The Mandalorian: Chapter 16 review!

*** Be warned that FULL SPOILERS ARE AHEAD, so if you haven’t watched this episode, don’t read this article. Trust me, you really want to go into this one without spoilers. ***

WOW.

That’s all I can say. The Mandalorian season two wrapped up with a climactic episode, and it exceeded all of my already-high expectations. But it also raises SO MANY questions about what’s next.

I put the disclaimer at the beginning of this article, but seriously, you’re going to want to go into this one without spoilers. But if you’ve already seen it, let’s dive in to our review of the final episode of season two:

“Chapter 16: The Rescue”


SUMMARY:

The Slave I intercepts an Imperial shuttle carrying Doctor Pershing, and Din Djarin and Cara Dune board it. One of the Imperial pilots shoots his co-pilot and taunts Cara about Alderaan, and she responds by killing him. Djarin and Boba Fett then head to a planet to find Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves and request their help. The other Mandalorians are put off by Fett and Bo-Katan calls him a disgrace to his armor, and a fight breaks out between Fett and Reeves until Bo-Katan puts an end to it, saying that if they fought against the Empire like they fight against each other they’d still have a home. She agrees to help but insists that Djarin leave Moff Gideon to her. He agrees, saying that all he cares about is the Child.

Together with Doctor Pershing, the crew develops a plan. They all fly the Imperial shuttle except Fett, who stays in Slave I to make it look like an ambush. As the shuttle closes in on Gideon’s cruiser, Fett opens fire, making it seem like the shuttle is under attack. Gideon orders TIEs to launch, and the shuttle makes a crash landing in a hanger. Cara Dune, Fennec Shand, Bo-Katan, and Koska make quick work of the stormtroopers in the hanger and head off to create a distraction. Hearing the blasterfire from the bridge, Gideon orders the Dark Troopers to be activated. Meanwhile, Djarin secretly heads off alone to find Grogu, but he stumbles upon the Dark Troopers. He gets his butt kicked by one of them and just barely manages to kill it with the beskar spear, then jettisons the others into space.

The strike team takes the bridge but discovers that Gideon is not there. Djarin finds him in the cell block, holding the darksaber above Grogu’s head. Mando tells him that he’s just there for the Child, and Gideon says he can take him. But as Djarin approaches Grogu, Gideon launches a surprise attack, dealing blow after blow that Djarin deflects with his beskar armor. He’s forced out to the hallway, where he draws the spear and fights back. He soon gets the upper hand, disarms Gideon, and takes him captive. With Grogu in one hand and the darksaber in the other, Djarin takes Gideon prisoner to the bridge. But while there, Gideon gleefully urges Bo-Katan to kill Mando and take the darksaber, explaining that it can only be wielded by one who wins it. Bo-Katan reluctantly says that he’s right, even as Djarin offers it to her and says he yields.

But this tense exchange is cut short by a number of figures approaching the ship: the Dark Troopers. Gideon again gloats, saying that he and the Child will be the only ones left alive on the bridge. The Dark Troopers form up and approach the bridge and begin hammering the door down… when a lone X-Wing approaches and lands in the hanger. Grogu perks up, sensing something. The Dark Troopers stop, turning to face a new threat. As Bo-Katan watches on the cams, a Jedi with a green lightsaber begins cutting down the enemy. Luke Skywalker.

Gideon is terrified and shoots Bo-Katan and fires at the Child, but Djarin jumps in front of him. Gideon then tries to kill himself, but Cara knocks his blaster away and then knocks him out. Djarin and Grogu huddle together and watch as Luke makes quick work of the Dark Troopers. He boards an elevator and arrives at the hallway right outside the bridge, where he proceeds with ease, using both his lightsaber and the Force to dispatch the troopers. After this, Djarin opens the door, allowing Luke in. Djarin and Grogu share a tender moment together, and Djarin removes his helmet as Grogu reaches out and touches his face. He then sets Grogu down, and R2-D2 rolls into the room to say hello. Grogu walks over to the droid, and Luke picks him up. “May the Force be with you,” he says, and walks away with Grogu and R2, as Djarin fights back tears as he watches his kid leave.

And that’s how the episode ends.

But a post-credits scene cuts to Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine, where Bib Fortuna sits on the throne and is surrounded by slaves and criminals. Fennec Shand suddenly approaches and kills his guards while letting the slave go free. Then Boba Fett appears and kills Fortuna, taking the throne. We then get a title card saying that “The Book of Boba Fett” is coming December 2021!

REVIEW:

There are so many things to talk about from this episode, but I think the clear place to start is with the fact that LUKE FREAKING SKYWALKER SHOWED UP!!!!

Ever since Ahsoka Tano said that a Jedi might answer Grogu’s call on Tython I wondered if this might happen, since Luke was far and away the most obvious Jedi for it to be (I never really bought someone like Ezra or Cal or Leia or someone being the one to answer), but I didn’t really expect it – at least not this season. But as soon as the X-Wing showed up, I began freaking out. They really did it. And I felt like it was really perfectly done. It’s been built up for a bit, so it actually made sense in the context of this story. But it does raise some very interesting questions, which I’ll get to in just a minute. Anyway, seeing Luke cut through the Dark Troopers was so incredible, and he got his own hallway scene that was every bit as awesome as Darth Vader’s in Rogue One – maybe even more so. Here is Luke Skywalker in his prime, igniting the green, and it was so great. And this was set up so well also, as we saw how much Djarin struggled to fight even one Dark Trooper. It’s a massive, almost insurmountable, problem for the heroes… but not for a Jedi. Plus, them being droids eliminated the problem of Luke just cutting through enemy forces like crazy, which wouldn’t have fit. So it was handled really well. It was also really nice to see Mark Hamill credited, and I’m interested in knowing how exactly they did it. But I thought he looked and sounded good, and then seeing R2 was amazing as well.

