We’ve arrived at the end. Of season 1 at least. The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 8 is the season finale. And it’s a great finale. But as usual, we have questions. The biggest question isn’t will Mando survive, because c’mon, there’s going to be a season 2. The show is a massive hit. The question is whether or not will get any answers to all the questions we’ve been asking all season. That answer…may surprise you.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is review is a redo of our original review as we never finished our reviews initially. Each episode of Season 1 is being re-reviewed (or reviewed the first time) ahead of the Season 2 premiere on October 30th and written as if we were viewing the episode for the first time.
SPOILER WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 8, Redemption. If you have not seen the episode and want to remain spoiler-free, do not continue reading.
They punched Baby Yoda!
The death of Kuiil was traumatic, but no one was prepared for what came next. The cold open of the episode features two unnamed Scout Troopers, played by Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally. Their dialogue is hilarious and points out all the ridiculousness that is Imperial leadership behavior, but they also do the unthinkable. Both troopers punch The Child. Baby Yoda was punched. Multiple times. If you were somehow still on the fence about the Empire, this should show you exactly who Imperials are.
All joking aside, this cold open is so tonally different from the rest of the show but is exactly what the episode needed given the rest of the story. The last episode ended on such a down note that we needed a brief moment of joy prior to jumping headfirst into the resolution of Season 1. That the troopers get their just punishment immediately from IG-11 makes it all the better.
The unmasking of (almost) everything
One conversation between Mando’s crew and Moff Gideon gave us answers to many of our questions from the season. Mando has a name – Din Djarin! We also learn why Cara Dune hates Imperials so much – she’s from Alderaan. Even Greef Karga gets some additional backstory. Gideon even drops hints about what happened to the Mandalorians and the Siege of Mandalore, name-dropping an event called “The Night of A Thousand Tears.” Interestingly enough, that is the second siege of Mandalore, the first taking place during the Clone Wars.
Speaking of the Clone Wars, we also see the full flashback of what happened to Djarin’s parents and how he came to join the Mandalorians. The Separatist Alliance’s droid army invades an unnamed planet, laying waste to the defenseless population. Mandalorians from Death Watch arrive and fight them off, rescuing Din after his parents are killed in an explosion.
His rescue by Death Watch helps explain why Djarin is so committed to the Mandalorian Creed, as opposed to someone like Sabine Wren from Rebels. Wren was raised in a different clan, one obviously much more relaxed in its dogma. She’s comfortable taking off her helmet, but Djarin is not. Not in front of any living beings, anyway.
Those reveals are big, but the largest reveal is Din Djarin finally removing his helmet. We’ve basically known what Din looks like the entire time because it’s not hard to Google Pedro Pascal images, but it was always possible his appearance would be altered somehow. Apart from some battle damage, that isn’t the case. The scene is also surprisingly moving as IG-11 allows Din to survive, proving to him that not all droids are murderous and hateful. IG-11’s sacrifice for the safety of The Child only adds to that belief.
The entire season has been one of growth for Din Djarin, and it has been an absolute joy to watch. This episode is just the culmination of that growth. In many ways, it is paced like a video game. Din earns pieces of his skillset over time based on how he grows, ending with getting his jetpack and signet from The Armorer. The jetpack in particular helps him take out the final boss (Gideon in TIE fighter) and end the season on a positive note.
One more thing…
Prior to this show, the last we’d seen of Mandalorians (chronologically) was Season 4 of Rebels. Sabine and Bo Katan united the clans to fight back against Imperial rule of Mandalore. We’ve been hearing terms like “The Great Purge” and “The Night of a Thousand Tears” all season, and now we have a real hint as to just how bad things went.
When Moff Gideon cuts his way out of his crashed TIE fighter with the Darksaber, everything changed. The Darksaber, a legendary weapon that signifies the ruler of Mandalore, in the hands of an Imperial warlord is a very, very bad sign for Mandalorians and opens up all kinds of possibilities for where the show can go.
The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 810
While there are still many questions left from Season 1, more than enough were answered in this episode to keep me and millions of Disney+ subscribers wanting more. Director Taika Waititi took the magic of Thor: Ragnarok and spread it all over this episode to great effect in what is the most satisfying episode of the season.