Episode 8—the season finale—establishes this show as one of Disney’s best properties in years and one of the best Star Wars properties, period. Yes, I am including the movies. This series actually goes toe-to-toe with what I consider the best non-movie property, The Clone Wars, Vol. 1 and 2, the animated movie. Strap in for a wild ride which proves Disney is still on its A-game, and Star Wars still has a lot left in the tank.
The episode opens hot on the heels of the last Mandalorian episode. The Baby has been freshly captured and two Stormtroopers race back in order to deliver the package. After an exceedingly comedic scene that I will not spoil, none other than the nigh-invulnerable and constantly quipping IG-11 shows up to rescue the Baby. IG-11 is made out to be a legitimate hero, solo wrecking machine, and sympathetic character during the entire episode. IG quickly dispatches of the troopers, commandeers one of their speeders, and races into the town, Baby in tow.
We rejoin Mando and the crew still pinned down by Imperial forces. This point delivers several reveals. The full name of Cara is revealed by the Imperial commander to be Carasynthia Dune. She’s also revealed to be from Aldaron. At this point, Mando recognizes who their opponent actually is.. because he also unveils Mando’s true name—Din Djarin. Only one person could have known this name, Din says, and this is Moff Gideon, an Imperial leader who has been presumed dead for years. This reveal leads Din to tell his entire history. He is actually a foundling who was taken in by the Mandalorians after his planet was raided by the Empire. Din was not born on Mandalor. After Din’s story is told, IG-11 shows up in unbridled bravado. The crew joins him outside where they destroy a large number of the enemy forces. During the scuffle, Moff hits a generator and Din is seriously injured in the explosion. This leads to the second major reveal of the episode. The crew goes back inside, and after IG-11 torches a grate that was blocking the crew’s escape.. we see Din’s face. IG-11 can heal Din, but his helmet must be removed. This is the moment of the show everyone was waiting to see. I’m glad Pedro Pascal got to show who he is in addition to his impressive acting ability. IG-11 sprays Din with Bacta tank liquid (HUGE nod to the entire Star Wars fandom), replaces his helmet, and the duo rejoins the crew.
At this point, the episode makes several advances in the plot that I won’t completely reveal. The rest of the run time is just as action-packed and emotional as the first half. It also neatly sets up a Season 2 that I am already excited for.
I have to take time out to comment on the action in this series. It is absolutely superlative. As I commented on in my review of Episode 6, the fact that someone on this show knows comics, i.e. Disney/Marvel legend Jon Favreau, is evident. The action in this episode is nothing short of astounding. Fight choreography is a form of poetry, in my opinion. The scenes display superb fluidity, satisfying kinetic impact, and simply a knowledge of what makes fight scenes dope. I’m in awe at the quality of action they put into a serialized production. It rivals full-length Marvel movies and Star Wars films in its sophistication and execution.
I’m extremely excited for Season 2. Disney hit this one out of the park. The Mandalorian turned out to be the perfect launch property and shows the House of Mouse still knows what its doing in the production industry. My hat is off.
Episode grade: A+
—The Cavalier Nerd