Well, that’s it folks. The first season of The Mandalorian has come to an end, and it’s a bit of a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that “Chapter 8: Redemption” proved to be a very satisfying conclusion to this arc — and a bit of a balm after the varying disappointments of The Rise of Skywalker. And the bad news? That’s obvious: No more weekly doses of Baby Yoda to act as a completely different kind of soul-balm — at least until next fall, when Season 2 is set to drop:
(The fact that Baby Yoda’s sweet, smiling face will be back in our lives just in time for the election proves Disney knows exactly how to capitalize on our nation’s angst and need for escapism, but I digress…)
The finale wrapped up the massive stand-off between Moff Gideon’s forces and Mando’s crew, with plenty of casualties and a few revelations along the way. In the end Greef Carga’s got his city back, Cara Dune’s got a new job offer to consider, and Mando’s got a new mission: Try to find Baby Yoda’s homeworld. So let’s talk details, shall we?
There’s A Reason Those Scout Troopers Sounded So Familiar…
Remember those two Scout Troopers who chased down (and killed?) Kuiil and nabbed Baby Yoda? Well, the finale kicks off by following those two as they head to their designated rendezvous point and await further instruction. The result is an unexpectedly funny departure of sorts as the two bicker, complain about Gideon, and kill time with target practice. Truthfully, the almost 5-minute scene seems completely out of place in this episode, until you realize who is playing those Troopers: Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally! Yup, in a season absolutely chock-full of familiar faces, this is the final guest star cherry on top: The Surprise Storm Trooper Celebrity Cameo.
Now, you may remember my theory that those two troopers were too far away to kill Kuiil, and instead I thought the reprogrammed Taika-bot may have done it, based on the end of the last episode. What this scene proves is that I was… wrong. Or something. It reinforces that the troopers have absolutely terrible aim, so there is no practical reason to believe they could have shot Kuiil — but I guess they must have, since it turns out the Taika-bot couldn’t have done it. The IG-11 Nurse-Droid is totally, definitely a good guy now, and we know that because it shows up, beats the hell out of those troopers, and saves the baby (don’t worry, the guys had it coming for REPEATED PUNCHING BABY YODA). Nurse-droid to the rescue!
What Does Gideon Want, Anyway?
Honestly, I’m still not sure. We know he wants Baby Yoda captured alive, and he must know that his troopers didn’t hold on to his target because he offers Mando, Greef and Cara the chance to surrender rather than killing them outright (meaning he must think he’ll need them to get the child back). When they ask why they should trust him, he responds: “The assurance I give is this: I will act in my own self-interest, which at this time involves your cooperation and benefit.” (Giancarlo Esposito is fantastic as a seemingly rational bad guy, FYI). Complicating matters is the fact that Gideon seems to know quite a bit about all three of the people he is facing off against, including Mando’s real name (!), and also the fact that… uh… Gideon was supposed to have been executed for war crimes?
Oh, and speaking of Gideon not being dead: At the end of the episode we learn that Gideon didn’t die when Mando blew his TIE-Fighter out of the sky, and that somehow the dude has a DARKSABER, which is a very special type of lightsaber created by (*Googles quickly*) the first Mandalorian Jedi?! Well, THAT’S bound to have an impact on Season 2…
Mando Gets A Name… And A Face!
Right, so, Gideon knew Mando’s real name, which is “Din Djarin” — a name Mando hasn’t used since he was a child, before he was taken in by the Mandalorians. Gideon must have found the only records of his family name on Mandalore during the Great Purge. Gideon’s role in Mando’s past may be important down the road, but the sudden reemergence of Mando’s backstory at THIS point in the story serves another purpose: Illustrating the ties between Mandalorians and the foundlings they rescue.
As for Mando’s face? It’s Pedro Pascal’s face, duh! We finally get to see it when he is injured, and the Taika-bot stays behind to heal him. The rule is that Mandalorians can’t remove their helmets in front of any living beings, but since Taika-bot is a droid, it’s a nifty loophole that means we finally get to see that beautiful mug of his. HUZZAH!
Baby Yoda’s Magic Hand Thing
At one point, Baby Yoda uses the Force to protect his friends from Gideon’s special incinerator stormtrooper (literally just a trooper with a flamethrower), and it left quite an impact on poor Greef Carga, who — in a moment of panic later on — delivers the best quote of the episode: “C’mon Baby, do the magic hand thing!”
Jokes on you, Greef, because Baby Yoda does NOT do the “magic hand thing” on command! HE DOES IT WHEN HE FEELS LIKE IT, OK?!
And while we’re on the subject of Baby Yoda, I should probably point out that the baby LOVES taking rides on speeders and also seems pretty chill about taking jetpack-flights in Mando’s arms.
The Armorer Better Come Back In Season 2, Do You Hear Me Jon Favreau?!
When Mando and his crew attempt to escape Gideon through some Mandalorian tunnels under Nevarro, they run into the Armorer. Turns out all the other Mandos were killed when the Imperial forces took over the city, but she has survived and is busy reclaiming the armor of her comrades. She asks about Baby Yoda, and is the first person to connect the dots that Baby Yoda is likely a Jedi, one of an ancient order of sorcerers who used to be enemies of Mandalore. Of course, Baby Yoda isn’t an enemy, he is just another foundling, and she gives Mando some clues about what he has do next — that he is responsible for Baby Yoda until the child is either returned to his people/homeworld, or reaches adulthood.
So now we know the journey our favorite duo will be taking next season, but while it’s great to have a character like the Armorer around to tell Mando what to do, that’s not why I want her to come back next season. No, my interest in her fate was sealed when I saw her wallop a bunch of Stormtroopers using nothing but her forge tools — despite the fact that she was standing in an armory filled with fancy Mandalorian weapons! She’s the best. I love her.
Taika-bot Saves The Day… Again!
Not only did the Nurse-Droid rescue Baby Yoda at the start of the episode, but it also sacrificed itself at the very end, engaging its self-destruct protocol to take out the remaining Stormtroopers who were waiting to ambush our heroes on the final leg of their escape. The Taika-bot walked through a river of lava just to blow himself up! That’s a whole lotta awesomeness for the Taika-bot in one episode, isn’t it? It’s almost like… maybe Taika Waititi himself was directing?
He was. He directed the finale. He’s the hero on screen AND off.
So, What’s Next?
Mando’s apparently going on a search for Baby Yoda’s homeworld, which is exciting because that’s a place that hasn’t really been established in Star Wars yet. We don’t even know the name of Baby Yoda’s race! Which is why we’re stuck calling this child “Baby Yoda” — even though we know it’s NOT actually Yoda at all! Meanwhile, Gideon is still alive and waving that Darksaber around, which I’m sure means we’ll get some more cooly menacing Giancarlo Esposito next season — and maybe more insight into the historical connections between Mandalore and the Jedis.
As for me? I’m already worried about which celebrity guest star I’m going to have a lifelong vendetta against when I see them drop or punch my sweet baby angel child. Like, can’t people exercise some basic rules of childcare?! Where’s that Nurse-Droid when you need it?
Header Image Source: Disney/LucasFilm