Yes I’m late again. I blame holidays, bad traffic, crappy tech support, and kids that have a mountain of homework. What’s up with elementary school kids getting homework? I mean, I can understand 4th graders, sure, but Kindergartners? Really?
Yes, Episode 7 is out. I’ve already watched it before finishing this recap. I have LOTS to say. And as Baby Yoda is my witness, I’m going to catch up and get it out before the finale. Now, normally I don’t make a comment on the recap at the beginning of the episode but I feel like I have to this time. And what better place to put the commentary on the recap than before the poster buffer? Anyway, about the recap. It’s a montage of every instance where The Mando and The Child were in the crosshairs, sometimes literally, of a bounty hunter trying to hunt them down. As if we forgot.
I mean, we get it, they’re being hunted. We really don’t need this kind of reminder shoved down our throats. Usually recaps remind of you key scenes from previous episodes that the episode you’re about to watch ties into in some way. Usually. But not this time. Chapter 6, titled “The Prisoner”, which some consider to be a filler episode, doesn’t feature an endless stream of bounty hunters on Lone Wolf and Cub’s trail as the recap would have you believe. In fact, no other hunters make an appearance. So in this regard, maybe it is a filler. But what a filler it is with some action, colorful characters, and a clever move by The Mando himself.
The last shot of the previous chapter showed The Mando and Baby Yoda taking off from Bay Three-Five on Mos Eisley. No space fight this time around as we now see Razor Crest landing in a hangar bay in space. He walks through the busy hangar to talk to an old acquaintance, Ran. Apparently, he and The Mando go way back and did jobs together. Ran was surprised that The Mando reached out but he’s heard some things about The Mando, how things aren’t working out with the Guild. That’s putting it lightly, but Ran has a policy of “no questions asked” so he doesn’t press him on it. After that brief conversation, they get right down to business and talk about the job.
One of Ran’s gang members was doing gangster stuff and got caught. Ran hired The Mando cause he needed his ship. The Mando objects, saying it wasn’t part of the deal but Ran has the upper hand here. He only let The Mando back in BECAUSE of the ship. The Mando throws him a stern look, as stern a look that an expressionless, dark-visored helmet can give, and Ran just says, “What’s the look? Is that gratitude?” He’s got the higher ground here, maybe more so than he realizes because The Mando is desperate to get some funds. If The Mando walked back into this kind of situation, he must have really had no other choice and Ran knows this.
Ran takes The Mando and introduces him Mayfeld, former Imperial sharpshooter and shot caller for the prison break job. The Mando quips that being a former Imperial sharpshooter doesn’t mean much. Mayfeld fires back with a “I wasn’t a stormtrooper, wiseass”. I suppose this was supposed to be funny, just beating the stormtroopers-have-terrible-aim dead horse bit. Stormtroopers missed on purpose to let them get away. Princess Leia pointed it out because of the ease of their escape! It’s not even a funny joke. I mean, even if it was kinda har har funny at one point, the joke’s been done to death. Let it go, people, let it go.
We meet the rest of the crew: Burg, a Davoronian and the brawn of the group; Zero, a droid; and Xi’an, a knife-wielding Twi’lek who knew The Mando from the early days and apparently has a bit of history with him. Zero heads to the cockpit and does a pre-flight inspection. He finds the message from Combat Carl after The Mando retrieved Baby Yoda, the one that played at the very beginning of Chapter 3. Except it’s a partial message and a bit scrambled. Zero’s interest is piqued. Outside the ship they gov over the details of the job. The prisoner they need to spring is on board a New Republic prisoner transport. The Mando ain’t “looking for that kind of heat”… but neither is Ran’s crew.
Xi’an assures The Mando that the ship is piloted by droids. Zero comes out of the Razor Crest and spouts off a laundry list of everything wrong with the ship and asks why they need to use that one. Ran says that because it’s an older ship it’s off of both the Imperial and New Republic grids, whatever that means. The ship will also need to get close enough to jam New Republic code so the ship can get in close undetected. A flight maneuver is detailed that The Mando says is impossible, but not for a droid, hence why Zero is designated as the pilot. The Mando ain’t happy about that but what’s he gonna do? Nothing, that’s what. They all get on board the Crest and make their way out to space.
