The Mandalorian delivers a heartbreaking blow in a tragic penultimate episode. "The Reckoning" has Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Baby Yoda finally facing their real enemy. The bounty hunter recruits the allies he has befriended on the run. Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) offers him a chance to kill the Client (Werner Herzog). Mando would be cleared by the guild. He and the child can live in peace. But the return to Navarro does not go as planned. The Imperial warlord, Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), gets off the bench and into the game.

"The Reckoning" begins with the Razor Crest in space. Mando receives a holo message from Greef Karga. The Imperials have overtaken Navarro and shut down the guild safe house. He wants to set-up a meeting with the Client. They can use the child as bait, then kill their shared problem. Mando and the child will be free.

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The Razor Crest flies to Sorgan. Cara Dune (Gina Carano) is at the bar, laser tethered to a brute, fighting for money. The patrons cheer as she beats her adversary into submission. They throw credits on the table for her victory. Mando wants to recruit her for the plan. She declines at first, but quickly accepts when she learns they're going after Imperials.

On the ship in space, Mando and Dune look at his weapons locker. Alarms sound as the ship veers wildly off course. Baby Yoda is in the cockpit playing with the controls. Mando puts him in his crate and sets course for Arvala-7.

The Razor Crest lands at Kuiil's moisture farm. The Ugnaught is brought up to speed by Mando. He needs Kuiil to guard the child. Kuiil has repaired and reprogrammed the bounty droid, IG-11. Mando doesn't want it anywhere near the baby. As IG-11 serves tea, Kuiil and Cara Dune argue over his servitude for the Empire. Kuiil agrees to watch the child, but he will bring the droid and his three Blurgs on the trip. He refuses to take any payment for his services.

The Razor Crest flies towards Navarro. Kuiil builds a new, fortified carrier for Baby Yoda. The child watches as Mando and Cara Dune arm wrestle. Baby Yoda thinks Mando is in danger. He uses the force to choke Cara Dune. Mando quickly picks him. She's a friend. Everyone is stunned by this display of power. They still don't understand how it happened.

They meet Greef Karga and his bounty hunter guards on the lava fields of Navarro. Mando, Kuiil, and Cara Dune ride the Blurgs while Baby Yoda floats along in his new carrier. When they rest overnight by a fire, they are attacked by massive pterodactyl-like creatures. They whisk off two Blurgs and a bounty hunter, and scratch Greef Karga's arm. As he lays dying from poison, Baby Yoda gets out and uses the force to heal his wound. This action will come to play again in this week's big screen release The Rise of Skywalker. The group is stunned again.

As they reach the town, Greef Karga kills his bounty hunter guards. The plan was to turn on Mando and hand over the child. He couldn't betray them after he was saved. Karga has a new plan. Bring Mando in with Cara Dune posing as a bounty hunter who caught him. There are only four stormtroopers. They can kill the Client and overpower the guards. Mando agrees, despite Dune's skepticism. Baby Yoda will stay with Kuiil, but they will bring the carrier as bait. Kuiil reminds Cara Dune to cover her shocktrooper tattoo.

They enter the town. It's crawling with stormtroopers. Cara Dune is not happy. A trooper on a speeder checks Greef Karga's ID, then offers to buy Mando's helmet for twenty credits. They enter the bar where the Client awaits. It's also packed with stormtroopers. The Client marvels at Mando's Beskar armor. He reminds them of the benefits of Imperial rule. Greef Karga says the child is asleep inside the carrier. He passes a blaster discreetly to Mando.

The Client gets up to receive a holo call at the bar. He tells the caller the baby's asleep. Suddenly laser fire tears through the bar, killing the Client. Mando, Cara Dune, and Greef Karga take cover from the barrage. The stormtroopers inside are gunned down. Outside the bar, an Imperial troop carrier arrives. Stormtroopers pour out, taking position behind a line of elite, black armored shadow troopers. A TIE fighter swoops down and lands behind the legion of soldiers.

Mando radios Kuiil. Return to the ship and take off immediately, they are pinned down. Kuiil turns the Blurg and races toward the Razor Crest. But the stormtroopers on speeders intercepted the message and are in hot pursuit. As Kuiil and Baby Yoda gallop, Moff Gideon walks calmly from the fighter towards the bar entrance. He yells loudly that they have no idea how important the child is to him...and that he will have it shortly. Mando frantically contacts Kuiil, but gets no response. A stormtrooper picks Baby Yoda off the ground, and speeds back to town. Kuiil and his Blurg lay dead on the lava field.

Poor Kuiil, the Ugnaught deserved better. The Mandalorian has killed numerous enemies. He finally loses a friend. The finale is going to be a whopper. Mando, Cara Dune, and Greef Karga are surrounded by Moff Gideon's troops at the bar. Baby Yoda has been captured. How will our hero survive? I have a feeling IG-11, back at the Razor Crest, is the answer to their dilemma. The Mandalorian season finale premieres next Friday on Disney+ apps and DisneyPlus.com.

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Julian Roman at TVweb
Julian Roman