Entitled The Reckoning, Chapter 7 was directed by Deborah Chow. She also helmed Chapter 3 and will return to the Star Wars universe to direct the upcoming Obi-Wan show. This episode is pretty darn epic, and full spoilers lie ahead. Let's jump in.
No more running
Shhhhh, the wee baby is a-shleepin'! We rejoin Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Baby Yoda on the Razor Crest as it cruises through space. They receive a message from Bounty Hunter Guild boss Greef Carga (Carl Weathers); apparently the situation on Navarro has changed since Mando betrayed the guild and ran off with Baby Yoda.
The Imperial who hired our hero has reinforced his ranks of Stormtroopers and "imposed despotic rule" over the city. Greef proposes that Mando return, use the young 'un to get close to the Client and kill the Imperial.
I dunno about you, but it smells a lot like a trap to me. However, it's not like Mando has much choice -- he's been running aimlessly and hunters are gunning for Baby Yoda. Greef offers him a clean slate in exchange for the Client's death; his name will be cleared with the Guild and he can keep the kid.
"I await your arrival with optimism," Greef says as he signs off --- his choice of words uncharacteristically stiff.
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With a glance back at his lil' buddy, Mando jumps to hyperspace. Our hero is naturally suspicious of Greef, so he returns to Sorgan and tracks down ex-Rebel Alliance shock trooper Cara Dune, whom he finds in a wonderful sci-fi Fight Club (did I break the rules?) in the same bar they had their first encounter in. Apparently it's just a great place to hang out.
The mechanics of Cara's battle are very cool -- a beam of crackling energy links to a rather large Zabrak, forcing them to stay close as they engage in a nasty fistfight. When she kicks his ass all over the bar, the Zabrak "taps out" by deactivating the beam. Wuss.
Cara collects her winnings and Mando asks her to join him on Navarro (with Baby Yoda plodding along adorably behind him). She's reluctant... until Mando mentions that they'll be battling an Imperial.
"I'm in," she says after a beat. Hell yeah.
On the Razor Crest, Mando confirms his mistrust of Greef as Cara looks through his choice selection of weapons. This scene is mostly notable for a shot of Baby Yoda looking down on the two adults. He's upside-down and impossibly cute in this moment. My heart.
Unfortunately, the 50-year-old kid then makes the ride bumpy by messing with the ship's controls, confirming that Cara and Mando are way too busy being badasses for parenting duties. Our hero must return to the nicest character he's met so far -- Kuiil (Nick Nolte) -- on Arvala-7, the planet where he first encountered Baby Yoda.
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The Ugnaught flirts with Cara (at least I think that's what he's doing) and casually mentions that he used to be an Imperial slave, before familiar killing machine IG-11 (Taika Waititi) pops in with some tea. Last time we saw this assassin droid, he was about to blast a hole through Baby Yoda and Mando responded by shooting him in the head.
The badasses freak out a bit at the sight of IG-11, but Kuiil reassures them that he reprogrammed the droid to be a protector rather than a hunter. The flashback revealing Kuiil's patient rehabilitation of IG-11 is pretty amazing too. "Tea?" indeed.
Kuiil agrees to join Mando's team, but only if IG-11 and the Bluurg mounts can come too. He wants to stick it to the Imperial Remnant, understandably.
"None will be free until the old ways are gone forever," he says.
Baby Yoda gets a little dark
On a packed Razor Crest, Cara and Mando engage in a macho arm-wrestling match. They seem evenly matched, until a concerned Baby Yoda interrupts by choking Cara with the Force -- like a super cute Darth Vader.
Mando quickly stops his little pal and remains perplexed about his powers, but Kuiil recalls hearing "rumors" of stuff like this when he was enslaved by the Empire (probably regarding Vader's severe management style).
The Ugnaught and Cara start arguing about his work for the totalitarian regime, creating a whole lot of tension, but Mando diffuses the situation by asking Kuiil to make a nicer cradle for Baby Yoda. Because comfy babies calm everyone down. He essentially recreates the pod Baby Yoda rode in before his brief time in Imperial captivity -- it can close up to hide its passenger. How convenient.
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On Navarro, a very awkward Greef and his trio of silent bounty hunters meet our crew. Either Carl Weathers' acting is off, or Greef is hiding his true intentions. When night falls on their journey to the Imperial-held city, they camp out and chat about the plan to kill the Client.
"Trust me, nothing can go wrong," says Greef.
Something immediately goes wrong when a bunch of bat-like creatures attack their camp from the darkness. This sequence is visually stunning -- the darkness is only lit by the campfire, blaster fire and Mando's flamethrower.
Baby Yoda gets a little light
By the time the creatures are driven away, Greef is badly injured and one of his bounty hunter goons is dead. The crew is pretty much unscathed and (most importantly) Baby Yoda was safe in his covered pram. Phew.
Cara confirms that Greef was poisoned by the creatures' talons and is basically screwed... until Baby Yoda puts his widdle green hand on the wound.
"He's tryin' to eat me," the bounty hunter boss exclaims, because all creatures start to eat others by gently touching them. I'll give Greef a pass on this, since he's probably a bit delirious.
To everyone's surprise, Greef's wound closes up and Baby Yoda plops down -- clearly using the Force to heal another takes a lot out of him (which we also saw in a certain movie).
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The next morning, a rather guilty-looking Greef leads them to a ridge overlooking the city. Cara and Mando are expecting a betrayal, but he suddenly blasts his two remaining bounty hunter goons. He then admits that the plan was to kill Mando and bring Baby Yoda to the Client, but the events of the previous night changed his mind.
