So I have returned to reviewing the first season of the Mandalorian, just for the sake of completeness. I am going to warn you that this review is not as funny as the others because I am quite put out with the writers, so much so that I threaten to write an academic article at them.
Which is, you know, a pretty serious threat.
Mandalorian, Episode 7: “The Reckoning”
Episode 7 begins with a little hologram message from the Guild leader who was shot. The hologram is much higher quality than the one that Leia sends to Obiwan in Star Wars, and if they were this good in real life, then teaching remotely might not be so exhausting.
Or maybe it would. I don’t know.
Anyway, he wants the Mandalorian to come work with him one more time because…I don’t know…there is some nameless threat to both of them out there. And probably to Baby Yoda too, which is the real point.
So now we are on a sunny planet where Xena, Star Wars Edition, is fighting with a guy, and they are linked by red lightning that appears to be coming from their genitals, and…even though she wins, this is clearly written by men.
Mandalorian and Baby Yoda show up and offer her a job. She tries to turn him down, but agrees because she likes fighting Imperials, I guess. While they talk about the plan, Baby Yoda spies on them, which seems like a good idea on its part.
It is interesting that Baby Yoda’s species doesn’t seem to need any training to use the Force; I wonder why not. I do not think I will find out in the Mandalorian.
And…now we are back on Nevarro, the planet where this all started. It has deserts and, apparently, rivers of lava, which makes it a terrible hybrid of Tatooine and Mustafar. They go visit Pig Nolte, because this is the part of the story where we assemble Our Gang of Heroes. He says Baby Yoda is too ugly to have been engineered artificially, but Star Wars Xena looks like someone designed her, which is…Pig Nolte’s way of picking up girls?
Anyway, Pig Nolte has rebuilt the twisty droid according to some kind of New Republic salvage law and taught it to do things. I do not like that that droid is salvage; droids are obviously meant to be the slave class in Star Wars, and I kind of hope Twisty Droid wipes out the biologicals, but instead it…makes tea. Okay. Once again, that seems a waste of technology.
Pig Nolte finally tells the Mandalorian his name when refusing to join his little gang, and then gives a lecture on the nature of droids, and says he’ll only join the gang if he can take his droid and his blurbs? Oh, right, his pig lizard. So each member of Our Gang has first said no, then said yes, and I am starting to appreciate the Flash from the terrible Justice League movie, just because he didn’t play hard to get like everybody else.
So Baby Yoda tries to force choke Star Wars Xena, and they FINALLY figure out that it can use the Force, but instead of talking about it, Pig Nolte gives an outraged lecture about being an Imperial slave while the droid watches.
The droid is the slave, ya’ll. Ever since “We don’t serve their kind here,” we have known that they are treated like poo in Star Wars. You know what? I bet the droid dies. That will be the character arc—it dies and the Mandalorian learns a lesson and…this is how they treat black characters in primarily white films, ya’ll. Wtf?! Why do we need a race of disposable characters to catalyze change in the hero? I’m actually pretty pissed about this.
But the Mandalorian is determined to hate all droids at this point, even though he looks like a droid himself. This character trait is getting more annoying, not less, and I hope we dispense with it before Season 2.
Ahsoka Tano is supposed to appear in Season 2, which might be enough for me to watch it. Darn you, Disney!
The Guild guy meets them and is introduced to Baby Yoda, who, to my disappointment, does not immediately force choke him, because you know he is up to no good. Everyone goes back to this same boring western town, now occupied by former Imperials. Pig Nolte feeds Baby Yoda meat of some kind. He has not explained about the Force, which is apparently a “rumor”—and I still don’t get this. There were inquisitors running around all through the Empire stealing Force-powerful children—so how is it no one knows what the Force is? Do they think they were stealing children for the hell of it? I do not like this Disney canon which makes the Jedi, including Luke and Leia, obscure legends even after they kill the Emperor.
Anyway, there is a shootout, and the Guild guy is shot; Baby Yoda to the rescue! He heals the Guild guy with the Force, just like Rey does in the Rise of Skywalker.
Okay, this is the fourth shot of the gang all lined up against a landscape painting, and it’s starting to seem like they are just creating a bunch of zoom backgrounds. Guild guy explains (to no one’s surprise) that he was going to double cross them and steal Baby Yoda, but now since he was healed, he doesn’t want to any more even if it violates the Code. They make up some other tedious plan to confront the Imperial client and send Pig Nolte and Baby Yoda back to the ship to hide. They ride on a pig lizard across the plains of Mordor to the ship while dramatic music plays.
They take the empty floaty chair to meet the client, who gives them a stupid lecture on the Empire, then takes a holocall from Moff Gideon, and the whole time, Xena Star Wars is getting more and more pissed at seeing more and more stormtroopers because Guild guy said there were only four.
Moff Gideon shows up with something that the internets tell me is an Outland TIE fighter, which is pretty much the coolest thing in this episode, and a ton of troops, and sends troops on speeder bikes to catch Pig Nolte and Baby Yoda. Oh, Pig Nolte is dead, and Baby Yoda is in the hands of the not-Empire! What will happen?
