Wow! Just…wow! My fears about The Mandalorian being too episodic and not having enough overarching story are now proven to be completely unfounded. I’ve never been happier to be wrong in my life. Deborah Chow who previously directed the third episode of this season, “The Sin,” has outdone herself, directing the best episode of the season with “The Reckoning.”
Masterfully tying together threads from what appeared to be simple atmospheric vignettes in previous episodes, Chow demonstrates her directorial abilities with this episode. The Mandalorian is making a valiant attempt to dethrone Firefly as the archetype for the space western. Pending the final episode, it may indeed be successful. Here are a few examples of western motifs in this episode.
After being called back by Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) to clear his slate and handle one bad hombre who’s taken over his territory, Mando backtracks to each planet he visited on his travels, picking up a recruit for his posse. He’s got one member who’s there to settle an old score of sorts (Cara Dune) and another because it’s the “right” thing to do (Kuiil).
The first meeting between Mando’s posse and Karga’s posse is shot like a Western showdown, even with Mando, Cara, and Kuiil being mounted on bluurgs. A ploy, a plot to trick the bad hombre (Werner Herzog as “The Client”) and his crew, and then the plot twist at the finale with the arrival of the real bad hombre, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), all signal space western to me.
Now, genre things aside, here are a few of the best parts of the episode for me.
1). I went into full fangirl mode when Cara Dune appeared again and may have yelled, “OH YEAH!” Kool-Aid Man-style far too early in the morning for my neighbors. She keeps climbing my list of favorite Star Wars gals, so I’m happy to have her on my screen any chance we get.
2). Baby Yoda taking over the ship and causing chaos cracked me up, even if I initially got a bit scared because I thought our heroes were under attack.
3). Speaking of Baby Yoda, what the heck kind of powers does he have?! I was taken aback by his ability to heal, but according to Wookieepedia, force healing occurred in the old EU and was initially brought into new canon with the Star Wars: Uprising mobile game. That’s a deep cut for sure!
4). I was very interested to see IG-11 return, but I was not expecting him to have traded his gun hands for a tea tray. That was an interesting touch. He’s a lot of fun, so I’m hopeful we’ll get more of him.
5). THAT ENDING. NO. NO. NO. NOOOOOOOOOO! NOT KUIIL! R. I. P. KUIIL AND MY FEELS!!! Since when do Stormtroopers actually hit anything?!?!! While I was upset to see dead Kuiil and kidnapped Baby Yoda, but I expected a cliffhanger for the penultimate episode. I definitely expected kidnapped Baby Yoda. I did not expect them to get Kuiil. Here’s hoping there’s some retroactive force healing can come into play, but I don’t know that this can be undone.
Deborah Chow has set up Taika Waititi for the ultimate television “alley-oop”. I admire his directorial style as well, so I’m expecting him to treat this final episode with poignant grace, but also with his signature humor. We’ve got a little more space between episodes this time around, so until then, enjoy The Rise of Skywalker, and anticipate this finale as you would a long-awaited Christmas gift. Until next time,
I have spoken.
The final episode of The Mandalorian airs on December 27, 2019 on Disney+.