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Finally, it is time for the moment the season has all been leading up to. It is time for all the Mandalorians to suit up, grab hold of their blasters, and get ready to take back their home planet. The retaking of Mandalore has been hinted at not even just in this season, but in season two and even in The Book of Boba Fett, a completely separate show, and even a little bit in season one. With this massive event finally unfolding, that also means that the stakes are high, and some old faces make their ever-so-sweet return.
Bad to the bone
The first thing we see in this episode seems to be a shot of the streets of Coruscant. We follow a figure as they slip into an alley revealing themselves to be Elia Kane (Katy M. O’Brian), the woman we saw betray Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) during episode three of this season. We see her talking to an Imperial probe droid that brings a message from the one and only Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). She tells him about the plan that the Mandalorians have to take back Mandalore, which gives Gideon more than enough time to think of a plan to stop them.
After his chat with Elia Kane, Gideon walks down a hall lined with troopers, each donning a new design that will come into play later in the episode. Gideon makes it to a room where many ex-Empire officials are having a meeting. Gideon joins in of course and asks them for reinforcements to take down the army of Mandalorians. They seem reluctant at first to let him have so many forces again, but after some easy convincing, Gideon walks out with a new army, even fitted with some Praetorian guards for when circumstances get a little heavy.
When the Mandalorians go marching in
We jump to the city of Nevarro where its citizens are terrified after seeing what appears to be an Imperial ship flying directly above them. High Magistrate Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) calms everyone down, as he is apparently the only person in the city that can see the giant mythosaur skull painted directly underneath the ship, signifying that it is in fact controlled by Mandalorians.
When the ship touches down, the ex-members of Clan Kryze funnel out and finally meet with the Children of the Watch. The tension is insane as they just stare at each other until the Armorer (Emily Swallow) interrupts them and calls them together for a feast. Directly after that, Karga comes up to Mando (Pedro Pascal) and tells him that he has a gift for him.
Karga leads Mando along with Grogu into his office, where lo and behold IG-11 is in working order…kinda. An Anzellan pilots IG-11’s lifeless carcass into the room, and hops out to let Grogu take him for a spin. We’re told that he is no longer IG-11 but IG-12 instead. Mando initially hates the idea of Grogu piloting IG-12, but after seeing Grogu take their old companion for a ride, he changes his mind and allows him to have it.
Back to the feast where we see Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) make a speech about their plan to retake Mandalore. She says that there will need to be a small team to go down to the surface first and locate the great forge before the other Mandalorians can come down. All of the mainstay Mandalorians choose to go with the recon team such as Paz Vizla (Tait Fletcher), Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides), and even Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado), who was more prominently featured in season two. Even the Armorer decides that she should go with the recon group, and decides that they will leave first thing in the morning.
The recon group searches around the planet until they stumble upon some members of the Nite Owls. The Mandalorians are immediately battle ready, but after one of the Nite Owls say that they recognize Bo-Katan’s voice, the tension is eased and the two meet up. The Nite Owls are also Mandalorian and have been on the planet since the purge, which means that a lot of them are hungry and in need of medical assistance.
After the two groups have a meal together, Bo-Katan tells them all the truth about what really happened during the fall of Mandalore, and explains how Moff Gideon got control of the darksaber in the first place. She tells the story of how Mandalore was forced to surrender to the Empire, but now that the Empire is gone (or so they think), it is now a better time than ever to try and retake the planet.
After the dinner, Mando walks up to Bo-Katan and tries to have a conversation with her. He tells her that even though she is feeling overwhelmed with the idea of taking back Mandalore, and in return, leading the entire planet once again, that he will always fight by her side. He even says one of the greatest quotes so far this season: “Your song is not yet written. I will serve you until it is.”
Before going out to find the forge, the Armorer says that she will take the wounded Nite Owls back to the main ship so they can get the attention they need. Bo-Katan agrees and they are sent off.
On their way to the great forge, Axe Woves and Paz Vizla engage in a simple board game to pass the time. Axe calls out Paz on what he believes to be an illegal move. Paz, being the big man he is, gets offended and tells Axe to, “submit or fight.” Axe choses to fight and the two duke it out in the middle of the ship. With all the Mandalorians watching. Since everyone believes that this release of tension is probably for the best, they stand back and watch as they try to kill each other. Before it gets taken too far, however, Grogu steps in between the two with his new IG-12 and puts an end to the tussle.
Not long after that, the group runs into a bigger issue than some petty internal conflict: a giant monster. Although I’m sure every viewer was hoping the beast to be a giant mythosaur, it sadly is not, that doesn’t mean that it is any less destructive however, and the group is forced to abandon ship and retreat inside of a nearby cave.
Luckily, the cave leads directly to where they were looking for: the remains of the great forge of Mandalore. Before any of them get a chance to admire it though, jetpacks are heard in the distance. The jetpacks don’t belong to any Mandalorians, however, instead belonging to the new style of trooper that we saw at the beginning of the episode. It is then revealed that the trooper armor is made with beskar, the same material as Mandalorian armor. In the middle of the battle, Axe Woves flies away to gather reinforcements while Paz Vizla offers him cover fire from his giant gatling blaster. The Mandalorians take them out pretty easily, only taking one or two casualties. As the troopers retreat, the Mandalorians follow them to try and figure out where they came from.
Din Djarin leads the pack and easily catches up to them, but before the other Mandalorians could catch up a door is closed directly behind Din, cutting him off from the rest of the group. As the great Admiral Ackbar once said, “It’s a trap!” The Mandalorians look around and see that they are in an Imperial bunker, filled with TIE fighters and bombers ready to lay waste to whoever stands in their way. Mando tries to take out as many troopers as he can, but is quickly overrun by the sheer number of troopers. As the troopers tie him up for everyone else to see, Moff Gideon comes in, also wearing an admittedly awesome-looking Mandalorian-inspired beskar helmet.
Gideon explains the troopers' new look, saying that they are wearing the next iteration of Dark Trooper armor. He then sends out a load of fighters and bombers to try and take out the Mandalorians' fleet before having some troopers drag Mando to a debriefing room. All seems lost and now the rest of the Mandalorians are trapped in a room until Bo-Katan whips out the darksaber and starts cutting a hole in the door they came in from, Qui-Gon Jinn style. Not every Mandalorian makes it out alive, but it would be a disservice if I were to spoil which one sacrifices himself in this review. Instead, I implore you to just watch the episode for yourself, and watch the epic closing fight between a single Mandalorian and a group of both troopers and Praetorian guards. It is truly one of the darkest endings to an episode of the entire series and is an amazing way to keep the hype train rolling for the next, and final, episode of this season.
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