Father Figures: The Tie That Binds

“For me, being a dad can only be described as an adventure.

An often Herculean navigation of twists and turns, good ‘weather’ and bad, tears, laughter, screams of joy and cries of sorrow.

I am a dad to 15. Biological, trans-racial, special needs, domestic and international foster/adoptive parent, advocate and warrior for the weak. Helper to my children who gracefully battle cancer, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, ADHD, bipolar disorder, autism, epilepsy, mental illness and more.

I have the most amazing view of an extraordinary landscape made of all shapes, sizes and colors. The common thread, the tie that binds, is love and respect for similarities but more importantly love and respect for the differences. Our ‘patchwork quilt’ of a family has been sewn together and stitched in love and bound with grace.

I humbly serve as Patriarch and never take for granted the immense responsibility bestowed on us as dads!”

– Rick Ingle

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

The 20 Best Comments of 2019

Best Comments of the Year

Every week we pan for comedy gold in the comments section of our Facebook posts. If a comment cracks us up (or warms our hearts) we showcase it.

Here’s a roundup of the 20 Most Liked Comments of 2019:

1. Cold 

2. Say What? 

3. Who Dis?

4. Double Header

5. Classic Karen

6. New Terms

7. RIP

8. Tight

9. Saucey

10. Dad Soles

11. Monkey in the Wrench

12. He’s Got Stones

13. Death, Taxes and Dinner Decisions

14. Having Seconds

15. Shrek-Bod

16. Go Figure 

17. Cravings

18. He Answered her Quarry

19. Consider This Guy Miles Davis

20. Uncle Dad

These Guys Built the First Real-Life ‘Protosaber’ From Star Wars

Hacksmith's Real Life Protosaber
(YouTube/the Hacksmith)

Arguably the most popular sci-fi weapon of all time, a real-life lightsaber from Star Wars has been coveted by fanboys and girls for decades. They can deflect projectiles, cut through nearly anything, and honestly, just look so damn cool. Unfortunately, a lightsaber as they function in a galaxy far, far away is currently impossible to create (thanks, science), but that doesn’t mean we can’t get dangerously close.

True Star Wars nerds will recognize the protosaber (or “proto-saber”) as the lightsaber’s archaic predecessor, it’s defining attribute being an attached battery pack required to power the weapon.

(Wookieepedia)

According to Wookiepedia, “the hilt [of a protosaber] was connected via cable to an external power pack due to limitations in power pack technology.” There simply wasn’t a power supply small or powerful enough to fit inside the hilt of a weapon, so the ancient Jedi were forced to fight with battery containers slung over shoulders or on a belt.

Yes, the most powerful beings in the galaxy fought with space fanny packs.

The Hacksmith, a YouTube channel dedicated to taking “fictional ideas from movies, video games & comics, and [making] real working prototypes,” decided to delve deep into Star Wars lore and design the very first working protosaber (or something remarkably close to it) and while it doesn’t function in exactly the same way, it’s definitely remarkable (and dangerous as hell) in its own right.

In place of the standard solid beam of plasma, the Hacksmith sends 20kW of power coursing through a think rod of tungsten⁠—enough energy to power half of an average North American home. The result is a highly dangerous, superheated blade that can do some serious damage.

Fortunately, the creators don’t underestimate the power of the force (or the power of a giant container of batteries) and wield the weapon without any unintended amputations.

Is it practical? No.

Is it an actual lightsaber? Not really.

Is it super badass and do I want one even though I would probably maim myself?

Dad Perfectly Executes “See Ya Next Decade” Joke That Was 10 Years in the Making

Dad's "See You Next Decade" Joke
(Getty/skynesher)

PROVO, UT – Experiencing a level of excitement that he hadn’t felt in years, local dad Michael Hardy was more than ready for New Year’s to arrive, as he’d been waiting since the year 2009 to bust out his classic “see you next decade” joke.

“Every year on December 31st I tell my family, ‘see you next year,’ and it kills. But this year, heading into 2020, it’s a whole other level of comedy,” claimed Michael, insisting that an event this rare only comes around a few times in a dad’s lifetime.

As Michael practiced the joke several times in the bathroom mirror to ensure he got it right, he briefly considered coming up with a completely new joke about 20/20 vision, though ultimately decided against it knowing that his fans were expecting the classics.

