Welcome to Top 10. In this series, I will pick a subject in Star Wars and pick my top 10 rankings within that category. The rankings are heavily weighted towards my favourites, but will also take into account their impact on the story or the overall canon. With season 2 of The Mandalorian now in the rear-view mirror, today I will be going through my Top 10 moments from season 2 of The Mandalorian.
Obviously it goes without saying, but please be aware that there will be spoilers for season 2 of The Mandalorian.
If season 1 was good, season 2 went to a completely different level, with the story expanding in a wonderful way and a number of characters from other stories finding their way into the show in wonderful but natural ways.
So without further ado, let’s begin the countdown!
10: Blowing up the boat
From Chapter 11
This was a very quick moment in the episode but it was one of the most beautiful visuals of the entire series, as Din watched on from the shore as Bo-Katan, Koska and Axe destroyed the boat on which they rescued Din, silhouetted against the sunset. The Volume results in a lot of backlighting, but if it leads to shots like this, then I won’t be complaining!
9: Meeting Cobb Vanth
From Chapter 9
Chapter 9 went all out to feel like a Western and I was all for it! And more than that, but the show did what I would have never thought possible: bringing in a character from the books in Cobb Vanth. After the way The Rise of Skywalker gave those of us who have dived into the wider canon the middle finger, it was incredible to see a character who featured in just 3 chapters of a book trilogy brought into this massive live-action Star Wars series, and Timothy Olyphant did the role justice, while the initial stand-off in the bar was superb!
8: Imperials to the rescue
From Chapter 15
The juggernaut chase and fight scene from Chapter 15 came to an end that left me doing something I can never remember doing before: cheering for the Imperials, as TIE fighters and stormtroopers emerged from the refinery to fight off the pirates attacking Din and Mayfeld’s juggernaut. It was great to see the variety of troopers, with both stormtroopers and shoretroopers on show, giving a nice little tie-in to Rogue One. Such a small scene of seeing the Imperials on our side (well, kind of) made me really want to see a series that focused on Imperials that showed them in a somewhat heroic light.
7: Introducing Ahsoka
From Chapter 13
There was so much for me to love about this episode, so I’m really shocked that this is the only moment that made the top 10, but I think it is because it encapsulated so much of what I loved. Ahsoka is a top 5 character for me (and perhaps if I was forced to pick just 1, my favourite character) so to see her return in such amazing fashion was brilliant. I’d been nervous about Rosario Dawson being able to do the character justice, but this opening scene of the episode put any fears to bed with some great action – and fantastic use of lighting and the mists to give a real samurai feel – before the full reveal of Ahsoka with her hood down, where Ludwig Göransson’s use of Ahsoka’s Theme left me an emotional wreck!
6: Boba kicking ass
From Chapter 14
So for this list, I have decided to mean specifically the scene where Boba first appears and kicks ass with his armour on, but I must take a quick moment to say how awesome it was seeing him pulverise troopers with his modified gaffi stick. But from the moment Boba landed with his armour on, we got an awesome fight scene (can we call it a fight when it’s this one-sided?) direct from the mind of Robert Rodriguez, as Boba single-handedly takes out stormtroopers in a variety of ways, including knee rockets before taking out both fleeing landing transports with one rocket, which we then comically find out was an accident. I’d never been a fan of Boba before this show, but this scene alone made him suddenly start inching up a lot of my lists.
5: Escaping the refinery
From Chapter 15
I was surprised by just how high this sequence landed on my list, but I think it comes down to seeing all 5 members of the team getting their moments. From Fennec and Cara’s sniping and cover fire, to Din’s successful work fighting as he escapes and Mayfeld’s slightly less impressive fighting and escaping, while Boba comes in with Slave I as the getaway driver. And even once they’re away from the refinery we still get more, as Mayfeld finally gets to show off his sharpshooting skills we heard about back in Chapter 6, and then we put the cherry on top by bringing back the seismic charges to take out the pursuing TIEs. To quote Michael Fassbender: “Perfection.”
