Welcome to my latest episode review for The Mandalorian. The reviews will follow my usual format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at the season 2 finale, Chapter 16: The Rescue.
The Slave I chases down an Imperial Shuttle that is transporting Dr Pershing and disables it with an ion blast, allowing Din Djarin and Cara Dune to board it. One of the pilots attempts to surrender, but is gunned down by the other pilot, who uses Dr Pershing as a human shield. He taunts Cara at the loss of Alderaan and she manages to shoot him without hitting Dr Pershing, who they take captive.
With Dr Pershing captured, the group track down Bo-Katan and Koska Reeves in a bar. Though there are initial fractions between the Nite Owls and Boba Fett, Bo-Katan agrees to help Din rescue Grogu, though she adds some terms to her agreement that will help her take back Mandalore, including the Darksaber and Moff Gideon’s cruiser.
“Enough! Both of you! If we had shown half that spine to the Empire we would’ve never lost our planet.”
With the group formed, they begin to plan the rescue, with Dr Pershing providing some information to help them create their plan, including the location of Grogu and details on the dark troopers – including their location and that they are new Phase-3 troopers (droids that will require a couple of minutes to power up). Cara wants to take Moff Gideon as a prisoner, however Bo-Katan wants him for herself, so that she can kill him.
The group begin their rescue attempt, with Din, Koska, Bo-Katan, Fennec Shand and Cara in the Imperial Shuttle which is “chased” back to Moff Gideon’s light cruiser by Boba in Slave I, leading to the group making an emergency landing in the hangar via the launch tube – which blocks all but 2 TIE fighters from launching to attack Boba, who jumps away to hyperspace. Bo-Katan, Cara, Fennec and Koska fight their way out of the shuttle, clear the hangar of Imperials and begin fighting their way to the bridge, working as a distraction, allowing Din to slip away unnoticed towards the brig, via the dark troopers’ bay.
The dark troopers are activated, and Din makes it to the bay just as they reach the doors. Din manages to use Dr Pershing’s code cylinder to lock them in their bay, however one manages to force it’s way out and engage Din. Din tries using his blaster, flamethrower and whistling birds against the dark trooper – all to no effect – but eventually disables it by stabbing it in the neck with his beskar spear and cutting the connections to in the droid’s circuits. With that droid disabled, Din jettisons the remaining dark troopers out into space.
“Weapons system disarmed.”
Bo-Katan’s group make it to the bridge and kill everyone there, but Moff Gideon is not present.
Din reaches Grogu’s cell, but finds Moff Gideon already there, threatening Grogu with the darksaber. Moff Gideon tells Din that he has what he needs from Grogu, and he will let Din take him and leave, as long as he leaves immediately rather than help his allies. As Din goes to pick up Grogu, Moff Gideon attacks him from behind with the darksaber, but Din’s armour stands up to the onslaught. Din uses the spear to fight back and successfully disarms Moff Gideon.
Din brings Grogu and the captive Moff Gideon to the bridge, where he attempts to give Bo-Katan the darksaber. However Moff Gideon explains that the weapon itself is a symbol, which now belongs to Din as he won it from him and that if Bo-Katan wishes to lead, then she needs to win it off Din in combat rather than simply having it handed to her. An alarm announces that the ship is being boarded, and the group realise that the dark troopers Din jettisoned have used their rockets to fly back into the ship though open areas that had only ray shields between the interior and space. The dark troopers begin making their way through the ship, securing hallways while making for the bridge. Reaching the blast doors to the bridge, the lead troopers begin punching their way through.
As the troopers get close to breaking through the blast doors, a lone X-wing arrives and lands in the hangar. The troopers stop their attempts to break through tot he bridge and instead turn their focus to the pilot of the X-wing, while the group watch on the monitors how the pilot – a hooded figure with a green lightsaber and gloved right hand – single-handedly fights their way through the troopers, destroying them all.
Moff Gideon uses this distraction to bring up a blaster pistol that he had been hiding to shoot Bo-Katan, who is protected by her beskar armour. Moff Gideon then turns the blaster on Grogu, but Din dives in front of him and his beskar armour deflects the shot. Realising that he has failed and will remain a captive, Moff Gideon attempts to shoot himself, but Cara reacts quick enough to disarm him and knock him out.
