With Season 2 starting in less than 24 hours, I am finally fulfilling my duty in writing the recap for the last episode of Season 1. Oh man. How great was this episode eh? “Redemption” was everything I was hoping it would be. And for once, my predictions came true! Mostly anyway. As usual, enjoy a buffer image before we get to the spoilery stuff below. But seeing as to how I am so, so late in writing this recap, I doubt anything I say will be much of a spoiler for any of you at this point in time.
The last we saw of the crew at the end of “The Reckoning”, the group was split into two. Kuiil was trying to make it back to the Crest with Baby Yoda but then got mowed down by the pair of Scout Troopers on speeder bikes. Said Scout Troopers then scooped little Baby Yoda and sped away on their way back to town. The Mando, Cara Dune, and Combat Carl were pinned down in the Bounty Hunter Bar with a dead Client, some dead Stormtroopers with the building surrounded by some Deathtroopers, a platoon of Stormtroopers, and one terrifying Moff Gideon. Things looked bleak. Like really bleak. I mean, Kuiil’s dead, Baby Yoda’s been kidnapped, and our unlikely trio of heroes are pinned down by a guy who just killed an ally and a bunch of Stormtroopers. This guy couldn’t be more dangerous. He ordered his Deathtroopers to just open fire on the Bounty Hunter Bar killing fellow Imperials for seemingly no reason other than to prove a point to the trio. He didn’t care. And there’s nothing more dangerous than a man who doesn’t give a crap with an army under his command. So yeah, bleak.
This episode opens with the Scout Trooper duo speeding their way back to town with Baby Yoda in their possession. Baby Yoda is in a shoulder bag carried by one of the troopers played by Jason Sudeikis (Adam Pally plays the other trooper). They pull up just shy of the town entrance asking for what their next orders are. The guy on the other end of the commlink advises they hold their position because the Moff just took out a squad of his own troopers, the significance of which is not lost on the duo. When they ask a second time, the guy on the other end says well the Moff just killed a guy for interrupting him so it’s probably a good idea to keep waiting. So they wait. There’s some back and forth between the duo peppered with some punches to the bag that Baby Yoda’s in. One is dying to just look at it and pays the price with Baby Yoda biting his finger. There’s some target practice which is just hilarious. Sure, the jokes about Stormtroopers not being able to hit the broadside of a barn at point blank range is done to death, but this scene genuinely funny. Given the tense situation we left off of in episode 7, this was a great bit of levity. That whole scene lasted about three minutes but it was pretty memorable. Also, it was the calm before the storm because the baby’s nanny is about to come take care of business.
Yep, IG-11 shows up. Reprogrammed by Kuiil to be Baby Yoda’s nurse droid, it now had a single purpose to protect it. It dispatches the two Scout Troopers with ease, picks up the Baby Yoda bag, and gets on a speeder bike. Then the title screen pops up. What a way to start the episode!
But let’s not start celebrating just yet. Right after the title card, we’re back in the shot-up bar with the trio trying to figure out a way out. The Mando finds an entrance to the sewers hoping they can find the Covert and get some assistance. It’s a race against time though because the Stormtroopers outside are assembling an E-web Heavy Repeating Blaster. They try shooting at the sewer grate to no avail. That’s when Gus Fring pipes up. He clearly has the upper hand because he starts laying out his cards one by one: he knows who Cara Dune is and where she came from. He knows The Mando’s real name and his origin story, and pleads with Combat Carl to do the smart thing and come out. Gus clearly could have killed them all but didn’t. We, the audience, knew that he was more or less in possession of Baby Yoda, but Gus didn’t know that. No doubt the guy on the other end of the commlink erred on the side of caution and didn’t want to interrupt Gus with any news because we all know what happened to the last guy that interrupted him. So he needs to keep the trio alive until he had the package in his hands.
