During The Mandalorian‘s eighth chapter, “Redemption,” Mando and his companions fight their way out of a bad situation in an action-packed 49 minutes during Taika Waititi’s Star Wars directorial debut.
But this episode was more about love than violence. When Baby Yoda hugs Mando in the final moments of the episode, the moment was warm enough to melt beskar. Their reunion capped off an episode of sacrifice, trust and camaraderie.
When the episode begins, Mando is surrounded by a gang of stormtroopers and their ruthless leader, Moff Gideon. Escape seems imminent, however, after the arrival of the IG-11 unit — its modifications have made it the most deadly nurse droid in the galaxy. IG-11 is so dynamic that it warms Mando’s hatred for artificial intelligence.
The crew protects Baby Yoda in their escape on an underground lava river, though they lose IG-11, which sacrifices itself by self-destructing in the middle of a platoon of storm troopers. That sets up a final duel between Gideon, in a TIE-fighter, and Mando, using his newly acquired jet pack. In an impressive display of improvisation that would make Iron Man proud, Mando destroys Gideon’s ship and makes an escape.
This final chapter of season one set the foundation for the second season of Mandalorian, which is in production. Here’s what else we learned from chapter eight, “Redemption.”
We’ve been eagerly awaiting more about Baby Yoda and Mando. Little did we know: Gideon is yet another character with compelling origins.
The episode unpacks the relationship between Gideon and The Empire’s attempts at eradicating Mandalorians. Gideon seems to have been a crucial leader during the siege of Mandalore, during which the Imperial forces killed most of the members of the Mandalorian order. And it seems that, in the process, Gideon acquired The Darksaber.
This is huge. And if you haven’t seen the animated series, you might have missed it. I, for one, thought Gideon was using a vibroblade to cut himself out of his crashed TIE. The episode ends with Gideon standing atop on the vessel with The Darksaber in-hand.
For Mandalorians, this is roughly the equivalent of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. The weapon has a long and notable history.
Here’s an abridged version. The weapon came into existence when Tarre Vizsla became the first Mandalorian to join the Jedi Order. The Mandalorians protected the weapon after Vizla’s death, though The Darksaber fell into the hands of a number of non-Mandalorians. Ultimately, a Mandalorian leader, Bo-Katan Kryze, wielded it against The Empire during the final siege on Mandalore. Kryze likely died in The Empire’s invasion — along with almost all of the Mandalorians on Mandalore — and Gideon came into possession of the weapon. It makes him an even more powerful antagonist. (Turns out, he’s also deranged. He seems happy to kill his own stormtroopers, as we learned early in this episode.)
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Between his possession of The Darksaber and his obsession with Baby Yoda, Gideon has a huge interest in The Force.
As Mando comes to care for Baby Yoda — and stars acting like a sentient being instead of a droid — he has revealed more about himself. Most notably, Mando shared how he joined the Mandalorians. The Empire invaded his town, and during that invasion, droids killed his parents. A group of Mandalorians saved a young Djarren’s life.
That’s why he hates droids, and why it’s notable he allows IG-11 to remove Mando’s helmet. IG-11 saves Mando’s life by removing the lid and applying a healing spray. We get our first look at his face. (Unsurprisingly, it looks exactly like Pedro Pascal.) Our protagonist seems to be growing more comfortable with vulnerability, as Mando exposes his face to the world, even if its just the audience of a droid, for the first time in ages.
There’s an obvious direction for season two. The Mandalorian armorer spells it out for the viewer. Djarren must do one of two things: 1) train Baby Yoda to be a Mandalorian or 2) return Baby Yoda to his native species.
Both outcomes sound pretty dope. On one hand, we can imagine Baby Yoda, flying around with a jetpack and blaster in Beskar armor. On the other hand, we’ve got the prospect of Mando and Baby Yoda finding the Yodans (or the Yodanese or the Yodanians or whatever name you want to make up for that species). Whatever outcome, Mando is responsible for Baby Yoda.
“You are as its father,” the Mandalorian armorer says.
May The Force be with him. And considering how bad of a dad Mando was in season one, he will need as much help from The Force as he can get.