EPISODE: “Chapter 7: The Reckoning” – Written by Jon Favreau and directed by Deborah Chow.
SYNOPSIS: An old rival extends an invitation for The Mandalorian to make peace.
REVIEW (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE): This is finally the episode where everything comes together for The Mandalorian. For the last six episodes, we have seen an overarching narrative for the season, but the last three chapters have been seemingly standalone adventures for our title character. I know after seeing IG-11 in the premiere and Cara Dune in the third episode, I was convinced all of these actors were going to be one and done appearances. But, with the seventh episode, “The Reckoning”, we finally see a large number of characters return to start the closing of this season of Jon Favreau’s breakout hit series.
While looking for another temporary safe haven, The Mandalorian gets a message from Greef Carga (Carl Weathers). Still alive after being shot by The Mandalorian, Greef proposes one final job for the bounty hunter: return to Navarro with The Child. They will then pretend to turn him over to The Client (Werner Herzog) but instead, Mando will kill him and get away with the kid. Dubious, The Mandalorian enlists some help for the mission and tracks down Cara Dune (Gina Carano). She agrees when she hears the target is an ex-Imperial officer. They then revisit Kuill (Nick Nolte) who joins them to protect The Child. While there, The Mandalorian discovers that Kuill saved IG-11 (Taika Waititi) who is no longer a killer but is programmed to protect.
On the way to Navarro, Cara and Mando arm wrestle to pass the time and when The Child senses that his friend is in danger, he Force chokes Cara. Mando breaks it up and this begs the question as to whether The Child is attuned to the Light or the Dark Side, a question I never thought I would consider of Baby Yoda. On Navarro, along with a reinforced carrier for The Child, our trio meet Greef and a pair of Guild bounty hunters for the trek to The Client. During the night, they are assaulted by flying creatures and Greef is poisoned. The Child uses his powers to save Greef. The next day, Greef kills the two bounty hunters he brought and confesses the plan was to kill The Mandalorian and take the child, but he has had second thoughts after the prior night.
Changing the plan, they decide to fake Mando’s imprisonment to get to The Client while Kuiil takes The Child back to the Razor Crest. Seeing the outpost full of stormtroopers, Cara and Mando have a bad feeling, but Greef tells them not to worry. When they come face to face with The Client, he receives a transmission from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Before The Client can lay eyes on The Child, laser blasts rip through the building, killing The Client and all of his soldiers. Pinned down, a troop of stormtroopers surround them. The Mandalorian calls Kuiil on a transponder which is intercepted by a pair of troopers on speeders. They head towards the Razor Crest while we see a large TIE fighter land.
Exiting the ship isGideon who proclaims that The Child is not what The Mandalorian thinks it is. Flanked by standard issue troopers and some special ones as well, The Mandalorian continues to plead for Kuill to confirm he made it to the ship. It is an intense sequence that ends with the troopers grabbing The Child and Kuiil left dead. The episode concludes on a cliffhanger leading into next week’s finale. A great and fast-paced series of sequences, it doesn’t answer much but sets up one hell of a finale.
STAR WARS UNIVERSE REFERENCES: We get to hear The Client complain about the state of the galaxy post-Rebellion defeat of The Empire. We also see a bunch of variations of classic stormtrooper armor. This may be the first time we see a TIE fighter land the way it does in this episode.
COOLEST SCENE: The final standoff with Moff Gideon and the stormtroopers as Kuiil tries to escape back to the Razor Crest with The Child is a pulse-pounding sequence that sets up one hell of a season finale.
FINAL VERDICT: Easily the best episode of the season so far, “The Reckoning” pulls a lot of this season together and gives us our most cohesive story yet. I loved seeing Werner Herzog, Carl Weathers, Gina Carano, as well as Nick Nolte and Taika Waititi’s voices back in a single episode. I am not convinced that next week’s finale will wrap up this entire story in less than an hour, but I have been repeatedly surprised by this show. Will we learn more about The Mandalorian? Will he remove his helmet? Will we learn what the Empire wants with The Child? Will IG-11 kick some ass? So many questions and I hope we don’t get them all answered as I am excited for this series to run for a long time to come. (9/10)
NEXT ON THE MANDALORIAN: The season finale, “Chapter 8”, premieres December 27th on Disney+: The Mandalorian comes face-to-face with an unexpected enemy.