‘The Mandalorian’ Comes Full Circle in ‘Redemption’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 1 finale of The Mandalorian, “Redemption.”]
For those wondering if we’d see Mando (Pedro Pascal)’s face at any point during this series… you have your answer, but perhaps not in the way you’d expected.
“Redemption,” the Season 1 finale directed by Taika Waititi, is incredibly good at answering lingering questions from earlier installments while burning its way through a tense storyline that offers both character development and tons of action. Much like the rest of the show, it boasts humor, heart and suspense along with stunning visuals, and it sets up Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon as a terrifying evil that might take Season 2 to fully eradicate.
A Failed Escape
As the episode opens, the pair of Stormtroopers who took Baby Yoda chat about their work as they sit on their speeders outside the city. (Moff Gideon is too busy taking out squadrons and killing officers for interrupting him to retrieve the child from them now.) They’re interrupted by a droid — IG-11! It introduces itself as the child’s “nurse droid,” which the troopers find odd. They were right to be suspicious; IG-11 incapacitates them both, then snatches Baby Yoda and speeds away.
In the city, Cara (Gina Carano), Mando and Greef (Carl Weathers) try escaping into the sewers to find the other Mandalorians, but they can’t pry (or blast) the gate open. Gideon hears their noisy failed exodus and reminds them what his weapon, an E-WEB, can do: it has vaporized Cara’s troops and laid waste to fields of Mandalorians. Greef asks Gideon what assurance he can offer, and the new baddie simply says, “I will act in my own self-interest, which at this time, involves your cooperation and benefit.” How comforting.
Mando’s Noble Sacrifice?
Gideon gives them until nightfall, at which time he’ll have the weapon open fire. Cara wants to blast her way out while Greef wants to negotiate, but Mando reveals to his allies — who don’t have the knowledge the audience does — that their opponent is the deadly Moff Gideon. How does he know? Mando says the only record of his real name was in the registers of Mandalore, and Gideon was an officer during the Purge. Desperate, they try radioing Kuiil again, but they’re answered by IG-11. IG barrels into the city and shoots every Stormtrooper it sees, giving Mando and the rest of the squad cover to fight back.
They’re almost successful, but unfortunately, Gideon still has the upper hand. Mando and his friends are forced to retreat and lock themselves in a dwelling. Mando is grievously injured, and he volunteers to draw fire so the rest of the group can escape. “I’m not leaving you here,” Cara says while a Stormtrooper with a flamethrower approaches, following Gideon’s orders to “burn them out.” Mando asks Cara to let him have a warrior’s death, as is “the way.” The trooper makes it into the home and opens fiery fire… and Baby Yoda redirects the flames back at him!
Not a Living Thing
At Mando’s direction, Cara and Greef head into the sewers while he stays behind with IG-11. He asks the droid to kill him, but IG says it’s a nurse droid now, and insists Mando remove his helmet so he can be saved. No living thing has seen him without his helmet since he took the Mandalorian creed, but IG-11 reminds him it’s not a living thing. With that, it removes Mando’s helmet — hello, Pedro Pascal! — and saves him.
IG-11 and Mando catch up to their pals, and they set out to find Mando’s compatriots. They find plenty of armor thrown in a heap, but no actual Mandalorians, which is a very, very bad sign. The Armorer (Emily Swallow), who appears to be the only one left, emerges and explains that after the Mandalorians revealed themselves to help him escape, the Imperials arrived and killed many of them, although some may have escaped. The Armorer refuses Mando’s offer to come with them, saying she has to salvage what remains.
As Its Father
The group follows her to the forge, where Mando allows her to see Baby Yoda and she instantly understands what his “power to move objects with its mind” is. She gives Mando a new mission — as the child is too weak to be trained as a Mandalorian, he must reunite Baby Yoda with his people. Given how little information there is about Yoda’s actual race, that’ll be tricky, to say the least. “Until it is of age or reunited with its own kind, you are as its father,” The Armorer tells Mando. She forges him a signet, which symbolizes he and the child as “a clan of two.” She also gives him a jetpack, reminding him that he’ll need to train to be able to use it effectively.
Mando and friends make it to the lava river and float downstream uneventfully. They see light and Greef thinks they’re saved, but Mando detects Stormtroopers — a whole squadron of them. Even though they can’t aim, there’s no good way to blast through a whole squadron of Stormtroopers. IG-11 knows this and volunteers to walk upriver and self-destruct, and in the end, that’s the option they have to go with. Goodbye, deadly and faithful droid.
A New Mission
When Mando, Cara, Greef and Baby Yoda reach their destination, all the Stormtroopers are dead thanks to IG’s noble sacrifice. But they’re not out of danger just yet — Gideon, in a TIE fighter, charges at them once and misses, then swoops around again. Mando uses his nifty jetpack to blast Gideon out of the sky, and all is well. Now that the Imperials are gone, it’s safe for Greef and Cara opt to stay behind on Navarro, while Mando, beholden to his creed to take the child to its people, moves on. “Take care of this little one,” Cara says, and that’s exactly what Mando will do. After burying Kuiil, they take off in his ship, heading for destinations unknown.
But is it safe on Navarro? Not really. As the episode ends, Moff Gideon emerges from the smoldering ruins of his TIE fighter… and he doesn’t appear to be in a forgiving-and-forgetting kind of mood. Safe to say he’ll still be after Baby Yoda and Mando and Cara and Greef — but that’s a story for Season 2.