Best Baby Yoda episode yet? Maybe.
Best Baby Yoda episode yet? Maybe.
Photo: Lucasfilm

After a few tangent episodes, The Mandalorian is back on target with its latest episode, which turns the focus back on The Child himself, Baby Yoda.

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Illustration for article titled Things Take a Dramatic Turn for Baby Yoda in iThe Mandalorians /iPenultimate Episode

Chapter seven of The Mandalorian season one is called “The Reckoning” which, if you’ve seen the episode, is kind of a spoiler, right? We knew to return to Navarro wasn’t going to be “good” for the Mandalorian but we didn’t know it was going to be a “Reckoning.” Turns out, the title was very accurate though.

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Flying through space once more the last episode, Mando gets a message from his old pal Greef Carga, who has a proposition for Mando. Apparently, since the Mandalorian’s shenanigans back in “The Sin,” Navarro has been overrun with Imperial troopers thanks to the Client and now Greef wants the Client dead so he can go about business as usual. He thinks Mando can use Baby Yoda as bait to murder the Client, which would be mutually beneficial with the added benefit of them burying the hatchet. But the audience, and the Mandalorian himself, have to consider Greef’s trustworthiness. Mando screwed this guy over. Almost killed him. Would things really change that drastically so fast? Mando sees it as a risk worth taking and decides to take Greef up on the deal. First, though, he needs a crew. Good thing he made some new pals recently, huh?

Sorgan is Mando’s first stop. He doesn’t check in to see Omera, though. Instead he finds Cara Dune fighting for money in a bar. She’s hesitant at first but, when Mando tells her the person he wants to kill is Imperial, the former-Shock Trooper is instantly in. On the Razor Crest, Cara admires Mando’s arsenal of weapons when suddenly, the ship goes haywire. Are they being attacked? Stuck in a tractor beam? No, it’s just Baby Yoda being cute as a button, playing with the controls as any kid would if left unattended. It’s funny but also tells Mando he needs another person to help him with this mission.

This Cara Dune pic has been floating around forever and now we know it’s from this episode!
This Cara Dune pic has been floating around forever and now we know it’s from this episode!
Photo: Lucasfilm
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That leads him to Arvala-7 and the home of Kuiil, the Ugnaught. Mando knows he can trust Kuiil but, as he told Mandos before, he doesn’t want to get involved. What we learn, however, is that Kuiil feels that way because he worked for the Empire. He was sold to them as an indentured servant and had to pay off his debt over three human lifetimes to win his freedom.

We also found out that after Mando left the planet, Kuiil found, repurposed, and reprogrammed IG-11. Taika Waititi is back, baby! In a lovely scene, director Deborah Chow does a montage of how Kuiil nursed the droid not just back to life but trained him to be obedient and serve him. He basically had to raise the droid like a little child and the whole sequence was funny and sweet. It also gave the show an opportunity to present an alternate view on droids, since Mando is so adamantly anti-droid. Kuiil’s speech about them being neutral reflections of their owners was interesting and certainly will be challenged.

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After some coaxing, on both behalfs, Kuiil agrees to go with Mando and Cara...if he can bring IG-11 and the blurrgs with him. Mando agrees. They have spoken. But on their way back to Navarro, something extremely important happens. Cara and Mando are arm wrestling but Baby Yoda doesn’t understand. He thinks Cara is hurting Mando and so he uses the Force to choke her. Mando stops it, thankfully, because Baby Yoda almost killed Cara.

The gang is back together again.
The gang is back together again.
Photo: Lucasfilm
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A few things to say here, the most obvious being that Baby Yoda is using untapped Force at this point. He has no idea what this power is or how to use it. It’s just straight instinct. The real Yoda taught us all that a Jedi never uses the Force for offense like Darth Vader does. And yet here. Baby Yoda is pulling a Darth Vader. Just because he’s cute, doesn’t mean he’s necessarily good.

Also, Kuiil almost says the word “Force” when talking about what they all just witnessed but doesn’t. He simply says it’s something he’s heard rumors about when he was still with the Empire. Which, again, shows just how tiny the idea of the Force is in the Star Wars universe at large. Kind of wild when you think how prevalent it is in all the movies and related media.

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When the Razor Crest arrives on Navarro, Greef is waiting for Mando with three bounty hunters. As much as Mando doesn’t trust Greef, Greef feels the same way. The uneasy alliance sets off toward town but gets attacked along the way by some Star Wars mashup of dragons and mynocks. It makes for a fun action scene but its purpose didn’t show itself until the attack was over.