The trio argues as to what to do. And while doing so, The Mando tells Combat Carl that he’s not from Mandalore and that he knows that Gus Fring is indeed Moff Gideon whom Cara thought was tried and executed for War Crimes. We then see the full flashback sequence of The Mando when he was a kid that’s been teased throughout the season in bits and pieces. Turns out, Mando’s hatred for all things droid is due to some PTSD from seeing his parents and his fellow townsfolk being straight up murdered by droids. Yeah, I’d probably hate droids too after all that. Kid Mando was stuffed in a cellar by his parent just before they get killed and when a Super Battle Droid opens the cellar doors, a Mandalorian comes to the rescue. He pulls Kid Mando out and then scene of the genocide is replaced by an army of Mandalorian warriors taking out all the SBD’s we saw previously. Rescue Mando is given the go-ahead to take the kid away who is probably one of the few survivors of that bloodbath.
We’re back in the shot-up Bounty Hunter Bar and The Mando explains that the only record of his real name was back in Mandalore where Gus Fring was stationed during The Purge, that’s how The Mando knows he’s Gideon. But enough of the history lesson, they need to get out. The Mando tries to raise Kuiil again on the commlink but gets a response from Baby Yoda and IG-11 as they speed their way into town. Ever the distrustful one towards droids, The Mando asks rather accusingly what he’s done to Kuiil. IG-11 simply say he is merely fulfilling his duty. The next minute is just pure badassery as IG-11 just rips through town on the speeder bike taking out troopers left and right. He approaches the platoon by the Bounty Hunter Bar, jumps off the bike, and causes enough chaos to give the trio inside the bar an opening to escape. The Mando and Combat Carl join IG-11 outside and try to take out the platoon. Either Stormtroopers are a bunch of noodle-armed pansies or THe Mando has superhuman strength because what took 6 Stormtroopers to carry the gun he was able to just lift up off the tripod by himself to lay waste to the courtyard. But whatever, adrenaline letting a grandma lift a car yada yada. The Mando is doing pretty good with the handheld E-web but doesn’t see Gus Fring walk up behind him though. Gus fires on the generator taking The Mando out.
When The Mando and Combat Carl rushed out of the bar, Cara stayed behind. She provided cover fire from inside. But amidst the chaos, some Death troopers blow down the doors and make their way inside. She takes them out pretty easily. After that, she rushes out to drag The Mando back inside with IG-11 and Combat Carl covering her. The bar doors have magically healed themselves because they close after they all get back inside.
Once inside, IG-11 gets to work on cutting open sewer grate. A Flametrooper walks up and throws some fire inside the giant hole in the side of the building. Things may have been bad before, but now things are on fire so that automatically makes things like, at least three times worse. The Flametrooper walks over to the door to finish the job. IG-11 is so fixated on the grate, he has no idea what’s going on, Cara is comforting The Mando who decides life’s not worth living anymore and wants everyone to leave him behind. Combat Carl seems to have forgotten how to use the blasters that are in his hands. So it’s up to Baby Yoda to save everyone’s asses. Flametrooper let’s loose with the fire gun and Baby Yoda uses the force to keep the flames at bay, and then with a flick of the baby wrist, the Flametrooper explodes and is ejected back outside. Baby Yoda collapses from fatigue in the cutest way possible, IG-11 finally gets the grate open, entrusts Cara to take of the kid, and then tends to The Mando’s injuries. Mando says, “No one alive has seen my face” and IG-11 replies, “I ain’t alive, son!” and then just rips the helmet off. Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic, but we do see Din Djarin without his helmet. IG-11 sprays bacta fluid on his head to ease his concussion and then drags him into the sewer to meet up with Cara and Combat Carl.