Now, at this point you’re probably like me and wondering where the heck is Baby Yoda with the ship now full of ruffians. He’s in the only spot that can be concealed and that’s The Mando’s bunk. It’s not the greatest place given how easily he got out of it in the previous episode. I’m sure that was the only thing running through The Mando’s mind the entire time. The stress factor doesn’t go down a bit because Burg is getting touchy feely with everything in the cargo hold. The Mando deters him from opening the bunk, but you know it’s going to happen sooner or later. The gang is giving The Mando a hard time about wearing the helmet all the time and Burg tries to strong arm it off of him.
The Mando pushes back, causing him to stumble and as he goes down hits the control panel exposing Baby Yoda for all to see. I don’t think Baby Yoda can ever sit because as the door swooshes up, he’s just standing there. Why wasn’t he sitting? Or lying down? Or playing with the control stick knob? Are none of the writers or creatives a parent? Anyhoo, In a move that would set my internal paternal alarm bells ringing, Mayfeld goes and picks up The Child. The Mando was already at a disadvantage before; he had to concede to the working conditions that Ran dictated. But now, he’s even more at a disadvantage. Mayfeld, Burg, and Xi’an all know he’s got a kid with him now and The Mando has one more thing to worry about. And Mayfeld more or less makes a veiled threat to that effect. Not a good situation to be in.
At this point, the Razor Crest having dropped out of hyperspace, and in a bit of CG tastiness, maneuvers around the New Republic prisoner transport and docks right on top of an airlock, all in the blink of an eye. It throws everyone off balance and Mayfeld drops Baby Yoda. Once they get their footing back, The Mando scoops him up and puts him back into storage. It’s Mando’s turn now to open the airlock. Xi’an whispers something to Mayfeld as they stand off to the side while The Mando’s fiddling with the airlock controls. Not quite sure what was said or what it was alluding to even after having watched the episode multiple times.
Once the airlock is open Mayfeld ducks down and avoids the site of some patrolling droids. Burg, Mayfeld, Xi’an, and The Mando make their through the corridors until they come across a mouse droid and Burg shoots it. Not very smart but apropros for the character. That alerts a squad of armed droids, different from the ones we saw earlier. A gunfight ensues and The Mando runs away. The other three are pinned down when The Mando reappears behind the squad of robo guards. He does what he was hired to do and takes them all out with panache and flair while the other three just sit there and watch.
The goon squad makes their way to the control room which to their surprise is manned by a live human being named Davan – played by Matt Lanter, voice of Anakin Skywalker on the Clone Wars cartoon. Davan must be brand new to the job because his bright blue uniform looks new and freshly pressed. Guns are drawn and The Mando suddenly grows a conscience and doesn’t feel like killing this guy. He pleads with him to put the weapon down because, and this is true, “No one has to get hurt”. This sort of feels like a new character trait for The Mando. He had no problem evaporating some jawas and bounty hunters, but this guy, he drew the line. I get it though, and it doesn’t really contradict what we’ve seen before. You wrong him in some way, he has no mercy. But this guys was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The point of the mission was to spring a prisoner, not kill anyone. And part of the reason why The Mando agreed to the job was that he was told there would only be droids. And we all know how he feels about droids.
But Davan’s presence was unanticipated and it wasn’t something The Mando wanted to do. This is a New Republic prisoner transport. If Davan dies then there’s going to be a search for who did it. The Mando definitely doesn’t want that. He’s trying to lay low from bounty hunters; he doesn’t need the new government on his tail either. The Mando does not want to kill Davan. So much so he holsters his blaster and pleads with him to put down his gun and the homing beacon. Mayfeld objects ’cause he don’t care and points his gun at Davan. Davan points his gun at Mayfeld. And in typical Mexican standoff, bank-heist-gone-wrong cliché, The Mando draws his gun and points it at Mayfeld, who draws his other gun and points it at The Mando:
Tension is high since Davan is still holding the homing beacon that will call the New Republic Space Force to its signal. Xi’an gets tired of the testosterone contest and takes out Davan with a knife throw. Davan collapses with the homing beacon activated. They have roughly 20 minutes now to get out of dodge. Coincidentally, there is about 22 real time minutes of the show left when that distress signal goes out. It’s almost as if they planned it that way. Also, since this distress signal goes out, and it could go out from anywhere in the galaxy, and it takes 20 minutes for an armed response to reach you, it reminded me of this joke from Clueless:
So now that Davan is dead as dead, the gang locates the prisoner and heads in his direction. But of course, they run into more droids. It’s Burg’s time to shine now as he handily picks up one droid and throws it at another. They finally reach the cell and spring the prisoner but surprise! It’s someone else from The Mando’s past, Xi’an’s brother Qin. The Mando left him behind is now rescuing him. Ironic but even before you can completely process that, Burg punches The Mando in the chest and launches him into the now empty cell. Betrayal! Kind of surprising but after it happens, it’s not at all surprising. There’s bad blood here and now that The Mando did his job and lent the use of his ship, he became disposable and was ripe for payback. They lock it up and walk away to head back to the Razor Crest, where Zero is fiddling with the scrambled transmission from Combat Carl and finds out some more dirt on The Mando.
The Mando, trapped in a cell where laser fire bounces off the walls, uses is lasso to rope in a security droid, rips his arm off through the window, and then, blasts his head off. He uses the new found arm with a data port on the inside of the cell door. Seems like a huge security risk to have a port like that on the inside, but whatever. Also, since the arm isn’t attached to a droid brain, is the data port just a fancy combination lock? See, these are the questions that matter! After some fiddling, The Mando escapes the jail cell and heads back to the control room where Davan lays dead. He starts shutting down corridors with bulkheads compromising the gang’s retreat. Now that the puppet has become the puppeteer, he can see them and controls where they go. He brings a bulkhead down and forces the party to split up. He also jams communication signals; Zero finds this out and futilely tries to tell that to Mayfeld. Right after that he says Baby Yoda. Eep!
The party is split with Mayfeld and the newly freed Qin in one group and Xi’an and Burg on the other. Qin orders Burg and Xi’an to split up to find The Mando and kill him. Qin tells Mayfeld to get him off the ship and really doesn’t care if his sister makes it off or not. Meanwhile, The Mando is tracking Xi’an back at the control room. The beeping of the homing beacon finally breaks through The Mando’s concentration so he picks it up.
Next scene has Mayfeld and Qin splitting up with Qin promising triple the pay if he can take out The Mando. This Qin guy really hates him. Back at the Crest, Baby Yoda and Zero provide a bit of comic relief as Zero, who first spotted Baby Yoda, goes and looks for him. Baby Yoda moves like a ninja though and evades him. Cut back to Burg reaching the control room. He and The Mando get into a tussle with Burg just having his way with him tossing him around the room like a rag doll. While fighting, the Davoronian stands under a bulkhead. The Mando hits the control panel to force the bulkhead to fall right on top of him making you think Burg suffered a similar fate as the guy who tried to run away from him Chapter 1. But this is Burg, and he basically does a back squat lift of the bulkhead door and starts to laugh maniacally. The Mando hits another switch and two pocket doors slam close in front of Burg slamming right into his face. Don’t worry, they don’t actually show the impact but given how freakishly strong this guy is no damage was done.
This entire time, Xi’an was running towards the sound of fighting until she hears the doors close and then does some more grunting. She tries to get Zero on the commlink but to no avail. Next is a montage of cat and mouse games with Mayfeld, Xi’an, some security droids, and Zero looking for their respective prey. Mayfeld takes out some security droids rather easily; it’s rather counterintuitive given how much trouble he had taking the squad out earlier but whatever. The Mando reaches Xi’an and the engage in a throwing star fight with The Mando getting the upper hand by getting in close and holding a blade to her throat.
Cut back to Mayfeld and in great scene we see The Mando approaching him from behind in a dark hallway that’s lit briefly every few seconds by a strobe light. The Mando is only visible at every other flash and he gets closer and closer. It’s eerie, a little haunting, and very well shot. With the main gang out of the way, we’re back at the Crest to catch up on Zero and how bad he is at hide and seek… yep, still sucks.