Greef and his muscle and seen in the second trailer.
Greef and his muscle and seen in the second trailer.
Photo: Lucasfilm
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A curious thing happened. Greef was injured badly by one of the creatures which were apparently poisonous. Just when he thinks his life is over, Baby Yoda comes over and heals him using the Force. We saw a bit of that earlier in the season but this time it really makes an impact. Everyone is amazed, of course, and the act later makes Greef turn on his fellow bounty hunters and reveal what’s really going on.

Greef’s double-cross of the Client was actually a triple cross. The plan was to lure Mando in thinking one thing, kill him, and give Baby Yoda to the Client. But now that Greef sees how special The Child is, he decides to make it a...triple cross? So after all that, it’s back to the plan that Greef told Mando it originally was: They kill the Client, with a few slight modifications of course. Namely, Kuiil will take the baby back to the Razor Crest and they’ll only pretend he’s there.

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So Cara, Greef, and the Mandalorian walk into the Client’s bar basically pulling a Chewie on the Death Star in A New Hope—the whole fake prisoner routine. Once inside, the Client instantly reminds us all why we’ve enjoyed what little we’ve seen of him so far as Werner Herzog goes off on a tangent about libations and why Imperial rule was much better than this lawless time they’re all living in now. Just as he’s insisting to see the Child, he gets a phone call. It’s Moff Gideon, played by Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito. He’s a new character and, apparently, the brains behind the Client. He’s the one who wants Baby Yoda and he’ll stop at nothing to get him.

Moff Gideon is rocking a sick new TIE.
Moff Gideon is rocking a sick new TIE.
Photo: Disney
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Moff Gideon’s Death Troopers light up the Client’s bar, killing him (presumably) and many others. Huge divisions of Imperial Stormtroopers arrive, surrounding our heroes. Finally, some kind of brand new transforming TIE fighter lands and out steps Moff Gideon in the flesh. Mando tries to contact Kuiil to make sure they got back to the Razor Crest okay but a pair of Scout Troopers intercept the call. They head out on their speeder bikes to get the Baby.

All seems lost for Mando and the crew, unless Kuiil can get back to the ship of course, which is reinforced. However, just as he’s about to get there, he’s sadly, and unceremoniously, killed (off-camera). RIP Kuiil. Baby Yoda, having fallen to the ground, is scooped up by a scout trooper, and that’s that. We might safely assume the Mandalorian was right and IG-11, no matter how Kuiil reprogrammed him, is still a killer.

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While “The Reckoning” did come for The Mandalorian, the whole episode felt largely like part one of a two-part finale. There were some good moments and decent action but, overall, it was just a table-setter. A way to get all the players into the same place for a final showdown. But still, I loved that all of these characters who could have easily not been part of the show anymore all came back. Hopefully, they’re what Mando needs to defeat the remnants of the Empire and gets his Baby Yoda back.

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Assorted Musings

  • Maybe it’s just me, but I want to know more about Cara’s tug of war fighting/gambling ring. What’s that game called? Are there rules?
  • There are a few moments in the episode where characters discuss, and agree, that they have no idea what Baby Yoda is. I love that. That’s exactly what would happen if your friend was walking around with a cute, unidentified alien that used strange energy to move and heal things. You’d talk about it. Hopefully, the more they talk, the more we’ll learn
  • Speaking of Baby Yoda, now that Kuiil has made a full-on radio control crib for him, I’ll be needing a hovercraft toy of that ASAP.
  • As everyone traveled across Navarro, its tiny rivers of lava and grey stone surface reminded me of Sullust, the planet from Star Wars Battlefront. Just me?
  • I’d love an episode that explains a bit more about why there are still so many Stormtroopers around. I get that troopers were scattered all over the galaxy so they didn’t just drop dead after Endor but who are they answering to? It seems like, maybe, just themselves? Greef suggests they’re just hired muscle. How did that work? Though the Aftermath trilogy got into this a little bit, I want to know more.
  • You get the feeling that Moff Gideon wants Baby Yoda for someone else, right? He’s a pretty high ranking official but what would he want with a Force-sensitive child? Could Filoni be pulling a fast one on us and hiding a Rebels or Clone Wars character?
  • Everything Werner Herzog says in this episode is a treasure. It should all be memed immediately.
  • Did you notice how for the first time, the end credits music was different from the regular Mandalorian theme? It’s almost certainly because this is the first episode with the huge downer, cliffhanger ending, and a big rousing rendition wouldn’t fit, but I like that Chow made sure it all flowed.
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With The Rise of Skywalker in theaters this weekend, Disney+ dropped this episode of The Mandalorian early. We’ll have to wait until next Friday to get the finale. Cross your fingers it’s as good as the rest of the season has been.


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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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