Super Recaps: The Mandalorian – Chapter 8

THEMANDALORIAN0

The Mandalorian is owned by Disney

Directed by Taika Waititi

Would it be inappropriate to do the Darth Vader “NOOOO” right now?  Because I feel like doing the Darth Vader “NOOOO” right now.  I don’t want this season to be over!  Heck, I need this show more than I did BEFORE seeing The Rise of Skywalker!  What am I supposed to do between now and whenever the heck season 2 comes out!?  Read fan fiction!?  Play that Star Wars Destiny thing!?  On top of that, what is Disney Plus supposed to offer me between now and then?  They don’t even have the Goofy sports cartoons, let alone the REALLY good stuff like No Smoking!!  Does this season end on a high note which would make it the best Star Wars thing since The Last Jedi, or will this be a bigger disappointment to everyone than The Return of Skywalker?  Let’s find out!!  Oh, and today I think we’ll go with… Walter and Jesse.  I know we used a DIFFERENT Walter last time, but I had no idea that Gus was going to show up in that episode, so I’m using that name again for this one!!

The episode begins right after the end of the last one; with two storm troopers on speeder bikes heading back to the city to deliver Jesse to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and they are waiting just on the outskirts for a signal that it’s okay to bring the little bugger to him.  What happens next is one of the best scenes in the entire series as the two Stormtroopers played by Adam Pally and Jason Sudeikis just start chatting and doing random incidental things for like five minutes!  They argue, they shoot their blasters at a tin can (missing obviously), and they even punch Jesse in the head a few times just so you don’t forget that they’re jerks.  I’ve always had a fascination with henchmen and I love it whenever something like this takes a moment to give them the spotlight, and this scene doesn’t disappoint as it is simultaneously REALLY funny but also distressing as they really do clock that kid a couple of times which makes you hope that he uses his force powers to snap their necks and leave their corpses in hilarious poses.   Disney?  If you want to throw a few costumes at me, I will make you a storm trooper series!  Just say the word!!  Sadly this isn’t the entirety of the episode, but the scene does have a great payoff as the IG-unit (now the IG-Nanny I guess) shows up, rips one guy’s arm out of its socket and bashes the other’s head repeatedly into his own speeder.  Luckily the other speeder remained unharmed and IG-Nanny goes off with Jesse to presumably somewhere safe.  My question is where was the IG-Nanny when Nick Nolte was running to the ship?  He was within spitting distance of it, and yet IG-Nanny couldn’t have provided some cover fire!?

Anyway, Walter (Pedro Pascal), Cara (Gina Carano), and Carl Weathers are still stuck inside the bar with a squadron of Stormtroopers waiting outside along with Moff Gideon, and… well there’s a lot to cover; some good, some bad.  The scene itself is still rather intense as our main characters are indeed trapped like rats with no good way to get out of there.  Well there’s a drainage gate that leads to the sewers and I GUESS that’s where The Mandalorians live on this planet (I thought they lived in a below ground city; not the place where the poo goes!), but they can’t rip it off with their bare hands and they are all out of explosives.  We also find out that Moff Gideon not only has them trapped but knows exactly who they are; down to the details that they are desperate to keep secret which include Cara being an Imperial Shock Trooper defector (does that really carry any weight now that the empire isn’t in charge anymore?) and we finally get a namedrop for Walter as well as an expanded backstory.  Apparently his REAL name is Din Djarin and his backstory is… well exactly what we had already pieced together. The Empire attacked his village, his parents were killed in the chaos, and he was saved by a much of Mandalorians who showed up perhaps a few minutes too late.  We get to see this all play out in rather pedantic detail as I’m pretty sure most viewers could have pieced that together already, and I don’t know about you but the whole scene had an almost eerie similarity to army recruitment commercials.  This expansion of the backstory is relevant because… I guess Moff Gideon was the guy who led that attack which is why he knows The Mandalorian’s real name (okay…) and he was ALSO supposed to have been executed for his war crimes.  Okay, seriously!  Is The Republic good for ANYTHING!?  They can’t even execute their war criminals without them somehow escaping!  What, did the guillotine break halfway down at the same time a wormhole opened that just so happened to suck him in and land him in the middle of a Star Destroyer!?  This better not be a dropped plot thread in season two because I want know what happened!  Speaking of Gideon, he ALSO makes what may be the most ridiculously lenient ultimatum of all time as he brings out this giant Gatling gun looking thing that will tear them all to shreds… but he’s giving them until NIGHTFALL (which is clearly hours away) to come out and surrender before he opens fire on them.  Gee, I hope nothing happens between now and then that’ll give them an opening to escape!  All I’m saying is that Gus wouldn’t have let loose threads like these dangle so much!  Okay, he didn’t exactly beat Walter White in the end, but that was his own hubris; not villainy 101 mistakes!