Having taken down all the dark troopers, the Jedi makes it to the bridge, and Din opens the doors. The Jedi enters and lowers his helmet, revealing his identity to be Luke Skywalker. Luke tells Grogu to come with him, but Grogu seems hesitant. Luke explains to Din that Grogu wants his permission to go. Din gives his permission and promises to see Grogu again, before removing his helmet for one last goodbye. Grogu still seems hesitant, but the arrival of R2-D2 piques his interest and he allows Luke to take him. Din, Cara, Fennec, Bo-Katan and Koska watch from the bridge as Luke, Grogu and Artoo return to the elevator that will take them down to the hangar level, and the elevator door closes.
In a post-credits scene, Bib Fortuna is sitting on the throne in what was previously Jabba’s palace. Fennec shoots her way in, killing a number of guards and freeing a slave. Boba follows Fennec into the room and kills Bib Fortuna, before taking his place on the throne.
Wow! Just… wow! Season 2 has been largely incredible, and it’s safe to say that the season finale stuck the landing!
First off, I need to discuss the visuals, as everything looked brilliant this episode, from the characters, to the darksaber, to the space battles, to the incredible sets including the hangar full of TIEs, to Grogu (who has felt even more realistic this series) and finally to the dark troopers. The work that everyone has done to make this look realistic has been incredible, and I feel that I probably haven’t given it – or Ludwig Göransson’s score – enough love during the season! Now to work my way through this in some form of chronology to try not to miss anything!
I’ll see you again. I promise.”
First off with the opening dogfight, I thought it looked great – as did the later one as the group began to infiltrate the light cruiser – and would love to see more dogfighting as this goes forward into season 3, though I would also understand if it is kept to just small sequences given we are getting a pilot-centric movie and that Rangers of the New Republic could focus on pilots too. With the shuttle boarded, I love how great the pilot’s performance was, goading Cara about the destruction of Alderaan and showing his true devotion to the Empire.
The moment I saw the Mandalorian-design ship, I knew that things were about to get interesting with the return of Bo-Katan and I love how Mercedes Varnado (WWE’s Sasha Banks) returned alongside her as Koska Reeves. I loved the decision for just Din and Boba to go into meet them as it allowed for some great character moments, such as the Nite Owls not considering Boba a Mandalorian due to his identity as a clone – of course Bo-Katan would know this from her time fighting with the clones in the Siege of Mandalore! – while Boba also didn’t believe in reclaiming Mandalore. This scene is making it clear to Din that there is more than one way of thought in order to be considered a Mandalorian, and I’m sure that this will further lead to Din doing what he feels is right in season 3, rather than just blindly following the creed he has been grown up believing – I think we even saw the start of this at the very end with him willingly removing his helmet in front of everyone to say goodbye to Grogu.
Moving onto the creation of the plan, it did feel a little convenient that Dr Pershing would so willingly give them as much information as he did, and I think that could have been helped even by a quick line from Boba threatening him with death if the mission is not a complete success with Grogu and all the crew making it out in one piece.
And then we come to the actual infiltration, and boy was this a joy to watch, with Ming-Na Wen, Gina Carano, Katee Sackhoff and Mercedes Varnado making an awesome quartet of kick-ass women as they made their way through the ship and took out all the troopers on the way to the bridge. Star Wars has a great history of kick-ass female characters, with Leia, Rey and Ahsoka being just a few examples, and The Mandalorian has done a fantastic job of bringing in even more! I’d have loved to see Cobb Vanth in the group too, but I think the 4 women created a great dynamic.
“You have an impressive fire team protecting you. But I think we all know, after a valiant stand, everyone in this room will be dead… but me… and the child.”
I really enjoyed Din’s fight with the dark trooper as it showed just how strong and dangerous these troopers were, but I can’t help wonder if this took away a little bit from the fight with Moff Gideon just minutes later. I was also a little shocked to see the rest of the troopers just jettisoned and was so glad that they did return later in the episode – though it was convenient how long it took them to jet back.
As for the meeting with Moff Gideon, I loved how he felt so in control of the situation, not just in the cell with Grogu, but also in the later scenes on the bridge. He knows what he needs to know and knows how to use this information to his advantage, making him a very dangerous adversary. I would have loved the fight to go a little longer, but with Din’s beskar armour and spear able to deflect lightsaber blades, there was not going be be any severe danger, and I loved the move to keep him alive.
