Spoilers below for the penultimate episode of The Mandalorian Season 2, so be warned!
With only one episode left to go before viewers discover the fate of "the little green guy" known to some as Grogu, and to many others as Baby Yoda, The Mandalorian gave viewers one last side mission to watch Mando take care of before he'll presumably taking on Moff Gideon in some kind of an explosive showdown. Amusingly enough, the mission paired Pedro Pascal's hero with Bill Burr's sprung-from-prison Mayfield, which made for quite a few interesting conversations throughout the runtime of "The Believer." But most importantly, the episode allowed Mando several chances to prove exactly how much Baby Yoda means to him.
Let's take a closer look at the two biggest ways that Mando showcased his adoration and protective fatherly love for Baby Yoda. And it all would have been 100% more adorable, too, if it wasn't for Richard Brake's meddling Imperial officer Valin Hess, who made everything feel slimy just by looking at it. (Definitely an excellent performance, though, from the Absentia and Game of Thrones vet.)
Mando Had To Remove His Mask, And He Didn't Hesitate
Naturally, the five characters' trip to the planet Morak was extremely problematic, thanks initially to a bunch of "pirates" with thermal detonators attempting to blow up the transport vehicle that Mando and Mayfield commandeered. (So much suspended disbelief during this sequence.) But then things got complicated on a much more minute and personal level when the duo made it inside the Imperial mining base. The tech hub needed to determine Moff Gideon's ship coordinates required a facial scan as a security check, and of course Mayfield wasn't able to do it himself. Which only left Mando, who'd already been forced to remove his signature helmet in order to pose as one of the transport troopers.
Here's the thing, though. While Mando might have made a bigger spectacle of having to take his helmet off earlier this season, he barely made a peep when Mayfield chided him about his mask situation earlier in the episode. Plus, Mando rather quickly volunteered to get the coordinates himself after Mayfield balked, knowing full well he'd need to have his face scanned in order to succeed. I won't say our brave hero was especially eager to take the mask off, but it seemed clear he went into that base fully aware how decent the chances were that he'd have to show his face at some point.
Perhaps Mando was content with removing his mask given all of the things that he's learned about his family's past from Katee Sackoff's Bo-Katan, as well as Boba Fett's own past. Perhaps he realized that one of the biggest rules in his life was more self-imposed than anything else. But even if those notions are indeed true, Mando's decision to show his face was The Mandalorian's most logical story-based proof that the character will now do just about anything in order to ensure Baby Yoda's safety. Awww, you guys! [Insert emoji of heart bursting at the seams with love.]
Mando Went All Liam Neeson In Threatening Moff Gideon
While it has been made clear that Mando is willing to punch, kick and blow up whatever it takes to keep The Child safe, he has more often than not been forced to play defense against opposing forces. But in the final moments of "The Believer," Mando showed off his bottomless gall by sending a threatening hologram message to Giancarlo Esposito's Moff Gideon, which is the kind of move you usually see from a revenge-fueled parent (or spouse) in an action-thriller. Seriously, Mando was essentially Liam Neeson from Taken in that moment, and I'm almost surprised he didn't bring up all the special skills that he can use to get Baby Yoda back.
Rather than borrowing dialogue from any of the Taken films, however, The Mandalorian much more poetically had Mando echoing Moff Gideon's own words about Baby Yoda back at the devious villain. In my mind, that's a completely badass (though possibly naive) move that proves not only to audiences but also to Gideon and his henchmen that Mando's bond with Baby Yoda is unbreakable and worth protecting at all costs. Especially from people who want to exploit the creature's midi-chlorian organics. Here's how Mando put it:
Moff Gideon: you have something I want. You may think you have some idea of what you are in possession of, but you do not. Soon, he will be back with me. He means more to me than you will ever know.
I'm sure that any message sent by Mando would have pissed Moff Gideon off, but the villain hearing his own words thrown back at him was as much of an insult as getting threatened in the first place. Surely, Mando, Boba Fett, Fennec and Cara could have had a solid shot at setting up a secret attack on Gideon's ship, but the titular character obviously wanted to make a clear statement to his nemesis that he's not afraid to step up and take back what was stolen. (Or Grogu-napped, in this case.)
There's no way Mando would have pulled either of the aforementioned moves at any point in Season 1, but his bond with Baby Yoda has definitely evolved in big ways throughout Season 2, and it's going to be a strange situation whenever the li'l dude goes away for Jedi training and Mando doesn't have to keep him safe anymore. Is there even a show at that point?
The Mandalorian will debut its Season 2 finale on Disney+ on Friday, December 18, at 3:01 a.m. ET. Stay tuned for all of our theories and hopes and dreams here at CinemaBlend, and check out the two new Mandalorian spinoffs that are coming to the streaming service in the future. While waiting to see how things turn out, check out our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule and our 2021 Winter and Spring TV guide for all the new and returning shows popping up on the small screen soon.