The Mandalorian Season 2 Chapter 16 Review
I'M WARNING YOU RIGHT NOW, SPOILERS FOR THE LATEST OF THE MANDALORIAN ARE BELOW. I SHIELD YOU FROM NOTHING!
OK, YOU'RE WARNED!
IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED THE EPISODE YET, STOP HERE, GO WATCH IT AND COME BACK FOR MY REVIEW.
OK, those are the formalities officially out of the way. Each week, I'll be posting a quick recap/review of each new episode of The Mandalorian. I'll give a basic play-by-play with some thoughts and speculation about how each episode could figure into the larger picture of this season, and Star Wars as a whole.
So let's get after it.
SEASON 2: CHAPTER 16: "THE RESCUE"
EPISODE PREMIERS ON December 18, 2020
DIRECTOR: PEYTON REED
EPISODE LENGTH: 47 MINUTES
Wow. What a finale. Director Peyton Reed, writer Jon Favreau and company didn't mess around in the final episode of season 2 of The Mandalorian. They went there, and by "there" I mean "THERE!"
We begin in space with Slave I chasing an Imperial Shuttle. Straight out of the basements of 10-year-old boys in 1983 worldwide, Boba Fett is chasing down a shuttle which has Doctor Pershing as its primary passenger. Pershing is captured and later reveals the layout of Moff Gideon's Imperial cruiser, showing the way to Grogu, who has been in Gideon's custody since Chapter 14.
Pershing is identified by a shuttle pilot as a Clone Engineer. More on that later.
Din Djarin, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand and Cara Dune then recruit Bo-Katan and Koska Reeves at a spaceport bar to assist in rescuing Grogu from the Imperials. There's quite a bit of distrust between the Nite Owls and Fett, and there's a brief scuffle before a truce is called. The group then boards Slave I where Pershing details the layout of the cruiser and a plan is hatched. Fett will "pursue" the stolen Imperial Shuttle into the vicinity of the cruiser. The shuttle will then crash land in the cruiser where the rescue begins. Boba Fett mops up the pursuing TIE Fighters, then heads off to hyperspace.
Djarin goes into stealth mode, seeking out the brig where Grogu is held while the four warriors dispatch dozens of stormtroopers in the launch bay.
The Darktroopers are activated, and Djarin has a tense fight with one of them. The Beskar spear he secured in Chapter 13 comes in handy here, as he struggles to dispatch a single Darktrooper. The rest are sent out of an airlock, but they aren't gone for good.
Gideon, always a step ahead, vacates the bridge and heads to the brig, where Djarin finds him holding the Darksaber in a threatening position over Grogu's head. Grogu, for his part, seems distant and out of it, and doesn't appear to immediately recognize Djarin as one might expect. The Darktroopers give off a real Terminator (the 1984 movie) vibe. But that's not the last 1980s movie flashback I got in this episode.
One of the big-picture plot points gets more revealed in the conversation between Gideon and Djarin. Gideon at first, appears perfectly willing to give Grogu up to Djarin, saying he's already extracted the blood he needs from Grogu. This plays into the theory that Grogu's blood/midi-chlorians are being harvested to restore Emperor Palpatine, at least to the form we see him in during Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. But, being an Imperial Moff, Gideon flips and combats Djarin, the Darksaber against the Beskar spear. It's a terrific fight sequence, which ends with Djarin disarming Gideon and winning the battle.
Gideon is brought to the bridge, with Djarin wielding the Darksaber. He offers it to Bo-Katan, who is reluctant. Gideon then recites Mandalorian code stating the Darksaber carries no power unless it is won in combat. It cannot be given. Bo-Katan agrees with this principle and cannot re-take possession of the Darksaber, which would make her the rightful ruler of Mandalore, as she was at the end of Star Wars: Rebels. The status of the Darksaber's owner is left unsettled when alarms go off, detecting Darktroopers, who have gathered themselves and are re-boarding the cruiser, intent on heading to the bridge and killing our heroes.
The Darktroopers relentlessly pound on the doors, attempting to get in by brute force. Just when it appears the blast doors are about to give way, the ship's computers detect something else.
A lone X-Wing Fighter docking, piloted by a lone, cloaked human.
Grogu's ears perk up and he appears more...himself upon Luke's arrival to the cruiser. This is the Force connection hinted at by Ahsoka in Chapter 13. Grogu's time spent on the Seeing Stone on Tython created a successful contact with Luke, who has used the Force as a sort of homing beacon to locate Grogu.
We then are witness to scenes many of us have wanted to see for more than 30 years - Luke kicking ass with his green lightsaber and the Force. As fearsome as the Darktroopers have been shown to be, Luke slices through groups of them effortlessly. Much like his father - during the Clone Wars versus battle droids - before him. For the first time, we see real fear in Gideon's face. There's a parallel shot to Rogue One here. In that film, Darth Vader stands in a doorway, red lightsaber ignited, ready to slaughter rebel troops. In this episode, we see Luke standing in a doorway, green lightsaber lit, having just slaughtered Darktroopers. Father and son, one finishing a heroic act, the other starting an evil act. Another beautiful bit of George Lucas-esque poetry.
At first, Grogu appears reluctant to go with Luke. Djarin, showing all compassion, encourages Grogu that it's OK to go with Luke. In a scene that reminded me of the finale of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Djarin removes his helmet and gazes upon Grogu, with his own eyes. Grogu tenderly touches Djarin's face as a way of saying goodbye, as Djarin fulfills his mission and hands Grogu over to Luke.
This is everything. Everything Din Djarin has believed in, followed and treated as his religion since he was 8 years old, is overcome by his love of Grogu in this moment. And much like the E.T. finale, it's so emotional, it's hard to watch with a straight face and dry eyes.
Unexpectedly, R2-D2 rolls into the scene, and Grogu immediately finds comfort in the loyal droid. He becomes more willing to leave Djarin, and walks to Luke, who collects him in his arms. There are looks of respect exchanged between Djarin and Luke before Luke departs. A "May the Force Be With You" from Luke is the perfect topper to this emotional scene.
So that's a wrap on season 2. Din Djarin fulfilled his mission given to him at the end of season 1. He successfully took Grogu to one of his kind, none other than Luke Skywalker. My feeling is, the words "Chapter 16" will be fondly uttered by Star Wars fans for a long time to come.
I will leave the post-credits scene and bigger picture implications of Season 2 to future blog posts.
I live in Michigan and have been an unconditional fan of Star Wars and Indiana Jones for decades. Follow me on twitter @bmonastiere
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