Friday, December 27, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Mandalorian' - Sacrifices Must Be Made in Order to Protect the Child from a New Threat in 'Chapter 8: Redemption'

Disney+'s The Mandalorian - Episode 1.08 "Chapter 8: Redemption"

The Mandalorian comes face-to-face with an unexpected enemy.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season finale of Disney+'s The Mandalorian.

"Chapter 8: Redemption" was written by Jon Favreau and directed by Taika Waititi

It can be frustrating for the drama to withhold so much information about its protagonist until the season finale. However, the season has featured a clear character arc for the Mandalorian. The audience may have yearned for more personal information about him. However, it was much more vital to stick to the code that he lives his life by. That's what provides him with focus and clarity on life following the fall of the Empire. It's clear that there is still a fair amount of infrastructure to the villainous organization. Stormtroopers are still plentiful and eager to prop up whichever leader feels like they need to make a significant power move. The Client had protection earlier in the season. But now, Moff Gideon comes in as the true antagonist who has all the tools necessary to make it feel as if Mando, Greef and Cara are outmatched and must surrender. The penultimate episode ended in a dire place with Kuiil being killed and Baby Yoda being captured by scout stormtroopers. It made it all seem like Mando had failed in his personal mission. That's far from the truth. His new enemy may operate from a place of strength knowing exactly who he has trapped inside the cantina. He knows that Mando's name is Din Djarin. That's an identity Mando shed the moment he took the Mandalorian oath. He was embraced by this community and grew up with respect for the honor in which they conduct themselves. His hatred of druids can extend from the tragic attack that killed his parents. The Mandalorians were his saviors while the droids were his enemies. That makes it so significant that IG-11 has such a crucial and emotional arc in this finale. He swoops in to save Baby Yoda from the stormtroopers. His programming has shifted to one of nurturing and protection. He will fight to defend this child for as long as he can. The protagonists rally together but remain trapped. Their show of force isn't enough to overcome the threat that has them surrounded on this planet. The hold by the Empire just remains too strong. Cara thought that Moff had been executed for war crimes. His survival just shows how tenuous the hold on power actually is in this universe. No one really operates from a place of structure and understanding. A generation ago the Jedi council and the Senate provided a sense of leadership and guidance. And now, these characters have no idea what those forms of government representation actually are. The Armorer can only offer stories about those who could use the force. She understands that the child is important as a result. The show continues to be wise with how Baby Yoda employs these powers as well. It's never during the most climatic battle but it still saves lives. Here, it's just so cool to watch him handle the threat from the flamethrower. It's an exhausting act. One that continues to prop up the idea that the child has to be protected. That brings out the nurturing skills of everyone involved even though they don't believe they instinctively have them. And yet, there remains a code of conduct for how to act in this situation. Din was a foundling when he was welcomed by the Mandalorians. And now, Baby Yoda is Mando's foundling. He has to care for him until he comes of age or is reunited with his species. That provides the core arc for the second season. Mando escapes with a mission. It's one of personal importance for Baby Yoda in the hopes of fulfilling a greater purpose. He can't simply stay behind on Navarro with Greef and Cara to rebuild the infrastructure and rid the Empire's influence. Moff isn't defeated as a threat either. There is a profound sense of loss to this fight. IG-11 has to self-destruct in order to protect the child. Mando has to remove his helmet in order to be treated for his injuries. All of this shows that Mando can have a new relationship with druids. One saves his life continually here. He is only given the opportunity to fight back and escape because of IG-11's adherence to its mission. It isn't a living thing. As such, the show finds a creative workaround regarding Mando's helmet. That may remain frustrating in the future. It already is a little bit when Mando and company are pleading with IG-11 not to sacrifice itself to defeat the pending stormtrooper attack. They respect that sacrifice even if they are still in danger. A TIE fighter represents a significant threat to them. It's hardly the only thing that makes Moff dangerous. He is armed with a darksaber as well. He survives a crash landing and will continue to hunt down his target. All of this contributes to a strong sense of resolution for the season while building up an engaging future for the series. As such, it's a very effective conclusion to an overall solid first season that understands how simplicity can sometimes be the best choice when telling a story set in the Star Wars universe.