REVIEW: The Mandalorian Season 1 Finale “The Redemption” (FULL SPOILERS)

Star Wars fans REJOICE! Hot off the heels of this year’s Jojo Rabbit (2019), director Taika Waititi brings the finale of what some are regarding as the true return of genuine-Star Wars content, The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 8, The Redemption.


Continuing on from Deborah Chow’s Episode 7 titled “The Reckoning”, the final showdown between Mando and the remains of the Galactic Empire has come to a head. Since his abduction last week which left the fan-world seething with hate and anxiousness, Baby Yoda’s fate and future are also revealed. Waititi sticks the landing and brings the series home, injecting a familiar, but also refreshing sense of hope and positivity into the Star Wars franchise – Something Disney has sorely missed after the overwhelmingly mixed reactions to The Last Jedi, Solo and The Rise of Skywalker. #ThisIsTheWay!

Full disclosure – This review will include some bias because I am a New Zealander. I find the fact that one of our own has directed a Star Wars picture, truly inspiring.

What’s evident from this episode compared to others is Waititi’s natural ability to weave situational humour throughout the story. We pick up where we left off last episode, with scout troopers now in possession of Baby Yoda after killing Kuiil. The two scout troopers (One cameoed by Jason Sudeikis) wait on the outskirts of the city for Grand Moff Gideon’s (Giancarlo Esposito) orders. While waiting, the two scout troopers engage in small talk which can only be described as hilarious, pettily arguing about Baby Yoda and the Grand Moff’s himself. In maybe my favourite Star Wars moment of the decade, the scout troopers then begin target practice on a piece of metal junk in the sand… They miss every shot by miles. Here, Waititi finally gives us confirmation of something that fans have theorised for decades: There is no movie magic here. There are no Midichlorians guiding the Stormtroopers’ lasers away from our heroes. It is not a cheap oversight by creators and directors. The Empire just simply sucks at aiming!


Waititi continues to pepper in his humour with the returning IG-11, the badass hunter droid from the pilot episode now reprogrammed to be Baby Yoda’s personal nanny. Aside from awesome action visuals and funny dialogue, IG-11 continues the show’s exploration of one of its more prevalent themes: The Mandalorian’s mistrust of droids and artificial intelligence. After the aforementioned Stormtroopers hit Baby Yoda on the head one too many times (triggering every Star Wars fans’ girlfriend in the process), IG-11 comes to save the day and dispatches the pair brutally, before returning Baby Yoda to his surrogate father.

Mando is severely wounded in the battle and is pinned down with our heroes against heavy imperial fire. With help from Baby Yoda (we’ll come back to this) and IG-11, Cara, Greef and the Child are able to escape down into the sewers. Still not trusting the droid, Mando assumes he will be killed by IG due to its original hunter programming. Instead, IG removes Mando’s helmet to tend to his head-wound, giving the audience a glimpse of Mando’s face (and Pedro Pascall’s!) for the first time. Yes. THE DROID took off The Mandalorian’s helmet! IG explains that while it is forbidden for a living being to see a Mandalorian’s face, IG-11 himself is not a living thing. Mando hesitantly obliges, letting the droid do his work. It’s at this point when Mando’s perspective on droids begins to change.


Further along, our heroes make it to a raft deep underground to escape the imperial troops. Unfortunately, the only exit to the cave is blocked by Stormtroopers waiting to ambush them. With the team out of ideas and desperate, IG-11 proposes going out to the troops alone and initiating his self-destruct sequence to take them out. An obviously confused Mando asks, “but, you will be destroyed?” To which IG replies, “And you will live and I will have served my purpose”. Mando is actually sad to IG go, like John Connor at the end of Terminator 2. We know from flashbacks that Mando’s homeworld was invaded by prequel-era super battle droids when he was a child, probably informing his mistrust of the machines throughout his life. It is during IG-11’s sacrifice that the Mandalorian begins to understand that droids are not inherently evil, it depends on their programming. Furthermore, IG-11 shows us that while the circumstances of one’s birth/creation may lead us down one path… that path can always change.


Now for those who are saying to themselves “I would like to see the child”, wait no longer as we get further development of Baby Yoda’s force powers in this episode. If we go back a little bit, IG and Baby Yoda return to where Mando and friends are holed up. After a desperate firefight, Grand Moff Gideon badly injures Mando with a well-placed blast. Needing time to open the sewer’s hatch in the nearby building, Gideon orders his flametrooper to burn them out with his flamethrower. With the flametrooper at the door and the crew in dire need of a miracle, Baby Yoda steps up to the plate – Not only stopping the flames, but directing it back towards the trooper and blowing that mf to pieces.


Over the course of the series, we slowly saw development in Baby Yoda’s powers. From lifting rhinos, force-choking Cara, to healing wounds and now using the Force to bend fire.

One stand out aspect to this episode was its antagonist, Grand Moff Gideon. Played with absolute authority by Giancarlo Esposito, Gideon commands respect with every moment he is on screen. It seems that, much like his role as Gus in Breaking Bad, Esposito seems to get scarier the quieter and calmer he becomes. His character also reveals some easter eggs and interesting inforamtion which will have massive flow-on effects to Star Wars canon going forward and especially into next season.


“Carasynthia Dune of Alderaan”. Cara Dune is from frickin’ Alderaan!? If the preceeding episodes weren’t enough, this reveal gives us a clear reason as to why Dune hates the Galactic Empire, but also why she seems to wander around the galaxy – They destroyed her home planet. On the whole, Gina Carano as Cara Dune has been an excellent addition to the show. While we could all guess Carano would absolutely slay the action scenes (Spoiler: she does), her acting ability has really shone through in each of the episodes where she is featured.

In an attempt to show his power, Gideon reveals some much anticipated information about Mando himself. Mando’s name is revealed as “Din Djarin”, and Gideon describes him as a “decommissioned” Mandalorian warrior. Why was Mando decommissioned? How long has he been like this? We get the sense throughout the series that he did something in his past that he regrets… Like the name of the episode suggests, Mando is going through a Redemption at the moment.

The Mandalorian Armourer who has modified Mando’s armour throughout the series returns once more to give our heroes a last bit of advice… and a Jetpack. Upon meeting Baby Yoda and hearing of what it can do, the Armourer understands its importance. Since Mando has essentially taken the young one under his wing, the Armourer charges Mando to return his Child to its own people. Until then, he is protected under Mandalorian code as a foundling. This is great as Din Djarin has technically just adopted our favourite child into his creed, finally accepting his role as the creature’s mentor and protector. Fingers crossed for Baby Yoda in a new set of Mando Armour next season!!


After episode 5 which wasn’t my favourite, the show could have gone either way. As long as it stuck the landing, I could see this as going down as one of the better pieces of Star Wars content. Safe to say they have done that tenfold with this episode. By extension, John Faverau and Dave Filoni have created something truly special that with time, could be seen as on par with the original trilogy of films. The spectacular score which has played a role all season also returns big, complementing both the action and emotional beats. While not the best episode of the season (Reserved for episode 3 and 7), the season ended on an absolute high which is all you can ask for. The Mandalorian is gritty, new and intriguing, but most of all, genuinely feels like Star Wars again.

By Jackson Rapana