SERIES: Star Wars: The Mandalorian
EPISODE: S1:E8 – “Chapter 8: Redemption”
STARRING: Pedro Pascal, Giancarlo Esposito, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Taika Waititi (Voice)
WRITER: Jon Favreau
DIRECTOR: Taika Waititi
PREMIERE DATE: December 27, 2019
SYNOPSIS: Trapped, the Mandalorian and his allies struggle to keep the child out of Moff Gideon’s hands.
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By Rob Siebert
Taika Waititi, who directs this episode, and is also widely known for directing Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder, serves as the voice of IG-11. Fitting, as this episode is a big one for the repurposed droid.
That scout troopers punching the child in the bag is one of those things that makes you hate the bad guy, but where you also can’t help but laugh a little. What can I say? It was funny. As was the target practice bit moment later.
This episode is the first time we hear the Mandalorian’s given name: Din Djarin. Not the worst name, by Star Wars standards. “The Mandalorian” has more mystique, of course.
The appearance of the super battle droids in the flashback sequence was a nice touch. It set the period.
It was pretty bad-ass to see IG-11 riding through that town on a speeder bike, twin guns blazing. Question: If his new base function is to nurse and protect, why does he bring the child into a town occupied by Imperial troops? Granted, none of them can shoot…
It’s funny to me how none of the stormtroopers can hit a target, as this episode makes light of. But when the episode needs him to be, Moff Gideon is a crack shot.
I’d never seen or heard of Pedro Pascal prior to The Mandalorian. So what he looked like was news to me. He didn’t necessarily look how his voice suggested he looked. But that’s not a good or a bad thing, per se.
The armorer tasking Mando with reuniting the child with its own kind was a great hook for season two. As the last of the Jedi, the obvious implication was Luke Skywalker. Or perhaps Ahsoka Tano. But we couldn’t have realistically expected to see either of them…could we?
The big moment in this episode is when IG-11 sacrifices itself to save the rest of the group. I’ll say this much: The episode does a great job making us care about the repurposed robot, which we didn’t see again until the previous episode. It feels genuinely sad as he walks through the lava.
Something I appreciated about this group mission as opposed to some others we see in Star Wars is that there were consequences and casualties. Kuiil and IG-11 didn’t make it, and Mando was wounded to the point that he wouldn’t have survived if left to his own devices. The bad guys come off threatening and dangerous even in defeat.
Mando taking on Moff Gideon in the TIE fighter was a cool climax for the season. Suitably suspenseful, as you’d expect a man in a jetpack trying to take down a plane to be.
The one thing I didn’t like about this episode was how rushed everything was after said climax. Mando literally lands from taking down the TIE fighter, and everyone announces what they’re going to do going forward. Felt uncharacteristically clumsy.
The revelation of Moff Gideon with the Darksaber at the end was a fun little moment. Star Wars geeks knew what it was, obviously. And those who didn’t know would come to know as the series progressed.
Disney bet a lot on this first season of The Mandalorian. The first episode premiered with the launch of Disney+, so it was a great added incentive to give the service a try. But beyond that, it set the standard for all live action Star Wars TV projects to come. And thankfully for the fans, that standard wound up being pretty high. The Mandalorian season one isn’t just great Star Wars television. It’s great television, period. It’s compelling, intriguing, gorgeous to look at, and perhaps most importantly, very accessible to those not well-versed in Star Wars. (I’m trying to get my parents to watch it to this day.)
All in all? It was a home run for everybody involved.
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