And then with the arrival of Din and Moff Gideon on the bridge, things got tense, with Moff Gideon explaining that as he had won the darksaber in combat, he is the new owner of the weapon and that Bo-Katan would have to defeat him in combat in order to earn the weapon. Those of us who have followed the journey of the darksaber know that it has been handed to Bo-Katan rather than earned before, and the fact that things appear to have got worse for Mandalore after Sabine Wren gave her the darksaber has probably left her believing even more that she must earn it this time if she wants to retake her homeworld. Of course, the events that followed in this episode left this quandary unsolved, so I imagine that this will carry into season 3 as Din likely helps Bo-Katan reclaim Mandalore. Massive props to both Katee Sackhoff and Giancarlo Esposito for their acting in this scene, as it really felt like he was going to turn the group against each other, while Bo-Katan looked close to snapping and attacking Din.
Of course, this was all interrupted by the convenient return of the dark troopers, and part of me wishes in this moment that their had been a couple of expendable characters along with the group – for example Axe Woves, or even just a couple of other unnamed Nite Owls, who could have been killed with ease by the dark troopers as they took back the ship. Despite this, though, it looked like the group were doomed as they started bashing their way through the blast doors.
“I didn’t know sidekicks were allowed to talk.”
“Well if that isn’t the Quacta calling the Stifling slimy.”
And then, the X-wing arrived. At first, I thought that this would be Captain Carson Teva or Trapper Wolf, and that a fleet of New Republic ships was about to arrive. But when Grogu started to pay attention as the X-wing landed in the hangar, I realised that I was about to see something even better – the return of Luke Skywalker. I loved how this progressed, with all the hint we needed that it was Luke – the green lightsaber, the black robes and one gloved hand – but held off revealing his face until they had to. Personally, Luke was far from my first choice as to the Jedi who would be called by Grogu just because we don’t have Mark Hamill at the right age, so needed to rely on someone like Sebastian Stan who looked very similar or CGI – which appears to be the route that they went – while there was also the risk of more ‘fans’ proclaiming what they saw on screen as “Not my Luke Skywalker” in a show that has largely stayed away from the divides in the fan base (between fans who can have reasonable discussion over different opinions and toxic assholes who are just looking for a fight) that arise at the mere mention of the sequel trilogy. However, while the CGI did leave me in a somewhat uncanny valley, I thought that they cast and crew did a great job on the whole and I was not taken out of the show at all.
And so we got Grogu and Din’s emotional farewell that felt so earned after 2 seasons of following the pair and watching them become like a father and son, and the moment of seeing Din remove his helmet so that Grogu could see – and touch! – his face for one before he left may have left me an emotional wreck right before I had to start work – the joy of 8am releases in the UK. Did the arrival of Artoo feel like fan service? Definitely, but I still loved it, especially after the way that he was largely cast aside in the Sequel Trilogy.
And then, we got something new in the form of a post-credits scene. It was interesting seeing that Bib Fortuna had survived the events of Return of the Jedi and just looked to carry on by taking whatever power he could, and I’d be interested to know how he survived the destruction of Jabba’s Sail Barge (this could be easily explained in Return of the Jedi‘s edition of From A Certain Point of View in 2023). But what is even more interesting and exciting is seeing Boba move to sit on the throne and the final card, telling us that The Book of Boba Fett is coming December 2021. Even after all of those announcements just weeks ago, we have 1 more spin-off coming our way, and while the idea of a Boba Fett spinoff series was not high on my priorities, this final scene and the thought of Fennec playing a big role (an maybe also Timothy Olyphant returning as Cobb Vanth) has me very excited. I wouldn’t be surprised if like Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka, this new series continues to link in with The Mandalorian and potentially be part of the teased crossover event. Bring it on!
“He doesn’t want to go with you.”
“He wants your permission. He is strong with the Force, but talent without training is nothing. I will give my life to protect the Child… but he will not be safe until he masters his abilities.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- Lucasfilm have made a bold move by having Grogu go off with Luke, as it’s hard to imagine that he will be a regular in season 3. Hopefully the viewing figures don’t take a drop as a result.
- I loved the decision to specify that these were phase 3 dark troopers, as it allows for some further history to be created for the dark trooper program. Will the death troopers be considered one of the earlier phases? Either way, I’ll be shocked if they don’t turn up in Andor
- I hope that the decision to not kill off Moff Gideon in this episode means that he remains a factor going forward, as Giancarlo Esposito has been fantastic in the role!
Moments in Canon
- The scene between Cara and the shuttle pilot made references to the destruction of Alderaan and both Death Stars
- Bo-Katan correctly identifies Boba Fett as a clone
- The phase 3 dark troopers are the first all-droid phase
What did you think of the episode?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you….