It’s taken me a few days to put my thoughts about The Mandalorian – Season Two together because the season finale almost feels surreal. In an era where Disney continuously plays it safe when it comes to new content (just look at the smattering of Star Wars and Marvel-themed projects in the pipeline), I still can’t quite believe that the story of Mando and Grogu is over. How daring is it for Disney to write off its easy moneymaker and move us into a new era where this scrappy sci-fi/western isn’t beholden strictly to plot?
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Let’s start to recap the events of Chapter 16 – The Rescue and maybe you’ll see where I’m coming from. Hot off the heels of last week’s cliffhanger ending, Mando and his squad -which consists of Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, and Cara Dune- board an imperial vessel and capture Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) to secure their entry into Moff Gideon’s cruiser. There’s some dumb standoff where the pilot is holding Pershing at gunpoint and egging on Dune, but she just caps him, so it feels pointless.
Anyway, with Pershing in their ranks, Mando and Fett head to a cantina to meet up with Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado) and ask for their assistance. Once again, a small standoff ensues between Fett and Reeves, arguing over the fact that he is a clone and technically not a real Mandalorian. It’s an interesting bit of lore that I wish was delved into more, but I understand this episode is more in service of a specific story arc.
Bo-Katan is initially hesitant, but when Mando gives her the details, she immediately jumps in. With their new crew set, the squad mounts an assault on Moff Gideon’s cruiser that will see Fett fly distraction while everyone else boards under disguise. It makes for a thrilling space fight, at the very least, and continues to push The Mandalorian’s cinematic aspirations even higher.
For the majority of the episode after, the events play out like an extended action sequence. There’s not a lot of time for characters to riff on each other as they are battling Stormtroopers, taking out imperial guards, and even dealing with the Dark Troopers. It’s great to see all of this pay-off after weeks of filler material, but it does mean the events of The Rescue are mostly circumstantial. Anything you get out of it requires you to actually be invested in Mando and Grogu’s adventure, which is fine enough for right now.
While the crew has a relatively easy time dealing with regular thugs, Mando’s battle with the Dark Trooper is what sets the stakes for the final showdown. Struggling to deal with a single unit, his quick actions in sealing off the staging area are what ultimately saved his life here. The shot of the trooper smashing Mando in the face repeatedly is somewhat humorous, but also quite shocking in that Disney seems willing to be a bit more violent when it comes to The Mandalorian. It’s almost sinister in its tone.
Anyway, once that is over, we finally get our showdown between Mando and Gideon and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s a contrived bit where Mando believes Gideon’s pleas of a truce, but the ensuing battle is climactic and exciting. The Darksaber, which is still something of a mystery if you haven’t watched Star Wars Rebels, really kicks Mando’s ass, but he eventually overpowers Gideon and brings him to the bridge.
Bo-Katan and everyone else is waiting there when Mando comes in. Holding the Darksaber and having Gideon tied up, he then attempts to hand over the weapon to Bo-Katan before Gideon drops some extra lore on us. According to ancient Mandalorian rituals, the blade can only be won in combat. This never gets resolved, however, because the Dark Troopers suddenly make their return and begin to ascend on the bridge.
With the squad seemingly backed into an inescapable corner (or the writers having written themselves into on, I’m not sure), they prepare for a desperate last stand that will probably leave everyone dead. Yet, a new hope springs on the horizon as a sole X-Wing ship docks on the cruiser. When everyone wasn’t looking, Grogu managed to summon a Jedi to aide them and it’s quite the shocker of a reveal.
We only catch glimpses of this mysterious figure on the cameras as he plows through the Dark Troopers like they’re nothing. It’s reminiscent of the end of Rogue One, where Vader sliced through the rebels like a hot knife through butter, and for good reason: the Jedi is none other than Luke Skywalker.
To me, that whole sequence read like an “apology” for The Last Jedi, though I think I’m just being cynical. In practice, it shows how out of their league Mando and his crew are. While their hearts are absolutely in the right place, they’re dealing with forces beyond what they could have ever expected. Still, it was certainly nice to see Luke go all God Mode on everything and it does lead to possibly the most heartbreaking sequence in The Mandalorian.
Luke calls to Grogu, but the child is initially hesitant. While Mando believes it to be his stubbornness, Luke explains that Grogu is asking for Mando’s permission. Mando then holds Grogu and gives a very impassioned speech about how the Jedi are his people and he needs to go. Before biding his final farewell, Mando actually removes his helmet and starts to tear up. Grogu touches Mando’s face, the music swells, and someone begins cutting onions. That last bit isn’t true, but you could have fooled me.
We get one last shot of the two looking at each other before the episode cuts to black and the credits roll. With that, The Mandalorian is complete and it seems we’ll be onto new horizons. BUT WAIT! There’s an end credits sequence!
You’ve likely heard about this by now -probably not helped by my own coverage on Friday-, but Boba Fett will be getting his own series next year. This episode ends with the once dead bounty hunter returning to Jabba the Hutt’s palace to do some housecleaning. Everyone’s favorite punching bag Bib Fortuna gets shot dead and Fett claims Jabba’s throne for himself. The new series, titled The Book of Boba Fett, will likely continue this plotline and give us some answers for how the legendary masked bandit survived his cruel fate.
Overall, I do think The Mandalorian – Season Two ended up being pretty good. I mostly have the same feelings I did with the first season, where I became aggravated at the filler episodes that contributed little to the plot. I applaud Disney for not dragging this story on for another year or two, but it does raise some questions about where this series is headed. Mando and Grogu’s bond was the emotional core this show used to draw viewers in. With Grogu absent, what is the point of the show?
There’s a case to be made about filler episodes not being filler if you enjoy them and I feel that is where The Mandalorian will go for season three. The bits of world-building that the series has provided for the Star Wars universe are interesting and it would be neat to see a more dissociated Mando provide help to people in need rather than him constantly looking for more information. That could give us some insight into how Mandalorians function within this society, not to mention it would better capture the western/samurai tone the series wants to have.
I don’t know if I’ll be tuning in anymore, but I do like that everything wrapped up here…mostly. Now if we can go a few years without Mando seeing Grogu together, their eventual reunion will be all the more heartwarming.