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Every time an episode of The Mandalorian lands, Fantha Tracks will be giving their responses, and here are our initial gut feelings, deep dives and thoughts on the eighth episode – Chapter 8: Redemption. Beware of spoilerific elements in here.

Mark Newbold

What a week it’s been for Star Wars. As we digested Chapter 7 of The Mandalorian, Episode 9 finally arrived on our screens, followed shortly by Chapter 8, and what a rollercoaster episode that was. We get to learn more about Moff Gideon, and just how lethal he is as well as a dive into Mandalorian culture in a way that very neatly ties up with the animated series Clone Wars (which returns in February) and Rebels (increasingly cementing its place in the wider Star Wars culture).

There are some deeply satisfying moments in this episode, especially for old school WEG fans like me who sat right up when the words ‘heavy repeating blaster’ were said (still wished someone had referred to it as a Tripod Laser cannon though) and of course the reveal of the Darksaber at the end – that was an unexpected treat of a moment to wrap up the season, and one that certainly leads me back to the animated series and the episodes pertaining to the Darksaber and its history and whereabouts in the timeline.

The moment of seeing Mando without his helmet made sense (and proves that Pedro Pascal was on set for at least one scene :-p ) and the actions of IG-11 were just perfect, proving that not all droids are to be judged by the same measuring stick, or underestimated. We learn Cara was from Alderaan, an interesting wrinkle for a world known for its pacifistic ways, and that the Armorer is absolutely not to be trifled with.

Season one has been a fascinating dive into the darker elements of the Star Wars galaxy, diverting us from the command characters of the galaxy in the movies to those characters skirting the gutters of the galaxy. We’ve traveled plenty, been to some familiar locations and been introduced to a new cast of characters that we’re all keen to see more of, and as the wider mythology of the Darksaber wraps up the series it will be interesting to see just how big this storyline goes.

Fall 2020, we await your arrival with great interest.

Matt Booker

Closing out the season with the build up to an epic confrontation, this episode was well paced and left you on a cliffhanger.

Such a satisfying show, the episodic live action Star Wars TV we have been craving for so long, plus we finally get to meet Moff Gideon who’s a total bad ass.

From the two bikers who are a homage to Kevin Rubios Troops fan film and his Dark Horse Star Wars comic Tag and Bink they just cracked me up.

Bring me more Star Wars now. This is the way!

Becca Benjamin

Episode 8: Redemption is just that, a full circle moment for the entire season! Well done!

IG-11 does a 180 character arc from where we see him in chapter 1 to the climax of 8. Also, the entire episode gave me Elliot and E.T. vibes (speeder bike scene between IG and the child) and the moment the Armorer christens the Mando as Daddy – a choice to be made: return the foundling to his people or when of age, raise him to follow the Mandalorian Creed.

Patty Hammond

There were two surprises revealed during Episode 8. The Mandalorians real name and the item that the Moff had in his possession, which ties to both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.

To me this is a very satisfactory way to end the season and I cannot wait to watch the next.

Carl Bayliss

With Episodes 7 & 8 landing either side of Christmas (and The Rise of Skywalker) the focus could have moved away from The Mandalorian, so to ensure this wasn’t the case, the team knock it out of the park with a two-part season finale, with some interesting plot twists, new and returning characters to help build to a crescendo that wraps up several storylines whilst introducing a whole slew of new questions to carry forward to the already confirmed season 2.

I’ve been really impressed with this series and the way the story has evolved over the 8 episodes. I was also skeptical at the start as to whether the ‘bite-sized’ TV format would give the characters enough depth or would it mean we got too many drawn out back story episodes but the show has delivered on every level, and even given Disney another hit character to keep the Star Wars coffers topped up over the next few years.

I’m looking forward to the next series, and presumably other offshoot books, comics and the like. My biggest hope now is that having hit the mark with this series, they don’t over exploit the characters and stories between series and dilute the appetite for more Mando. Roll on Fall 2020

Sheila Wright

Sorry, already started NYE drinking. Was ready to call Social Services when those Imps hit baby Yoda. The jetpack/TIE fighter scene was awesome, and I am so glad “Apollo Creed” and Cara are still alive.

RIP nurse droid. Oh, and the Darksaber!!!!😮

Clair Henry

So I watched Episodes 7 & 8 back to back and that was definitely the best way to do it! The story flowed and the tension built up. It was good to see the characters come together as I did think the previous episodes were great fun if not The Littlest Hobo / Lassie in style and I wondered whether this was its direction!

Again, lots of nods to the old films, however the nod to the The Rise of Skywalker was great and put in context for the film. If you read the Hollywood Reporter article with screenwriter Chris Terrio you’ll see how this came to be.

