REVIEW: ‘The Mandalorian,’ Episode 8 “Chapter 8: Redemption”

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The Mandalorian - Redemption

As 2019 comes to a close, so does the first season of the Disney+ original series, The Mandalorian. The season finale, titled “Redemption”, picks up in the wake of last episodes’ events: Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and his battalion of stormtroopers have cornered Mando (Pedro Pascal), Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) in a cantina and are pressuring them to give up the location of The Child. Salvation comes in the form of the reprogrammed IG-11 (Taika Waititi), whose new mission is protecting The Child at all costs.

Waititi also directs “Redemption,” and the episode is chock full of the same idiosyncratic humor that propelled Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit. The opening features two Stormtroopers (voiced by Jason Sudekis and Adam Pally) stopping outside the town to take potshots at random objects and discuss the nature of The Child.  Later, Cara says “Make the baby do the magic hand thing! Come on baby, do the magic hand thing!” In response, the Child simply waves his hand from side to side. However, Waititi also delivers on the action, particularly when IG-11 flies in to save the others. As the droid starts gunning down troopers, Mando storms out, shooting one trooper point-blank in the face, kicking another, and then ripping a laser cannon from its mount and gunning it down in a nice callback to the premiere. The audience will be on the edge of their seats for every minute.

The script for “Redemption”, by series creator Jon Favreau, masterfully threads together several plot threads from the past seven episodes. Not only do we learn the Mando’s true name and see him unmasked for the first time, but more about his origins and his hatred for droids. We also learn surprising facts about the other characters, particularly Cara’s past life and Karga’s surprising tie to another Star Wars character. Seeds for the second season are also set, as the Mando is tasked with a new mission and gains a surprising new gadget. Favreau manages to make all that information feel organic, rather than cumbersome, which is a testament to his skills as a writer.

As always, the engine that keeps this series running is the performances, particularly from Pascal, Waititi and Esposito. Pascal gets some of the more emotional moments, as he is driven into a murderous rage when he thinks the other Mandalorians have been killed, and despair toward the end of the episode when he feels he might lose someone else. Although Waititi plays an emotionless droid, he has a tearjerking moment where he offers to sacrifice himself so the others can escape. In just a short time, he manages to endear himself to the audience and his sacrifice, while inevitable, is still a punch to the gut.

Esposito’s Moff Gideon manages to be equal parts chilling and charming. As he has our heroes cornered, he slowly reveals that he knows much about them, and gives them an ultimatum to surrender by nightfall or die. The end of the episode suggests he will be a constant thorn in the Mando’s side; not to mention the fact that he possesses a weapon that fans of the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series will instantly recognize.

“Redemption” ties together The Mandalorian’s various plot points and delivers an emotional, pulse-pounding climax. This series has been a welcome addition to the Star Wars canon and I can’t wait to see what Favreau, the cast, and other crew bring to the table next season.

All eight episodes of The Mandalorian are currently streaming on Disney+. Season two will premiere in the fall of 2020.

'The Mandalorian,' Episode 8 "Chapter 8: Redemption"
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TL;DR

“Redemption” ties together The Mandalorian’s various plot points and delivers an emotional, pulse-pounding climax. This series has been a welcome addition to the Star Wars canon and I can’t wait to see what Favreau, the cast, and other crew bring to the table next season.