The seventh episode of The Mandalorian gets right down to it. While the title character (Pedro Pascal) meandered across the Outer Rim, ignored the implications of his special care package, and attempted business as usual, slaying whatever scum crossed his path, the Imperial Client (Werner Herzog) amassed his platoon and plotted his revenge.
The leftover scraps of the Empire will never rest until they have Baby Yoda beneath their microscope. The implications of such dissection are a little hazy, but while Mando and his dirty half dozen simply strive to live from one second to the next, the audience watching understands the stakes regarding the child. The Force is strong with this one, maybe stronger than we’ve ever seen in the Star Wars franchise.
In the final minutes of “Chapter Seven: The Reckoning,” an imposing Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) steps from his TIE fighter and crosses through his squadron of Stormtroopers (striding with zero spurs sound effect, by the way, giving a little more credence to the Boba Fett fantasies implied by the end of “Chapter Five”). They have just massacred their own men to prove a point. Life means little in conflict with his goal.
The episode ends with Mando, Cara Dune (Gina Carano), and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) pinned in the rubble of the Client’s office. Their backs against the wall. Mando desperately calls Kuiil (Nick Nolte) through his comm. There is no answer. The little Ugnaught is dead on his back. A pair of Scout troopers gunned him down, scooped up the Child (aka Baby Yoda), and are en route to the ravenous Moff.
The Moff seems incapable of grinning, but his voice purrs with the sneer of a cat who swallowed the canary. “You may think you have some idea of what you have possession of, but you do not,” he states coldly. “It means more to me than you will ever know.” He’s not here to villain monologue. He’s here to slay his prey and make off with the goods. It’s on “Chapter Eight” to free Mando from his clutches.
We’re left to wonder what the Moff knows that Mando does not. Do we fully understand the nature of Baby Yoda? No, of course not. We’ve seen the kid take down a Mudhorn. We’ve seen him nearly choke out Cara Dune for daring to arm wrestle his bounty daddy. We’ve seen him aim to heal a minor flesh wound on Mando, and retrieve Greef Karga from the brink of death after a murder of mynocks (or at least their distant cousins) tore a chunk out of his side.
The kid has the Force. Duh. His midi-chlorian count is clearly high. He’s 50 years old, but he hasn’t hit the age of reason yet. He works on instinct. When the threat of harm presents itself to someone he’s fond of, he acts. Simple as that, but it’s not that simple.
We haven’t even heard the word “Force” uttered yet on The Mandalorian, but “Chapter Seven” comes the closest to acknowledging the energy field created by all living things. When Kuiil witness Baby Yoda’s chokehold on Cara Dune, he explains that he’s heard rumors of such power during his time with the Empire. Such gifts are the subject of stories, and most folks in the galaxy have never encountered a creature with the ability. The Jedi are mostly dead, even at this point in the franchise, and that marks lil’ Yoda as quite the commodity.
Now, let’s consider the healing factor. Even the audience has never encountered such talent within the core films of the series (although some believe Ben Kenobi practiced the method on Luke Skywalker after his run-in with the Tusken Raiders). It’s an iffy gift to toss into a Jedi’s bag of tricks. Once Luke or Rey can remove the danger of death from their story, then all conflict is negated from the narrative, and drama becomes nonexistent.
The ability was mostly reserved for video game adventures like Knights of the Old Republic and the Dark Forces saga. You can see the value in such a medium, where players are constantly buffeted by laser blasts and saber slashes. A descendant of Darth Vader, Cade Skywalker often relied on Force-healing, but the character was believed to access the dark side of the Force to make it work. To place oneself above all life is a vile act of supremacy.
Could this also be the method in which Darth Plagueis secured immortality as explained to Anakin Skywalker by Chancellor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith? Possibly. As explored in James Luceno‘s novel Darth Plagueis, the Sith Lord achieved his mastery over life by wielding extreme willpower over midi-chlorians. Using mere thought, he could strike a person down and bring them back to life. A mental Death Star of sorts.
Does Moff Gideon want Baby Yoda because he’s a Jedi youngling? Or does he want him because he’s an even rarer bird: a Force-creature with a God-like ability to render mortality null and void. With a green meanie like this in your pocket, you could resurrect more than the Empire.
You cannot keep a character like that in your narrative for long. They gotta go. “Chapter Seven” is, as promised by the title, a reckoning. Moff Gideon’s Scouts gun Kuiil down and snatch Baby Yoda into their clutches. Bundled under a rag, the little fella seems alive, but that won’t last under their care. Mando and his gang have to step up.
Knowing that Baby Yoda is a Christ-like being, a divine entity with mastery over all, will add an extra layer of purpose to Mando and his gang’s mission. Heck, it’s already converted Karga to the light side of the conflict. They’re no longer bounty hunters; they’re shepherds. Not a hair on Baby Yoda’s head will be harmed. If one were plucked, the Internet would riot. The ending of this episode has already sent many into a panic. Go get that child, Mando!