Chapter 7 of “The Mandalorian” is up now on DisneyPlus streaming, and as the second to last episode of the season, “The Reckoning” sees Mando and his allies headed back to Navarro (the Bounty Hunter Guild planet seen early on, but not named until later) for a final confrontation with ‘The Client’ over Baby Yoda.
The chapter begins with Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Baby Yoda aboard the Razor Crest, receiving a holo-call from Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) who’s offering Mando a truce and a proposal to join forces in overcoming the Client (Werner Herzog). The Client’s oppressive rule over Navarro is causing the Guild to rethink their allegiance to the his Imperial remnants who’ve exerted more control over the planet following Mando’s rebellion.
Karga proposes using Mando and Baby Yoda as bait in order to draw the Client’s forces out and kill them; mutually benefiting both Karga and Mando, and satisfying the code of the Guild. Knowing the Guild will not stop their pursuit of him, Mando agrees to return to Navarro and accept Karga’s offer. Of course, he doesn’t trust Karga, but it’s his only option to getting the Guild off of his trail.
Before returning to Navarro, Mando decides to gather a posse first, knowing that Karga can’t be fully trusted. His first stop is the planet Sorgan (seen in Chapter 4’s “Sanctuary”), where he enlists the cooperation of former Rebel shock trooper Cara Dune (Gina Carano), whom he meets again just as she’s making money beating the crap out of a would-be challenger who fights while leashed to her in hand-to-hand combat. Cara, of course, wins her match against the horned Dathamirian (same species as Sith Lord Darth Maul). Mando makes his case for her to return with him to Navarro, but she’s not interested…until he mentions they’ll be fighting Imperials. She quips, “I’m in.”
With Cara aboard the Razor Crest, the trio treks off to the remote planet of Arvala 7 to recruit Ugnaught ally Kuiil (Nick Nolte) to join them. Arriving at Arvala-7, Mando is, once again welcomed, along with Cara, into Kuiil’s home. But Mando is alarmed to discovery that Kuill has resurrected dead bounty hunting droid IG-11 (Taika Waititi); reprogramming Mando’s former adversary to be a loyal servant. Unconvinced, Mando argues that IG-11 is a killer first, and that no amount of reprogramming can change that.
Shelving his doubts for the moment, Mando lays out his plan to deal with the Client, and asks for Kuiil’s aid. Kuiil agrees, but only if he can bring IG-11 and his three blurgs (beasts of burden) with him. Before Mando can argue, his insistent Ugnaught host raises his hand and offers his customary line, “I have spoken” (Kuiil’s variation on ‘end of discussion’).
Aboard the ship, Mando and Cara engage in a bit of friendly arm-wrestling. Baby Yoda watches, and thinks Mando is being attacked. Instinctively, the powerful toddler begins Force-choking Cara, until Mando orders him to release her from his invisible grip. Mando apologizes, as Cara is naturally a bit freaked out by the toddler’s power, but Kuiil seems to intuitively understand it.
Arriving to a remote predetermined landing site on Navarro far outside the main city, Mando and his group are met by Karga, who has also brought a posse of Guild bounter hunters with him. Both Mando and Karga obviously didn’t trust each other, but no blood is spilled (yet).
Slowly making their way towards the city from the remote rendezvous point, the two posses camp overnight. Just as Karga assures Mando that nothing will go wrong, he and the group are attacked by several giant flying pterodactyl-like reptiles.
The creatures try to make off with one of Kuiil’s blurgs, as another one strikes Karga in the arm with poisonous claws. After repeated blaster shots fail, Mando uses his battery of personal weapons to sets one of the fleeing creatures aflame before it retreats. Cara assesses Karga’s wound and realizes he’s in bad shape; the poison from his wound is rapidly circulating. Baby Yoda cautiously puts a hand to the wound and, using the Force, cures Karga… who is astonished by the powerful little creature.
The next morning at the camp, Karga turns on his bounty hunter entourage and kills all of them. He reveals to Mando and Cara that they were part of a double-cross that he couldn’t go through with after Baby Yoda saved his life. Accepting Karga at his word, Mando and Cara work with him on a strategy to meet with the Client, using the toddler’s empty closed hover-pod as a decoy. Karga assures Mando and Cara that the Client usually has no more than four stormtroopers guarding him at any time. In a nod to “A New Hope”, Cara binds Mando’s hands and pretends to be seeking Karga’s bounty. They go into the city with Mando bound and the baby’s closed empty hover-pod in tow. Kuiil is tasked with taking the actual baby back to the Razor Crest, riding atop one of the blurgs.
The trio finds that the city is crawling with stormtroopers. Soon, the group arrives at the Client’s safe house, and they find troopers waiting for them there as well (more than the four that Karga assumed). The Client (filmmaker Werner Herzog) walks over to the closed hover-pod, and wants to see the infant. Karga attempts to delay him, saying the baby is ‘sleeping.’ Just as the Client is about to open the pod anyway, he is interrupted by a holo-com from a “Moff Gideon” (“Breaking Bad”’s Giancarlo Esposito) who asks him how the baby is doing. The Client assures Moff the baby “is sleeping.” Gideon retorts that the Client might want to double-check, as the safe house is rattled by multiple points of blaster-fire!
The barrage of blaster fire kills nearly everyone inside (including the Client). A squad of black-armored Imperial death troopers (assassins) are positioned right outside the shattered safe house window. Mando, Cara and Karga barely take cover in time, but are hopelessly outgunned.
With the trio pinned down, Moff Gideon’s TIE fighter lands near his death troopers, and he begins to negotiate the surrender of “the asset.” Mando uses a com link to try and warn Kuiil, who is still riding (racing) back with the baby to the Razor Crest. Their com chatter is intercepted by Imperial troops who immediately trace the call and begin a hot pursuit.
Kuiil, racing as fast his blurg can carry him, is soon overrun by the bike troopers, and he is killed. The Imperials snatch “the asset.” The final shot is of the loyal Ugnaught lying on the ground, with smoke from a blaster shot rising from his back…
Summing it Up.
Written by series creator Jon Favreau and directed by Deborah Chow (“The Sin”), “The Reckoning” (sounds like a bad made-for-video sequel to an ‘80s horror movie) is the first bonafide cliffhanger of the series to date, with next week’s chapter finishing out this short-but-sweet freshman season.
Kuiil’s death was a shocker, but after weeks of Mando and his allies managing to survive harrowing scrape after harrowing scrape? It was time for the series to exact a price. Hey, if Han Solo can die in the Star Wars movies, then no one’s safe. That said, Nick Nolte’s Kuiil will be missed.
The one wild card yet to be played in this story is that of the reprogrammed bounty hunting droid IG-11 (Taika Waititi), who was seen as Kuiil’s servant, but, as Mando insists, will never stop being a killer…no matter how much reprogramming has been done. My guess is that IG-11 will somehow summon his killer nature and save the day. Perhaps he will be emotionally outraged at the death of his patient master Kuiil, and will retaliate against the Imperial forces. The killer droid is the only card Mando has left to play at this point. Such a twist might also serve to either reinforce or dismantle Mando’s ongoing distrust of droids, which is understandable, since they killed his family and raided his planet for the Empire.
Looking forward to the next chapters.