Last week, we followed the Mandalorian on yet another ill-fated side mission to make some credits and put Baby Yoda in completely avoidable danger.
This week, the first season’s penultimate episode finally gets us back on track.
It’s a Trap
The episode opens with the Mandalorian receiving a communication from Greef Carga, who is all too willing to let bygones be bygones if he’ll lend him a hand. Turns out that the Mandalorian’s dramatic exit from Navarro did a lot more than turn The Client’s safehouse into a burning husk. It also inspired The Client to declare his own form of martial law, which is being brutally enforced by his crew of mercenary ex-Imperials. In exchange for assassinating the self-made despot, Carga offers a large reward along with a promise to clear the Mandalorian’s name with the guild.
The only way this trap could be more obvious is if Carga finished his spiel by waggling his eyebrows….and as expected, the Mandalorian decides to take the job. But first, he sets out to round up some help of his own.
Reunions and Reinventions
The Mandalorian’s first stop is Sorgan, where he finds Cara Dune kicking a Zabrack’s ass in a backroom galactic MMA match. She initially isn’t interested in helping him—partly because she’s wanted for various crimes, but mostly because she’s currently enjoying her early retirement. When the Mandalorian reveals that the target is an Imperial, however, she eagerly accepts.
On the way to their next stop, the Mandalorian explains to the skeptical Dune how taking this insanely risky job is the only way that he can keep The Child safe. Otherwise, The Client will continue to send an endless supply of hunters after them until both he and Baby Yoda are dead.
While Dune is admiring/selecting weapons from the Mandalorian’s arsenal, the ship begins rocking wildly. They run back to the cockpit to find that an unattended Baby Yoda has once again gotten himself into trouble. This FINALLY convinces the Mandalorian that he needs to find someone who can watch over and protect The Child while he and Dune are off shooting stuff—and he knows just the Ugnaught for the job.
The pair touches down on Arvala 7, where Kuiil is still tending blurggs while enjoying his home’s newfound peace. Things get a bit uncomfortable when he reveals that his reluctance to help is due to the fact that he served in the Imperial army. It was as an indentured servant, but it’s still enough to make Cara Dune wary. That’s nothing, however, compared to the tension that arises when a fully operational IG-11 strolls into Kuiil’s hut.
Before any blasters can start firing, Kuiil explains that he found the droid after the Mandalorian left and repaired/reprogrammed it to be a peaceful servant. During his explanation, we’re treated to a surprisingly long (and fairly humorous) flashback montage of IG-11 being found, mended, and retrained. When we return to the present, the droid is politely offering tea to his new masters’ guests.
Kuiil agrees to accompany the pair (without payment of course), but only to help protect The Child from Imperial slavery…and only if IG-11 can accompany them, as well. The Mandalorian is understandably wary of bringing along a droid that was designed only to kill—and whose last mission was to kill The Child—but he eventually decides to trust Kuiil’s judgement. He also finally sheds a small amount of light on his hatred for droids, which was apparently due to dealing with far too many of them that had been programmed only to kill. I’m going to guess this stems from the flashbacks we saw of him as a child and his family being pursued by Battle Droids, who very likely killed his parents.
The unlikely quartet reboards the Razorcrest (along with three of Kuiil’s blurggs) and takes off for Navarro.
While passing time until their destination, Dune and the Mandalorian decide to wager on an arm wrestling match. They appear to be locked in a stalemate until Baby Yoday FREAKING FORCE CHOKES Cara Dune. I get he was trying to protect his protector/adoptive father, but good lord.
Also, I’ve always understood “force choking” to be a skill that not only had to mastered, but was only practiced by the Sith. If Baby Yoda can do it without any training, then there’s no telling how powerful this little guy is.
But I digress…the Mandalorian is able to stop Baby Yoda from strangling Dune, but she is justifiably pissed about what happened. Kuiil, on the other hand, appears fascinated by The Child’s powers (i.e. The Force), which he’d only heard mention of before. A still-agitated Dune asks if he learned about such things during his time as an Imperial, leading to a terse exchange. While Kuiil admonishes her to not judge him for the three lifetimes of building/crating work he did to earn his freedom, IG-11 approaches her. His intentions aren’t entirely clear, but if I had to guess, it was preparing itself to start busting caps in defense of its master.
Thankfully, the Mandalorian diffuses things by asking if Kuiil’s crafting skill set might including another floating orb crib for Baby Yoda, which he agrees to make.
Death From Above, Healing From Below
After the Razorcrest touches down, Greef Carda meets the Mandalorian & Co. with a rough looking crew of his own, which he says is there for security. This dubious claim is nothing compared to his proposed plan, which involves having the Mandalorian “pretend” to be brought in as a prisoner while also bringing along Baby Yoda as bait.
Cara Dune is highly skeptical (because she’s not an idiot), but the Mandalorian agrees to go along with it.
