The Mandalorian has largely featured standalone episodes that see its unnamed protagonist (made easier by people nicknaming him Mando) traveling the galaxy on jobs and protecting the internet’s latest cuteness obsession Baby Yoda. However, the early-airing latest outing breaks out some continuity as a number of previous characters are brought back, ending with an emotional, heartbreaking final shot.
“The Reckoning” begins when guild broker Greef Karga convinces Mando to return to Navarro and free it from the control of the Client, the mysterious crime lord who originally hired him to retrieve Baby Yoda and was angered by the betrayal. To face the Client and his men, Mando gathers individuals he previously encountered, including the former shock trooper Cara Dune and Ugnaught engineer Kuiil, who also retrieved the shell of droid bounty hunter IG-11 and reprogrammed it out of its murderous tendencies.
An attempt to bluff and kill the Client goes badly when the group is ambushed by a squad of Shadow Troopers and an army of Stormtroopers, leading to Mando instructing Kuiil to retreat to the security of the Razor Crest. A tense sequence intercuts between the standoff in town and the Ugnaught riding a Blurrg and attempting to outrun a pair of Stormtroopers on land speeders chasing him down. For a moment, it looks like he might succeed, as we watch the gangway drop and Kuiil approach, only for the next cut back to see the hand of one of the Imperial soldiers scoop Baby Yoda from the ground and the engineer lying dead, mere moments from safety.
For a character who only had a few brief appearances, Kuiil made quite an impact, his calm demeanor and deep wisdom tacitly speaking of a lifetime of regret and mistakes long overcome, especially when he revealed his working for the Empire was indentured servitude and his freedom was bought by his own abilities rather than loyalty to the regime, making his reluctance to involve himself in other people’s problems all the more understandable.
As he said, “none will be free until the old ways are gone, forever,” and seeing something in the First Order’s desire for the furry green infant struck a chord with his own time spent enslaved to the previous galactic dictatorship, and with his last breath attempted to prevent the same fate from befalling the child. The Mandalorian might not have many poignant moments, but this was certainly one of them, and sets the stakes for the season finale next week.