Next up? You guessed it. They make their way to the Mandalorian Covert except, they aren’t there. There’s just a pile of helmets signaling their owners’ demise. The Mando thinks Combat Carl had something to do with it since, you know, The Mando pretty much stole the bounty and Carl and his rag tag army of bounty hunters tried to stop him in “The Sin“. Lady Armorer pops up says that this was the natural result of the events. Once the Covert outed themselves to aid The Mando, their days were numbered. The Imperials came and it’s implied they killed most if not all of the Mandalorians. Lady Armorer says “some” may have escaped without much conviction so their already small numbers have become even smaller. Lady Armorer stayed behind ’cause someone’s gotta save all that Beskar steel. She asks a bunch of questions about Baby Yoda. She might be the only non-Imperial character to have ever heard of the force and Jedi but no matter. She gives The Mando his next epic quest: he must reunite Baby Yoda with its own kind and protect it as if he is its father. Like The Mando was before, Baby Yoda is a foundling and by the Creed of the Mandalore, he is now obligated by duty to do this because This is the Way. I think this is one of those “full circle” things I keep hearing about. Anyways, after Lady Armorer learns of exactly what happened with the Mudhorn and Baby Yoda, she tells The Mando that he has in fact earned his signet that he rejected back in The Sin and proceeds to weld it onto his shoulder plate.
Now that the signet reveal party is over, the crew is alerted to some unfriendlies entering the sewer. Lady Armorer instructs IG-11 to run interference and then levels up The Mando’s armor by giving him his jetpack. Oh yes, a nice shiny jetpack to match the rest of his armor (except that one leg plate that’s still not shiny steel and ends up going missing by the end of the episode). After some blaster fire from the seweres, IG-11 comes back and says “you are protected”. Lady Armorer instructs everyone to follow the underground river out to the lave flats to escape. The Mando wants her to come with them but she’s all “Nah, fam. I’m good” cause she still has a lot more Mandalorian armor to melt down. The Mando replenishes his munitions and he’s good to go.
So the merry band of Baby Yoda escorts make their way to the river, leaving Lady Armorer behind. A scout group of Stormtroopers comes upon her kneeling in front of the forge. One of the Imps rudely taps her on the helmet demanding to know where the escort group is. Big mistake, buddy. You never touch a Mandalore woman’s helmet, NEVER. With a forging hammer in one hand and pincers in the other, she teaches all five of them a lesson in how to treat a lady properly. No doubt we’ll be seeing more of her future seasons.
The Merry Band finds the underground lava river, gets on the single lava-proof raft and make their way down stream. The R2 raft pilot droid wakes up and stands up. Honestly, the last thing I’d ever expect was to see an R2 droid with arms and legs. It’s pretty jarring and borderline horrific if I’m being honest. Luckily, we don’t have to experience this monstrosity for very long. Once they approach the mouth of the tunnel, The Mando does a scan and sees a bunch of troopers flanking the exit. Cara shoots the Frankendroid in an effort to stop the raft but because of the natural flow of the lava, the raft ain’t stopping. Conundrum!
With the raft basically on auto pilot, multiple troopers surrounding the mouth of the cave, their situation, once again, looks bleak. It’s not like they can get out of the raft, because, you know, lava. IG-11 already analyzed the entire situation and is taking the situation in his cold robotic hands: IG-11 is going to default to his manufacturer’s Plan B order of self-destructing when faced with imminent capture. It’s true that Kuiil reprogrammed him with a new Prime Directive, to protect Baby Yoda, but if The Mando promises to take care of it IG-11 is then free to act on his own will. And he wants to save everyone. The Mando, who moments ago was about to shoot IG-11’s head off for wanting to take off his helmet, is saddened by this but denies it. IG-11 sees right through his tough guy exterior and can tell. I guess Mando had a change of heart after that bacta spray. The Mando makes that promise and IG-11 then gets off the boat and walks towards the tunnel entrance. Everyone’s sad: The Mando’s sad, Combat Carl sad, Cara Dune, Baby Yoda, even the music is sad. IG-11 makes it the entrance and blows up, clearing the way for Escort Party to float out of the tunnel.
