EPISODE: “Chapter 16: The Rescue” – Written by Jon Favreau and directed by Peyton Reed.
SYNOPSIS: The Mandalorian and his allies attempt a daring rescue.
REVIEW (WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE): After 16 episodes, the journey of Din Djarin to deliver Grogu to his people is complete. The second season finale, “The Rescue”, brings together virtually every tease and delivers on every promise since the very first chapter along with some spectacular surprises. “The Rescue” lives up to its title and becomes the most exciting and intense episode of The Mandalorian and serves as a fitting series finale should this be the end of the line for this particular set of characters. Opening with Slave 1 firing upon an Imperial shuttle carrying Dr. Pershing (Omar Abtahi), we get the sense that this is going to be an action-packed episode.
Boarding the shuttle, Mando and Cara Dune face off with an Imperial pilot holding Pershing with a blaster. The pilot teases Cara about the fate of Alderaan and mocks the deaths of millions before she has enough and shoots him in the face. It is a chilling moment but one that gains the heroes not only Dr. Pershing but the shuttle as well. They then head to locate Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado). When Bo-Katan sees Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), she identifies him as non-Mandalorian and mocks his voice as that of a clone. Mando asks for Bo-Katan’s help but she refuses until she learns that it will lead to Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and the Darksaber. she agrees in exchange for taking Gideon’s light cruiser for her fight to restore Mandalore. Aboard Slave 1, the team formulates the plan that will have everyone, including Fennec Shand (Ming-Na) serve as a distraction while Mando rescues Grogu from the Brig.
The tricky part is the platoon of Dark Troopers. Dr. Pershing helps them with the knowledge that the droids take a few minutes to charge up which will allow them a brief window to get past them on the ship. Feigning a distress call, Gideon’s ship allows them to dock and the battle begins. Stormtroopers begin to fall as the team makes their way towards the bridge. At the same time, Mando heads to the brig when he comes across the Dark Troopers. He gets the door closed but not before one makes it through. The trooper seems virtually impenetrable until Mando uses his Beskar staff between the neck and head. He then opens the hatch and sends the entire battalion into space. Mando then moves on to the brig where Gideon holds Grogu at bay with the Darksaber. Gideon taunts Mando with his knowledge of their plan before launching into an attack. Mando and Gideon fight. The Beskar staff withstands the Darksaber’s blows until Mando can disarm Gideon.
Arriving at the bridge with Gideon in restraints, Bo-Katan is shocked to see Mando wielding the Darksaber. We then learn that by defeating Gideon in combat, Mando is now the owner of the saber and Bo-Katan can only claim it by defeating him in combat. Gideon laughs as Bo-Katan confirms this is true and refuses when Mando offers it willingly. Before they can settle things, an alarm sounds indicating the full battalion of Dark Troopers are back and board the ship. Gideon finds a blaster and hides it under his cape and taunts the heroes with their impending deaths. The Dark Troopers begin breaking through the blast doors while everyone gets ready for the final fight. At that moment, a single X-Wing docks, and a hooded figure with a green lightsaber begins to destroy every Dark Trooper. Sensing defeat, Gideon takes the blaster and shoots Bo-Katan and Mando to no avail. He turns the blaster on Grogu but Mando dives to block the shot. Cara Dune then knocks Gideon unconscious.
Mando opens the blast doors and reveals none other than Luke Skywalker! Luke sensed Grogu’s message and has come to rescue him. Grogu does not go at first and Luke says he is waiting for Mando’s permission. Mando removes his helmet and says goodbye to the child who touches his surrogate father’s face. Grogu still is not sure until R2-D2 enters. Grogu then walks to Luke who picks up the kid and bids everyone farewell. Mando looks on sadly as his mission to reunite Grogu with his kind is finally complete. The episode ends here, but there is a final post-credit sequence on Tatooine at Jabba’s Palace. Inside the familiar setting, we see Bib Fortuna on Jabba’s throne. Fennec and Boba Fett enter and kill all of the guards and release the slave at Fortuna’s side. Bib Fortuna recognizes Boba Fett and pleads with him before being shot in the chest. Boba Fett then takes a seat on the throne as a title card announces The Book of Boba Fett will premiere in December 2021.
STAR WARS UNIVERSE REFERENCES: The opening scene references an officer was on the Death Star to which Cara Dune asks “which one?”. Bo-Katan calls Boba Fett a clone and says she has heard his voice many times, referencing her episodes on The Clone Wars. Koska Reeves references a Bacta Tank, the healing chamber Luke was in at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back.. A protocol droid is seen on Gideon’s ship. Gideon explains many of the rules of the Darksaber as introduced in The Clone Wars and Rebels. Luke Skywalker and R2-D2 are obviously huge easter eggs connecting this to the larger canon as well as the return to Jabba’s Palace in the post-credit sequence. Listen out for Mackluney at the end!
COOLEST SCENE: There is no way to pick just one as this entire episode was an absolute blast to watch. Whether it be Mando’s fights with the Dark Troopers or Moff Gideon, the emotional goodbye between Mando and Grogu, or the post-credit scene, everything here was as well-executed as a Star Wars movie. But, Luke’s dispatch of the Dark Troopers almost equals Darth Vader’s appearance in Rogue One for sheer badass nostalgia.
FINAL VERDICT: There are a lot of feelings floating around after seeing Chapter 16. This certainly feels like the end for this series in its current format. The tease of Boba Fett’s story, set to debut next December, could mean that The Mandalorian will serve as an anthology and shift focus to him. Or, we could easily see Din Djarin’s story continue as he joins forces with Bo-Katan. There is definitely enough room for both stories to be told. What is impressive here is that Jon Favreau did not extend this particular story beyond where it needed to go. Is this the last we have seen of Grogu or Din Djarin? Maybe, and that is okay. This was the most fun Star Wars has been in years and if it means many of these Disney+ series will be limited to one or two seasons, that is fine by me. But, I am also okay with more as long as the quality stays as high as this.
“The Rescue” is a 45-minute roller coaster that blends everything there is to love about Star Wars. While the CGI on Luke may have been the weakest part of the episode, this was a satisfying conclusion that leaves the door open for potentially more. (10/10)
NEXT ON THE MANDALORIAN: Season 3 has been greenlit but there is no current production or release date.