“See you next decade!” yelled Michael a minute before the clock struck midnight – sending his family into a fit of uncontrollable laughter well into 2020.

Moments later Michael was jolted awake by the sound of his alarm clock.

Despite being completely plausible to parents, THIS JUST IN is satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. For more stories like this one click here.

Ring in 2020 With These Boozy Baby Yoda Beverages

Boozy Baby Yoda Beverages
(Instagram/theginhound)

It’s Baby Yoda’s world now, we just live in it. When it comes to all-encompassing internet trends, we at least are far better off with Baby Yoda than we were with Baby Shark, which really pushed the boundaries for “annoying.” Baby Yoda, the breakout star from “The Mandalorian” on Disney+, has been in memes, toys, videos and more.

And what makes it at least somewhat fun is the personal touch everyone is leaving on the Baby Yoda craze. From popping up in street art, to the people that went to the lengths of decapitating angels to make Baby Yoda cookies, people are taking Baby Yoda and putting their own spin on it. Which is why this latest twist is enjoyable.

Baby Yoda is now a cocktail. They are popping up at bars all over the country. A bar in Nebraska was one of the first to make a Baby Yoda cocktail, including different types of rum and cherries for the eyes.

OK, you’re gonna just have to go with us on this. The key to making these really look like Baby Yoda is to drink a lot of them. The more you consume, the more Yoda-like they become.

If gin is more your style, a bar in Minnesota ran one out, again using the cherries for eyes, limes for ear playbook. And again, we can sort of see the logic behind it. The important thing is, all trends are better in alcohol form, so this movement should be encouraged and supported.

 

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We’ve reached peak internet over here at the Sheridan Room with our #babyyoda gimlet.

A post shared by The Sheridan Room (@thesheridanroom) on

There is no better cocktail to ring in 2020 than a Baby Yoda inspired drink. Consuming a healthy amount of alcohol along with embracing the hottest internet meme in the game is a fitting end to a Star Wars heavy year.

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I know nothing about Yoda, Baby Yoda and/or Star Wars – saw the first movie back in 1977 and decided it was not for me. But I could not resist trying my hand at the Baby Yoda drinks I have been seeing. Mine is a Yoda my friend @eydsdatter who knows her Star Wars stuff tells me, as it has a lightsaber. I started by mixing: 9 cl gin – I used my bergamotte infused Beefeater 9 cl fresh pineapple juice 3 cl fresh lime juice 3 cl orgeat Then I poured 3 cl whole organic milk in a small pitcher and added the drinks mix. After 30 minutes I poured it through a fine mesh strainer lined with a clean cotton napkin. After 1 hour my patience was gone and I secured 12 cl of the amount that had dripped through and poured it into a shaker and added 2 cl green Chartreuse. I gave it a quick shake with ice and strained it into my glass already kitted out with a wash cloth coat and a breadstick turned into a lightsaber. Then just a quick ear and eye garnish and Yoda is your uncle. Should I ever make it again I would substitute lime/bergamotte cordial for the orgeat. Orgeat and green Chartreuse is not a match made in galaxy far, far away. Or maybe it is but it does not taste very good. Also I poured the rest of the mix through for a second strain and it looks very clear. Had I been more patient my Yoda could have been quite clear. #cocktailgarnish #yodacocktail #cocktails #babyyodacocktail

A post shared by Andrea (@theginhound) on

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Yup, that's a Baby Yoda cocktail.⁠ ⁠ When a customer asked one Lux Central bartender to make a cocktail inspired by the Star Wars character, he had no idea he'd happened to stumble upon the perfect man for the job.⁠ ⁠ Bartender Sammy Black started working at the uptown coffee shop and bar 15 years ago. He's been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember.⁠ ⁠ Tap the link in bio for everything you need to know about the wildly adorable cocktail.⁠ ⁠ (📷 by Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic)⁠ ⁠ #phx #cenpho #luxcentral #babyyoda #phxfoodculture #phxdrinks #azcdrinks #cocktailgram #drinkstagram #starwars #babyyodacocktail #foodstagram #arizonagram #phoenixaz #phxaz #phoenixarizona #thechild #disney #cocktailsofinstagram #starwarsnerd #starwarsislife #mandalorian #themandalorian #disneyplus #disneylife #disneyinsta #disneygram #drinksdrinksdrinks #drinksofinstagram #lux

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Dad Rang in New Year With Annual Tradition of Filing Noise Complaint on Neighbors

Dad Files Noise Complaint on NYE
(Getty/Westend61)

HEMPSTEAD, NY – Continuing an annual family tradition that takes place every January 1st, local father Jay Marshall rang in the New Year by waking up around midnight, cursing to himself a few times, and filing a noise complaint on his neighbors.

