WARNING: THIS REVIEW IS FULL OF SPOILERS.
The second season finale of The Mandalorian— entitled “Chapter 16: The Rescue” is available to stream as of early this morning on Disney+, and my first reaction is that it was… predictable?
I mean, if you had me list out beat-for-beat what I thought would happen in the finale earlier this week, I think I would have been about 75-80% accurate. Of my two major long-shot predictions (the first of which I made way back after the third episode of this season, mind you), one of them was certainly true and the other was entirely not, so I broke even on those– but as for the major plot points, not to toot my own horn, but I pretty much saw a lot of this coming. Or maybe the show just telegraphed it all for me? Either way, I think I would have liked to be more surprised.
We open with Din Djarin (played as always by Pedro Pascal), his pal Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and his newfound buddies Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) acquiring an important hostage after the Slave I disables an Imperial shuttle– Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), the scientist we saw experimenting on Grogu in season one. This was one of the things I would not have outright predicted, so the episode started off pretty interesting for me. From that point on, until the end credits, the rescue mission goes about how one would expect. The team stops to pick up some more members: Mandalorian warriors Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado), infiltrate Moff Gideon’s (Giancarlo Esposito) cruiser using some clever tricks and their own well-established battle prowess, go up against both stormtroopers and Dark Troopers, and so on.
Things start to get somewhat more compelling once Djarin comes helmet-to-face with Gideon and then duels with the Darksaber-wielding baddie using the Beskar staff he acquired in Chapter 13, but yeah, we all knew that was coming, too. Mando wins the fight, naturally, and this season-ending installment comes to a climax in the cruiser’s cockpit, with our protagonists cornered by the deadly Dark Troopers until a literal Jedi ex Machina drops out of hyperspace and lands in the hangar bay, proceeding to take out all remaining enemies with an admittedly impressive display of his Force skills and ever-improving lightsaber technique. And now we’re going to spend the next year or so debating the implications of Grogu’s fate as depicted in the final moments here. Certainly if things get left as they are, Baby Yoda would meet a very unfortunate end at the hands of said Jedi’s volatile nephew, but I don’t think that will happen.
I will say that one moment in this episode really got to me emotionally: Din Djarin finally, willfully, removing his helmet in front of Grogu (not to mention everyone else in the room) in order to say goodbye. Again, this is something I was fairly certain would happen around the end of this season, but the execution worked for me and I have to say I found myself tearing up a bit at its touching impact. Two things I did not predict: this outing was directed by Ant-Man’s Peytod Reed (I had made an out-there guess it would be a stunt-enlisted George Lucas, which I think frankly I would have preferred, and not completely outside the realm of possibility knowing his mentor relationship with series executive producer Dave Filoni) and we got a fun post-credits sequence visiting a familiar location, offing a named character introduced almost four decades ago, and setting up… something that hasn’t been made entirely clear yet by Disney or Lucasfilm. At the very least we’ll know what it is by next December.
Until then, we can safely say that the third season of The Mandalorian, whenever it does arrive, is shaping up to look very different from what we’re used to. There’s no more Razor Crest to planet-hop in, Grogu is gonna be off training with you-know-who (at least at the outset of the next batch of episodes), and Mando has to work out his awkward relationship with Bo-Katan and the Darksaber– another minor twist I should say I enjoyed. Overall I think this show’s second season was very strong, though a little front-heavy in terms of standout episodes, and now that we know how very much we have to look forward to both from The Mandalorian’s multiple officially announced spin-offs and the Star Wars franchise in general, I feel like things are really only getting started.
The first two seasons of The Mandalorian are now available to stream in their entirety exclusively on Disney+.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.