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Spoilers for anyone who hasn't yet watched the penultimate episode of The Mandalorian on Disney+. I have spoken.
Considering the relatively limited number of major talking points coming out of Disney+'s The Mandalorian, it's rather astounding that the zeitgeist-capturing sci-fi adventure has already aired its penultimate episode and is now set for what looks to be an exciting Season 1 finale. Where has the time gone, people?
That's definitely not the most pressing question inspired by The Mandalorian's Chapter 7, titled "The Reckoning." The installment reunited Pedro Pascal's Mando with various characters seen earlier in the season, killed some of them off, and separated the obsession-worthy Baby Yoda from his temporary keeper. What the what? Read on as we unpack our biggest curiosities coming out of the penultimate Season 1 episode.
What's Up With Moff Gideon, And What Does He Want With Baby Yoda?
Waiting for Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul vet Giancarlo Esposito to arrive on The Mandalorian took seven whole episodes, and even when that time came, he didn't get nearly as much screen time as I'd have liked. Still, his arrival is intimidating and meaningful, and comes complete with a TIE Fighter and an army of white and black Stormtroopers.
Moff Gideon tells our heroes that their preconceived notions about Baby Yoda are probably all wrong, and that The Child means more to him than anyone else would ever know. It'd be naive to assume that his motivations are love and kinship, since Moff was formerly a governor within the Empire whose life got upended when the second Death Star was taken down. Also, the fact that he's willing to kill anyone in his path suggests strongly that Moff wants Baby Yoda's powers far more than his conversation skills. Could there be hints of immortality sewn into Baby Yoda's abilities?
Was The Client Just A Pawn All This Time?
When Werner Herzog was first cast in The Mandalorian, with his blasé Star Wars attitude intact, he appeared to be a smaller-scale player in this universe. Regardless, his creepy Client was a scene-stealer from the start, and I would have welcomed a lot more of him if he hadn't been rather unceremoniously killed off (or not) by Moff Gideon's welcome wagon of Stormtroopers. So was The Client just an esoteric middle-man this whole time?I suppose not getting an official name is one sign of the character's temporary nature, although the Star Wars universe is rarely one where death can be wholly accepted as irreversible fact.
It was a cold-hearted move for Moff Gideon to call The Client just tell him that trusting Greef was a shitty decision, only to then set the Stormtrooper ambush into action. The DGAF move was one worthy of Darth Vader, though the lack of a bagged-and-tagged corpse has me thinking The Client may return in some form elsewhere in the timeline.
How Many Powers Does Baby Yoda Have?
The Mandalorian has teased The Child's connection to the Force in early episodes, but a pair of shocking scenes in Chapter 7 showcase interesting developments. First, Baby Yoda misreads Mando and Cara Dune's arm-wrestling match as true strife, and protectively Force-chokes Cara out of instinct. He stops once Mando admonishes him for it, but it's pretty clear that the little dude has far-reaching Force capabilities, even if he's not completely aware of how much power he's wielding. (Or is he?)
The second noteworthy moment came in the night, after the group got attacked by those flying creatures. Carl Weathers' Greef was severely wounded, and it looked like he might be the first big casualty in the episode. However, Baby Yoda put a stop to everyone's worries (as well as Greef's double-crossing plan) by Force-healing the bloody gashes and removing the poison, to the point where you couldn't even tell he got in a skirmish. That act, and the similar attempt made back in Episode 2, shows intentional behavior on Baby Yoda's part, so he likely has a better handle on this power than some others. But how much more magic is he hiding up his tiny sleeves?
Are Any Of The Side Characters Safe Now?
While "The Reckoning" did fans the service of bringing together the various side characters that Mando crossed paths with – minus the quip-tastic Bill Burr, sadly – it also seemingly killed off two of them. As previously discussed, The Client fell victim to a surprise blaster shot through the chest just prior to Moff Gideon's arrival. Meanwhile, the episode ended with the corpses of Kuiil and his blurrgs, while Stormtroopers raced away with Baby Yoda in their possession. (It's implied that the Stormtroopers killed Kuiil, but we can never be so sure.)
Going on the presumption that The Mandalorian has already knocked out two of the central characters that were introduced in these first seven episodes, does that make just about everyone else beyond Mando expendable? We already know Baby Yoda is still around for the in-production Season 2, and Greef likely is as well, but it appears anything could happen. That said, I get that it's not exactly high fantasy that Werner Herzog and Nick Nolte would be the first cast members to go.
Did The Mandalorian Have To Wait This Long To Bring IG-11 Back?
Think back to how much of The Mandalorian's early promotional push featured the Taika Waititi-voiced droid IG-11, and now think back to the last time we saw IG-11 before his return in Episode 7. He was missing for five episodes out of an eight-episode season! Why you gotta do us like that, Jon Favreau?
To be fair, IG-11's return was all the more welcome specifically because he was gone for so long, and the montage of his resurrection, as it were, was as joyful as a Star Wars montage gets. Here's hoping there aren't any more droid-free gaps in The Mandalorian's future.
Why The Change In The Mandalorian's End-Credits Music?
From the first episode, The Mandalorian crafted an end-credits sequence that has become almost required viewing with each installment that followed. A lot of it has to do with the striking concept art shown behind the names of all the talented people that helped make the show a reality, but the other huge draw is the main Mandalorian theme, which is as instantly recognizable as all the other great themes in this epic franchise.
"The Reckoning" made the surprising decision to go with an alternate track for its closing music, though there are certain assumptions one can make for why that happened. Episode 7 is the first one where the narrative ended on a truly down beat for Mando and other protagonists, as opposed to Mando and Baby Yoda zipping off into deep space after having conquered another mission. Sure, the situation looked dire, but I didn't think it was "change the entire end music cue" dire, so now I'm slightly less optimistic about how successful our heroes will be in the finale.
The Mandalorian only has one episode left! Catch it when it hits Disney+, post-Rise of Skywalker, on Friday, December 27, at 12:01 a.m. ET. For those who haven't yet signed on for a subscription and are just living vicariously through others on the Internet, get yourself a seven-day free trial right here.