Within action-packed shell of The Mandalorian chapter 8, a rich, succulent nugget of characterization for Mando was slowly revealed. His brush with death gave us the first opportunity we’ve ever had to actually see Pedro Pascal in his role as the Mandalorian, when IG-11 (Taika Waititi) removes his helmet to save his life under the amusingly convenient technicality that the droid isn’t a living being, which means Mando wouldn’t wound his honor if he reveals his face to IG-11. It’s a deeply humanizing moment for our hero (whose full name has now been spoken on-screen) to show his face in his most desperate moment, visibly frightened and lost like any other person in the face of death. Additionally, it’s particularly special because IG-11 came to represent a mirror for Mando and the kind of man he used to be.
After a little help shaking off the grim reaper, Mando had bestowed upon him an official signet to represent his complete identity within the Mandalorian creed, and finally got a slick jetpack of his very own. Being of no traditional Mandalorian clan himself, he has become his own collective unit with the Child (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) as a Clan of Two, and was given his mission: return the Child to where he belongs — that being the Jedi, according to their theory — or otherwise raise the Child unto his adulthood, if the foundling has no home to return to. We know what happened to the Jedi, and what’s more, we understand that the Jedi aren’t the Child’s people to begin with, speaking particularly towards species. If the Child belongs anywhere, it’s with Mando — but again, that’s the overarching emotional journey we’re going on with our favorite chrome-domed himbo as he continues fully realizing that.
Chapter 8 of The Mandalorian was mainly about taking all of the subtext of Mando and the Child becoming a familial unit over the past seven episodes and turning it into text with big block letters for everybody to get on-board with. Along with that, Mando gained the tools and status he needed to finish the transition from hunter to protector — and a whole human being with feelings, at that. It isn’t his destiny to die the warrior’s death he first insisted on — it’s to live and be the parental figure he never had the joy of receiving.