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.
Here it is — the final episode of the first season of The Mandalorian, initially aired on Dec. 27, 2019 and Serially Consumed on March 6, 2022, a full two years and change later. (I wrote these in advance of publication.) I was already collecting a lot of Star Wars toys in 2019, but my hobby really kicked into high gear during 2020 as a way of doing, well, anything during the high point of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Writing Serial Consumer was a way of talking about season two of The Mandalorian week to week, and I enjoyed it so much that I kept the series alive through The Bad Batch, Marvel’s What If … ? and The Book of Boba Fett (as well as one-offs for the Terrifying Tales special featuring LEGO Star Wars and the Disney+ series in the MCU like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and Hawkeye).
Even as the form of my collecting habits changed over time, it was still a fun excuse to informally write about some of the shows I’ve enjoyed week to week. Still, I always regretted that The Mandalorian‘s first season wasn’t part of this column’s lifespan. I had never revisited it, even in the build-up to the second season and The Book of Boba Fett. With a relative drought of Serial Consumer content in early 2022, it was time to remedy that. I’m so, so glad I did.
I’ve always fondly remembered most of this season, but watching it again gave me a new appreciation for what Jon Favreau and company achieved, particularly in this final episode.
Picking up where The Reckoning left off, Redemption finds our crew split. Grogu has been captured by two dorky Scout Troopers but is quickly rescued by nurse droid IG-11. Din Djarin, Greef Karga and Cara Dune are trapped in the Nevarro Cantina by Moff Gideon, who is letting them live only because Grogu hasn’t arrived to him yet. It’s a dire situation for our heroes, made worse when the Moff brings in an E-Web heavy repeating blaster capable of totally annihilating the Cantina. It’s the perfect place for a final stand, but our heroes lack the numbers or firepower to do so.
There are so many great moments in this, but my favorite remains IG-11’s heroic ride into downtown with Grogu strapped to his chest and a blaster in each spindly hand. It’s a moment that makes use of a lot of existing Star Wars visuals in new ways while also providing narrative catharsis. It’s nice to see Taika Waititi’s weird droid on the side of good.
Despite the almost nonstop action, Redemption features a ton of important character development and world-building. Gideon is the one who reveals Din Djarin’s true name to the audience, which spurs a flashback of our hero being rescued by the badass Death Watch troopers during the Clone Wars. We see Din Djarin’s face for the first time, thanks to a loophole that allows IG-11 to see it. Mandalore’s fall to the Imperials, aka the Night of a Thousand Tears, is referenced (but not seen onscreen until The Book of Boba Fett). We see the Darksaber in live-action for the first time during the episode’s stinger scene.
Most important, though, is the official establishment of Din Djarin and Grogu as a family unit, a “clan of two” in the Mandalorian Creed. This show really is the two of them. This franchise is the two of them.
A few bullet points:
- IG-11 is a favorite of mine, and his sacrifice is really powerful. It’s astounding that the biggest emotional moment during the climax is so affecting given that it’s shared by a man without a face and a robot constructed out of spare parts to serve as a background prop.
- Moff Gideon’s backstory is mostly alluded to, but his confidence using a hold-out blaster against Din Djarin in open combat implies he’s killed plenty of Mandalorians in his day. That and the Darksaber, of course. I hope we get an episode about Moff Gideon’s past sometime, whether it’s in live-action or a featured appearance in The Bad Batch.
- Speeder Bikes have always been my favorite fictional vehicle. I can still remember vivid dreams about them from childhood. I’m glad they get so much play here.
- Super Battle Droids! Live-action Clone Wars! Please, more!
- Grogu’s big moment standing up to the Incinerator Trooper is fantastic.
- Greef has such great lines that it’s a shame we only see him sparingly in Season Two. “C’mon, baby, do the magic hand thing!”
- Jetpack vs. TIE Fighter is simple, well-executed and just a standout setpiece.
My Black Series 6″ ARC Trooper from the original Clone Wars microseries arrived this week. I pre-ordered it in June 2021. I wish I had also pre-ordered the corresponding Mace Windu figure, but hopefully I’ll nab it on a future restock. Otherwise, my Star Wars collecting has slowed down a bit. I have high hopes for May: We should finally see several long-delayed waves of figures appear on store shelves (and Amazon, my preferred Black Series source), as well as a new Star Wars Epic Collection and Star Wars Legends Omnibus.
Like last week, I really wish I’d bought that white Speeder Bike.
It’s surprising we don’t have an E-Web available for 6” scale Stormtroopers.
I already own an Incinerator Trooper, but that would’ve been on my list if I had never found one for a decent price.
Super Battle Droids are long overdue in the 6” scale line.