“It just wouldn’t have felt like New Year’s unless I called the cops on those college kids across the street,” said Jay, who noted that there are noise ordinances in the area and that music needs to be kept to a minimum, even on holidays.

The cops informed Jay that they would look into it—a response that they had given him each of the previous eight New Year’s—Jay eventually decided to take action into his own hands. He cut the power lines leading to another neighbor’s house where, according to him, there were people counting down in a particularly loud manner.

“I’m as fun as the next guy, and in fact, my celebration last night was pretty wild,” continued Jay, whose personal New Year’s party consisted of watching the first hour of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and then putting his kids to bed at 9 pm.

When asked how he would prefer his neighbors to act on New Year’s Eve, Jay recommended that they consider celebrating the New Year of an earlier time zone and going to sleep at a more reasonable hour.

Despite being completely plausible to parents, THIS JUST IN is satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. For more stories like this one click here.

R2-D2 Subtitles Reveal a Droid Who’s Just Sick of Everyone’s Shit

R2-D2 Subtitles
(YouTube/Eclectic Method)

In a galaxy filled with countless alien species and diverse cultures, it makes sense that not everyone speaks a common tongue. Thankfully, George Lucas provided subtitles to the likes of Jabba, Greedo, and others in order to help his largely Earthling audience comprehend the characters and subtleties in Star Wars.

What’s surprising, though, is that R2-D2, a character who spans all three trilogies, is left bleeping and blooping without a single caption to help us interpret what he’s saying. Sure, we get the gist from straight-laced C-3PO that the little astromech is about as sassy as they come, but the nuances are totally lost on us. Until now.

Youtuber and self-proclaimed “video remixer” Eclectic Method compiled together a number of snippets of R2 from the original and prequel trilogy, finally translating the little droids techno-babble and revealing the hilarious and, uh… colorful language we always expected.

While Eclectic Method’s take is objectively entertaining, R2’s potty-mouthed vocabulary remains ambiguous in the films—coincidentally, censored as his typical series beeps. God only knows what these classic movies would be rated otherwise.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Series Reportedly Casting for Young Luke Skywalker

Kenobi and Luke
(Disney+)

With both Rise of Skywalker and The Mandalorian season finale getting released this past week, the sun is now setting on this generation of Star Wars, so let us take a moment to reflect on the…

Wait, hold on, sorry. It appears as though our galaxy will never be void of Star Wars.

Time itself belongs to Star Wars now.

If you haven’t heard, Ewan McGregor is reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi for an upcoming Disney+ series centering around the Jedi hermit during what we’ve assumed would be his years on Tattooine. That suspicion is now confirmed; not only because it’s the only thing that would make any sense, but also the producers are reportedly on the search for a young actor to play Luke Skywalker.

The scoop comes from known scoop-guy Daniel Richtman, who has a decent track record of sniffing out film intel on his Patreon account. Yes, that’s right: you can pay people to spoil things for you now! Anyway,  /Film has also confirmed the rumor, so it’s a safe bet we’ll see Obi-Wan watching over his young future apprentice in the series. What we don’t know is how large a role the kid will play in the series. While it’s clear in the original film that Luke and Old Ben have met, it’s not like they are super close. It’s doubtful we’ll see a repeat of the Mando/Baby Yoda relationship, although Disney has been known to reuse things that work. (“On your left”/”You’re not alone,” anyone?).

The series’ is going to be helmed by Deborah Chow, who directed two of the best episodes of The Mandalorian‘s first season, but it’s anyone’s guess what the story will actually…be. According to McGregor, the show will see Obi-Wan dealing with the fall of the Jedi Order and his own exile:

“It will be interesting to take a character we know in a way and show him — well, his arc will be quite interesting, I think, dealing with that the fact that all the Jedi were slaughtered with the end of Episode III. It’s quite something to get over.

Of course, actors are rarely allowed to say anything of substance this early on in a project, so that’s all just a bunch of press talk. Still, Chow has proven herself to be an excellent storyteller who can command action-packed shootouts and simmering tension with equal finesse. Will this Kenobi story take place entirely on Tatooine, as the disgraced Master protects young Luke, or will there be a surprise adventure none of us see coming?

