The Mandalorian

“Chapter 7: The Reckoning”

3 stars.

Air date: 12/18/2019
Written by Jon Favreau
Directed by Deborah Chow

Review Text

The Mandalorian receives a transmission from a still-alive Greef Karga, who offers to wipe the slate clean and take the bounty off his head in exchange for Mando's services to return to Nevarro and take out the Client, who has since become a thorn in Karga's side by taking control of the city and hampering the Guild's movements. Mando decides to accept, but not before making stops to pick up Cara Dune and Kuiil as backup for what could very well be a double-cross.

"The Reckoning" breaks from this series' string of entertaining but slight one-offs to delve back into the main thrust of what this show seems to be about — the idea of Mando trying to do right by the Kid in a universe of lawlessness where a recently defeated Empire is doing its best to claw back into the game on a frontier where nature abhors a vacuum. Mando's motley crew is going to do the best it can.

They also bring along IG-11, the former bounty-hunter droid Mando destroyed in the first episode, which has been repaired and reprogrammed by Kuiil to serve and protect, but which Mando doesn't for one minute trust. (Kuiil's montage of rehabbing IG-11 is another example of this show efficiently putting in valuable time on the periphery to make the universe feel bigger and more developed.)

Kuiil is vaguely familiar with Baby Yoda's mysterious abilities, but only in the loosest terms of rumors. (In a moment that strays from the Child's usual image as a cutesy pet, he Force-chokes Cara when he perceives her as a threat while she arm-wrestles Mando.) Outside of the Jedi/Skywalker frame of reference, the Force is simply a mystery to most people in the galaxy. They don't even know what it's called.

And yes, Greef Karga has every intention of double-crossing Mando, but that all changes after a night around the campfire where the crew is attacked by pterodactyl-like creatures and Greef is seriously injured. The Child saves his life by healing him with his mysterious magical abilities.

Once the alliance between these two is finally settled, we venture into town where we see how outnumbered Mando and his crew truly are, and we meet the Client for one last exchange of threats and information. (The Client makes a pitch arguing for the continued role of the Empire in a chaotic galaxy, which is intriguing in that it frames the situation in fascistic political terms rather than simply good versus evil.) But this showdown is merely the stage-setter for the reveal of the season's Big Bad, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), who makes a big, grand entrance of brute force (he has dozens of stormtroopers, and simply opens fire on the Client's establishment, rather than bothering to try to negotiate through him). Gideon makes clear his feelings about the importance of the Child and his intentions to take him at all costs.

"The Reckoning" is merely the setup for what is a two-part season finale, but it puts all the pieces in place, sending us out on a note of ominousness and tragedy (Kuiil is felled by stormtroopers, who kidnap the Child), and promising a major showdown between Mando and this surviving piece of the Empire that has staked its claim to Nevarro.

Previous episode: Chapter 6: The Prisoner
Next episode: Chapter 8: Redemption

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4 comments on this post

    Thanks for reviewing this show, Jammer. I'm just catching up with it now. I love how it has the authentic look and feel of Star Wars, but in a different part of that universe, and that it's showing the aftermath of the fallen Empire. This episode was a good set up the the finale. I liked how it pulled in characters from earlier episodes, giving the series an overall connectedness without being a slave to current serial storytelling style, and how it's building the relationships between these people (and droids). The end did indeed have an ominous overtone, through an event I didn't expect. Good stuff.

    The pitch from the Client reminds me of the old PC game, TIE Fighter. It was a sequel to X-Wing back in the mid-90's. In TIE Fighter, you played a pilot in the Imperial Navy, and much of the early part of the game was stopping minor and major-ish wars between planets brought into the Imperial fold.

    I'll be honest, I continue to see parallels to Firefly, but it's probably unintentional - a result of a similar motif rather than a conscious effort to make such references.

    I haven't seen anything past this episode, but if it's true that Kuiil is dead, I'll miss Nick Nolte's voice. I have spoken.

    Aw, hell naw. How are you going to kill off my boy? He's the best character on the show.

    I have spoken.

    Best MAND episode to date. I like how it incorporated pretty much all that's come before it in an effective plot-oriented affair that's going to start tying a bow on S1. The ending was very sudden and a bit hard to digest, but at least the show doesn't hold back.

    It was pretty obvious from the get-go that there would be twists and turns as that is how the plotting in MAND tends to be. At least here it doesn't wrap up with the Mandalorian just being invincible and kicking a ton of ass.

    Liked the development Kuiil got and his story of re-programming the droid. The show spends time on things like this and it pays off. How can anybody not like the Kuiil character? But then he gets killed at the end.

    Also get to see more evidence of why Baby Yoda is so valuable -- he heals Karga empath-style after the pterodactyl attack. No doubt his reputation precedes him.

    3 stars for "Chapter 7: The Reckoning" -- interesting way to do the cliffhanger ending (no "To Be Continued") with this clearly being the 1st part of a 2-part season finale. Mando & co. face impossible odds and we get introduced to Giancarlo Esposito who looks to be the main antagonist going forward.

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