We’ve made it guys; way back in early November when I reviewed Chapter 1 I didn’t actually expect to go on and review every chapter to the end, but here I am. I’ve loved talking about The Mandalorian and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t class himself as a hardcore Star Wars fan. The show may be short with only eight episodes each ranging from 30 to 45 minutes, but in that time we’ve seen it have it’s fair share of ups and downs. So with that in mind I was absolutely ecstatic as I watched the final two episodes stick the landing and leave me with nothing but excitement for a second season.
You know the drill by now, SPOILER WARNING is in effect. Also make sure to stick around to the end as I’ll be scoring the season as a whole as well as this chapter.
If you’ve read my Chapter 7 review then you already know that the show did a fantastic job at setting up this final episode. I was pretty confident given how how the last episode felt like a part one of two that this chapter would be just fine and that proved to be the case. Though actually it was better than fine, it was great! From the opening we’re treated to fast paced action, laughs and serious tension. The early scene with the child-stealing stormtroopers was brilliant, the scene was both hilarious and managed to make me angry at the same time. My only issue came with the big rescue from IG-11 as it took something away from Kuiil’s death in the previous chapter, I couldn’t help but question why the reprogrammed bounty droid didn’t make the save a little sooner, especially given that the protection of the child is now his number one priority. I loved how chapter 7 ended on such a dark note and although I enjoyed the comedic stormtrooper scene and the IG-11 rescue, it definitely seems like the previous chapters end was completely undone within the opening minutes of this one.
We soon catch up with Team Mando as they’re still taking cover from the new big baddy – Moff Gideon. Although it’s slightly puzzling why Gideon wasn’t introduced until these final two episodes, this still does a great job at setting him up as season two’s main antagonist going forward. It’s soon revealed that Mando knows exactly who this man is because he had a direct hand in the siege of his former home world – Mandalore. We finally see the full version of the flashbacks that have been teased since the very first episode and it doesn’t disappoint. It feels like the last piece of the puzzle to discovering who our hero really is. All of this is rounded off beautifully after a big fight scene leaves Mando fighting for his life while he heroically instructs the rest of his team to escape. IG-11 then attempts to heal him but it means that he must take off his helmet, something that is forbidden in his culture and we as the viewer had not seen happen until this point. It works wonderfully well and the fact that an act as simple as seeing Pedro Pasco’s face for the first time feels like such a huge moment is a credit to the writing of this series.
The episode is littered with great moments like this, one of which being IG-11’s big sacrifice. Realising there’s no way out as the team is surrounded by stormtroopers, the droid finally gets his chance to hit that self destruct button. As he goes out in glorious style, ‘Baby Yoda’ watches on with that signature curious face. This whole scene completely captured the chaotic charm of the series for me and reminded me exactly why I’ve loved the ride that The Mandalorian has taken me on these last two months. Speaking of the youngling (I think that’s what the show is now officially calling him now but who knows), we get another great scene showing off how powerful the badass little cutie is as he uses the force to protect team Mando from a flamethrower welding enemy.
With an episode this packed full of cool moments, it was important that it finished on a high and that’s exactly what it did. Having Mando take down a Tie-fighter was great in its own right but to end the episode by seeing Moff Gideon cut his way out of the wreckage using the legendary Darksaber (never before seen in live action) was a touch of quality which I genuinely didn’t see coming and left me punching the air in celebration as the credits hit. There’s a lot more I haven’t mentioned in this finale but you get the point, I loved it. Sure there were a few head scratching moments but it got the story to where it needed to be come the end and that was good enough for me. Before I go on to review the season as a whole, I give The Mandalorian: Chapter 8 (Redemption) the exact same as Chapter 7…
The Mandalorian Season 1 Final Score
My last word on the season is that I really liked it and almost loved it. Had it not been for the disastrous chapter 5 and (despite my enjoyment of chapters 4 & 6) the show running three back to back filler episodes, this would be right up there fighting for my top TV series of 2019. I was also let down that we never got to explore the origins of the child, after chapter 1 I was hoping we’d finally learn something about Yoda’s mysterious race but that was not to be. All hope is not lost though as the armourer teased that we may get exactly this in the next season as Mando now has the responsibility of finding a home for the child. I never lost the feeling that this story felt like proper Star Wars, even in the filler episodes. It may have not lived up to the high expectations of some people and that’s fair enough, but for me I loved spending time in this post-Empire Galaxy with a great lead character who was continuously accompanied by an outstanding supporting cast, one of which has captured the hearts of a new generation. There’s no doubt that there’s room for season two to improve on its predecessor and I’m more than excited to see it try.
I give The Mandalorian Season 1: