Oh wow. Just wow!
I’ve heard complaints from some people all season long about “filler episodes”. And to some extent I agreed. Chapters 2 and 4, “The Child” and “Sanctuary” respectively, were particular standouts in the “filler” category as they seemed like side stories used to fill out a season and didn’t propel the narrative all that much. That is until this episode, Chapter 7 “The Reckoning”, came out and tied all of that together by pulling in these characters we met only once and bringing them all back together as a team. In Chapter 1, we were introduced to Kuiil, the Ugnaught who has served a life of servitude and is living free, and IG-11, the assassin droid that The Mando teamed up with and eventually headshotted to defeat the Nikto in order to get to the target. In Chapter 4, we met up with Cara Dune, an ex-shocktrooper who helped The Mando save a village from a local gang. This matters because The Mando is going to need their help.
As usual, consider this your spoiler warning. Recap continues below the poster.
‘Cause, see, at the beginning of the episode, we find The Mando in space listening to a new transmission from Combat Carl. Apparently the events of “The Sin” has had lasting repercussions. The Client is pretty pissed and called in more ex-Imperial troops. Nevarro is now overrun with them impeding on Guild livelihood and Combat Carl just wants things to go back to normal. So he makes a deal with The Mando: show up with the quarry, use it as bait to get near The Client, and then The Mando has to kill The Client. Do that and his name will be cleared with the Guild and he and Baby Yoda can leave and live in peace.
Well already it sounds suspicious and not very well thought out because if the town is overrun by Imperials, and they kill The Client, how are they supposed to get out of town? Makes no sense but whatever. Also, it smells like a trap and despite having a bucket on his head, The Mando smells it too. And this is where he goes back to see his previous acquaintances.
First stop is the Seven Samurai planet to find Cara Dune. The Mando can’t go in alone and he needs a back-up. They know each other and have a bit of history. We find her in a bar fight where she and her opponent are tethered together with a rope. First person to tap out and deactivate the laser rope loses and the winner apparently gets a lot of credits. I know; it looks as stupid as it sounds. The Mando is trying to convince her to come with him without much luck. She’s a marked woman; she gets on any ship and they ID her, it’s off to a jail cell. She has no interest in settling a dispute with a local warlord. But The Mando has a ship that can safely ferry her back and forth, and he says the two magic words that changes her mind: “He’s Imperial.” And with that, she’s in.
Off to space they go again. They’re in the cargo area checking out their available arsenal. While they’re chatting about the mission deets, we see Baby peek out at them upside down from the cockpit hatch. Super cute stuff. He disappears and then suddenly the ship starts bucking like a bronco. They rush up to the cockpit and we finally see Baby Yoda acting like a baby and just wreaking havoc on the controls pulling levers and pushing buttons. Can’t keep kids around stuff like that unsupervised. The Mando undoes whatever Baby Yoda did and they come to the conclusion that if this plan is to work, they need a babysitter. Cue Kuiil.
They travel to his planet and after describing their situation to him, they are interruped by his droid servant who is none other than assassin droid IG-11 carrying in a tray of tea. The Mando and Cara both jump to their feet drawing their weapons. After the massacre at the Nikto camp, Kuiil went in and surveyed the area coming across IG-11’s body. He took the parts back to his home and rebuilt him rewiring him in the process. It was like IG-11 was a brand new droid, or one that came out of a long term coma. He had to relearn everything, from walking to grasping to avoiding harming others. The Mando ain’t buying it though. He firmly believes once an assassin droid always an assassin droid. He was programmed to kill The Child, in his nature, and it can’t be just be rewired out of him. The Mando asks Kuiil if he can hire him as a baby sitter. He said he is no longer available for service but he can hire IG-11 for nursing and protocol. Kuill will help The Mando but not for pay but to protect The Child from the old ways of the Empire. You get the sense that Kuiil has seen some **** back in the day. He says IG-11 and the blurrgs will join him. The Mando isn’t really okay with that but Kuiil has spoken and that’s the end of that conversation.
