As the first season of The Mandalorian races towards its conclusion, the series’ various characters and storylines coalesce in Chapter 7: The Reckoning. Mando (Pedro Pascal) is contacted by Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), who explains that the Client (Werner Herzog) has put the town on Nevarro under Imperial control, and wants to make a deal. Sensing “it’s a trap”, Mando enlists the help of Cara Dune (Gina Carano, returning from Chapter 4: Sanctuary), as well as Kuiil (Nick Nolte, returning from Chapter 2: The Child), who has reprogrammed IG-11 (Taika Waititi). Thus, the group arrive on Nevarro riding Kuiil’s Blurrgs, and confront Karga.
The first half of Chapter 7: The Reckoning does feel a little episodic; it is after all revisiting locations and characters from earlier episodes in this season, and attempting to tie everything in together as one cohesive narrative. It’s great to see Cara Dune getting a larger role here, although she feels more like a witty side-kick than in her earlier appearance. We also get to see more of Baby Yoda using the Force, whether it be choking Cara or healing Greef Karga after the Mynock attack; the show seemed to have forgotten the Child’s Force abilities, so it’s nice to see this aspect explored further, even if I’m not sure where this storyline is actually heading.
I felt that it packs a lot in its 40-minute run-time though, often jumping from key moment to key moment without much time to really establish a mood. I don’t think it’s too rushed, but an extra five minutes might have allowed for more suspense leading up to Greef Karga’s change of heart. When the group finally met with the Client, the scene never quite took the time out to really stretch out the tension before everything fell apart and the Client was killed and a brand new villain was established in the form of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito).
There was a really great sense of a ground-level invasion as well, plenty of Stormtroopers, various vehicles and seeing a TIE-Fighter land on a planet (which, to my knowledge, I don’t think we’ve actually seen before). Gideon’s introduction may have felt a little late in the season, but seeing him with a huge army of Stormtroopers (some of whom were played by the 501st Legion fan cosplay group, in a nice touch) was certainly very impressive. Also, these Stormtroopers feel so much more intimidating than in most of the Star Wars films, not only in numbers but because they can hurt or kill our main characters. Poor Kuiil is gunned-down shortly before rescuing Baby Yoda aboard the Razor Crest, the Client is shot dead without a second thought, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a chance for Mando, Cara Dune and Greef Karga to escape unharmed.
Chapter 7: The Reckoning certainly raises the stakes for next week’s season finale of The Mandalorian. Baby Yoda has been captured by the Empire, our lead anti-hero is cornered, and a new villain has entered the fray. Here’s hoping that the season ends with a bang, and not a cute Baby Yoda whimper. Either way, with a second season filmed and a third season in development, The Mandalorian isn’t going anywhere any time soon.