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The season finale of ‘The Mandalorian’ answers season-long questions, while also bringing new ones to the table. (Photo provided via @themandalorian on Twitter)

TV Review: The season finale of ‘The Mandalorian’ answers its most burning question, raises even more intriguing ones

The Mandalorian’s season finale starts out slowly, with a back-and-forth dialogue of two bike scout troopers, played by comedians Adam Pally and Jason Sudeikis, while they wait for clearance to take the captured baby Yoda into town. The result is some of the funniest in-universe Star Wars content to date, with the two playing off traditional Star Wars tropes to uproarious comedic effect.

The scene runs for a few minutes before the action picks back up from the previous episode, minutes which some writers and directors might view as wasteful. But what The Mandalorian understands so much better than so many other creators of Star Wars content — and many other forms of fiction at large — is that these smaller, more intimate views into this beloved galaxy is what made people fall in love with it in the first place.

Once things kick into high gear, however, the finale is filled with action, surprises and fantastic character moments that encapsulate what has made The Mandalorian so great. The droid IG-11 (Taika Watiti) fights off the troopers and saves baby Yoda, reuniting him with the rest of the gang in town.

There, the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) get cornered by an entire squad of Storm Troopers, led by the charismatic but unmistakably evil Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), who made a brief appearance near the end of the previous episode. Following the series’ most explosive battle yet, Gideon gives the team an ultimatum to hand over baby Yoda by nightfall or to face obliteration.

Of course, neither ends up happening. Mando and the rest of the crew — except for the friendly Kuill (Nick Nolte), who was killed near the previous episode’s conclusion — eventually escape, sneaking and fighting their way out toward the final confrontation with Gideon, learning more about both Mando and baby Yoda’s past along the way.

With few exceptions, The Mandalorian has shown consistency in its quality among every aspect of its production, so it should come as no surprise that the finale would retain that level of quality. With Watiti’s excellent direction and Esposito’s chilling performance as Gideon combined with a gripping story that never lets go, “Redemption” closes the series’ first season with impeccable style.

Many questions raised throughout the series, both about the titular character and his adorable companion, receive satisfying answers that are surprising yet make sense given information from both The Mandalorian and the Star Wars universe at-large. However, many more questions take their place, setting up for a second season in a way that feels earned.

The Mandalorian stands in stark contrast to the recently released Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in its approach to storytelling. Where the latter stumbles to tell a consistent story in large part due to too many cooks in the kitchen, the former maintains consistency through creator Jon Favreau writing all but two episodes, with the two being among the season’s weaker offerings. 

With a smaller scope and budget than a feature length Star Wars offering, The Mandalorian has accomplished a more satisfying and engaging story within the universe than the recent Star Wars films themselves.

Season 2 of The Mandalorian will release on Disney+ in Fall 2020.


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