Things were looking bleak for Baby Yoda and Mando in episode 7 of The Mandalorian last week, as the terrifying Moff Gideon stepped from the shadows (and out of his awesome TIE fighter) just in time for this week's season finale. So episode 8, which hit Disney Plus on Friday (and a week after The Rise of Skywalker arrived in theaters), sees them fighting back against the Imperial and his army of goons.
We rejoin the jerk scout troopers (Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally) who killed our pal Kuiil and snatched Baby Yoda as they arrive at the edge of the city. The pair seek clearance to enter, but are warned that Gideon killed a bunch of his own troops "just to make a point" and an officer who interrupted him, so they have to wait.
They engage in a little target practice on a landmine and prove to be hopeless shots -- like most stormtroopers. Oh, and they each PUNCH BABY YODA when the little guy acts out. They must suffer. Enter IG-11 (Taika Waititi).
"I am this child's nurse droid and require that you remand him to me immediately," he says with glorious droid calm.
Predictably, the troopers refuse, so IG-11 smoothly snaps one's wrist and flings him on the ground, then smashes the other's head against his speeder bike.
"That was unpleasant, I'm sorry you had to see that," he tells Baby Yoda, who looks at this new protector with his big beautiful eyes, before they speed off toward town.
In the city, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) stands at the head of a massive group of death troopers and stormtroopers, who look significantly more competent than the scouts as they pin Mando, Cara Dune and Greef Carga (Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano and Carl Weathers respectively) within a ruined cantina.
The Imperials set up an E-Web heavy repeating blaster cannon that'll cut our heroes to ribbons and Mando finds a sewer vent that'll let them escape into the underground tunnels leading to the Mandalorian "covert" where he got his armor upgraded. Unfortunately, the metal vent cover withstands even blaster fire, so they're stuck.
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"Your astute panic suggests that you understand your situation," the smirking Gideon shouts from outside. "I would prefer to avoid any further violence and encourage a moment of consideration."
Gideon reveals that he knows exactly who all our heroes are -- from his villainous monologue, we learn that Cara is from Alderaan. More importantly, he refers to Mando by his real name: Din Djarin. Since we're all used to referring to him as Mando, we'll stick with that for now.
The Imperial tells them to surrender by nightfall or the E-Web cannon will open fire. However, he basically says he'll likely kill them anyway, and walks away. Mando says he hasn't heard his actual name spoken aloud since he was a kid. The show hinted at it previously, but we finally see the full traumatic flashback to the moment his parents were killed by battle droids and the Mandalorians took him in. (Cue sweet guitar riff.)
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The horror of his parents' deaths was likely offset by the awesomeness of the Mandalorians, who take out the droids and move around with their jetpacks like a bunch of badasses. They also have the symbol of the Death Watch, a violent splinter group who played a huge role in The Clone Wars CGI animated series.
It seems Gideon was an Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) officer during the Purge (which scattered the Mandalorians across the galaxy), so he had access to Mandalore's records.
Mando notes that Gideon must not have Baby Yoda, or he'd have slaughtered them all. He tries Kuiil's comlink, but is surprised to hear IG-11 respond. With our giggling green pal in a satchel on his chest, the nurse-droid-who's-really-still-an-assassin speeds into the city and blasts Imps like crazy as he makes his way to the cantina.
Emboldened by his arrival, Mando and Greef (who gives himself a little liquid courage by knocking back a shot) burst outside and take on the troopers, with Cara providing cover fire from inside.
Our heroes initially seem to be winning as Mando picks up the E-Web and mows down baddies, but a very pissed off-looking Gideon arrives and shoots him in the back of the helmet, then blows up the cannon's power generator. Dragging a badly injured Mando, the good guys retreat into the cantina.
"Burn them out," Gideon orders one of his death troopers.
At Greef's request, IG-11 goes to work on the sewer grate after threatening the bounty hunter boss with death if he goes near Baby Yoda. Mando is losing hope that he can survive, so he gives Cara his Mythosaur skull emblem and tells her to bring the little guy to his fellow Mandalorians as a Foundling -- a child meant to be brought up by their creed. He tells her to leave him, so he can have a warrior's death.
"This is the way," he says.
Flames and the Force
This touching moment is cut short by the arrival of a flamethrower-wielding stormtrooper (who has cool-looking red accents on their armor). He sends a burst of fire at Baby Yoda, who uses the Force to stop the flames and sends them right back.
Let's take a moment and accept that the internet's favorite green baby straight up killed a guy. The flame trooper definitely deserved it though, so whatevs.
Exhausted by his effort, Baby Yoda has a lie down afterward -- he clearly won't be using his healing power to fix Mando -- just as IG-11 kicks open the grate and gives them an escape route. The droid hands the baby to Cara and tells her he'll catch up after seeing to Mando.
IG-11 tries to remove Mando's helmet, but our ever-intense hero promises to blast the droid if he does so -- no living thing has seen his face since he swore the creed.