We’re back in space again on our way to Nevarro. The cargo hold probably smells like farm with the livestock in there. The Mando and Cara are engaged in some arm wrestling. Baby sees this, does not like what it sees, and proceeds to force choke Cara. No one knows what’s going on until The Mando glances at Baby Yoda and sees its hand stretched out and eyes closed, like he saw at mudhorn valley. He picks up Baby Yoda and yells, “NO! No, no! Stop! We’re friends, we’re friends. Cara is my friend.” Cara regains the ability to breathe and thinks The Child is dangerous. She’s not exactly wrong. Kuill, the oldest and wisest of the bunch, understands more now what The Mando went through with the mudhorn. They still don’t know what Baby Yoda is or what it can do, but Kuiil, having been around the block a couple of times, has heard stories of force powers. Cara is pissed though, rightly so cause she almost died from an invisible force controlled by Baby Yoda. And she’s not taking anything that Kuiil is saying without a fight because it’s the only thing she can fight. So she’s all like bringing up his past when he “worked” for the Empire and he’s all like “I was a slave and paid my way out of the system” and then IG-11, who can protect, stands up and is all giving Cara the stink eye and then The Mando breaks up the tension by asking Kuiil for some of his handiwork that helped pay his way out of slavery. They need a better crib and Kuiil is more than happy to take on the job to prove his point.
Next scene is the Razor Crest landing in a lava field on Nevarro where Combat Carl and a trio of loyal guild members await their landing. Kuiil, Cara, and The Mando disboard riding a trio of blurrgs. Combat Carl sees the tattoo on Cara’s arm, signifying her status as a Rebel Dropper, and suggests that she stays with the ship. The Mando says, “nuh-uh” and Combat Carl says, “Fine.” They begin traveling across the field until day turns to night and they make camp. Over dinner by campfire, they go over the plan again: they enter the house, sit at the table with The Client, and then The Mando kills him. As soon as the head dies, the rest of the ex-Empire troops will scatter. Doesn’t seem likely and it sounds way too easy, amirite? Combat Carl claims that The Client only travels with four guards and assures them that nothing can go wrong. Of course if more ex-Imperial troops are in the city, it’s gotta be way more than four right?
As soon as he says “nothing can go wrong” a flying creature swoops down on them and takes some of their food. Everyone springs into action and begin firing at the flying menaces. Combat Carl gets scratched at the arm. One of his bounty hunters gets taken away. A blurrg is taken away. A creatures attempts at another blurrg but gets shot down. The Mando is attacked but he uses his flamethrower to ward it off and then the flying creatures leave as quickly as they came.
Combat Carl is injured and the poison is spreading. Cara patches him as best she can with the single medpac they have between them. Baby Yoda sees what’s going on, wanders over, and puts its hand up. Dropper Cara’s like get this psycho baby away when wise old Kuiil says hold up. Baby Yoda puts its hand right on the wound and uses the force to heal Combat Carl’s arm to the amazement of everybody on both sides of the screen. Exhausted, Baby Yoda collapses by sitting on his rear, the way toddlers do when they can’t stand up anymore and just fall on their butts. Everybody just stares at the arm in stunned silence and presumably goes to bed without talking about it because the next scene it’s the morning time and they’re back to walking towards town.
Combat Carl is whispering to his guards motioning at his arm. The Mando and Cara sense that something’s up. Once they get to a randomly designated stopping point, Combat Carl quite noticeably strolls to the edge with his hands on his blasters, turns around and says, “I guess this is it.” Then he quickdraws and blasts the two bounty hunters. At this point, I’m yelling “I knew it!” at the TV. It seems that this was a trap all along, that they were going to kill them right there but Carl’s had a change of heart. I’m gonna guess it’s because the power of the force compelled him. The Client is obsessed with obtaining the asset, and Combat Carl finally realizes why. The Mando and The Dropper are skeptical for good reason, but Carl convinces them they should still go through with the plan because The Mando’s situation isn’t going to change if they don’t and being constantly on the run just sucks. They both have a vested interest in getting rid of The Client, and thus the saying “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” plays out and the two of them decide to team up.
