The first season of The Mandalorian comes to a close with a noble sacrifice, a parting of ways, and a lot of baby giggles. All is right in the galaxy.
And season two is already underway, so hopefully we won’t have to wait long for more of it.
The two scout troopers who got their hands on Baby Yoda are waiting for confirmation from Moff Gideon’s people before delivering the kid. As they bicker and abuse the child, IG-11 shows up, carrying out his mandate to protect the baby and killing the troopers. Mando, Cara, and Greef are still holed up at the bar, while the Moff proceeds to make it known that he has background information on each of them, even revealing the Mandalorian’s name: Din Djarin. In flashbacks it is revealed that Din was saved by Mandalorians while droids of the Separatist armies devastated his homeworld during the Clone Wars. This is how he became a Foundling.
IG-11 appears with the child and proceeds to pick off Gideon’s troops, leading Cara, Greef, and Din to enter the fray. Din gets hit in the head, and Cara has to carry him back into the bar. He insists he’s not going to make it and tells her to take Baby Yoda to his people, where he’ll be safe. IG-11 promises Cara that he’ll get Din on his feet, but Cara and Greef take Baby Yoda into the sewers to find the Mandalorian refugee group. IG-11 can tend to Djarin’s injuries, but he needs to take off the beskar helmet. Din refuses, stating that no living thing is allowed to see his face, which gives the droid a perfect opening, as he’s not technically alive. He removes Din’s helmet and applies first aid.
They reunite with Baby Yoda and company, but when they reach the underground Mandalorian camp, they find a pile of armor. The Armorer herself is still there, melting down the beskar that remains—after the battle they joined in while Din escaped with the child, the Imperials found the Mandalorians and killed many of them. She believes some may have escaped, but she’s uncertain. Din tells her about Baby Yoda and his powers, and she tells him that she’s heard of Jedi, who used to fight with the Mandalorians in old stories. She tells Din that the child is now a Foundling, and until Din can reunite the baby with his own kind, he is its father. Having learned the truth about how the child helped Din defeat the Mudhorn, she gives him his signet, stating that he and the child are a “Clan of Two.” She then gifts him a jetpack, insists on being left behind while the group escapes, and fights off a crew of stormtroopers alone.
The group makes to exit the sewers on a lava river ferry, but there is a platoon of stormtroopers lying in wait just outside. IG-11 insists that as long as the child will be safe, he can self-destruct to prevent anyone from capturing him, his manufacturer failsafe. Din doesn’t want him to do it, but IG-11 insists and destroys the entire platoon in the ensuing explosion. Once the group is outside, Moff Gideon attacks them in his TIE fighter and Din uses the jetpack (poorly, it’s his first time) to hop onto the fighter and cause it to crash. Greef Karga decides to stay on Navarro, believing the Guild can thrive again with the Imperials gone, and asking Cara to stick around as his enforcer. He tells Din he’ll be welcome back as a hunter when he’s finished up his business with the child. Din buries Kuiil and takes off with Baby Yoda in the Razor Crest.
Of course, Moff Gideon has survived his TIE crash, and he makes it out of the wreckage by cutting the hull of the ship WITH THE F*CKING DARKSABER, ARE YOU KIDDING ME, THAT’S AN AUTOMATIC FOUL, YOU GIVE THAT BACK THAT YOU EVIL, CONNIVING LITTLE—
OKAY SO—sorry, stuck keyboard, definitely not me screaming at my television over the DAMN DARKSABER. I didn’t bring this up before because I assumed it wouldn’t be relevant yet, but here we go…
So the conversation that Din has with the Armorer where she treats Jedi like a mythical crew of magic warriors is just as amusing as the rest of the galaxy’s collective amnesia over Jedi, though it frankly makes less sense; in many parts of the galaxy there are worlds and systems that would have very rarely (if ever) seen Jedi Knights, so it’s more understandable that they’d be viewed as legends. At the height of their power, there were only about 10,000 Jedi in a galaxy of billions and billions, so it’s not surprising that your average citizen isn’t sure about their existence.
But the Mandalorians? They saw a lot of Jedi (and Sith) during the Clone Wars. Obi-Wan Kenobi was in love with their leader, Duchess Satine, and Darth Maul literally took over their planet once. They were liberated by Ahsoka Tano toward the end of the war, who was no longer a Jedi, but was wielding her green lightsabers at the time. In addition, the legacy of the Darksaber should be a myth that more Mandalorians know—so we have to assume that a great deal of information has been lost to them following the Great Purge.
And here is the part where I give you background on the Darksaber. Okay, the Mandalorians like to keep to themselves, and they’re very proud of their cultural heritage. But they can be Force-sensitive, like many of the galaxy’s sentients, and some of them became Jedi. The very first to do this was Tarre Vizsla (of the same clan that Jon Favreau’s two voiced characters came from), and his weapon was the Darksaber.
That’s right, the very first Mandalorian Jedi was so extra, he needed a goth saber to complete his look.
In addition to being a Jedi, he also became the Mand’alor—that’s the leader of the Mandalorian people. After he died, the Jedi kept his singular weapon in the Jedi Temple, but eventually, his clan snuck into the temple and liberated it. The saber became a symbol of leadership among his clan, and then all of Mandalore. This weapon was with his clan until Darth Maul got his hands on it, and it eventually ended up on Maul’s homeworld of Dathomir with the Nightsisters.