The Mando reaches Qin as he’s climbing the ladder to the airlock. Qin sighs and asks if he killed the others. “They got what they deserved” was The Mando’s response. Pretty cold. Qin bargains with him. And reminds him that without Qin making it back alive, The Mando won’t get paid. Oh, and that The Mando is a man of honor and so he just HAS to take him back alive, right?
Next scene shows Zero zeroing in on Baby Yoda. He opens the bunk door and points his blaster at him. Baby Yoda puts his hand up and closes his eyes, getting ready to use the force and do God knows what. When suddenly Zero just explodes. Baby Yoda looks at his hand as if to say, “Whoah, did I just do that?” Zero collapses and we see that the blast actually came from Dad Mando standing behind Zero.
The Mando is back at the pilot’s seat, disengages from the airlock, and makes the jump to lightspeed. Coming out of
warp hyperspace, he approaches Ran’s outpost and enters the hangar bay. Ran greets him and surprise! Qin is alive too. After all, he got hired for a job and he wants to get paid. Ran asks where the rest of the gang is but The Mando reminds him of his no questions asked policy. Ran has no choice but to drop the matter. Ran tosses him a rather puny looking pouch of credits and The Mando is back on board the Razor Crest. Job is done, he got paid, and he doesn’t want anything more to do with Ran.
As the Razor Crest exits the outpost’s airspace, Ran issues an order to kill him. A gunship rises up from a lift. As the gunship starts its engines, Qin discovers the homing beacon that Davan activated in his pants. Having not been there and seen the device, he holds it up and asks “What’s this?” The thing is beeping furiously now indicating the approach of the New Republic armed response. X-wings fly by the Razor Crest homing in on the distress signal that is in Qin’s hands. They notice that the outpost is about to launch a gunship. S-foils get locked into attack position and they just obliterate the thing and lay waste to floating station. It was great!
The Mando doesn’t even look back as he makes the jump to lightspeed. All the tension he must have felt during the whole ordeal was let out with a sigh. He unscrews the control stick knob that Baby Yoda is fixated on and hands it to the little one while admonishing him, “I told you that was a bad idea”.
But wait there’s more! The final scene shows Mayfeld, Burg (whose horns broke, probably from the pocket doors slamming into his head), and Xi’an still alive and trapped in a prison cell back on the transport ship. Despite the backstabbing and the fighting, The Mando didn’t kill any of them. They’ll have plenty of troubles on their own answering to a New Republic court. Death might have been too easy for them and The Mando gave them exactly what they deserved. Roll credits.
Mayfeld was supposed to be an Imperial elite sharpshooter but he wasn’t any more effective than a stormtrooper. He couldn’t take down a single droid in the first skirmish but seemed to be just fine against the second group. What’s up with that? And that articulated gun from the back? It’s probably one of the dumbest things I’ve seen since a double bladed-lightsaber that folds in half. And why is it just one arm? Why isn’t it like 4 arms so he can be like Doc Ock except instead of hands its guns. He could be taken down hostiles while sipping a Blue Milk latte at the same time.
Never before have I been so invested in who is playing what bit part. The parade of comedians making cameos continues; Bill Burr and Richard Ayoade are both in this one. The end with the X-Wing pilots… they were all played by directors for the first season: Dave Filoni (Chapters 1 and 5), Deborah Chow (Chapters 3 and 7), Rick Famuyiwa (Chapter 2 and this episode). Taika Waititi directs chapter 8 and voiced IG-11… which leaves only Bryce Dallas Howard as the only director that hasn’t appeared in the show in some capacity… yet. It could just be she is the most recognizable, given her success as an actress, but I could see her popping up in the finale.
I remarked before about how The Mando hates droids and that there is probably something there. Nick pointed out that in every flashback, it showed Super Battle Droids committing genocide against his village and his parents and that is probably where the hatred came from. Makes total sense to me now and I feel a bit dumb for not making the connection earlier.
The recaps are very long. I need to work on that I think. [note from Nick… come on, it’s only 3500 words. I’ve had “short articles” that are longer than that]