While the odds are that Skywalker will only be a periphery character, there’s always the chance other old friends could pop in. If you listen very closely you can hear Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Ginn in The Rise of Skywalker. Could the new series feature a guest appearance from Obi-Wan’s old master? Perhaps training him to become a force ghost? It certainly seemed like we’d get that cameo in Revenge of The Sith when Yoda was all like, “I’ve been talking to Qui-Gon” and Obi-Wan was like “Really?!!” and then the movie just slurped into a different scene without any payoff. Also, one of the Joel Edgerton played Uncle Owen in the prequel trilogy, and what’s he up to these days? Get that Disney money!

The untitled Kenobi show begins filming in 2020, and while the scripts are written, there’s no word yet on a release date.

*an earlier edition of this article reported that Liam Hemsworth played Uncle Owen instead of Joel Edgerton. Apologies for the error, but in our defense, they’re basically the same.

The Dad Of The Month, December 2019: Greg Gottsch

(Greg Gottsch)

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for December, 2019: Greg Gottsch. Greg’s experience as a father didn’t begin the way he anticipated, but every step of the way Greg has stepped up as a partner and parent. His wife, Amber, shared the following:

(Greg Gottsch)

“Our first child was born at 24 weeks, weighing 1lb 4oz. I had preeclampsia and would have died the night our son was born, but my husband was so worried he stayed awake to watch over me. As soon as I started seizing, he rushed me to the hospital where I had an emergency C-section. I was unconscious in ICU in critical condition while they explained to my husband that our son, Wyatt, would likely die but he could hold him while he passed. While I remained unconscious, Greg learned to pump my breast milk to feed our son in hopes of increasing his chance of survival. When I woke up, Greg carried me to finally meet Wyatt and he’s been carrying our family ever since.

(Greg Gottsch)

For the 6 months our son was in the NICU, Greg worked during the day, providing for us and ensuring I could be in the hospital with Wyatt. All the while he was working toward his bachelor’s degree, determined to give his family the best he could. It was physically and emotionally the most exhausting year of our lives. The hospital staff warned me that many relationships can’t withstand the stress we were faced with, that they often see men leave. But not Greg. Never once did he complain. He simply said, ‘this is fatherhood and I will do whatever it takes to take care of my son.’

(Greg Gottsch)

Greg stepped up to the plate of caring for a special-needs child, to being the sole provider, and to carrying our family through many more storms. We’ve since had another (full-term and healthy!) child and he has stepped up to the challenge again. Being a father is his greatest joy. In fact, we hope to become foster parents and offer a stable home to kids who need it, and I’m confident we can offer that because Greg is such a great daddy. I don’t know anyone who works harder or loves his kids more.

(Greg Gottsch)

The passion Greg has for fatherhood and for supporting men to embrace the role of dad is contagious. It’s what led him to following The Dad. I can’t think of anyone more incredible or deserving of being The Dad of the Month than Greg. He is the epitome of a great dad!”

(Greg Gottsch)

To recognize Greg’s perseverance and dedication to his family, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. From the very beginning, Greg has proven his outstanding commitment to the well-being of his wife and kids. We salute you!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life!

12-Year-Old Constructs Custom LEGO Wheelchair for Two-Legged Puppy

12yo Constructs LEGO Wheelchair for Puppy
(Facebook/Amazing Gracie)

Animals with special needs can have a hard time finding a family. Often brought into shelters after being abandoned or found on the streets, these furry little fluffs have just as much love to share, if only they can find the right forever home. But sometimes that journey can be a difficult one for even the bravest little pup. A pup like Gracie.

(Facebook)

Found wondering the streets alone and in very rough shape, Gracie was brought into the Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue in Georgia. The rescue’s director, Tammy Turley, immediately fell in love with the tiny little golden bundle of fur, permanently adopting Gracie last year. Now in the loving arms of a loving family, things were looking up for Gracie.

However, there was still one obstacle she’d need to overcome. That’s because Gracie was born with just two legs.

Although she managed to navigate decently, she needs help as she kept growing. Having dealt with many rescue animals in the past, Tammy knew her new puppy would need a specialized wheelchair to gain full mobility. The devices aren’t cheap, and Gracie would grow quickly, so a temporary solution would be needed.