It was retrieved by Mandalorian Sabine Wren (Clan Wren is an offshoot of Clan Vizsla, for the record), who became its wielder after defeating Gar Saxon—a Mandalorian who had allied himself with Maul and then Emperor Palpatine. Sabine gave the weapon over to Bo-Katan Kryze, the late Duchess Satine’s sister, hoping that she would be the person to unite Mandalore… but shortly after this, the Empire would have enacted the Purge, which is likely how the saber fell into Gideon’s hands. The point is that this is a Mandalorian heirloom, a deeply important historical artifact, and should under no circumstances be lofted by Imperial hands. So if you have any fuzzy feelings toward Moff Gideon (not sure why you would, but hey, you do you), this would be the time to recognize him for the monster he is.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, it’s time to be sad about IG-11, who I wanted to stick around because Baby Yoda needs two dads, okay??? This is unfair. I mean, I’m thrilled that Din is learning to unpack his droid prejudices, and that IG-11 called him out on his sad voice, but now we’re missing out on our greatest buddy comedy potential, and this is a betrayal of the highest order. Give me back my sweet assassin droid with the snuggle carrier strapped to his chest. Too precious for this galaxy. My metal cinnamon roll with a bomb in his chest. BRING HIM BACK.
We finally get the name that Pedro Pascal spoiled in the first week of interviews! It’s Din Djarin, which is not related to any particular Star Wars group or characters. We also get to see his face on account of IG-11 being smart and pointing out the droids don’t count in the Mandalorian Code. Poor Dyn. He looks pretty wrecked from his recent misadventures, and he deserves better. Let Mando dad nap. Make him nap.
This episode was full of tear-jerking stuff, no matter what you care about. Cara’s unwillingness to leave Din behind is the stuff that dream warrior bonds are made of, and their friendship continues to charge my soul batteries with warmth. Coming across that pile of Mandalorian armor is devastating. (Though I’m curious about how the timeline worked here because Din has been gone for a few months, so it either took a while for the Imperials to find the Mandalorians, or the Armorer has been melting that stuff down for weeks and weeks?) At least the Armorer survived and uses her deep well of skills to pummel stormtrooper helmets with her blacksmith tools, which is the stuff that all my other dreams are made of. Can the Armorer be my mom?
And now Din has his signet and the child is officially adopted because Mando’s blacksmith mom said so, and they are a Clan of Two and you know, I honestly wasn’t prepared for this, or for Baby Yoda to keep the Mando medallion as a teething ring, so this is a lot for me.
It’s just a lot.
With the second stage of our quest defined, we know where the second season is headed, but we still don’t know what adventures it will bring. We’re sure to see some familiar faces and some new allies, but there are a lot of directions for this series to go. Will they find Baby Yoda’s people? Will we ever find out where the kid came from? Will this show lead us to the reassemblage of the Mandalorian people? When will Sabine Wren show up and become the Mand’alor?
We had eight episodes and one season to see what Star Wars live-action TV could accomplish, and this is what they’ve done to us. Just filled us to the brim with Force babies and gruff armor-wearing dads and kind Ugnaughts and shock trooper BFFs and robot nannies. We should have known they wouldn’t play around. Here’s to Din and his newly adopted Yodaling.
Team Clan of Two, forever.
Thing and asides:
- Din makes the comment that Moff Gideon served the ISB during the Empire’s day, which is the Imperial Security Bureau. Agent Alexsandr Kallus worked for ISB as well before he turned spy, and then defected to the Rebel Alliance. (Watch Star Wars: Rebels, y’all.)
- The Mandalorian who rescues Din as a child is wearing the signet of the Mandalorian Death Watch. So that’s an interesting piece of information to have, given the trouble Death Watch caused for Mandalore during the Clone War…
- The ‘roided out R2 unit with limbs that drove their lava ferry might give me nightmares? It was just so very wrong.
- Greef Karma is a “disgraced magistrate”, and I’m extremely interested to know where from and what went down. Also Cara Dune is from Alderaan, Leia’s homeworld that was destroyed by the first Death Star, so that explains a lot about how intense her baggage is. Ugh, I love her.
- The scout troopers who nabbed Baby Yoda were played by Adam Pally and Jason Sudeikis. They will forever go down in history as the dudes who punched Baby Yoda, although after loathing Sudeikis in Colossal, this turn is hardly a surprise to me. It’s always amazing listening to random-joe troopers be mediocre and uninspiring. The galaxy can’t all be Mandos and Rebel shock troopers, after all.
- It seems weird that an IG unit would come standard with a bacta spray tool. (Bacta: that tank of liquid that Luke gets dunked into at the start of Empire Strikes Back, post-Wampa attack. It’s often used as a funny sort of cure-all in Star Wars.) Maybe that’s something Kuiil added? I could see him modifying in that direction.
- I’ve been so caught up in lore that I haven’t done my usual soundtrack squeeing, which is remiss because Ludwig Göransson (of Black Panther soundtrack fame), has created a score on par with the work of John Williams throughout Star Wars canon, and it I cannot praise it enough.
‘Til next season, friends and foes. This is the way.