Hear me out. Apparently it is possible to have something Star Wars related end on a note that has fans anxiously awaiting the next chapter. The Mandalorian’s season finale Redemption featured better action, humor and character moments than anything across the Sequel Trilogy especially its underwhelming final installment Rise of Skywalker.
I could spend this entire recap explaining why The Mandalorian’s first season was the best Star Wars property since Rogue One, but I feel like that goes without saying at this point, right? Let’s just say that The Mandalorian felt like the best parts of Star Wars even without one lightsaber, Jedi, Sith or Skywalker running around.
Director Taika Waititi brought in his trademark humor early on as the Scout Troopers (Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally) who retrieved The Child discussed Moff Gideon’s arrival, Imperial procedures and tried to pass off their horrible aim on shoddy equipment. This shouldn’t have worked as well as it did and the payoff was amazing with IG-11 strolling up to take The Child back en route to his big rescue.
Moff Gideon confidently strolled in and name dropped everyone that survived his initial onslaught. He knew Greef and Cara were there and also revealed Mando’s name as Din Djarin. That checks out as a solid heroic Star Wars character name. We finally get the full scene of Mando/Din’s flashback where Battle Droids invade his town and he’s saved by Mandalorians. He’s not some chosen one or the embodiment of every Mandalorian, just a kid they helped.
IG-11 literally rolls in guns blazing carrying out his nursing and serve mission hoping to rescue the others. It’s a big momentum shift, but Gideon triggers an explosion that mortally wounds Din.
It’s a testament to writer Jon Favreau that he created enough doubt that I bought he could actually kill off his title character here and shift the focus to Cara, Greef and IG-11 for Season 2 especially when a flame trooper comes in to heat things up. The Child halts the flame and sends it back at the trooper before passing out. Giving The Child infant Force stamina use was an incredibly smart move so he doesn’t just become the cheat code.
IG-11 stays behind with Din and gives him a bacta infusion after removing his helmet. This is kind of a big deal in the season and it’s given the right amount of significance as the only one who sees his face is a droid. Down in the Mandalorian sewers, the group finds the discarded armor of wiped out Mandalorians. The Armorer is still kicking and says Imperial soldiers fought them and she wasn’t sure how many survived. Sounds like a potential quest for next season.
The Armorer does give Din a real assignment — protect The Child and take it to his own kind, The Jedi. Ever watch a show and before you can get excited about a direction it could possibly take it goes there first? The Mandalorian may operate in fan service, but it never manages to pander or fail to properly set up its path through the Star Wars mythos. Din finally gets his sigil and a new power up — his own jetpack!
The Armorer is more than an amazing designer as she obliterated a squad of Stormtroopers in vicious, impressive fashion. I know I’m digging a show when I want figures of everything and The Armorer just shot up to the top of my wish list.
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Despite all of the crazy action Redemption’s best moment had to be when Greef suggested Din have The Child do the magic hands thing and The Child playfully repeated his gesture. Oh man if you wanted a scene that exploded screens with cuteness that was it.
Think about this for a second. IG-11 had a better death than Han, Luke or Leia in the Sequel Trilogy and its death actually meant something. That’s crazy. And Din actually was coming around on caring about a droid. It was a nice moment even if I started thinking a million ways he could survived without triggering his self-destruction feature.
Gideon comes blazing in his TIE Fighter and it’s up to Din to use his new accessory to hitch a ride long enough to detonate one of the wings. One Moff down, several more to go.
I was a little bummed that Cara and Greef weren’t joining Din on his next escapade. I loved this trio’s dynamic on so many levels and it’s a shame to end it so soon. On the bright side this still leaves the door open for a Cara spin-off. Who do I talk to get the #GiveCaraHerOwnSeries trending? And there’s absolutely nothing preventing them from returning next season.
In another smart move with more excellent fan service, a team of Jawas are already at Gideon’s crash site when he cuts out of the cockpit with his Darksaber. Yep gonna need a figure of Gideon complete with Darksaber too. There’s no sense in killing off great villains especially when they’ve got such a cool weapon.
To avoid obliterating my scale, let’s just say I’d give Redemption a higher score if possible.Redemption was a fitting title to wrap 2019 for Star Wars fans. After some missteps and the full faceplant that was Rise of Skywalker, The Mandalorian marked a solid end of the decade palette cleanser that has me excited about 2020 with the Obi-Wan Kenobi series and Season 2 of this amazing and terrific show.
Rating: 10 out of 10
Photo Credit: Disney+