Ricky Church reviews the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian…
It has all come to this as The Mandalorian’s second season finale sees Din Djarin and his many allies enact a daring rescue mission for Grogu from Moff Gideon’s Imperial ship. ‘The Rescue’ was an action-packed finale from Ant-Man director Peyton Reed that still contained a number of heartfelt and emotional moments while teasing the future of Star Wars media in some very intriguing ways.
WARNING: Spoilers will be discussed so check back later if you haven’t watched the episode already.
This season has differed from the first with the number of allies Din has made who have becoming something of his main group now. The various characters have made for some pretty interesting dynamics, especially in the beginning where tensions were pretty high between Boba Fett, Bo Katan and Koska Reeves. By the end though, they made a very effective unit and the episode continued exploring those dynamics throughout the rescue mission. Seeing Bo Katan, Koska, Fennec Shand and Cara Dune work together made for some great action beats. The wordless communication between them was great to watch as they anticipated each other’s moves and helped the other before they could even ask most of the time.
As for Din, ‘The Rescue’ showed just how far he’s come on his journey as he devoted everything to rescuing Grogu. From his determination on his own mission objectives to some heartfelt moments in the final minutes, Pedro Pascal gave a really great performance throughout the episode. His own action sequences were both entertaining and tense, particularly when he had to fight the Dark Troopers, the Empire’s own battle droids, combining Din’s two most hated enemies into one. Of course, though, one of the highlights was his fight with Moff Gideon. Giancarlo Esposito delivered a fine performance, blending Gideon’s penchant for over-the-top hamminess with deadly seriousness. For a moment it actually seemed like Gideon would allow Din to take Grogu due to how believable Esposito sold Gideon’s deal.
The story and action were well paced, creating some very cool sequences as the team stormed the ship. There were some good breather moments in between all the action so it wouldn’t feel like too much at once and the situation raised the tension nicely in each skirmish to make one worry, whether it was Din having to fight the Dark Trooper solo or Cara’s gun malfunctioning. Even the end of the battle presented some problems for the characters as Gideon revealed what his defeat by Din meant for Bo Katan and the rest of the group. However, the final resolution came perhaps a little too easy with the arrival of one particular character.
It should have been expectedafter ‘The Tragedy’ with the question of who Grogu might have communicated with upon the rock, but the arrival of Luke Skywalker was both exciting and somewhat convenient. One the one hand, it was very cool and fun to see Luke in his prime, in his full Return of the Jedi outfit, cutting down Dark Troopers like they were nothing in a sequence very reminiscent of his father’s in Rogue One. It only made sense Luke would be the one to come for Grogu after Ahsoka refused to train him. On the other hand though, Jon Favreua and Dave Filoni wrote the heroes into a corner where they couldn’t possibly escape with the sudden (and plot driven) return of the Dark Troopers, making Luke’s last minute arrival all the more convenient. It’s enough to have two minds about Luke’s presence since the execution could have been handled better in a less convenient manner while also geeking out at seeing him come to the rescue, but it does seem more of an easy out to get Din and his team out of danger and seemingly wrap up the storyline with Grogu. Nonetheless, it was a great fight to watch.
What does make up for the convenient (and arguably too fan serviced) nature of Luke’s appearance is the heartfelt goodbye between Din and Grogu. It made for quite a powerful emotional moment for them both as Grogu was initially reluctant to leave Din and the Mandalorian once again bent his rules. Pascal’s performance was very emotive as he relied more on his face than his words, using his expressions to wordlessly convey his bittersweet sorrow and acceptance at getting Grogu to a proper Jedi, completing the mission he set out for at the end of the first season.
Meanwhile, there were quite a few teases not just for the future of The Mandalorian, but of Disney+’s Star Wars content. Gideon revealed that because Din bested him in battle and has the Darksaber, he is now the rightful ruler of Mandalore, setting up a possible conflict between him and Bo Katan (this may be a continuity error given the fact Sabine Wren gave Bo the Darksaber without a fight in Star Wars Rebels, but this could just be part of a larger story Filoni plans on telling much like season one’s ‘error’ that all Mandalorians never take off their helmets). With Luke having taken Grogu, one also has to wonder whether this development might in some way crossover into the recently announced Ahsoka series or something else entirely. Either way, given the events of the Sequel Trilogy and the fate of Luke’s students in those films, Grogu’s destiny has raised a lot more questions. And then of course there is Boba Fett who, in a surprise announcement with a fitting ‘James Bond will return’ vibe, will be seen again in The Book of Boba Fett next December. Whether this will be a new series, miniseries or The Mandalorian’s third season is anybody’s guess, but the idea of him taking over Jabba The Hutt’s former criminal empire or traversing the galaxy with Fennec in tow is a very intriguing prospect after the strength of Temuera Morrison’s return.
‘The Rescue’ was quite an exciting finale for The Mandalorian, potentially closing the door on this chapter of Din Djarin’s life while opening plenty of others for himself and his allies. Though Din’s own rescue was a bit too convenient, it was still a huge moment for the series to have such an important character to Star Wars make an appearance. The execution could have been better, but it was still plenty for most fans to be excited over. Overall, ‘The Rescue’ capped off a very great season to The Mandalorian that improved upon its first in nearly every way. The wait for the third season will feel like a long one, but with this ending and the closure it gives, there is not much to be disappointed with.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.