But wait, there’s more! Moff Gideon is in his TIE Fighter bearing down on them. He somehow misses them on a strafing run and circles around some mountains. Escort Party’s pea shooters are no match and there’s really only one thing left for them to do: fight fire with fire, meaning, The Mando is gonna have to use his newly-acquired jetpack and face him in the air. On the TIE’s second pass, The Mando blasts off and when he’s over the ship, uses his wrist grappling hook to tether himself to the TIE and zips himself to the hatch. Gus Fring tries to shake The Mando off but he’s not having any of it. The Mando manages to attach an explosive device to one of the TIE’s wing arms. The Mando lets go and falls back town to firm ground and thankfully did NOT do that typical superhero landing pose. I would have eyerolled so hard if that happened. The TIE’s wing blows off and crashes into the planet.
Escort Party rejoices by making a plan. Cara’s gonna stay on Nevarro and clean up whatever’s left of the Imperials. Combat Carl is going to restart the Bounty Hunter Guild. The Mando? Well it’s pretty clear what he has to do. He picks up Baby Yoda and activates Rising Phoenix and jetpacks off towards the Razor Crest. He builds a cairn for Kuiil and gets back to the Crest. He notices that Baby Yoda is playing with the signet charm that he gave Kuill in the previous episode. He lets Baby Yoda chew on it a little longer. They then fly off into the sunet.
They fly by Gus Fring’s wrecked TIE. Some jawas are salvaging what they could from the wreckage when there’s a hot spot forming on the hull. Gus is cutting his way out with a darksaber. Yeah, he survived. Kind of expected. We need a big bad guy to keep The Mando on his toes now that The Client is gone.
So that’s that. Season 1 is the in can and with The Mando and Baby Yoda off to find anyone related to it, or until it grows up and not be so helpless, or, I don’t know, maybe another Jedi. Cara’s gonna stay on Nevarro and do what she does best and kick some Imperial tail. Combat Carl is going to rebuild the guild. Gus Fring is still alive and wielding the Darksaber.
That darksaber is kind of a huge deal if you know its significance. I had no idea but that’s what the internet is for. Thanks to this article on Polygon, now I know. The basic gist is that the Darksaber was an artifact from the Mandalore people. He who possessed it ruled the people. It was in Pre Vizsla’s possession (The Clone Wars) when Darth Maul challenged him and won, eventually throwing the Mandalore into a civil war. Maul eventually dies at the hands of Grievous and Darth Sidious, but neither of them cared for it and just left at the spot where Maul fell. Along comes Sabine Wren (Rebels) who finds it and is trained by Ezra Bridger and Kanan Jarrus to wield it properly. Sabine eventually hands the Darksaber to Bo-Katan Kryze. After that we have no idea what happened to it between then and when Moff Gideon cut his way out of the TIE cockpit. Since The Mando pointed out that the only way Moff Gideon knew his real name was because of the records on Mandalore, it’s not much of a stretch to think that Moff GIdeon took ownership of any fancy toys he may find while combing through the records.
Season 1 ended nice and cleanly. The story was buttoned up, anything lingering will be explored in the next season, which is the way it should be. What I can’t stand is when you expect a story to end with the season finale only for it to not end and have this major cliffhanger not resolve anything. The Walking Dead was notorious for this. All it does is build up hype and expectation for the following season’s premiere episode to stratospheric levels that ultimately disappoints. How stupid would it have been if say the episode ended right here:
Yeah that would have sucked.
In previous episodes it would feel like there were long stretches where nothing was really happening, and then episode 8 comes along and hits the pedal to the metal. This episode was full of great moments, and felt just packed with them. But there were three standout scenes I wanted to mention again: the Scout troopers at the beginning, IG-11 tearing the platoon a new one, and Lady Armorer kicking major ass.
I’ve been trying to not read any news or developments on Season 2. Despite posting this, I’m as blank-slate as I can be. I knew nothing about The Mandalorian going in to season 1, and I was surprised by how good it was. I think that’s mostly true for any type of TV show or movie really. The less you know, the better chance you have of enjoying it. Mostly. Except for The Rise of Skywalker. Even with no expectations, that was still the worst Star Wars movie of all time.
Season 2 starts in less than 24 hours. I’ll be back with recaps and will strive to be more diligent in completing them on time.