Tammy reached out to 12-year-old rescue volunteer Dylan to see if the bright young boy had any ideas that may help. Dylan didn’t disappoint. In no time he had crafted the perfect solution: a LEGO wheelchair. Without instructions or directions, the talented tinkerer got to work and produced an impressive prototype that performed on the first try.

(Facebook)

Within a few weeks, she needed a larger model, and Dylan was ready with an upgraded rig. After that, a third.

(Facebook)

Finally, Gracie was old enough for a real medical prosthetic, but Dylan’s creations would always be part of her incredible story.

Check out this video below for even more adorable shots of Gracie in her element.

 

Mascot Trucks a Group of Kids on Touchdown Run

Bengals Mascot Bulldozes Kids
(Twitter/Bengals)

As football season is wrapping up, it’s important to pay homage to one of the best plays of the season, which happened during halftime of a Cincinnati Bengals game (let’s be honest, not many highlights are happening during actual Bengals play). This touchdown run came between a game pitting Cincinnati-based mascots against a group of kids. Why? Who cares? What is important is how the University of Cincinnati Bearcat didn’t take it easy on those kids and trucked about four of them en route to this beautiful, diving touchdown.

The stiff-arm alone is a beautiful thing, but then he also plows through two other kids, before lunging and launching another into the endzone for the score. And the Bearcat showed his prowess on both sides of the ball, as he also tracked down one of the tots and prevented him from scoring with a huge tackle.

The stiff-arm alone was so good, it drew comparisons to the University of Minnesota Gopher dropping a child a few years ago.

Paul Dehner Jr. from The Athletic caught up with the 10-year-old who was on the receiving end of the stiff-arm and also talked to some of the parents of kids who played against the mascots.

The piece is great, and I recommend reading it all.

The kid did say he was happy it happened, and the team and their parents loved that the video went viral and they were tracking views before the actual game was over.

Their coach said every single one of the kids loved it and had a blast. And the Bengals, for their part, should probably offer that mascot a contract for next year.

Father Figures: The Dad Switch

“When I met my husband, Josh, we were in college. He was focused on having a great time, Michigan football, and getting to law school. When we started dating and it got serious, he made no secret of the fact that he had no interest in getting married or having kids.

Fast forward a few years and we were married.

We had agreed to be married for a year before trying to have a baby. Or so I thought. His take on the accord was that we would discuss trying for a baby after a year. We were married for 10 months when I couldn’t wait any longer. I broke down in tears in his truck and told him I was afraid it would take a long time to get pregnant and I felt like I was already getting old. I was 30, lol!

He took my complete mental breakdown in stride and seemed to tacitly consent since he knew I pulled the goalie and kept sleeping with me anyway. When I wasn’t pregnant immediately, I was distraught. Josh had a very relaxed approach and he just kept telling me it will happen when it happens. Cool as a cucumber.

Sure enough, we welcomed our daughter, Poppy, a year later. As soon as Poppy was born, Josh was smitten and angling for another baby. It was as though the “dad switch” had been flipped. He went from cool, calm, and a little detached about having a family to completely obsessed.

We had another baby, our son Beau, this past spring. The kids are 23 months apart, so our house is a never ending gong show and he’s never been happier.

Getting a front row seat for this transformation has made me love him more than I thought possible.”

– Sarah Latzman

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

The Mandalorian Episode 8 Recap: What’s Up With That Lightsaber?

Mandos Save Din
(Disney+)

In the recap for last week’s episode, I talked about how the show played into video game lore by introducing the force-heal power into the live-action Star Wars universe, which most of us now know was a setup for what goes down in The Rise of Skywalker. This week’s finale, however, is essentially the greatest hits album of video game tropes, while also managing to be one of the most heartfelt, nuanced and entertaining episodes yet. We’ve got mini-guns, flame-thrower sub-bosses, and setting aside prejudices to form new friendships!! Taika Waititi, man. Taika Waititi.  As always, *SPOILER ALERT* from here on out.

The episode opens with the greatest scene in the history of Star Wars? The two scout troopers who offed Uncle Ugnaught race back to the city with Baby Yoda in tow, stopping to await orders. Played by Jason Sudeikis and Adam Pally, the two chat idly, the subordinate trying to convince his superior to let him see the baby. It’s a funny scene that mocks what terrible shots Stormtroopers are. Ever since Obi-Wan snuck past some troopers talking about “the new VT-16” in A New Hope, the Empire’s faceless soldiers have always had a bit of a working-man vibe when you catch them having a chat. This scene lays into that hard enough to make you almost like these two dickheads, right up until they start punching Baby Yoda.