4: Mando incursion
From Chapter 11
Ever wondered how awesome it would be to see proper Mandalorian warriors fighting in live action? Well we got that in Chapter 11 as Din Djarin helped Bo-Katan Kryze, Koska Reeves and Axe Woves infiltrate the Imperial Gozanti-class cruiser and take control of it, before a race to the bridge t stop the commanding officer deliberately crashing the ship. While this could technically be considered 2 separate scenes, I couldn’t really separate the initial infiltration to the cargo area and the race to the bridge as it was all part of Bo-Katan’s plan to take control of the ship. I loved seeing how Bo-Katan, Koska and Axe were so in sync, but Din was slightly behind as he is used to being a lone wolf rather than part of a pack, while there were great moments like using the smoke grenades to impair the stormtroopers’ vision while the Mandos changed the view on their helmet to still have perfect vision, as well as the useless Imperial officer who captured the Mandos in the cargo containment area, allowing the Mandos to open up the cargo hold and jettison the officer and troopers within.
3: Din’s message to Moff Gideon
From Chapter 15
When Moff Gideon burst onto the scene in the penultimate episode of season 1 and gave a speech about how he would soon have The Child, it made an immediate mark, so I loved the poetry of that same speech being thrown back in his face almost word-for-word by Din to end the penultimate episode of this season. Yes, it may have taken away the element of surprise, but it was such a powerful warning seeing Din repeat Moff Gideon’s words, and the subtle but clever changing of the word “it” to “he” by Din really hit home to both us and the Imperials listening that Din meant every word that he was saying and left us hyped for the next week’s finale.
2: Return of the Jedi
From Chapter 16
I imagine that this will be number 1 on most people’s lists and I fully understand that, but the reliance on our nostalgia and feeling for Luke (and some imperfect CGI) drops it down one spot here to second, but don’t let that take away form the moment. This is quite a long moment here as I count from the arrival of the X-wing to the beginning of the credits, basically the entire Luke Skywalker segment. I didn’ think they’d go there, but they set it up so well and I love how they kept some degree of mystery as to the identity of the Jedi rather than just showing us straight away, but giving us all the clues to work it out – the X-wing, the green blade, the lightsaber handle, the gloved right hand and uncovered left hand, the black robes – while giving us what is essentially the light side version of Vader’s hallway scene from Rogue One. It was the Luke Skywalker everyone wanted to see, and having him cutting down droids meant that it felt fully connected to the Luke we see at the end of Return of the Jedi and in The Last Jedi. Then as we get over the emotion of seeing Luke, we immediately go into the emotion of realising that we (and Din) are about to say goodbye to Grogu, which is beautifully acted by Pedro Pascal. And the moment he takes off his helmet – the first time he has voluntarily done so in the entire series – so that he and Grogu can look at each other face to face, and Grogu reaches out to touch his face is heart-warming and emotionally devastating in equal measure. Add in the music (kudos to Ludwig Göransson for avoiding the temptation to use Luke’s Theme and instead creating a new mystical and mysterious theme as he fought through the hallways and then using the Force Theme as he reveals his face, and then the triumphant music as Grogu leaves with Luke, and it really felt like this could have been a series finale rather than a season finale – there is no higher compliment than that.
1: Burnin Konn
From Chapter 15
Star Wars is so often about the pew-pew of blasters and the snap-hiss of lightsabers, but my number 1 has none of that (well, bar one shot at the end) and is in fact just 3 men sat around a table, but I think that it is some of the finest acting in all of Star Wars. As Valin Hess brings Din and Mayfeld to drink with him to celebrate them fighting their way to the refinery with a juggernaut, we get an incredibly tense scene as Mayfeld argues whether the Empire is right due to his experiences on Burnin Konn during Operation Cinder. Din is without a mask and Pedro Pascal gives a great performance to highlight how uncomfortable he is with the whole situation, but Richard Brake as Valin Hess and Bill Burr as Mayfeld smash it out of the park with their performances as they go back and forth, with Hess a true believer in the Empire and not seeing the evil that they are doing (going as far as to say their plans for the rhydonium delivered will make Burnin Konn pale in comparison), while you can see Mayfeld is so wrapped up in what was probably the worst moment of his life and hearing the plans for the future eventually snaps and guns down Hess in the middle of the mess hall. This was so reminiscent to me of the opening scene to Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and I was so tense I could barely breathe the first time I watched the scene!
So that’s my list. What makes your Top 10?
Thanks for reading. This is the Way….