The trek back into town is a long one, so the combined group ends up stopping to make that night. While everyone’s whispering and making suspicious eyes at each other, a winged creature swoops down out of the sky and slashes Carda’s arm. More winged creatures follow the first one, dive bombing the group and even carrying off one of Carda’s mercenaries. The creatures also attack and kill one of the blurggs while carrying off another. Shout out to the VFX department for giving those poor creatures some genuinely terrified looking faces, which I thought was going to be the most heartbreaking thing we’d see this episode (we’ll get to that soon).
After the group manages to fight off the creatures, Dune immediately begins first-aid on Carda. Unfortunately, the claw that ripped the hell out of his arm was also laced with poisonous and far beyond the medical capabilities at their disposal.
As Carda makes peace with his end, Baby Yoda toddles up and reaches out his hand. After a few moments of adorable concentration, the wound is completely healed.
The next day, everyone regroups and continues onward. When they arrive at a cliff overlooking the city, Carda turns and guns down his two remaining mercenaries. He then admits that he’d originally planned to double cross the Mandalorian (duh), but had a change of heart after Baby Yoda saved him from certain death.
Cara Dune is unmoved, insisting that they smoke Carda for his treachery right then and there. Carda says he will accept his fate if that’s what she decides, but that it won’t stop The Client from continuing to come after them and The Child. Despite Dune’s misgivings, the Mandalorian agrees to continue with Carda’s plan, this time with the understanding that they actually will be killing The Client. He also sends Kuiil with Baby Yoda back to the Razorcrest to bunker down and protect him in case things go sideways.
Dune and Carda make their way to the city gates with the Mandalorian in shackles and Baby Yoda’s floating crib as a decoy. The place turns out to be crawling with dirt-caked remnant Stormtroopers–far more than Carda said they would encounter. After two Scout troopers let them through, they make their way to the bar from the first episode to meet with The Client, who is heavily guarded and maliciously giddying at seeing that the Mandalorian in shackles and what he believes is Baby Yoda’s floating crib. He then proceeds to taunt the Mandalorian, asking why the Mandalorian people were willing to die rather than submit to Imperial rule. After not receiving an answer, he asks Carda to open the orb and show him The Child. Carda says that they can’t open it because The Child is sleeping–which is about the lamest excuse imaginable.
Before things can get any more tense/awkward, The Client receives a hologram transmission from someone who is apparently very high above him and that we haven’t met before: Moff Gideon. When Gideon asks to see The Child, The Client repeats the lame sleeping baby excuse. I’m honestly not sure why he did that, especially since Gideon seemed even more suspicious that a ruse was afoot.
Whatever the case, The Client and everyone else in the bar (except for Carda, Dune, and the Mandalorian) are gunned down in a hail of laser fire from a squad of Death Troopers stationed outside. Seconds later, a troop transport rolls up and deploys a battalion of Stormtroopers with gleaming white armor. This already impressive display of force is capped off with what at first appears to be a standard TIE fighter descending behind the soldiers. It then folds its wings and lands, which I believe makes it a new model we haven’t seen before (and looks insanely cool).
Moff Gideon appears from the cockpit and demands that they hand over Baby Yoda. He also says that the little guy is more important to him than anyone could imagine.
The Mandalorian radios back to Kuiil, urging him to hurry and get back to the ship with Baby Yoda. The Scout troopers from before intercept the transmission and give chase on their speeder bikes, forcing Kuiil to ride the blurgg as hard and fast as possible.
The episode closing moments cut between the standoff at the bar and Kuiil’s race against the scouts to the Razorcrest, which legitimately had my pulse racing. In the episode’s final seconds, the Mandalorian radios in one last time to ask if Kuiil made it. When he doesn’t receive an answer, the camera cuts to a shot of Baby Yoda laying on the ground before he’s swooped up by one of the scouts. The final shot is an absolutely heartbreaking image of Kuiil, who has been gunned down and left for dead mere feet from reaching the ship.
As much as the ending made me want to scream, cry, and throw things, ‘The Prisoner’ is a fantastic episode. After a couple chapters where every story beat felt predictable, it was fun being surprised and scared again–even if it ultimately hurt.
It was also great getting to see the supporting characters from The Mandalorian‘s exceptional opening episodes. I didn’t think I could like Cara Dune or Kruiil more than I already did, but having them on the same team was even better. Add in Greef Carda along with a resurrected IG-11, and we’re into chef’s kiss territory. Sure, it may have been a little contrived how everyone ended up in the same episode, but the result was a pulse-pounding adventure that also puts you through the emotional wringer.
I do wish we knew a bit more about Moff Gideon, but his opening display of force did plenty to set him up as a terrifying antagonist. I’m sure we’ll learn more about him and his motivations when Episode 8 debuts in two days, but I have a feeling that his first appearance is destined to be an iconic moment in Star Wars lore.
And Kruiil…ugh…my heart is still in pieces over what happened. Director Deborah Chow deserves a ton of praise for the way that chase scene was shot and edited. Heck, she deserves all the praise in the world for how great the whole episode looked. If this and the other episode she directed (‘The Sin’) are indicators of how she’ll be writing/directing the upcoming Obi-Wan series, then whatever release date they announce for it won’t be soon enough.
For now, however, we’ve got an agonizing nine day wait to see how The Mandalorian’s first season comes to a close.
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