The Mandalorian Chapter 16: The Rescue – Review

Look, there’s just no way to talk about this episode without spoilers so I’m just gonna go for it. If you don’t want spoilers but somehow care about my opinion…well, this is an exciting finale that I have some real issues with.

One of the most beloved aspects of The Mandalorian was its disconnect from the rest of the Star Wars universe. This was as how that would give you quite a few little hints and nods here and there without the weight of previously existing lore. Season Two has tossed all of that out the window, bringing in Temura Morrinson to take on the role of Boba Fett and Ahsoka Tano for a guest role that had to be baffling to anyone that isn’t steeped in this universe’s backstory. We’ve arrived at what I would safely call an apex point. 

This issue doesn’t exactly deter from the wonderful stuff. Mando vs. Moff Gideon finally came down to mano-a-mano combat; the darksaber versus a beskar spear. The incompetence of Imperial troops has reached an all-time high as a team of five people are able to clear a cruiser without so much as a dent in their armor, but it’s so much fun to watch that no one is going to care. Moff Gideon’s plan for Grogu is still completely shrouded in mystery, but the rescue of the little tyke, alongside the fight for him, are thrilling instances that genuinely erase any need to true answers to the enigma. Hell, we even get some wonderful Mandalorian cultural pissing contests between Bo-Katan’s more loose, power-hungry view of the Mando culture and Boba Fett’s foundling fate. Star Wars is always best when it works as a magic trick, distracting you from the bells and whistles of its machinations with pizazz and sheer charisma. 

And then there’s Luke Skywalker. Tying in The Clone Wars and the old Star Wars: Dark Forces game is some deep lore that fans can partake of or not, it won’t change too much of the viewing experience. Bringing in the big guy, however, is both exciting and egregious in the same moment. We’re three years out from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a controversial piece of franchise filmmaking that caused an all-out goddamned holy war within the fandom. Luke’s portrayal as a man beaten down by his own legacy, as a man that doesn’t want to fight or risk any more failure, did not sit well with many people. They wanted the badass that swung his lightsaber in victorious glory while using the Force with casual righteous menace. The Mandalorian finally realizes this in its own version of the hallway scene from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Luke arrives, seemingly called by Grogu via the Force, and decimates around two dozen Dark Troopers as though he were flicking off a light switch. It’s beautiful, cheap, and worked on my nostalgia buttons perfectly. Right up until he takes his hood off and is revealed to be a CGI puppet of Mark Hammill, de-aged to the point that he looks like he stepped straight out of The Polar Express

And this kind of nostalgia porn really was something I enjoyed not having in The Mandalorian. Now that it’s arrived the genie will be hard to put back in the lamp, but I’m still feeling positive on the direction it seems to be taking. Season Two was the setup for a multitude of shows announced by Disney. They are as follows:

  • Ahsoka: This one’s obvious.
  • Rangers of the Republic: Seems to be set up as the Cara Dune-led show, possibly co-staring Mayfield.
  • The Book of Boba Fett: Whoo…this is a weird one.

The last entry there, the one about Boba Fett, seems to have been set up with a stinger scene in the post-credits scene that portrays Boba Fett as the new leader of the late Jabba’s criminal empire. It was merely subtitled “The Book of Boba Fett,” with a December 2021 release date. Is this a new spinoff show? Hopefully, because this season finale set up plenty of other necessary threads for an upcoming third season that wouldn’t really involve that idea. 

It’s a mixed bag, but I won’t pretend I didn’t have an absolute blast with it. Star Wars is once again leaving me worried about the future of this franchise, but for now I’m just glad Grogu is in good hands and that we’ve got a lot of potential.

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