Serial Consumer celebrates and interrogates Evan’s relationship to franchised media and his addiction to purchasing its licensed products. Amid a brief absence of new content, Evan is creating throwback recaps for each episode in the first season of The Mandalorian for his latest installments.

The Reckoning is an elegant example of how to make the first part of a two-part finale feel meaningful in its own right despite mostly acting as setup for the following hour. Everything comes together here: After three adventures around the galaxy looking for refuge from the bounty on their head, Din Djarin and Grogu return to Nevarro at the request of Greef Karga, who promises them a solution to their Imperial problem. Bring back Grogu, Greef says, and they’ll connive a way to get the Client (who wants Grogu) into a room alone — where they can kill him, thus ending the bounty troubles. What’s in it for Greef? Well, his city on Nevarro is now beset with Imperial trouble after the Mandalorian Covert publicly revealed itself. Imperials hate Mandos. If their leader, the Client, is gone, that solves a lot of problems for the Bounty Guild that Greef operates on the planet.

Djarin is smart enough to understand a trap when he smells one, so he recruits old friends from earlier episodes to accompany him. He grabs Cara Dune for muscle, Kuiil to help watch Grogu and, surprisingly enough, a reformed IG-11 to act as a babysitting bodyguard. The group meets up with Greef, and events transpire such that he ends up loyal to them rather than his own interests. Everything comes to a head when Moff Gideon, the true leader of the Imperial remnant and seeker of Grogu, makes himself known in a violent homecoming that kills the Client … while Kuiil is murdered by two scout Troopers who subsequently steal Grogu.

It’s a dark ending to the episode, which understands the greatness of Kuiil and really harnesses his presence.

In fact, for an episode that mostly moves the plot forward to a slam-bang finale, there are many great lines of dialogue and character bits for all of the supporting cast. Everything has a moment to shine, and it may be one of Jon Favreau’s best scripts in terms of memorable musings.

  • It’s hard not to imagine Favreau writing Werner Herzog a line like “Can I offer you a libation to celebrate the closing of our shared narrative” without absolute glee deep in his heart.
  • “Little guy’s a carnivore, isn’t he?” Greef says when he witnesses Grogu eat meat. Later, when Grogu walk over to heal him, he says with terror: “He’s tryin’ to eat me!”
  • “I spent day after day reinforcing its development with patience and affirmation,” is how Kuiil describes his re-programming of IG-11. “Droids are not good or bad. They are neutral reflections of those who imprint them.” That’s an interesting way to describe Droids, who are often poorly explained in the Star Wars universe. I think about how Solo: A Star Wars Story really screwed the pooch with L3-37 and wish that script had been as simple and straightforward about the nature of Droids. It’s a difficult topic for Star Wars to tackle because while it has it both ways, well … this is the way.

A few more things I love about this episode include Gideon’s folding-wing TIE Fighter, the inclusion of Death Troopers and the terrifying design of the winged beasts who attack Din Djarin and his crew on Nevarro.

One last note: I’ll always be fond of this episode for its synergistic use of Force Healing on the same weekend Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released, which also used that power. These are the first canonical representations of the ultimate light-side Force ability, and it was neat to see the (coincidental?) narrative alignment.

Consumer Report

Nothing this week!

Shopping List

I would love to see a Nevarro Beast released for my 6” scale collection, but I know that will never happen. I’ll reiterate my interest in a Blurrg + Kuiil set, which seems more manageable, particularly because some fans might buy three just to have steeds for Din Djarin and Cara Dune.

A few years ago, Hasbro released a Scout + Speeder Bike set. I already own one of these from Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi, but there are differences in color schemes that set the ones in this episode apart. They were $50, and I balked at that price; in hindsight, I wish I’d given into my impulses. Maybe if I’d been writing Serial Consumer in 2019, I would have been weaker-willed. Ah, well.