The first episode to feel like an unofficial two-parter, The Mandalorian‘s penultimate chapter very clearly sets up the big conflict to come. And this one has higher stakes than arm wrastlin’.
Having escaped from a prison compound and certain death last we saw him, Mando finally has a chance to check his voicemail and sees that Carl Weathers has left a message. As ever, with hands on hips to show he means business, Carl Weathers is like, “Ha ha, remember how we tried to kill each other? That was wild. But anyway, now that you shot off with that Baby Yoda, Werner Herzog has become absolutely intolerable, so want to forgive and forget and come kill that guy?”
Mando figures he may as well. But he’s going to need some help by way of a couple callbacks.
Meanwhile, off on whatever planet Gina Carano lives on, she’s giving the series its latest slight nod to Indiana Jones, smirking as she pummels some fat, bald oaf. She’s in some kind of Thunderdome where “Beat It” music video knife fight rules futuristically apply: the fighters are tethered to each other by way of an electro-belt that’s very nearly the Spaceballs dick-saber gag.
Anyway, the Oaf Maul she’s fighting apparently didn’t realize she’s a trained MMA fighter, so she completely obliterates the idiot. As she’s collecting her winnings from those betting against her, she hears a slow clap. She looks up to see Mando leaning casually against a wall, mockingly slapping his hands together.
Alright, that last part isn’t how it happened, but it’s the kind of scene where you’d think that’s how it would go.
In actuality, the two just sit down with some glasses of that cheap blue Kool-Aid shit that comes in a gallon milk jug as he tells her about the plan: they go in and pretend to deliver Baby Yoda to Werner Herzog, but instead of giving him Baby Yoda, they will shoot him.
She’s on board, soon literally as she joins Mando on his ship. Like Clancy Hellboy last episode, Carano is smitten with Mando’s gun wardrobe. But! Then the ship starts going nutso, and it’s because Baby Yoda is screwing with shit. They need someone to watch him. That someone? Somehow not Amy Sedaris, who really proved herself a childcare specialist a couple episodes ago. It’s Nick Nolte’s weird little Billy Barty character from the second episode.
They get to whatever shit-hole Nolte lives in and find that he’s repaired IG-Wait1t1—the assassin robot that wanted to nab Baby Yoda way back when—and turned him into some kind of servant. Mando, with being horribly racist against droids as his defining character trait after stoicism, is very pissy about this. But then Nolte tells this way-too-long story about how he rescued the droid, re-taught it from scratch to move and behave, and seemingly has romantic love for it with the way he cradles it. Rather than get into whether or not Nolte is fucking this thing (which he obviously is), Mando more or less drops it, he, Carano, Nolte, and a few of the awful monsters Nolte insists on using as horses head into the ship and off to wherever Carl Weathers and Werner Herzog live. Probably Los Angeles.
While in transit, Mando and Carano decide to pass the time of their long haul in the most Over the Top way possible: arm wrestling. While at a stalemate, Baby Yoda mistakes their flirty competitiveness for fighting and he starts to Force-choke her out. Force powers so often begin with the kinky stuff, don’t they?
Mando soon after gets into another of his Human Power anti-droid rants, and it’s really uncomfortable for everyone involved, but eventually they make it to their rendezvous with Carl Weathers.
Weathers of course has his own little crew with him, and they’re all sizing each other up when Weathers sees how Carano has a shock trooper tattoo. He’s like, “Could you just cover that for meeting my parents,” and they move on.
For reasons that were stated but are entirely forgettable, the group has had to meet really, really far from the city—far enough that they have to set up camp for the night.
As they sit around a fire, Weathers explains the plan again, saying, “Trust me; nothing can go wrong.” BUT HE DIDN’T COUNT ON A BIRDEMIC (Shock & Terror).
Out of nowhere, some sort of pterosaurs fly down and start fucking shit up. The combined crews are able to fight them off, but not before Weathers gets his arm all scratched up. And bad news, Carl Weathers: those were poisonous pterosaurs.
He’s basically writing his will when Baby Yoda approaches and starts to do his Heil Force salute.
“He’s tryin’ to eat me,” Weathers says as a very painful “line a white guy wrote for the black supporting character to shout.”
Alas, he is not tryin’ to eat him. He is FORCE SUCKING OUT THE POISON. And also healing the scratches.
The next day, Weathers is walking along with his two remaining guys after that fight, and you can see he’s telling the story of the healing as if they weren’t there. But he’s their boss, so those guys have to kind of feign interest.
Their loyalty in pretending to think that was an interesting story was not repaid, though. Soon after, Weathers shoots them both dead, explaining the obvious: yeah, they were going to betray Mando, but once he felt that Force Neosporin on his arm, he knew he had to save Baby Yoda.
So now they hatch a slightly revised plan: Mando goes in shackled as a prisoner. Weathers will do the talking and Carano will play the bounty hunter who did the job. Then, as with the original plan, they will murder the icon of New German Cinema and his cronies.
Soon after, they get to the bar Herzog has apparently taken over as his new lair.
“Can I offer you a libation to celebrate the closing of our shared narrative?” Herzog asks in a line he 100% just said out-of-character after the shoot was over but was thankfully caught on camera. (Though soon after he states “I see nothing but death and chaos,” so maybe he was just ad-libbing a lot.)
It should also be noted that while Baby Yoda’s floating bassinet is in tow, its lid is closed, and B.Y. is actually being taken back to the ship by Nick Nolte. This soon becomes a crucial plot point for a couple reasons.
Herzog is eager to see his quarry baby, and Mando, Weathers, and Carano are eager to get on with their clever plan of shooting everyone. But their meeting is abruptly interrupted by an incoming transmission.
“Don’t think me to be rude, but I must take this call,” Herzog says, giving the Star Wars franchise one of its most pedestrian sentences ever.
It’s Breaking Bad standout Giancarlo Esposito on the line, and he’s like, “So do we have a Baby Yoda or not? I want to get meming.”
Our bounty-hunting trio are about ready to start the surprise shootout when—bigger surprise!—Herzog and his crew all get Sonny Corleoned through the windows. Turns out, Gus Fring has already showed up with a bunch of stormtroopers and death troopers (the ones that think they’re so cool in all black), and they’ve pinned our reluctant heroes in the bar.
Mando calls Nolte to tell him to get out of there with Baby Yoda, but that ends up being a mistake. Some scout troopers intercept the call and head off to likewise intercept the gross little Nolte. About halfway through their pursuit, it’s shown that the scout troopers decide to stop being so leisurely and fully depress the accelerator, leading to them catching up with Nolte.
Thusly, they shoot Nolte’s Billy Barty character as dead as Billy Barty himself. Aced by the worst variant of stormtrooper—the one shown to repeatedly Sonny Bono themselves into trees.
So now these jerks have got Baby Yoda. And our best hope is that Mando can talk Esposito into an arm wrestling match.