SYNOPSIS: The Mandalorian comes face-to-face with an unexpected enemy.
REVIEW (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE): This is it, folks. Odds are you have seen THE RISE OF SKYWALKER and either it was a fitting end or you are in need of some STAR WARS that will put a smile on your face. Today sees the release of the finale of The Mandalorian and it is jam packed with easter eggs, answers, and plenty more questions leading into a second round which has already been greenlit by Disney+ for 2020. Until then, does The Mandalorian finale reveal the face of our hero? Do we learn the truth about The Child? So many things happened in this final chapter, let’s run through the story and the important moments together.
Opening with the pair of stormtroopers that killed Kuiil and captured The Child, we get a brief bit of levity as they banter until IG-11 shows up and takes them out. Back in town, Moff Gideon has his troops set up an E-Web cannon which can destroy the pinned down heroes unless they surrender before nightfall. He calls out that he knows that Greef Carga is a disgraced magistrate, Cara Dune is a former shocktrooper from Alderaan, and the true name of The Mandalorian: Din Jarren. Jarren reveals he knows that Moff Gideon was an Imperial Security Bureau officer on Mandalore during The Purge and we see a flashback expanding on the visions from earlier this season. On Mandalore, Jarren’s parents are killed by Super Battle Droids and before he can be, Mandalorians rescue him. It is a cool scene seeing all the Mandalorians team to protect the innocents.
Adding to the Creed of the Mandalorians mythology, we learn that they are sworn to protect Foundlings and raise them in The Way. As they search for a grate to escape in the sewers, IG-11 shows up with The Child and begins killing all of the troopers. Cara, Greef, and Jarren come out guns blazing and take out many more soldiers before Moff Gideon shoots a power transformer and severely injures Jarren. Seeking shelter, Jarren tells Cara and the others to take The Child in the sewers as he is mortally wounded. A flametrooper busts in and The Child uses The Force to repel the blaze, saving everyone and killing the trooper. Everyone escapes into the sewer and IG-11 stays back to help Jarren. At first he refuses to remove his helmet, but when IG-11 confirms he is not a living thing, we get our first look at Pedro Pascal this season. IG-11 tends to his wounds and they follow into the sewer.
Heading to the Mandalorian covert base from the start of the season, Jarren finds the piled armor of all the slain warriors. The Armorer comes out and reveals she will stay until she has collected all of the armor. She also gives Jarren his sacred quest: since The Child is a Foundling and too weak to be trained in The Way, Jarren must search the galaxy to reunite him with his people, whoever they may be. She also gives him his sigil of a Mudhorn as well as his Fighting Phoenix (jetpack!) and sends them on their way. The Armorer eventually fights off a squad of troopers while the heroes make their way to a lava river. As they flow, they see the exit is blocked by a full platoon. IG-11 asks Jarren to take care of the child and walks towards the troopers. With his manufacturers instructions in place, IG-11 must self destruct and kills all of the platoon and himself.
Once they finally exit, Moff Gideon assaults them in a TIE Fighter. With The Child too weak to use his powers, Jarren uses the jetpack to plant a detonator on the TIE and sends it careening into the desert. With everyone safe, Cara Dune elects to stay on Navarro as Greef Carga’s enforcer and ensure the stormtroopers do not return. Greef also absolves Din Jarren of his betrayal of the guild. Din Jarren thanks them and takes The Child back to the Razor Crest. He buries Kuiil and they head on their way. In accordance with The Armorer’s instructions, Din Jarren is now like The Child’s father and their bond is sealed. Letting The Child keep a Krybes pendant he remembers from his childhood. As they set off on their next journey, we see the wreckage of the Razor Crest. As Jawas salvage it, Moff Gideon cuts his way out of the ship using the Darksaber!
STAR WARS UNIVERSE REFERENCES: The two stormtroopers arguing in the opening scene share some target practice and cannot hit a tin can, a reference to the soldiers and their notoriously bad aim. Both troopers are cameos by Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live) and Adam Pally (The Mindy Project). Cara Dune is revealed to be from Alderaan. We see an R2 unit with arms and legs. Moff Gideon possesses the Darksaber, a weapon seen in the Star Wars Rebels animated series.
COOLEST SCENE: The battle sequences throughout this episode were great, especially the firefight between Moff Gideon’s troops and the heroes. The Child repelling a flamethrower was great and that Darksaber shot was awesome, but Din Jarren hanging off of a TIE Fighter has to be one of the coolest shots in any STAR WARS movie or show.
FINAL VERDICT: From an uneven opening episode, The Mandalorian has recovered nicely and turned out to be one of the most enjoyable series this season. While clearly not the same budget as a STAR WARS film, Jon Favreau‘s show managed to turn in some impressive special effects and a very engaging tale that did not need to rely on Jedis or lightsaber duels but still incorporated enough of George Lucas‘ mythology and canon to make this feel like a rightful part of the saga. This finale, helmed by Taika Waititi, was action-packed, gave more backstory to our hero and revealed just enought to keep him mysterious but further let audiences buy into this story. The Child is still a mystery, too, and their shared adventures will continue to be destination viewing for seasons to come. The fact that Jon Favreau brought the Darksaber into live action shows that he knows his STAR WARS and that anyone who overlooked the Clone Wars, Rebels, and Resistance animated series needs to go back and binge them. I will give this episode the same score I will award this first season. (9/10)
NEXT ON THE MANDALORIAN: The second season of The Mandalorian will debut in 2020.