Cara wants to blast Greef, but Mando decides to go through with a tweaked version of the original plan -- the bounty hunter boss and Cara will bring Mando in as a prisoner, along with the closed-up pram, so he can take out the Client. Kuiil will take Baby Yoda back to the ship, seal them inside and "engage ground security protocols." What could go wrong?
Mando, Cara and Greef arrive at the city, where they pass a rather standoffish pair of Imperial biker scouts. One of them offers 20 credits for Mando's helmet, which seems awfully low. I'm no expert on Star Wars currency conversions though.
Regardless, Greef says the helmet is going on his wall. (It'd really be better as a shelf ornament, but the man is under pressure!) Moving through the streets, we see that there are Imperial troops everywhere.
At this point, Kuiil is riding his Bluurg back to the Razor Crest, with Baby Yoda cradled in his arms. Moving a bit too slowly for comfort if you ask me.
The trio meets the ludicrously sinister Client (Werner Herzog) and his Stormtrooper protection squad in a bar. The Imperial admires Mando's awesome beskar armor, which was forged from the reward he got for bringing in Baby Yoda previously (before changing his mind in a spectacular and violent manner). Then he turns to Greef.
"Can I offer you a libation, to celebrate the closing of our shared narrative?" he asks, in the most intense offer of a drink I've ever heard (and one I'll definitely use in real life).
It also sounds rather final, like he plans to kill Greef because that's just what villains do.
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However, he goes on to note that Mando's current suffering mirrors that his people -- apparently Mandalore resisted the Empire's expansion and got put down for it. He also asserts the Empire brought peace and prosperity to the worlds it ruled.
"Look outside. Is the world more peaceful since the revolution? I see nothing but death and chaos," he says, before demanding to see Baby Yoda.
Greef gives the rather lame excuse that the kid is asleep, prompting the Client to promise "We all will be quiet" in his uniquely severe manner.
The big bad
The Imperial is interrupted by a holographic message, giving us our first look at his boss, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito, who played legendary Breaking Bad villain Gus Fring). He's apparently onto our heroes, who leap up and open fire. The Client gets a blaster bolt in the back (RIP you awesome jerk) and the Stormtroopers are mowed down shortly afterwards. Safe at last!
Oh wait no, things have gotten much worse. A squad of terrifying Imperial Death Troopers is now directly outside, pointing their blasters at the building, and an Imperial Troop Transport pulls up with a bunch more Stormtroopers. Even more rush in from side streets. Basically, Mando, Cara and Greef are pinned down, totally outnumbered and utterly screwed.
Our hero also makes the mistake of contacting Kuiil and telling him to hurry back to the ship. The biker scouts at the edge of town intercept the transmission and take off after the Ugnaught.
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A TIE fighter lands behind the troops and Gideon steps out, looking like the epitome of stylish Imperial villainy in his black armor and cape.
"You have something I want. You may think you have some idea what you are in possession of, but you do not," he says with the scary calm of a guy who's had many people killed.
"In a few moments, it will be mine. It means more to me than you will ever know."
We cut back to Baby Yoda, who's fallen on the ground but still adorably wrapped up in his blanket, as a biker scout scoops him up. Nearby, Kuiil and his Bluurg lie dead, having been gunned down by the Imperials.
Well, things just got super intense.
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Final thoughts and Easter eggs
This is my favorite episode of the show so far, and makes me very excited indeed to see how director Deborah Chow handles the Disney Plus Obi-Wan show.
The character Cara is fighting is a Zabrak -- a member of Darth Maul's race. This fella doesn't have all the intense Sith tattoos though.
Cara is apparently wanted by the New Republic because of the tomfoolery she's engaged in since her time as a shock trooper. There must be a really cool story there, and we'll probably get it sometime.
Kuiil reckons Baby Yoda is "too ugly" to have been genetically engineered, so he must have been born naturally. His species remains a mystery though.
The Force remains a mystery to the galaxy at large. Kuiil only heard whispers of it during his time with the Empire.
Cara hides the tattoos on her arm when they meet the Imperials, but doesn't bother covering the Rebel Alliance symbol on her cheek! I don't know if this was an oversight or her way of thumbing her nose at the Imperial jerks -- I kinda like the latter idea though.
We got a few more hints about the Great Purge that scattered the Mandalorians. It seems like the Mandalore was punished for resisting Imperial rule, an effort that started in the fourth season of CGI animated series Rebels.
Death Troopers made their debut in Rogue One, where they acted as the personal guard of Director Orson Krennic. They're basically the SEAL Team Six of Stormtroopers.
This is the first time we've seen the Imperial Troop Transport in live action. Kenner released this vehicle as a toy in 1978, but it wasn't in any of the movies. It was brought into canon in the first season of Rebels.
"Moff" is an Imperial rank -- each one was responsible for governing a specific region of the galaxy. Gideon is likely clinging onto his power, but is more of a warlord now.
Gideon's TIE looks pretty standard initially, but the folding wings are new. It must a custom model.
What does he want with Baby Yoda? He could be following a directive from the sorta dead Emperor Palpatine, or might be trying to give himself (or others) Force powers.
IG-11 is still on the Razor Crest. He'll presumably come to the rescue in the next episode, and maybe soften Mando's opinion on droids.
This episode includes a sneak preview of The Rise of Skywalker, which hits US theaters Friday.
Check back on Friday, Dec. 27 for my recap of Chapter 8, the season finale.