Now the plan changes slightly: Kuiil is going to take Baby Yoda back to the Razor Crest and initiate ground security protocols; Combat Carl is going to escort The Dropper as the one who captured The Mando in to meet The Client, all while towing the empty pram with the canopy closed. Kuiil hands The Mando a commlink and reminds Cara to cover her tats before they part ways. They enter town and right at the front are a pair of Imperial speeder bikes and Scout Troopers. They walk further and further into town and Cara is getting alarmed at the number of troopers she’s seeing. There’s way more than four but Combat Carl assures her that there are only four troopers guarding the client.
They enter what used to be the Bounty Hunters’ Guild building and indeed there are only four troopers inside. The Client makes a comment at how badass The Mando’s armor looks. The Client invites Combat Carl to have a drink to celebrate the capture. The Client dredges up the past with The Mando, asking rhetorically why Mandalore resisted The Empire. This guy’s pretty bitter because he goes on to say how things could have been compared to how things are now. Next, he asks to see the baby and wants the pram opened. Carl says it’s sleeping but The Client says they’ll all be quiet. Right then, a stormtrooper walks over and says there’s a radio transmission for him. He gets up to take the call, The Mando slips out of his binders, and Combat Carl hands him a blaster. The call is from Moff Gideon who asks The Client if they’ve brought The Child. The Client says yes and that it is currently sleeping. Moff Gideon tells him to check again and waves his hand.
And with that, the room explodes in laser fire with the first blast going through The Client’s chest. Yeah, he ded. All of the stormtroopers in the room fall to the continuous salvo while Combat Carl, The Mando, and The Dropper take cover. When the laser fire subsides, we see a group of Death Troopers just outside and a transport pulling up with even more troopers. Cara, who seems stuck on the number 4, questions again, “4 stormtroopers?”. The Mando gets on the commlink and hails Kuiil ordering him to just take the kid and take off. The scout troopers at the front gate overhear the transmission, get on their speeder bikes and takes off after them.
A TIE Fighter comes into view and, in a mind-blowing sequence, lands on the ground behind the stormtroopers by folding its wings in half and deploying landing gear. Cut back to Kuiil where the blurrg he’s riding is moving as fast as it with the speeder bikes covering a lot of ground FAST. Cut back to the TIE fighter and the hatch opens up giving us a glimpse of Moff Gideon. He approaches the window looking like a pre-cursor to Darth Vader clad all in shiny black with a chest plate. He demands the quarry. The Mando tries to raise Kuill on the commlink again. Cut back to the speeder bikes with Kuill and the blurrg in view. Kuill is approaching the Razor Crest, the ramp lowers. It cuts back to The Mando trying to get Kuill on the line and Moff Gideon declaring how much the The Child means to him. It cuts back to Baby Yoda laying on the ground; a scout trooper swoops in and scoops it up without missing a beat. The commlink is on the ground, Kuill is on the ground presumably dead along with the blurrg he was riding. and we see the two scout troopers speeding back to town. Roll credits.
This being the second-to-last episode of the season, one expects there to be a cliffhanger. And what a cliffhanger it was! My only hope now is that the final episode cleans it all up WITHOUT leaving us with another cliffhanger to agonize over until S2 starts.
I don’t know what it is about the scout troopers, but seeing them at the front archway at the edge of town invoked that same sense of awe in me as I had when I first saw them in Return. And when they started riding across the lava fields and the one that scooped up Baby Yoda was all pretty thrilling.
Jealous Baby Yoda is jealous. It kinda seemed like he was acting out when The Mando was giving attention to Cara when she first boarded the ship and it mashed all those buttons and wailed on the flight stick. Also, the force choke when they were arm wrestling seemed premeditated and not out of protection to The Mando.
My prediction for the finale: IG-11 goes into protection mode and lays waste to the ex-Imperials with the help of the Razor Crest; he rescues our three trapped characters; and Moff Gideon escapes. Baby Yoda ends up back with the The Mandalorian. I’m probably 100% wrong on that. I just want to see IG-11 back in killing mode.