The Mandalorian: The Reckoning

“I can see why you didn’t want to harm a hair on its wrinkled little head.”

What goes around comes around. For an episode with a lot of set-up, this one still managed to be very engaging and exciting. This episode was like a big poker game with very high stakes. We’re not sure who has won yet, but we have a new key player in the game.

So, after a few episodes of mini missions, very exciting, but for the most part, not interconnected- we returned to the main storyline; the Guild and the Client, who Mando has been ducking and weaving from. This episode wasted no time; right away Mando got a transmission from Greef calling for a truce because, surprise of surprises, the Client was raining on his parade. Naturally, Greef propositioned Mando to come back and kill the Client, and in return Greef would clear Mando’s name in the Guild.

Sounds too good to be true, especially when Mando’s been dropping hunters like flies, but at this point, Mando has no choice unless he wants to spend the rest of his days on the run, taking out hunters and Imps for no pay. So Mando chose to rally his own all-star team together, wrangling Cara, Kuiil, his blurrgs and a rehabilitated IG-11 onto the mission with him.

The dynamics of those five together were great fun. Cara and Kuiil had some barbed banter because they both were on different sides of the war, and Mando mostly stayed out of it. There were several awesome scenes on the way back to Nevarro; Cara riffling through Mando’s gun cabinet, the Child peeking down upside down at the pow-wow, IG-11 being reprogrammed, the blurrgs on the ship. The blurrgs on the ship was rather impressive, actually. I’m starting to see why Mando favors the Razor Crest, even though it might not be the most maneuverable ship in the galaxy. The scene of the Child trying to fly the ship and setting off all the alarms was so cute.

I hadn’t realized Cara was that much of an outcast. If she’s ever caught, she’ll be serving life sentences? That piqued my interest. What all has she done? With Kuiil’s background fighting for the Empire (although indentured) and IG-11’s past life as a bounty droid, the point’s been made that none of our heroes are spotless. But what a jackpot of skill sets. Cara’s a former drop soldier who can take down what looked like another Devaronian in hand to hand combat. Kuiil has had over three human lifetimes to hone “the work of his hands." IG-11 is an asset as well, obviously. The conversations Mando had about droids were just fascinating to me. Kuiil argued that they were neither good nor bad, but reflections of their makers, but Mando doesn’t think so. Wherever his hatred of droids stems from, it clearly is from a dark, emotional place- again, the death of his parents maybe?

The most interesting thing on the ship, of course, was the Child choking Cara. We haven’t seen the Child use the Force since the Mudhorn and then voila, he used it twice in one episode, once for good and once for bad. The Child clearly wanted to protect Mando, but I thought it was very interesting that he choked Cara, who was on Mando’s side, but then healed Greef, who was intending to betray them. The choke maneuver was mostly seen used by Sith, and most notably Darth Vader, in the Star Wars movies. I can’t remember a single time a Jedi used that move in the movies. Does all this mean something? In the movies, Yoda was the principle figure on the good side; a figure of light and goodness. All this time I had been assuming this species was inherently good, but could the Child theoretically turn, like Anakin did?

Greef mentioned the Child was a carnivore, like it was something that surprised him, and it was something I noticed very early on as well. Again, I had been assuming the Empire wanted the Child because of their knowledge of Yoda, and wanting to eliminate what could become a huge threat, but is it possible they want it on their side? It’s hard to imagine the Child turning to the dark side, but how interesting would that be? A Sith Yoda would mean big trouble for the galaxy, I’d wager.

The confrontation on Nevarro was stylishly cool- showdown at high noon. Loved how Mando, Cara and Kuiil came down on blurrgs. Through tense negotiation, Mando and Greef were able to arrive at an uneasy truce, until later that night, when their camp was attacked by terrifying flying creatures that looked like huge pterodactyls. One of the creatures wounded Greef badly and poisoned him, and the Child used the Force to heal him, much to the amazement of the camp. The next morning, Greef shot the hunters he brought with him as security detail and admitted to Mando he was originally going to betray him but couldn’t follow through with it due to the Child saving his life.

I shared much of Cara’s impatience for Greef throughout this episode. I love Carl Weathers, but Greef is a tool, even taking into account that he has to be hardened because of his occupation. In a way, he was the propeller through all the mayhem that happened near the end of the episode; forcing Mando and Cara to scramble through last-minute make-shift plans and send Kuiil back to the ship, alone with the Child.

I knew there was no way there were only four storm troopers, especially since Greef had mentioned that the city was largely under ex-Imperial control, to the point that it was impeding the Guild. But what we didn’t account for was that the Client wasn’t pulling the strings; he was just the messenger for someone far more dangerous- Moff Gideon. Moff Gideon has some serious firepower, implying there’s more than just a few fragmented remnants of the Empire left- and he didn’t hesitate to light up the cantina, when the Client failed him.

What we’re left with is echoes of the nightmare of the Empire; Moff Gideon, his tie fighter and his legion of death troopers have Mando, Cara and Greef pinned down with seemingly no escape. Moff Gideon said, “It means more to me than you will ever know,” a very ambiguous statement. It certainly sounds as if he wants something more from the Child than just its death- but what? Clones maybe?

