NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Mandalorian” are present in this review

 

 

The Mandalorian spent last week’s episode gearing up for a hell of an exciting finish to its sophomore season, and sure enough, this week’s season finale definitely didn’t disappoint! “Chapter 16: The Rescue” delivers yet another exciting, action-packed storyline for the flagship Disney+ series, complete with some truly amazing payoffs for both Star Wars fans and more casual viewers. This episode’s equally superb ending also sets up both an exciting new direction for The Mandalorian’s recently-confirmed third season, along with yet another all-new Star Wars project that was previously rumoured, but not officially announced until now.

The title of this week’s Season Two finale really says it all. “Chapter 16: The Rescue” sees Djarin and his crew hightail it to Moff Gideon’s Light Cruiser, so they can rescue Grogu from the clutches of the Empire. This begins with capturing Dr. Pershing, shortly before recruiting Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves to the rescue effort. It’s great to see these two characters once again, further strengthening the ties between The Mandalorian and the two current best Star Wars animated shows, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Their return also provides a convenient way for Pershing to get every key character up to speed on the Dark Troopers simultaneously, namely the confirmation that they used to be human troopers, before being ‘upgraded’ into droids. This is ironic, because the Empire’s Dark Troopers previously underwent the opposite progression in the old Expanded Universe media, going from droids to Force-wielding humans. Now that Disney has retconned Star Wars canon so that Moff Gideon is seemingly the sole mastermind behind the Dark Troopers though, I suppose it makes sense that their production and evolution would now differ.

Regardless, another fantastic extended action sequence follows once the group formulates a plan to storm the Light Cruiser, one that sees Djarin split off from everyone else, while the rest create a distraction. All the while, a ticking clock counts down in the background, since everyone has a limited time to find Grogu and flee, before the Dark Troopers are unleashed on them. Predictably, this part of the plan goes awry as well, resulting in Djarin struggling through a very difficult mano-a-mano battle with just one Dark Trooper, a Dark Trooper that single-handedly exhausts all of Djarin’s weapons, before he can finally destroy it with the Beskar spear. This is a great testament to just how dangerous the Dark Troopers truly are in their current form, with virtually all of Djarin’s arsenal spectacularly failing against just one of them!

Moff Gideon’s possession of the Darksaber also finally starts coming into focus here. After Djarin finds Gideon holding the Darksaber over Grogu, Djarin and Gideon engage in a duel, with Djarin’s Beskar armour being the only thing that the Darksaber seemingly can’t cut through. This sequence, paired with Cara, Fennec, Bo-Katan and Koska gunning down Stormtroopers on a path to the cruiser’s bridge, keeps the action quotient perfectly tuned throughout this episode, even after Boba Fett disappointingly sits out this climax, in favour of going somewhere else. Fortunately, Star Wars fans in particular still have plenty to be distracted by, even after Djarin successfully gets Gideon to yield, at which point he brings the Moff to the cruiser’s bridge.

Here however is where things get a bit strange, if just for a moment. After Bo-Katan sees that Djarin has bested Moff Gideon in combat, before ejecting the rest of the Dark Troopers on the cruiser out of an airlock (that was lucky!), Djarin attempts to turn the Darksaber over to her, only for Bo-Katan to refuse it. This greatly amuses Gideon, who reveals that Bo-Katan can only claim the Darksaber, and the right to rule Mandalore, by defeating Djarin in combat. For now, Djarin is the one with claim to rule Mandalore, claim that he won completely by accident. While this clashes a bit with the storytelling of Star Wars Rebels, where this rule didn’t appear to be in place, and Bo-Katan was happy to just snatch the Darksaber whenever (maybe it’s explained later, but for now this feels like a bit of a plot hole), it does effectively set the stage for The Mandalorian’s upcoming third season, which promises to alter the entire narrative direction of the series.