Reviewers like this episode because most of the characters come back together to face off with the Moff and Save the Baby. I am…disturbed…and I am ready to start an uprising on behalf of the droids.
Episode 8: “Redemption”
This episode starts with my favorite scene in the whole series, as two stormtroopers on the speeders argue and complain to each other. They are pretty funny. I give this scene a thumbs up. These guys are my favorite troopers (not counting Finn, of course). Twisty droid shows up to rescue Baby Yoda, who they mistake for…a nurse. He beats them senseless and rescues the baby. You know, my cousin Bekah is a nurse, and I think she could do this. She is pretty bad ass.
Our Gang is trapped in a room, and they try, to my great amusement, to escape down the sewers, but when they go all Leia on the sewer grill, it does not break at all, so they cannot leap into the trash. Really, the Death Star was shoddily constructed in many ways, wasn’t it?
Moff Gideon threatens them and gives them a deadline before opening fire, which makes no sense whatsoever. Now we get the whole flashback to the Mandalorian’s childhood and find out that “Mandalorian” is not a race but a creed, and I still don’t think that fits since Mandalore is a planet. Maybe they wiped out the whole planet under the Empire. Rumor says Sabine Wren might also appear next season, and I am telling you, she is going to be pissed off.
This is a VERY long childhood flashback to explain how the Mandalorian became a Mandalorian. A droid killed his parents; a Mandalorian saved him. So he will don a mask and train in an underground lair, and strike fear into the hearts of cowardly droids as he stalks the Gotham…I mean, the Nevarro nights as…a bounty hunter. Following a…creed? Of bounty hunting? And a Way of Mandalore?
For a long flashback, this is not explained all that well.
Anyway, back to the fighting.
Twisty Droid shows up wearing Baby Yoda in a backpack and just destroys these stormtroopers. Go, Twisty Droid! It’s part of the IG series, which you might know because IG-88 was one of the bounty hunters hired to track down the Millennium Falcon in the Empire Strikes Back. Based on what I am seeing here, Han and Leia and Chewie would have been toast if IG-88 had caught them instead of Boba Fett. But everyone is all hyper for Boba Fett. More bias towards biologicals, obviously.
So Twisty Droid blows the grid so they can go down in the sewers and the Mandalorian is injured and probably dying and says to leave him behind…but…Baby Yoda stands up and uses the Force all over the Imperials, giving everyone else time to get into the sewers. Twisty droid stays to protect the Mandalorian, and the Mandalorian is like, “Kill me,” but the Droid has been reprogrammed and will not kill him. Now, the Mandalorian has to remove his helmet to be healed; it also tells him a joke. It is not a good joke. But it’s okay to take off his helmet because this does not violate the Way because Twisty Droid is not a life form, and…now I am getting angry again.
This episode seems unusually long.
Somehow, they catch up to the rest of the gang in the sewers (which also does not make sense). Ah, here are piles of old Mandalorian armor, some of it artistically painted, which I approve of. But it looks like all of the Mandalorians in the jet packs have been wiped out. The Armourer is alive, though, and she says the imperials wiped them out. She wants to see Baby Yoda.
Ah, she knows what the Jedi are. Sort of.
Anyway, now “the Way” is to find Baby Yoda’s home and “return him to a race of enemy sorcerers”; in the meantime, he has to be its father. This Way keeps getting more complicated, like how the Grand Nagus keeps adding Rules of Acquisition. Who can keep up?
Now the Mandalorian gets a signet. And a jet pack. And a bunch of weapons. This is convenient. I did not know you could find all of this in the sewers. Anyway, she tells them the way out. Then stormtroopers come, and she takes a hammer and absolutely destroys them all.
Now there is…a plain of lava? And…a red R2 droid with long arms and legs piloting a boat over the lake of fire, and we will just go ahead and call it Charon, shall we? And…here is the final character arc…Twisty Droid will sacrifice its life to save Baby Yoda, and now the Mandalorian can’t hate droids anymore.
I hate you, Star Wars Mandalorian writers; I really hate you. Do you want me to write an academic article on the creation of a slave race in Star Wars using clichéd tropes for black characters in science fiction? Do you?! Because it seems like you do.
Anyhow, Our Gang escapes and says goodbye to dramatic music while the Mandalorian flies off to his ship with his jet pack. He buries Pig Nolte before he flies away with Baby Yoda, who has stolen an ugly piece of jewelry.
And then my other favorite scene, as we see Moff Gideon has survived the crash of his TIE figher, and he cuts his way out using…the Darksaber. And THAT is why Ahsoka Tano has to show up next season and find out how the heck a Moff got this stupid sword after all the trouble she went to to get it into the hands of Bo-Katan.
Anyway, the Mandalorian’s last episode was better than the beginning of the show, but aside from the appearance of the Darksaber, it was pretty predictable, filled with racist clichés applied to droids, and mostly makes me want to go watch Star Wars: Rebels again.