The Mandalorian Episode 7 Review
"And we back..."
The Mandalorian is back big time with an actual episode that advances the plot. No more side quests, we're digging right into the final two episodes like the first plate on Thanksgiving.
How long is this episode?
50 minutes? 60 minutes?
Nope, just a brief 40 minutes but there is not a second wasted.
Stunning visuals and action pieces throughout, director Deborah Chow has proven to the public why she was given the reigns of the upcoming Obi-Wan Disney+ series. This is an episode that will make gaze in wonder, dive into more mythology and scream for pure terror. "Chapter 3: The Sin" had the title of the best episode so far, but today, "Chapter 7: The Reckoning" has snatched that title like Aqib Talib snatched Michael Crabtree's chain.
The episode first starts off with Mando receiving a transmission from our friend Greef Karga (just in case you forgot, played by Carl Weathers). Karga needs Mando's help to get rid of the Client (Werner Herzog) and the imperial presence on his planet. Karga wants to use the Child as his bait to get close to the Client and kill him.
As soon as we hear that, we get a look from Mando to the Child. It's a look of concern, he loves the Child and wants to protect him. It's a fatherly move but also one that harkens back to his past. He was once that youngling all alone and Mando wants to break the cycle. He also knows that this situation is suspect and one that can end in betrayal for him. Mando isn't dumb, he's been around the block, but the prospect of the Client being gone and no more killers being sent after the Child is more important. He loves the Child and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect him. Mando is officially a dad now.
Before he sets out to help the Karga and the planet, he needs to form a crew to cover his ass for the possible double-cross. He flies back to Sorgan to recruit our friend Cara Dune and flies to Arvala-7 for our other friend Kuiil and an unexpected surprise. Essentially Mando reaches out to Kuiil to babysit the Child while he and Dune take on the Client. Kuiil suggests IG-11, the bounty hunt droid Mando killed in the first episode. Kuiil recovered the body from the compound site Mando shot IG-11 at.
Of course, our guy Mando hates droids and we already know why, but especially IG-11 after it attempted to kill the Child. Mando doesn't care that Kuiil reprogrammed it, he doesn't want it around the Child. Just some more ole fashioned fatherly protection oozing out of Mando. Kuiil eventually convinces him and tells Mando that he will join him and Dune in the battle while IG-11 watches the Child.
The way Kuiil explains his reprogramming of IG-11 is lowkey heartwarming. Forever within the Star Wars franchise, droids have been treated like trash, but the care Kuiil has for IG-11 is nice for a change. Kuiil programmed IG-11 and had to teach IG-11 how to function again, essentially like a child. Kuiil defended IG-11 to Mando to convince him that he deserved to be on this mission.
We are now flying back to the planet to meet Karga. Mando and Dune are having an arm-wrestling contest. The Child is watching this as Mando and Dune are locked in a stalemate. It is at this point, and I cannot stress the level of cuteness on his face, the Child begins to force-FUCKING-choke Dune because he senses her as a threat to Mando. This isn't a one-off thing either. He remembers the fight between Mando and Dune when they first made it to Sorgan.
The Child loves Mando. This is now the second time he has stepped in and used his force abilities to protect (or so he perceives) Mando. Mando is his father, and the Child is Mando's son. Kuiil, Mando, and Dune all talk about what just occurred and no one knows what to call it. This is a world where no one remembers the Jedi and the ways of the Force. Kuiil mentions this is the stuff of legends he heard while working for the Empire and is about expand further on this until he's interrupted by Dune.
The crew lands and meets up with Karga and his crew and they head out for town. They stop at night and are attacked by mynocks. Karga is badly injured as the poison from the mynocks is spreading throughout his body fast. Who comes in to save the day? That's right the Child does. He lays his hand on Karga and he is injured. The Child is using the full force of his capabilities as he is shaking while he heals Karga. After he is done, the Child is pooped and takes a big ole seat on the ground.
The Child being able to use his force-sensitivity to heal others was hinted at in episode 2 after Mando took that big fall off the Jawa's junker barge. The Child tried to walk over to Mando to heal him before being put back in his pod. It is also interesting to note after the two times the Child has used the force this episode, he has not completely passed out. Albeit he's not dealing with a mudhorn, the Child can be growing stronger with the force right before our very eyes.
The healing abilities of the Child is why he such an important asset to the Client. They want to manifest the material (midichlorians) from him for some potential militaristic purpose. Sunrise comes and Karga kills his crew and reveals the plan was to originally kill Mando and deliver the Child, but after being healed, he realizes it cannot land in the hands of the Client.
They formulate a new plan and Mando sends Kuiil back to the ship with the Child as Mando, Dune and Karga head to the Client. The town is swarmed with Storm Troopers as the infestation has grown since Mando was last there. They bring the Child's pod as a decoy. They eventually met with the Client and the Client admires Mando's new armor forged from the Beskar he paid Mando. The Client goes on about how the Mandalorians ruined the relationship with the Empire. He claims every planet the Empire touches turns to gold and the Mandalorian people ruined their people and planet themselves.
The Client takes a call from a Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and is told to check if the Child is actually there. It is then revealed that Gideon has somehow intercepted Mando's commlink to Kuiil and knows the Child is not with them. Scout troopers are sent after Kuiil and Shadow Troopers shoot up the cantina they are in. The Client is dead and more stormtroopers show up as Gideon arrives boasting that he will soon be in possession of the Child.
Mando and the crew are pinned, and Mando reaches out to Kuiil one more time via commlink but it is too late. Kuiil has been killed only mere feet away from getting to the ship safely. The Child is laying on the floor as he is scooped up the scout troopers as the episode ends, leaving us on a cliffhanger for next week.
The varying emotions that are presented throughout the episode make something so tension-filled that results in the best episode of the series so far. Chow was really able to deliver on the visuals, bringing Jon Favreau's script to life. The Mandalorian has been able to deliver on a season of subtle character development and world-building. We want to learn more about why the Mandalorian people are in hiding, we want to learn more about the Child's need for the Empire, we want to know if Mando is going be able to save the Child.
Chow also delivers on Mynock scene fantastically, continuing the horror element from the last episode. Chow has a finesse to her craft when constructing action scenes. In a world where action movies are just loud and eye-blurring CGI Taco Bell diarrhea shits, Chow is able to convey the drama and tension in a fight scene that is very brief and crisp.
Kuiil death is one that will be felt in the Star Wars canon. Kuiil represented the first sign of change in Mando's disposition, Mando's first foray into being a good person. It is Kuiil's humility and wholesomeness that rubs off on Mando in episode 2. The care for life he has developed over the course of this season. We also learn that the Empire is still up and kicking and not just for hire. Interesting to see this and possibly being the beginnings of the First Order and who is at the head now. Is it Snoke?
With this being a Disney vehicle, I highly doubt something horrific will happen to the Child but there is bated breath until next Friday's episode. Mando and the Child's fate will be wrapped up next week on the finale and there is no hint at we are moving to.