I complain, but it does lead to an AMAZING action sequence as the delayed execution of our heroes gives IG-Nanny enough time to roll up into town and start blasting away with little Jesse still tied to his robo-chest.  I was completely surprised by this as I thought that he was gonna go to the ship and take off to keep the baby safe, but nope!  Dude takes out like fifty Stormtroopers with pinpoint precision while riding through town on this extremely fast speeder bike, and little Jesse loves every minute of it!  I’d keep an eye on that kid if I was Din Djarin!  Speaking of whom, this distraction of fiery death on the part of IG-Nanny gives him along with Cara and Carl Weathers (I’m pretty sure they gave his character a name in this episode but I’m still gonna call him Carl Weathers) a chance to run out and corpse-ify a few Stormtroopers and hopefully escape as well.  The best part of this scene is when Din lifts the Gatling gun off of its mount and fires it like he’s the freaking Master Chief!!  It’s rather silly and overblown, but that’s what I want out of a fight like this and they manage to pull it off here with a decent amount of flair.  Now I’m not sure where Moff Gideon was while all this was happening, but he’s back now and manages to land a pretty serious blow against Din as well as nearly blow him up with an exploding space-battle.  Clearly our ragtag group of heroes have lost the advantage and they all retreat back to the bar, including Jesse and IG-Nanny.  Fortunately IG-Nanny has a blow torch attachment and gets to work on the metal grate, but while he’s doing that a fire trooper comes bursting in and starts shooting flames all over the place.  Jesse, not particularly amused by such flagrant disregard of the fire code USES HIS FORCE POWERS TO REDIRECT THE FLAMES BACK ONTO THE FLAME TROOPER!  Dang, Jesse is cold blooded!  He will watch as you freaking BURN to death!!

While that may be totally sweet, Din has apparently suffered some sort of head wound which is decidedly not and wants Cara to take the baby and run through the grate to the other Mandalorians who will help her, Carl Weathers, and IG-Nanny escape.  A powerful moment to be sure, but it’s undercut almost immediately because Ig-Nanny just sprays him with a healing mist and he’s fine like four minutes later.  This is also the scene where we finally see Din’s face as IG-Nurse lifts up his helmet to administer said spray, and… yup.  That sure is Pedro Pascal looks like!  I don’t know, I mean I guess for the audience there’s a bit of satisfaction in finally seeing what’s under there, but in context of the story it just doesn’t feel like it’s of any particular note.  Din didn’t decide to remove it himself, and it’s not even like he’s breaking the rules about NEVER SHOWING YOUR FACE TO ANOTHER LIVING CREATURE because IG-Nanny isn’t technically alive, so… whatever.  So since the NOBLE SACRIFICE didn’t actually need to happen, him and Ig-Nanny catch right up with Cara and Carl Weathers, and we watch them wander the sewers for a bit looking for the rest of the Mandalorians.  The good news is that they DO eventually find them!  The bad news… well they’re all dead.  All of them except for the Armorer who explains that the Imperials came in after Din escaped with little Jesse the first time and basically wiped them all out; mirroring the genocide that apparently occurred years before this series began.  The Armorer as more or less the last surviving member of their tribe and I guess makes her their leader by process of elimination, tells Din what he has to do now.  Apparently little Jesse is from an order of “magical space sorcerers” called THE JEDI (you may have heard of them) that fought with the Mandalorians millennia ago, but that is not important now as The Mandalorian Way dictates that since he has taken charge of little Jesse that he has to either care for him until he reaches adulthood or take him back to his people so they can care for him.

It’s always a bit jarring when someone doesn’t know about the Jedi, but considering how few of them there really are at this point in history, it’s not as unlikely as we think it is.  We’ve been following more or less THE ONLY Jedi story in the entire galaxy and not everyone is going to know it as well as we do; even if there was a more visible Jedi Order about fifty years ago.  Think about it, do many people out there know the first thing about say The Whig Party?  Probably not, so sure it’s a bit odd when the characters don’t know what we know, but I’m not going to let it bother me.  The Armorer gives Din a new emblem on his armor which I’m not sure the significance of, but it’s certainly a thing that happens in this episode.  Something that IS of clear significance though is that she gives the guy a JETPACK!!  It comes with a whole NOW YOU ARE READY vibe from The Armorer, but the guy has GOT to be at least thirty by now!  How long does it take to get a freaking jetpack?  The Armorer by the way stays behind as she still has to clean up the mess that the Imperials left of the other Mandalorians, and she ends up face to face with an Imperial search party.  Now you may think this would be some sort of noble sacrifice as she stands stoically in the face of utter death utterly transfixed by her important work (much like the death of Archimedes at the hands of the Romans), but no!  She starts beating the ever loving CRAP out of these foolish Space Nazis and even throws one of them into her space-kiln to evaporate into dust!  What is with this episode and people being gleefully burned to death!?  So I’m guessing that we haven’t seen the last of THE ARMORER in this series which is good because I like her character and the way that Emily Swallow plays her.

