by the conversation between Djarin and the Armorer:
THE MANDALORIAN: This is the one.
THE ARMORER: This is the one that you hunted, then saved?
THE MANDALORIAN: Yes. The one that saved me as well.
His mask might present a static, unchanging front to the world, but make no mistake; Din Djarin is a changed man. What was it that made him save Baby Yoda from IG-11, Werner Herzog, Moff Gideon, and the murderer’s row of other threats they’ve faced throughout this season? Was it the biologically appealing cuteness of Baby Yoda’s facial features? A believer’s desire to uphold the Mandalorian Creed? His inherent goodness pushing him to stand up to the evil dregs of the Empire? The orphan’s instinct to protect another orphan? I hope we get more of this in season 2.
I can’t ignore the crazy tag Favreau and company put at the end of this episode: Moff Gideon has the freaking Darksaber! How, when, why? This is the first time we’ve seen the mysterious Mandalorian weapon outside of The Clone Wars and Rebels, but we’ll have to wait until the next season of The Mandalorian to get some answers.
Quick hits from “Redemption”:
- The episode starts with some great, simple comedy courtesy of the two bored speeder bike troopers. Who are these heroes of the Empire, you ask? None other than Adam Pally (of Happy Endings and The Mindy Project) and Saturday Night Live alumnus Jason Sudeikis.
- Maybe it’s because I have a Baby Yoda-sized infant of my own, but I do not want to see anybody punch him ever again. I will defend our new god from all harm.
- Moff Gideon’s tendency to lecture gives us more backstory on Cara Dune: turns out she’s from Alderaan, and “Cara” is short for Carasynthia. He also describes her as a “Republican Shock Trooper,” which is interesting considering the Republic died in the aftermath of Order 66. Is this just his smarmy way of insulting Dune?
- What’s a Mind Flayer? My Star Wars nerdery immediately went to the infamous Bor Gullet used by Saw Gerrera to interrogate Bodhi Rook in Rogue One, but it also conjures up Stranger Things’ Mind Flayer and the nasty Illithids of D&D fame.
- I love the rad clone-style armor for the flame trooper. Give us Black Series figure, Hasbro!
- Interested in learning more about the Siege of Mandalore? Check out E. K. Johnston’s excellent Ahsoka!
- Who is Mandalore the Great? Is this a person or a group or an army or what?
- I’d take six seasons and a movie of a spinoff series starring IG-11 as Nanny in a retooling of Muppet Babies set in the Star Wars universe.
- I make a motion to replace Charon in all future printings of The Inferno with the gigantic, bipedal R2 unit that pilots the lava skiff. It’d also make a great LEGO set!
- Carl Weathers’ best line in the entire season: “Come on, baby! Do the magic hand thing!”
- Ludwig Göransson continues to slay with the music. His theme for the Child (“The Baby”) is a tender piece, the best from the show aside from Djarin’s theme. I feel a Scorescope coming for his soundtrack!
And just like that, the first season of The Mandalorian is in the books. It’s hard to believe that I’m writing about a live-action Star Wars TV show, much less one as consistently excellent as this one. What a time to be alive. Check in next week for more on Disney+’s greatest show!