‘Redemption’ was an almost perfect conclusion to the first season of The Mandalorian. It gave me things I didn’t know that I needed.
I was running on about four hours of sleep yesterday, but I pushed myself to stay up late and watch ‘Redemption’ when it dropped at 10:00 pm my time. Last week ended on such a stressful cliffhanger that I simply couldn’t wait until today to watch.
And I’m glad I stayed up, because what I got was an almost perfect season finale. Handing over a Star Wars property to Jon Favreau was honestly one of the best moves Disney has ever made. I hope this show has a long and happy run on Disney+.
Now, you might notice that I’ve placed the caveat ‘almost’ in front of ‘perfect’ here for a reason. And that reason is my love of IG-11 and depression over the fact that we might not ever see him again. His sacrifice was powerful and I think it was done well, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m going to miss the hell out of him as a character.
Part of me hopes they’ll find a way to salvage him, but another part of me knows that the integrity of the story relies on his sacrifice being meaningful. Sometimes characters have to die and the way he went out made sense. Doesn’t mean I’m happy to lose him, though, and I’m going to mourn about it for a while.
But honestly? That was the only part I didn’t like (and even while not liking it, I understand it). Everything else in ‘Redemption’ was beyond perfect.
On the topic of Taika Waititi (the voice of IG-11 and the director of this episode), I felt his influence oozing out of every pore of ‘Redemption’. The intro scene between the two Stormtroopers on speeders was particularly on brand for him. There was a light-hearted humorous banter between these two throwaway characters that still managed to get some vital information about the current situation to the viewers.
But oh my god, please stop hitting Baby Yoda. OMG!
IG-11, besides being voice by Waititi, also oozed with his unique directing style. While I’m fairly sure he didn’t write the witty dialogue itself (writing credits go to Favreau), the way his scenes were shot had the same snappy pacing and sarcastic vibe that one would find in Thor: Ragnarok. It’s hard to explain how cinematography can be ‘sarcastic,’ but I point to the scene with IG-11 shooting the Stormtroopers as he whizzes into town with the child as an example of this.
If IG-11 is truly gone, I hope we can at least keep Waititi as a director. That man is an absolute gift. He and Favreau coming together make things absolutely magical.
‘Redemption’ delivered on many other fronts as well. Cara Dune, in particular, has been an astounding addition to this series. She gave me things in a female character that I never knew I wanted or needed. This episode brought all the traits she’s had over the past few episodes home and gives her a satisfying send off.
Throughout the series, Cara Dune’s armor has been practical, without leaning into the chain mail bikini trope or awkward boob-shaped breast plate trend most fantasy and science fiction shows tend to follow. She’s allowed to be muscular and have messy hair. She’s allowed to be genuinely tough, because her job demands it. I didn’t realize how badly I craved this on screen.
Now, I’m not saying the opposite type of woman is any less valuable in a narrative in the slightest. A lot of my other favorite warrior women characters have these traits. And I also love genuinely feminine characters that aren’t classified as ‘warriors.’ We need diverse women on screen. That said, this is refreshing and I feel like I’ve gained something by having her in the story. I’m grateful for it.
Additionally, Cara Dune doesn’t get pigeonholed into being a love interest or a motherly figure, like so many other women tend to do. While at times they tended to over-stress the fact that she didn’t know how to take care of the child, she still managed to straddle that middle ground between the two extremes and have a realistic, refreshing point of view. ‘Redemption’ really brought that home by sending her off on her own journey instead of pairing her romantically with one of the male characters or making her a caretaker of the child.
‘Redemption’ also gave me something I’ve been rooting for for a while. It officially made the child a Mandalorian foundling. We all sort of assumed that the reason our Mando was so fond of him was because he reminded him of his own foundling past, but they put it right out there in words.
They are a ‘clan of two.’ He has earned the mudhorn as his sigil because of the incident with the child. The two are officially connected now and a family unit in the eyes of the Mandalorian creed. While they frame this as a possibly temporary situation until the child can be returned to his people, he is OFFICIALLY part of his clan.
Not gonna lie. I fist pumped the sky when this scene played out. This is exactly what I wanted. I’m so used to not getting what I want out of shows at this point that I’m actually fairly stunned that I’ve been given such a gift. Thank you, Jon Favreau.
We know that The Mandalorian will continue in season 2 at this point. And it seems like we have a story arc already set up for us. Our Mando will be on a journey to find the child’s people. Could we be getting more Yodas? Perhaps an official name for the species? Will season 2 be filled with just as much secrecy as season 1 because of this? Or will we never actually get to that point and our little clan of two will be like this for the foreseeable future?
I don’t know, but I’m overjoyed with the possibilities. I can’t wait for more details about what’s to come.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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