Now if you thought things got a bit silly with the IG-Nanny blowing up dudes with a baby in tow or little Jesse setting a dude on fire, then you’ve seen NOTHING yet because APPARENTLY this sewer empties out into… a river of lava.  Seriously?  A RIVER OF LAVA!?  WHY!?  Like… I get that they want to keep the tension up and by making it Lava it comes off as more dangerous than, you know… WATER, but it comes off as absurdly silly; especially since the fumes and the heat would have certainly killed them long before they would have had to worry about accidently falling in!  I guess the main reason it’s here is to set up the next scene where they’re riding in a some sort of boat down the lava river and its about to empty out through a drainage pipe where there are a dozen or so Stormtroopers waiting for him.  IG-Nanny decides that the best course of action is to rush ahead of the boat self-destruct which will clear a path for the rest of the team, and doing it through lava is significantly harder than if they had just been floating on a river of sewer water.  It’s a good scene to be sure as IG-Nanny’s noble sacrifice is legit instead of the fake one we got for all of two minutes from Din earlier in the episode, but it still doesn’t make the lava NOT seem way too silly.

The crew makes it past the lava river, but their escape is not quite certain yet as Moff Gideon starts to buzz past them with a Tie Fighter, and all they have to fend him off with are mid-range blasters with all the effectiveness of throwing pebbles at a tank.  If only one of them could just get up there and handle it directly instead of trying to take pot shots from the ground…  HEY WAIT A MINUTE!!  That’s right, Din uses his newly acquired jetpack to meet Moff Gideon face to face, and like most things with Jet Packs this turns out to be freaking awesome!  He manages to grab onto it and holds on for dear life in a scene rather reminiscent of the flying colossus in Shadow of the Colossus.  However, instead of stabbing the Tie Fighter in strategic locations, he just puts a sticky bomb on it, peaces out, and watches as Moff Gideon’s wing flies off in one direction while the rest of the ship flies off in the other.  AWESOME!  Then… I guess they won?  Yeah, this is where things get a bit weird as both Cara and Carl Weathers both tell Din that… the planet is at peace now!  They seem to know for a fact that they got ALL the Stormtroopers and that no backup is on its way, which… okay.  I mean I get that this is the final episode of the season and we want a semblance of closure here, but I have no idea how either of them know this and it comes off as rather trite and silly.  In any case, Cara decides to stay and work with Carl Weathers who will be bringing The Guild back to its honorable roots or something, and Din will not have to worry about him sending HIRED KILLERS after him and little Jesse going forward.  Well at least we tied things up with a neat little bow, and it frees up Din and Jesse to go on further adventures unabated!  The episode ends with the two of them finally getting back onto the ship (right after making a respectful little grave for Nick Nolte) and heading off to the stars; with uncertain futures but ones that don’t seem as bleak anymore!

BUT WAIT!  We get ONE last scene where we see that Moff Gideon survived his crash and has… I’m actually not sure.  I’ve seen it referred to as a Dark Saber online which makes since because it looks like it’s made out of literal black light, and interestingly it’s shaped like an actual sword (A katana I believe?) instead of just an elongated light tube.  And with that we end the first season and have to a million and a half years for season two!

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Like The Rise of Skywalker which also had to be the capstone to an ongoing story, this one felt a bit all over the place as we had to tie up a bunch of loose ends to wipe the slate clean for whatever comes next.  However, I think they manage to pull it off (at least more successfully than Rise of Skywalker) with a lot of great action scenes, some interesting if a still somewhat ambiguous character work, and a couple of teases as to what we should expect from season two.  The only things that really bugged me in this episode was the unnecessary flashback which kind of ground things to a crawl, and some of the more noticeably outlandish moments like Gideon deciding to give them SO MANY HOURS to surrender and a river of lava which is just there because of reasons.  Still, this was probably my favorite streaming show of the year because it gave me so much of what I enjoy about Star Wars while also paying tribute to many of the genres that inspired those initial movies to begin with, and despite a few bumps in the road here and there I enjoyed every single episode of this series which is quite impressive considering how different many of the episodes were from one another.  I cannot wait for the next season and it’s going to be REALLY tough to wait it out; especially since Disney Plus doesn’t really have any must watch shows to keep us happy until then.  I’m actually thinking of cancelling the service until the next season; not because it’s BAD but because most of what we want to see from it (more Mandalorian, revived nostalgic properties, and Marvel shows) aren’t going to be there for at least another six months if not longer.  No wonder they greenlit season two right away!  Why don’t they go ahead and film seasons three through eight at the same time?  You know you want to do it, Disney!!

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