Here’s what really surprised me: Luke took Grogu with him! When Luke met Djarin on the bridge, I expected Grogu to choose to stay with his ‘father,’ but instead he ‘asked’ for and received permission from his father to leave. Luke says that he would give his life to protect the Child, and that he will train him. And then he leaves with Grogu and R2. That raises two primary questions in my mind (and I’ll just briefly address them here but will probably do so more fully later):

1. What does this mean for Luke? Twenty years after this, Ben Solo will turn and Luke’s entire temple will be destroyed, with his other pupils killed. That’s a very dark fate for Grogu, and I’m pretty confident that he won’t die there. I’m also confident that Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau are aware of this and have an answer in mind, which I hope is revealed in due time. After all, there’s still two decades for something to happen where Grogu is not at Luke’s Temple that night. So in my mind, the bigger question is this: we had previously been told in a number of different sources that Luke didn’t take an apprentice until Ben. Then we were told that he briefly trained Leia, but then didn’t take an apprentice until Ben. So… is that all just being wiped away as being “from a certain point of view” or something? I’m curious how they’re going to pull all of it together.

2. What does this mean for The Mandalorian? Much more immediately, though, it leaves me wondering what the future of this show is. It’s biggest star, Grogu, is gone. I do think we’ll see him again; after all, Djarin promised as much. But in many ways this felt like the final chapter of the story. Even the credits were different, with a different song and no concept art, and then a tease for a new show at the end. So is this the end of the series? I’d be surprised. Work on season three has reportedly been underway for a while, and Jon Favreau said in October that he hoped season three would begin filming by the end of the year, once Pedro Pascal wrapped up another project. It’s possible that this was all misdirection, since it apparently hasn’t started filming yet, but I’m not so sure. I do think we’ll see another season and a brand new direction – but I really wonder when it will come. I went back and watched Kathy Kennedy’s comments at the Disney Investor Day, and after talking about the spinoff shows coming, she said that “the next chapter” will release Christmas 2021. It’s semantics, but she never said it’ll be the next season of this show, even though that’s how it was heavily implied. So we’ll just have to wait and see on this, but I fully expect this show to continue on – I just kinda think it’ll almost be like a soft-relaunch, taking things in a different direction.

And what direction could that be? Well, I think it was so obviously set up in this episode. Early in the episode, when Djarin enlists the help of Bo-Katan, she agrees to help him – and then says that, if he finishes his quest, he should consider helping her re-take Mandalorian. To this, Djarin simply responds, “Fair enough.” Bo-Katan also told this to him when they met previously, and this time it seemed like he might be a bit more willing to help, but only after his quest is finished. Well, now it is. Perhaps more importantly, though, they now have the darksaber. Or, to be precise, Din Djarin has the darksaber. So he could be the rightful ruler of Mandalore and could reunite their people, wielding the saber. Bo-Katan wanted that to be her. She wants the darksaber. And we didn’t see any resolution to that in this episode. Will she resort to some of her darker ways (which we saw in The Clone Wars) when she doesn’t get her way? Or will she have learned some lessons and prioritize retaking Mandalore as the top priority, regardless of who is its new ruler? All of these threads were left dangling at the end of the episode, and I fully expect this to be the direction the show takes moving forward. I think we just might see an effort to retake Mandalore – with possibly Din Djarin, a foundling, as the central figure in it.

There’s also the question of the big bad guy moving forward. It seems that Gideon will return (Giancarlo Esposito has teased as much), but will he be a New Republic prisoner? Is there someone else pulling the strings? Someone like, say, a former Imperial Grand Admiral who has seemingly confirmed and already been name-dropped in this show? That would be awesome.

Circling back around to Gideon, though, I loved all of the scenes with him here. Esposito really steals the show. The conversation between him and Djarin is great, and the fight that ensues is as epic as we dreamed it would be. But I especially loved Gideon on the bridge; in many ways, he served as the lens to help the audience track with what was happening. His glee at Djarin having taken the darksaber from him was just great, and he was the narrator to tell us why. Then his gloating about the Dark Troopers really helped build the sense of terror and dread that was coming. But what was also a great touch was the fear that you could notice come over Gideon’s face when a Jedi showed up. Remember, as a former ISB agent, Gideon would surely know who Luke Skywalker is. So Gideon hears this Jedi show up and terror comes over his face, and he glances over at the screen to see what’s happening. After that, he decides that it’d be better to kill himself than have to face this Jedi. Throughout this entire sequence on the bridge, Gideon helps us track with what’s going on, and Esposito does a great job at selling it.

And after all of this, we get what might just be one of the most emotional scenes in all of Star Wars: Din Djarin saying goodbye to his ‘son.’ It was so beautiful when Din removed his helmet, in front of all of these others, so that he could look upon his son with his own eyes. That poetry, with Luke Skywalker standing right there, is certainly not lost on me. It shows how far he has come, and it shows how deeply he cares for Grogu. And Grogu, in turn, shows how much he cares for Djarin by reaching out and gently touching his face, and seeming a bit reluctant to leave him. Pedro Pascal hits this out of the park, and tears fill his eyes as he watches Grogu leave. It’s an emotional gut-punch, and it is so stunningly beautiful and sad all at once.

So, yeah, that episode was incredible. I imagine that we’ll be talking about that for a long time. In my opinion, the entire second season has been phenomenal, but this episode was probably the best of the whole series so far. I’m honestly not sure how to top it, but I can’t wait to see what’s next, because this episode truly felt like the end of a series. And, maybe, the beginning of a brand new chapter.

This is the way.

My grade: 10/10

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