Warning: Major spoilers ahead.
Some people (not me) have complained that the last few episodes of “The Mandalorian,” while fun, haven’t done much to move the plot along. There should be no complaints about that in this week’s new episode.
This week’s show, which arrived a few days early to make room for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” movie on Friday, saw the return of some of the season’s best characters, and set up the final showdown in next week’s finale.
We start this week’s penultimate “Mandalorian” with Mando and Baby Yoda adrift among the stars. They get a message from Greef Karga, who Mando last saw when he was shooting his way off of Nevarro after stealing Baby Yoda from the Imperials, saying that if he returns with the child and helps Karga kill The Client, that he will clear Mando with the Guild so the pair can roam free from the constant trail of Bounty Hunters. Since it’s obviously a trap, Mando gathers together the only loyal friends he has: Cara Dune and Kuiil. When he goes to enlist the Ugnaught’s help, he finds an unwelcome surprise: IG-11 is alive. It seems the little tinkerer put the IG droid back together after Mando killed it at the end of the first episode, however, now it is not programmed to be an assassin droid, but instead serve Kuiil. Mando still doesn’t trust it. Together Mando, Baby Yoda, Cara Dune, IG-11 and three Blurrg head to meet Karga.
When they arrive back on Nevarro, they rendezvous in a lava field away from town. Karga is joined by a few bodyguards of his own. They stop to build a fire at dusk and eat something caught in the wilds, and we settle in for a classic scene from plenty of Westerns: the nighttime ambush. In this case it’s not Indians, but instead beasts resembling pterodactyls that swoop in from the sky snatching two Blurrg, one of Karga’s security guards, and gravely injuring Karga as well. Dune acts as a medic to try and stop Karga from dying, but doesn’t have the necessary supplies. That’s when Baby Yoda comes to the rescue.
Way back in the second episode, we saw Baby Yoda escape his pram to try and help a wounded Mando, but our hero kept interfering. Here though, Baby Yoda steps towards the wounded Karga and uses The Force to heal him. Force Healing is something that has long been talked about and expected in Star Wars, but that has, until now, remained off the screen. Now healed by the prize he’s trying to steal, Karga has a change of heart and kills the two guards left with them, then reveals to Mando that the plan was to dispose of him and give The Child to The Client himself. Dune, Mando and Karga develop a new plan and head into town with Baby Yoda’s sealed pram, but give The Child to Kuiil to take back to the ship.
When our crew meets with The Client at the local cantina they find the town swarming with stormtroopers. Just as they’re about to kill The Client, the entire building is shot up by The Client’s boss, Moff Gideon, played by “Breaking Bad” villain Giancarlo Esposito. Gideon doesn’t just employ a few dirty stormtroopers like The Client, instead he’s backed by a squad of Imperial Death Troopers, the Empire’s equivalent of Seal Team 6.
The episode ends on a cliffhanger with our heroes pinned down in the cantina, Kuiil shot off his mount by Biker Scouts, and Baby Yoda in the hands of the Empire. Next Friday is the final episode of the first season of “The Mandalorian,” but we know that production is well underway for a second season.
At the end of the episode this morning, Disney+ subscribers were treated to a special sneak peek of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” It was mostly footage we’ve seen before in other trailers, but the meat of the preview was a new scene where the Millennium Falcon, piloted by Poe and Chewy is being chased through a cave system by First Order Tie Fighters.
Episode Seven Easter Eggs
This episode had a lot of action, but not as many easter eggs, however the few it did have were very interesting.
1. Darth Maul’s Kin
When Mando picks up Cara Dune on Sorgun for his crew, we find her fighting in a bar. She’s fighting a male Zabrak, the same race as Darth Maul from the prequel trilogy, “Clone Wars”, “Rebels” and “Solo.” Maul was not a common Zabrak, most lived on the planet Iridonia, or out and about in the galaxy. Maul was part of a small group of Zabrak who lived on Dathomir as Nightbrothers, under the control of the Nightsisters, strange Force users who were eventually slaughtered by Count Dooku. Many Zabrak joined the Rebellion against the Empire, so Dune may have been used to fighting along side them before taking one on in a bar brawl.
2. Star Wars swears
When Cara Dune wins her brawl against the Zabrak, she says, “Pay up, mudscuffers!” This is another classic Star Wars cuss word. Since it’s a show set along time ago in another galaxy (and it’s now owned by Disney), you never hear a Star Wars character use your standard cuss words. Instead writers will make up nonsense words that sound like a bad word. In the past we’ve seen characters like Han Solo use “Moof-milker”, “Laserbrain”, “Nerf herder”, and “Stoopa.”
3. The powers of The Force
As Mando and company are traveling back to Navarro, our hero is arm wrestling Cara Dune while Baby Yoda looks on. Just as Cara is about to win, she begins choking. Baby Yoda, in a move to apparently protect Mando (or maybe because he has some credits bet on the outcome of the arm wrestling match) has Force Choked our hero’s opponent. This is only the second time we’ve seen a Jedi (or potential Jedi) use what is clearly a Dark Side power on screen. Luke uses it on Jabba’s guards in “Return of the Jedi”, but it’s most commonly used by Darth Vader who was known to dispose of Imperial officers who failed him via Force Choke. Kuiil, says he’s seen something like that before while a slave in the Empire.
4. Bogwing species
When Mando and company land on Nevarro, Karga gets his first opportunity to meet The Child. As he picks him up, he calls him a “Bogwing.” It seems to be meant as an insult, but what’s ironic about it, is that “Bogwings” were reptilian like birds, that were found, among other places, on Dagobah, the swamp planet where Yoda hides from the Empire and trains Luke to use the Force. The creatures that attack the camp shortly after this moment may also be a variety of Bogwing, as they were known to be able to carry many times their own weight when they hunted prey.
5. Death Troopers
When the meeting room, including the stormtroopers, and The Client gets shot up, the camera focuses outside and we see a squad of Imperial Death Troopers guns smoking, responsible for the carnage. Death Troopers are the special forces of the Empire, and first made their live action debut in “Rogue One” as protection for Director Krennic, the man who built the Death Star. Death Troopers have also appeared in “Rebels” and in novels and comics.
6. Imperial Troop Transport
After the Death Troopers shoot up the bar where everyone is meeting a transport of additional stormtroopers pulls up. This is an Imperial Troop Transport, seen in live action for the first time. These vehicles were first seen in Dave Filoni’s “Star Wars: Rebels” cartoon where they were quite common. They’re used to transport troops, or prisoners over short distances on ground and are armed with at least two cannons.
7. Tie Fighters
Moff Gideon, who is apparently The Client’s boss, arrives on a special Tie Fighter with convertible wings. This continues the Star Wars tradition of having the big bad guy have a specially modified Tie. Darth Vader, The Grand Inquisitor from Rebels, and Kylo Ren from the sequel trilogies all had modified Tie Fighters. Moffs were the equivalent of Governors in the Empire. They ruled portions of the Empire’s territory. Grand Moff Tarkin ruled from aboard the Death Star in the original Star Wars movie.