Kuiil’s death was sad and unexpected, and now the Imperials have the Child. Shades of Revenge of the Sith. We had just learned Kuiil had spent his life winning his freedom back from the Empire; he had finally found peace as a farmer, just to be cut down in the middle of a lava field on a strange planet. If Mando had not radioed him, would he have lived? If Mando had not asked for his help in the first place, he certainly would have lived. Will Mando feel guilt for indirectly being the cause of his death? It felt wrong somehow, seeing Kuiil’s body alone like that, after all he went through, and all he did for Mando. This wasn’t his fight, but he was the one who paid for it.

After this episode, if there’s anything we know, it’s that this show, as fun as it is, won’t pull its punches. The last seven episodes have been leading to the finale; so the next episode promises to be a good one. We better not lose Cara or the Child. I wouldn’t be too heartbroken if it was Greef.


Interesting details and tidbits:

In the galaxy, chain codes are IDs.

This show has just beautiful visuals. The planets are all stunning.

Cara was in when she heard the Client was Imperial. Old habits.

Cara’s fight club scene with the lightning belt was massively cool. But it seemed a bit odd to me, that they would even have fight clubs on Sorgan, the planet where a bartender didn’t even catch that Mando was trying to bribe her, a few episodes back.

There’s genetic engineering going on somewhere in the Galaxy. Mando mentioned that he thought the Child might be a “Strand-Cast” which Kuiil rebuffed when he said he worked in gene farms- gene farms mandated by the Empire? He also mentioned Cara looked like she came from the “cyto caves of Nora.” Sounded like he was calling her beautiful?

Kuiil was sold to the Empire to pay off his clan’s debt and won his freedom over “three human lifetimes” with the skill of his hands.

I would be inclined to agree with Kuiil, that droids are “neutral reflections of those who imprint them.” They are machine, after all. IG-11 is a lot nicer when it’s pouring tea and not trying to kill the Child. Kuiil is a man of many talents. He also wanted to protect the Child from Imperial slavery.

A charter in the New Republic states that if someone picks up flotsam, he or she can stake it as ones own.

Cara and Mando. Arm wrestling.

Was Greef telling the truth that there were Jawas on Nevarro or did he just want to scare Cara into not coming?

Greef killed the bounty hunters he brought with him without batting an eye. That man flips way too quickly to be trusted. Four storm troopers, yeah, okay. Right.

The camp was using the lava river to stoke their fire. There was a goat in the scene where they were traveling, and then a goat on the spit for dinner.

The Child didn’t have to recover from the couple of times he used the Force.

Cara’s tattoo is indeed New Republic- she covered it up with a scarf, to get past the Imps.

The Child watching Mando walking away was sad. Foreboding.

The storm trooper at the gate offered twenty credits for Mando’s helmet. Do you even know what beskar is, bro?

Poor Kuiil was so close to activating the ground security protocols. Again, would he have been able to, if Mando had just waited a few more minutes to radio him?

The Client went on a routine diatribe about how great and wonderful the Empire was- right before it killed him.

Moff Gideon is clearly a huge new key player, and his pronounced entrance has broad implications about what the remnant of the Empire looks like. And now he pretty much has the Child.

Memorable quotes and moments:


Kuiil: “The Blurrgs will join me as well.”
Mando: “The Blurrgs?”
Kuiil: “I have spoken.”

Mando: “He’s ex-Imperial.”
Cara: “I’m in.”

Greef (when the Child was healing him): “He’s trying to eat me!”

The Client: “It’s amazing how beautiful beskar can be when forged by its ancestral artisans.”

The Client: “I would like to see the baby.”
Greef: "It’s asleep.”
The Client: “We will all be quiet.”
This line struck me as a bit odd. It sounded ridiculous coming from the Client. Were they going for humor here? I wasn’t sure.

Greef: “If, for argument's sake, a few of them don’t realize I'm their best path to alternative employment, and they elect to react impulsively, then these three fine guild hunters, along with that battle hardened shock trooper, will cut down anyone who bucks.”
Mando: “How many will there be?”
Greef: “No more than four.”
Uh huh.

Kuiil: “Droids are not good or bad. They are neutral reflections of those who imprint them.”

Cara: “Do you trust him?”
Mando: “Not particularly.”

Kuiil: “This one looks evolved. Too ugly.”
Awwww. Who could call Baby Yoda ugly?? I think the word Kuiil was searching for was “adorable.” :)

Greef: “So this is how it happens.”
Cara: “Don’t be so dramatic.”

Kuiil: “None will be free until the old ways are gone forever.”

Moff Gideon: “It means more to me than you will ever know.”

Superb.

Four out of four decoy prams,
Valkyrie

3 comments:

An Honest Fangirl said...

Most people forget/don't pick up on it, but Luke does force choke one of Jabba's guards at the beginning of Return of the Jedi, which I think is supposed to show how Luke isn't infallible and is at risk of falling to the Dark Side later on in the movies. So it's still a Dark Side power, no matter who uses it.

Valkyrie30 said...

That is so fascinating! Thanks for enlightening me :)) I’ll have to rewatch Return of the Jedi.

lazybasterd said...

It's interesting to note this is the first time Force Heal is used in live action.
Rise of Skywalker came out a week later.