This is cemented wonderfully by a last-second twist, one that might come off as excessive fan service to some, but avid Star Wars fans will nontheless be beside themselves with excitement! Despite a fresh supply of Dark Troopers landing on the Light Cruiser, pretty much leaving Djarin and his allies cornered and without hope, a mysterious X-Wing lands shortly after this, at which point a Jedi comes out and starts effortlessly hacking through the Dark Troopers. Yes, it’s exactly who you think it is. As it turns out, Grogu did successfully contact a Jedi through the Seeing Stone on Tython, and that Jedi is none other than Luke Skywalker! Again, this is kind of pandering to some extent, especially when R2-D2 inexplicably rolls up behind Luke (why wasn’t R2 seen on the security monitors before that?), but Luke answering Grogu’s call does make sense, and it’s all the better when Mark Hamill returns for Luke’s big cameo (albeit de-aged with CGI), despite formerly claiming to be done with the role.

This big surprise is what sets the snowball in motion for the next major phase of Star Wars content on Disney+. Djarin is forced to say goodbye to Grogu here, for starters, whose storyline is now seemingly at an end for The Mandalorian. This bittersweet goodbye immediately teases a very different third season for The Mandalorian next year, after Djarin’s attention inevitably turns to Mandalore. That’s exciting enough, but after the credits of this episode roll, another big surprise is in store for fans! A post-credits scene picks up on Tattooine, where a fattened, Jabba the Hutt-esque Bib Fortuna, Jabba’s former advisor and right-hand man (remember him from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in particular?), is visited by Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, at which point the two kill Fortuna and all of his guards. Then, Boba sits on Jabba’s old throne, with Fennec at his side, before the screen confirms that a series (or maybe a movie?) called The Book of Boba Fett is on the way for December 2021, seemingly at the same time as Season Three of The Mandalorian.

There are no current details revealed for The Book of Boba Fett, but it was yet another exciting surprise to cap off a season finale that was already full of many exciting surprises. Disney didn’t mention the existence of this new spin-off project during their recent investor call either, despite it being packed to the gills with Star Wars announcements (especially for Disney+!), but they did indicate that ten new Star Wars projects were in the works for Disney+, yet only announced nine during Investor Day. I guess The Book of Boba Fett being announced separately in this post-credits stinger finally rectifies that, while promising another exciting new examination of the immediate post-Empire era in Disney’s Star Wars canon. Good stuff all around, especially when Fennec and Boba are probably best served away from the effort to reclaim Mandalore, since, as Bo-Katan points out early in this episode, not even Boba has any skin in that game.

“Chapter 16: The Rescue” delivers an explosive, exciting finish to The Mandalorian’s sophomore season, capped off with a tearful farewell that nonetheless primes the slew of upcoming spin-offs that The Mandalorian is now set to receive on Disney+. This also marks a big shift for The Mandalorian’s overall story direction to boot, now that Djarin has separated from Grogu, and will presumably be forced into Bo-Katan’s campaign to liberate Mandalore, Darksaber in hand. Moff Gideon also lives to fight another day, no doubt with another opportunity to further improve his deadly Dark Troopers. After the disappointment that followed Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy, it’s great to see the Star Wars franchise thriving again, thanks largely to the efforts of The Mandalorian and its stellar Disney+ foundation. I can’t really recall a previous instance when we had this many promising Star Wars projects to look forward to, and even beyond that, The Mandalorian itself feels better than ever by the end of Season Two. It’s truly a great time to be a Star Wars fan, and now that Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm is finally paying off in spades, I can’t wait to see what’s on the way for this freshly revitalized franchise!

The Mandalorian 2.8: "Chapter 16: The Rescue" Review
The Mandalorian delivers a stellar, action-packed Season Two finale this week, one that carries some huge implications for the future of the series.
THE GOOD STUFF
  • Action-packed battles on the Light Cruiser
  • Bittersweet parting of Djarin and Grogu
  • Awesome post-credits stinger with Boba and Fennec
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • Where did this new Darksaber rule come from?
94%Overall Score
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