Enter my boy, IG-Taika Waititi, the reprogramed killer nanny bot. He drops in to murder the Tag and Bink wannabes and get his kid back. I’m sincerely worried dads are going to start asking their neighbor’s 12-year-old to demonstrate that wrist-breaking maneuver before trusting them to babysit for 20 bucks.

IG and Baby Yoda
(TheNerdStash.com)

Anyway, back in town, things aren’t awesome for Mando and his crew. Moff Gus From Breaking Bad still has the space team cornered in the local bar…which, hey, things could be worse, right? The big bad drops some key points of information to intimidate our friends. He knows Cara Dune is from Alderaan, which is why she hates the Empire so much. He knows The Mandalorian’s real name! And he calls out Carl Wethers for…being kinda old, I guess? Dramatic stuff. Mando and Cara Dune explain to Carl Wethers than being a Mandalorian isn’t a race, because yes, race is a social construct, Ok boomer? Yes, even in a galaxy with fish-people.

We get the full flashback of Din Dijin’s family being killed during the Clone Wars, and Mando explains how Moff Gus was the Imperial behind the big Mandalorian purge we keep hearing about. He was supposed to have been executed for war crimes but it looks like the New Republic is already getting sloppy with paperwork.

Anyway, Moff Gus gives them until nightfall to surrender for no real reason other than it’s a television show. We don’t have to wait that long, though because IG-Taika Waiti saves the day, blasting in on his speeder to start a big ole’ gunfight. Before the fight, Moss Gus made a big deal about how cool his big gun was, so of course, Mando goes right for it and turns it on the Imps. The team hit the standard approx 75-to-1 ratio of kills during a fight with the Empire but is forced to retreat back to the bar when Mando gets hit with one of Moff Gus’ frags. I’ve been playing a lot of Fallen Order lately, and you just gotta watch out for those bonus attacks.

In the bar, a flame-trooper goes in to burn everyone alive (I mean…Jesus) while the team argues about how to get out of there. Mando wants everyone to leave him to die covering their escape, but Cara Dune’s not having any of that because Cara Dune is the best of all of us. Baby Yoda proves to be a Baby Yoda Of Action and saves the day by blasting the flame trooper’s fireball back in his face using the Force. Then, like me, after doing anything remotely taxing, he takes a little nap.

IG-Taika Waitit promises to take care of Mando while everyone else jumps into the garbage shoot sewer grate. This, in my opinion, is the strongest moment of the series so far. All of the connections they have built over the season – Mando’s droid racism, IG-Taika Waititi’s obvious Mandalorian stand-in metaphors, the very question of who Din Dejarin is under that helmet – all come to this perfect, understated moment. Only the droid can save the Mandalorian. And since the droid “is not alive,” removing the Beskar helmet isn’t technically breaking with the code. We see Pedro Pascal’s face for the first time, and he’s just a person under all that armor after all. Fragile and vulnerable.

Mando's Face
(WhereverIlook.com)

The team is reunited in the sewers, where they learn that the entire Mandalorian clan from the beginning of the season has been wiped out by the Empire for helping Mando escape in episode three. Only the Armorer survives, cleaning up the devastation Mando has left in his wake. She finally meets Baby Yoda and declares the child to be a foundling, just like Din was. Until ManDADlorian can train the kid in the creed, or return him to his own kind, they are officially father and son in the eyes of Mandalore. Mando finally receives his signet – the mudhorn monster from episode two that the Armorer tried to give him before. Only this time it is given with the understanding that Mando and Baby Yoda are a clan unto themselves. (Cara Dune and the rest of the gang don’t say anything about that, but like…burn.) He also gets a jetpack, which is less meaningful, but what’s a good cut scene without an equipment upgrade?

The gang leaves the Armorer to her cleanup on aisle 11, and soon Stormtroopers descend on her in what looks like a heroic, ceremonial end for the character. But she ends up beating the shit out of a whole squad of stormtroopers instead, which was just great.