The ending was great and leads now to a context for the next series. However the question I ask myself is this if you’re not a Star Wars fan after seeing the first couple of episodes ,would you watch and run with this? I know from watching the Star Trek series on Netflix it’s easy to pick up and run with it certainly ignited my love of Star Trek again, but will this do the same for Star Wars?

Joey Clark

This season debuted with three solid episodes, but lost me in the midst with Chapters 4-6. Those particular episodes started losing the tone and felt disconnected to the overall story. However, when I consider Dave Filoni’s involvement, I believe elements of those episodes will most likely pay off in season 2 or further down the road. Despite my criticisms of those episodes, I had faith that the show would get back to the main plot and thankfully it did in Chapter 7. The finale ultimately left me hopeful for the future of the show.

I genuinely enjoyed the opening with the scout troopers, it gave us fans an opportunity to see a glimpse of trooper life, further humanizing the soldiers of the Empire. The callback of imperial soldiers being terrible shots manages to never get old and continues to be a favorite Star Wars trope of mine. But damn them for abusing the Child!

The character of the Mandalorian has come a long way within this season and for that I’m truly grateful. What I find most interesting about his journey is when he allows himself to open up emotionally, his armor in conjunction becomes more formidable. It plays to the notion that those who let down their guard, and place themselves in a position of vulnerability are truly the strongest of us all. I can’t wait to see how that dynamic carries on into season 2.

Mandalorian culture is finally getting some clarity in this show and all that has been revealed within the series has been fascinating, this final installment delivers on that tenfold. I was thrilled to know that anyone could become a Mandalorian, it’s not merely a race of people, but a creed one chooses to follow. What is baffling to me personally is seeing that the Deathwatch saved Din Djarin (the Mandalorian’s true name) as a child from a droid attack. In The Clone Wars series, they were made out to be an extremist terrorist group. I’m curious if we’ll see more of Djarin’s early days with that particular set of Mandalorians and what their beliefs are at that point in time. Do the Deathwatch have a different creed than other Mandalorians, and after the purge are Mandalorians united under a singular creed rather than being separated into various clans at odds with one another?

In the debut episode, I wasn’t a fan of IG-11, but seeing it’s arc come through to fruition has made me love this character. Droids always seem to find a way of saving our beloved heroes in the Star Wars universe and I’m glad that Favreau found a refreshing take on this common practice. Not only does the droid manage to capture your heart, but it serves as an essential part of the Mandalorian’s journey. The warrior‘s apprehension about IG-11’s intentions is understandable, given the fact that his family was slaughtered by Separatist droids. Even after it had been reprogrammed by Kuiil, the Mando still has his reservations, until it had saved him and his rag tag gang. His sadness towards IG-11’s inevitable sacrifice carried weight and solidified a significant character change in the Mando. The IG unit certainly lives up to Leia’s sentiment of, “Never underestimate a droid.”

Another standout character in this finale was the one known as the Armorer. I have always been captivated by her appearance and the reverence she shows towards her sacred duty as a forger of armor. Her religious devotion to the Mandalorian way of life sold me on the sanctity of a Mandalorian’s armor and its importance to the individual wearer. From the finale we know that not only is she a devout member of the creed, but also a cunning warrior as she had one of the best action based moments throughout the entire season. I’m still in shock because of the way she managed to take down those stormtroopers with only a tool. Needless to say, I am excited to see what the future of the show has for her.

Ah, but who could forget The Child? Certainly not me. The Force is strong with this one indeed. Its cuteness factor only keeps growing, but so does the mystery of it. I will admit I foresaw it using the Force once again, but the execution was perfect. I’m glad that the Child is not overpowered, and that after it utilizes the Force it grows tired. It is only a baby.

Before the episode I thought that the Mandalorian would be tasked with finding the home of the Child’s species, but now I believe he will instead be tasked with finding the new Jedi. Could that mean we will see a post Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker? Time can only tell, but I sure hope so!

As I await the second season of The Mandalorian I’m most interested to know about the character of Moff Gideon. How did he come to wield the dark saber? Is he the rightful leader of Mandalore? The last known location of the Darksaber (before the Mandalorian) was with Bo Katan, the sister of Duchess Satine former ruler of Mandalore. In Star Wars: Rebels, Sabine Wren had entrusted her to wield the Darksaber and regain control of Mandalore, was her trust misplaced? I was hoping to see the return of Bo Katan in this series but the saber must ceremoniously be won through combat, and the victor shall rule over Mandalore as the defeated is killed. But the saber could’ve been stolen as well in a time of unrest during the purge of the Mandalorians.

I believe this season was a strong effort put forth by Jon Favreau and all the creators involved. I do wish that the episodes were longer in runtime and that they wouldn’t deviate from the main storyline as it does not have the luxury of having a twenty episode season. The cliffhanger at the end leaves me wanting me more, and hopefully the success of this season will warrant more than 8 episodes to be released next Fall.

And at least by then we will actually have merchandise for the Child in hand!