"I am not a living thing," IG-11 reminds him, before taking off the helmet to reveal the handsome (if a little bloodied) face of Pedro Pascal.
The droid sprays Mando with bacta, which will heal his wounds "in a matter of hours."
Seeking Mandalorian aid
They soon catch up with Cara, Baby Yoda and Greef in the sewer tunnels and decide to ask the other Mandalorians to escort them to safety. Unfortunately, they only find a rather chilling pile of discarded helmets and other Mandalorian armor.
The Armorer (Emily Swallow) appears and reveals that the Empire came for them after they revealed themselves in Chapter 3. She reckons some of their brethren managed to escape (basically code for "they'll show up in Season 2"), but she stuck around to salvage the remaining armor.
She asks to see Baby Yoda, since Mando's decision to rescue him caused the destruction of their group. Upon hearing about the little fella's powers, she notes that Jedi once used such powers in their conflict with Mandalore the Great. Baby Yoda isn't an enemy though -- he's now a Foundling.
"You have no choice; you must reunite it with its own kind," the Armorer declares, giving Mando his new mission and basically saying he's Baby Yoda's dad. Congrats Mando!
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She then tells them to escape to the lava flats using an underground tunnel, then adds our hero's new signet -- the image of the Mudhorn that made the little guy reveal his powers -- to his pauldron.
"You are a clan of two," she says.
Sending IG-11 to deal with some approaching troopers, she asks Mando if he's trained in "the Rising Phoenix" and gives one more gift: an awesome jetpack. Oh yes.
Leaving the Armorer behind (she takes out a bunch more troopers), they find a lava stream and a ferry that'll take them to safety. It includes an R2 unit that's been customized with strange-looking limbs to let it row.
When they get close to the tunnel, Mando's infrared vision reveals a platoon of stormtroopers waiting to blow them away directly outside. In another touching moment, IG-11 decides to step into the lava, approach the troops and activate his self-destruct (which he was determined to use back in the first episode).
Mando is pretty cut up at the prospect of losing IG-11 -- a sign that he's getting over his hatred of droids.
It works, and they float outside safely… until Gideon sweeps by in his TIE. The Imperial opens fire and misses, but goes around for another pass.
"Hey, let's make the baby do the magic hand thing. C'mon baby, do the magic hand thing!" says Greef -- which just earns him an adorable wave from Baby Yoda. "I'm out of ideas."
Mando isn't. Next time the TIE passes, he blasts up using his new jetpack and places a detonator on the hull. He drops off and blows Gideon's ride out of the sky, before landing like a less-smooth version of Iron Man.
He reunites with his allies and scoops Baby Yoda up into his arms, while Cara announces that she'll stay on Navarro and Greef offers to make her his enforcer. The former rebel tells Mando to take care of the kid.
"Or maybe it'll take care of you," says Greef. Awwwww.
Back at the Razor Crest, Mando buries Kuiil and sees that Baby Yoda's become attached to the Mythosaur pendant.
"I didn't think I'd see this again -- why don't you hang onto that?" he tells his wee green son.
They take off and everything ends happily as the Imperial threat has been eliminated. Except it isn't. The camera pans over the Gideon's smoking TIE, as Jawas start to pick at it. They're scared off when a black lightsaber-like blade cuts through the hull.
He's wielding the Darksaber -- a Mandalorian symbol of leadership that played a huge role in The Clone Wars and Rebels. It was once held by Darth Maul.
Looking angrier than ever, Moff Gideon emerges and stands atop his ruined ship. For a guy who just crashed and nearly burned, he looks absolutely magnificent (I love Imperials in capes, R.I.P. Krennic) and pretty damn scary.
Seems like Mando and Baby Yoda have themselves a new nemesis.
Final thoughts and Easter eggs
We last saw the Darksaber in season 4 of Rebels, in the hands of Bo-Katan Kryze. She used it to unite the Mandalorian clans, but Gideon must have gotten his hands on it during the Purge.
It's possible Gideon wants to use Baby's Yoda DNA to give himself Force powers, to go along with his fancy pseudo-lightsaber.
Does reuniting Baby Yoda with his clan mean finding more members of his species or bringing him to the Jedi? We know Luke Skywalker will train a group of students in a few years, but Kylo Ren burns all that down. Hopefully our little green friend isn't caught up in that.
The Empire used the Death Star to destroy Alderaan in A New Hope. Since it was Cara's homeworld, that explains why she's got a major grudge against the Empire.
Pedro Pascal casually dropped the name Din Djarin in an interview back in November, but this is the first time we've heard it in-universe.
Gideon refers to the Siege of Mandalore, an event we'll see in the upcoming seventh season of The Clone Wars, in which E-web cannons were used to slaughter Mandalorian recruits in The Night of a Thousand Tears -- a pretty chilling name.
The healing substance bacta first appeared in The Empire Strikes Back -- Luke floats in a tank of it after his near-death experience on Hoth.
IG-11 kinda had to be destroyed -- he was too powerful and could've dealt with pretty much any threat. Still sad to see him go.