Mando and co make their way out of town playing a big game of The Floor Is (Literally) Lava. With stormtroopers at the exit, however, it’s up to IG-Taika Waititi to save everyone by making the ultimate sacrifice. In episode one, Mando had to stop the assassin droid from blowing himself up for selfish reasons. Now, in the finale Din Dejarin again pleads with the same droid, but this time it’s because -even with no other choice- The Mandalorian wants his friend to live. Cyclical storytelling that highlights character growth: George Lucas 101. As the man himself once said, “It rhymes.”

Still, IG-Taika Waititi does what needs to be done and clears the path by blowing up his central processor and taking all the stormtroopers with him. Flights of Angels, buddy.

The finale of the episode sees the Mandalorian finally get to use a jetpack in a fun air fight with Moff Gus’ TIE Fighter. It’s a very Indiana Jones moment: Mando is badass, but he still drops his little bombs at first, you know, because getting yanked around by a starfighter in low atmosphere is probably kinda hard. Anyway, the ship goes down and Mandalorian gets a 7 for the landing, with a little flourish of his theme music that I’ll miss very much. It’s time to say goodbye to the space team and The Mandalorian flys off with Baby Yoda the same way we saw baby Din flown off to safety in the flashback earlier.

(Collider)

The big surprise cliffhanger tag of the episode is not that Boba Fett shows up, but that Moff Gus cuts his way out of his downed TIE Fighter using the Darksaber. Clone Wars and Rebels fans will recognize this particular “not just any lightsaber” as the legendary weapon used by the first (possibly only?) Mandalorian inducted into the Jedi Order centuries ago. (Mini-Spoiler Alert ahead, if you want to go back and watch those shows totally cold).

The sword has played a big part in Mandalorian culture over the years, passing hands among fan-favorite characters Darth Maul and Sabine Wren. There’s a lot to infer here since we know Moff Gus had some part to play in the Great Purge. His having the ceremonial weapon is probably not going to sit well with The Mandalorian in the future. Are we setting up a story where Mando will reclaim the sword and unite all Mandalorians? Will this all align with his growing beyond and expanding the dogmatic creed as he corrects the sins of the past? IS IT MAYBE GONNA BE LIKE A STAR WARS THING, YOU THINK?

Very frustratingly, we’ll have to wait until Fall 2020 to learn more.

Blaster Fire:

  • The Mandalorians who rescued baby Din Dijarin and brought him into the Creed are members of DEATH WATCH (Dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnn). In Clone Wars the Death Watch clan were all about bringing honor back to Mandalore, and generally speaking, they were sorta portrayed as bad guy terrorists who weren’t very chill with the Jedi. Still, the Jedi were stupid pricks about the Clone Wars in general, so it’s cool to see a more heroic side of the controversial clan of Mandos. It’s always about a certain point of view, after all.
  • There’s a fun bit of narrative trickery when Mando has his flashback. We know that Moff Gus was part of the Mandalorian Purge, but we hear that story while also seeing the Mandalorians rescue Din from certain death during the clone wars. These two events are years apart, but the narrative sleight of hand emphasizes Moff Gus as a nemesis to Mando. It’s not that he was there during the raid on the village, but by learning about these two disconnected stories at the same time, we’re conditioned to see the Moff as an overarching villain in Mando’s story.
  • I could go on all day about the unmasking scene. IG-Taika Waititi claims that because he’s “not alive,” it’s not breaking the Mandolorian creed to see Den’s face. But in seeing his droid buddy face-to-face for the first time, Den lets some of his hatred of droids go. That’s the moment Mando sees the droid as a person, even if not a technically living one. It’s bending the rules, to say the least, but in a way that suggests the growth, our main character is experiencing through this story.
  • Absolutely love how the Armorer and Mando talk about the Jedi as this vague, mysterious band of sorcerers, and how they are “the enemy.” Playing into the Jedi/Mandalorian conflict is great fodder for the story as the Mandalorian dad raises his Jedi baby. Also, I know people who love to obsess over details will be like “how do people not remember the Jedi from like 30 years ago,” but the fact is Star Wars is cooler when the mystical stuff is kept in the shadows. The Jedi are just more interesting when they are unknown and mysterious, rather than a weird law enforcement agency.
  • IG-Taika Waiti is the best version of the Spock character in like thirty years. Not to franchise-hop, but Taika nails delivering an inhuman performance who is subtly full of compassion and humanity. Everything the droid does, including explaining his own “jokes,” is cold and calculated, but it’s obvious that despite his saying otherwise, he was very much alive.