After two or three episodes that felt like “The Mandalorian” was in cruise control, Chapter 7, ominously titled “The Reckoning,” kicked proceedings into hyperspace.
Mando returns to Nevarro, the scene of his daring escape from Episode 3, to settle his fight with the Guild and finish off the Client (Werner Herzog) once and for all. But this time, both sides have brought some significant reinforcements. Mando manages to persuade Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and the curmudgeonly Kuiil (Nick Nolte) to join him on his perilous mission, however, Greef Carga’s (Carl Weathers) estimate that there will only four token stormtroopers guarding the Client is a little optimistic.
As Mando’s plan to kill the Client while Kuiil takes Baby Yoda back to his ship seems to be on course, the arrival of a new villain Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), accompanied by an Imperial firing squad and over a dozen more stormtroopers, derails the scheme.
The penultimate episode of Season 1 ends on the first dramatic cliffhanger of the series, leaving fans seriously concerned for the safety of Mando and Cara, but above all, for the future of the wrinkly little tyke that is Baby Yoda. Here are some burning questions following this week’s episode.
Could Baby Yoda be destined for the Dark Side?
In Chapter 7, we saw Baby Yoda be more than just adorable. The little scamp force choked Cara Dune during her playful arm wrestle with Mando, showing a potentially volatile side. Granted, the Child was protecting its father figure and didn’t understand Mando and Cara were just messing around, but for the first time in the series, we were reminded that the force isn’t always used for good. Later on, Baby Yoda uses his considerable powers to heal Greef Carga’s arm, putting the previous shocking moment to the back of our minds. But the niggling thought is still there by the end. What if Baby Yoda isn’t destined to be a legendary Jedi Master like his wisened namesake? He has had viewers and the entire internet in his chokehold of cuteness since the beginning, but with the wrong training and a lack of positive reinforcement, he could become the kind of spoiled brat that turns to the Dark Side. After all, Ben Solo had the most famous Jedi in the history of the order as his master, and look how that turned out!
Which of Mando’s friends is going to die?
Mando doesn’t have many friends, but Jon Favreau and company had to find some way of raising the stakes. Somebody had to be Kuiil-ed off (sorry), and Nick Nolte’s salt of the earth Ugnaught farmer was the one to bite the planetary dust. Kuiil was so close to making it to safety, as he high-tailed it across the plains of Nevarro to bring Baby Yo to Mando’s ship. However, turns out Blurgs are very much an inferior form of transport to speeders, allowing a pair of Imperial goons to catch up with Kuiil, shoot him down and steal the precious Child.
Will IG-11 ride in to save the day?
It seemed unlikely that Taika Waititi’s recognizable New Zealand twang would only appear for one episode, and sure enough, Chapter 7 saw the return of his IG-11 bounty hunting droid. Only this time, serving tea instead of serving justice was top of its computer chip. Arguably the most unexpected moment of the episode was a moving montage of Kuiil re-constructing the droid and teaching it how to walk and feed the Blurgs. Who knew we needed an emotional droid rehabilitation segment? Kuiil assured Mando that he altered IG-11’s instincts to murder Baby Yoda, and instead replaced it with an irrepressible urge for servitude. The result is that IG-11 makes an exemplary maid and a budding air steward: “I have prepared a second meal, would you like to be served here or below?” All the character building doubtless serves to set up IG-11 proving Mando wrong and saving the day in the season finale. With its master lying dead not more than a few feet away, it’s time for IG-11 to throw the Baby Yoda out with the bathwater and rain its considerable firepower down on Moff Gideon and his forces.
How much more of Werner’s dulcet German tones will audiences be treated to?
None. The answer is none because the Client gets blasted into the depth of the dark abyss (as Werner himself would likely put it) by Moff Gideon’s shiny firing squad. But, we were still given a few Werner gems before his character departed this life: “What exquisite craftsmanship, it’s amazing how beautiful Beskar can be when forged by its ancestral artisans,” and also “Can I offer you a libation to celebrate the closing of our shared narrative?” My personal favorite was: “Look outside, is the world more peaceful since the revolution? I see nothing but death and chaos.” It’s almost like Favreau was nodding to Herzog’s unique turns of phrase and vocal qualities with that last one.
How do we know Baby Yoda is using the force?
Its ears quiver and it needs a wittle nap afterwards, goddammit! Not to mention its ears droop when Mando walks away to his potential demise. Sad Baby Yoda, and also sad us by the end of the episode.