Movies & TV

The Mandalorian: Easter eggs and episode 8’s secrets explained

The flagship series on Disney+, The Mandalorian (and especially one little green alien), has captured our hearts. The latest chapter of the series, titled “Redemption,” concludes the show’s first season and has its bounty hunter hero (played by Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal) struggling to survive a trap set by the sinister Moff Gideon and a host of Imperial stormtroopers.

We recap each episode of The Mandalorian, a show made by fans, for fans — and reveal the larger Star Wars Universe hidden in the show’s details
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There’s a lot to absorb in each episode of The Mandalorian, so here’s a recap of what happened in episode 8, as well as a breakdown of some noteworthy elements. (Note: There will be a discussion of plot points from the episode, so consider this a spoiler warning. You can also go back and read our recaps of Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, and Episode 7.)

Recap

Pinned down by the forces of Moff Gideon, The Mandalorian (a.k.a. Mando), Cara Dune (Gina Carano), and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) attempt — in vain — to make an escape through the sewers, only to be stymied by a stubborn vent cover. Meanwhile, IG-11 rescues The Child (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) from a pair of inept Imperial scout troopers and commences an assault on the town that eventually reunites IG-11 and The Child with the trapped trio.

After an extensive firefight and an impressive use of The Force by The Child, the group finally gets into the sewers, only to discover that the Mandalorians who previously made their home there have been almost entirely eliminated after the events of Episode 3, “The Sin.” Another round of exposition accompanies their encounter with The Armorer (Emily Swallow), one of the only Mandalorians to survive on the planet and remain there.

The Mandalorian and the rest of the group then take a boat down a river of lava to make their way to freedom, only to be cornered by more Imperial troopers. IG-11 sacrifices itself to save them — specifically, The Child — but they’re faced with one final threat to their escape: Moff Gideon piloting a TIE fighter.

Mando takes to the sky with a jetpack he acquired from The Armorer and brings down Gideon’s ship, then takes The Child and sets off to parts unknown on a mission to either return him to his species or raise him in the Mandalorian way. Cara and Greef resolve to stay on Navarro and rebuild the bounty hunter guild there, while Gideon is eventually shown emerging from his crashed TIE fighter with a glowing, dark sword familiar to fans well-versed in Star Wars lore.

In an episode packed with exposition, the list of revelations in “Redemption” includes the backstories of Mando, Cara (she’s from Alderaan, Leia’s home planet!), and Greef, as well as confirmation of Mando’s real name, Din Djarin. We also see Mando (we’re not comfortable calling him Din quite yet) without his mask, receive confirmation that he was a war refugee adopted by a Mandalorian and raised as one of their own (a “foundling”), and receive the set-up for the show’s second season: Mando’s quest to return The Child to his own species.

Oh, and we also get some potent narrative connections to the greater Star Wars saga, courtesy of Jedi name-dropping and the sight of what appears to be the Darksaber, a one-of-a-kind lightsaber, now in the hands of Moff Gideon.

This is the way

The episode was filled with major expositional moments, so confirmation that Din Djarin (okay, let’s give that name a shot) wasn’t born on Mandalore wasn’t exactly a major revelation — particularly since that theme was seeded throughout the prior seven episodes. Pedro Pascal himself spoiled the announcement of his character’s name a while back, but it’s still noteworthy that we got so much confirmed — and finally saw under his helmet — in this final episode.

It’s also worth noting that Din’s story is a recurring one throughout the Star Wars saga: A child hidden away by his parents for protection, only to find a new parent figure who sets that child on the path to heroism. Luke Skywalker, Jyn Erso (from Rogue One), and most recently, Rey, all followed a similar hero’s journey.

Mandalorians and Jedi

The history of the Mandalorians where Jedi are involved has been a tumultuous one in the saga’s lore. The Mandalorians have aligned themselves with the Sith, The Empire, and been a conquering force themselves at various points in the Star Wars timeline, and as such, have often found themselves battling the Jedi. Alliances between the Jedi and the Mandalorians did eventually evolve as the latter moved toward a more peaceful relationship with the galaxy, but the most warlike factions of the Mandalorians have a history rooted in fighting the Jedi, who they see as sorcerers aligned against their “survival of the fittest” values.

Din’s conversation with The Armorer suggests that she — and the rest of the faction residing on Navarro — hail from one of the more war-oriented sects of Mandalorians, who were scattered across the galaxy in the wake of the Galactic Empire’s “Great Purge” of their kind.

A signet earned, a clan formed

Among the items bestowed on Din during “Redemption” is a jetpack — colorfully called a “Rising Phoenix” by the Mandalorians — and a signet. After declining the signet back in Episode 3, Din finally accepts it this time around (and he should — he’s earned it at this point).

The Armorer states that he and The Child are now a clan of two, and engraves on his shoulder the likeness of a Mudhorn, the creature he and The Child dispatched in the season’s second episode. Her comment that he is now a “clan of two” is worth noting, as it establishes the narrative theme that’s likely to carry the show through whatever remains of its run: Din and The Child on a sort of Lone Wolf and Cub-style journey together.

The Darksaber, we presume?

Possibly the biggest revelation of the episode might be the one that goes unnoticed by a large swathe of the show’s audience.

The sword used by Moff Gideon to cut himself out of his TIE fighter in the episode’s final moments appears to be the Darksaber, a weapon first introduced in the award-winning Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. In The Clone Wars, which remains firmly set within the Star Wars saga’s current canon and timeline, we learn that the Darksaber was created by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to become a Jedi.

The unique, black-bladed lightsaber was wielded by Vizsla and eventually became the symbol of both his clan and the Mandalorians as a whole after he later became ruler of Mandalore. All of these events occurred long before the formation of the Galactic Republic and the Star Wars prequel trilogy, existing deep in the saga’s mythology, but have been explored in The Clone Wars and the animated series Star Wars Rebels at various points.

After Tarre’s passing, the Darksaber was housed in the Jedi Temple until a group of Mandalorians stole it during a conflict with the Jedi, and it was subsequently passed down from one generation to the next among Mandalorians. At some point, Moff Gideon appears to have acquired the Darksaber — likely during the Great Purge. Given the weapon’s history, this probably won’t be the last we see of it, or Gideon, for that matter.

What’s next?

Disney hasn’t announced when season 2 of The Mandalorian will premiere, but production has been underway on the season almost since the first season finished filming. It’s widely expected that season 2 will arrive at some point in 2020, probably with an official announcement during the Star Wars Celebration convention in August.

Disney’s The Mandalorian is available to stream on Disney+. There’s no word on when the next season of the series will premiere.

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