“The Mandalorian” season finale gets us in our feelings

Mandalorian Season Finale The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Season 2 ends with a fanservice-y bang, as the show breaks our hearts while straining under the weight of all its cameos and references.

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It’s the season finale of The Mandalorian Season 2, and I hope we’re all prepared to feel our feelings. Last time, Mando and the Grogu Rescue Crew (Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, and Cara Dune) sprung former Imperial sharpshooter Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr) so he could help them get access to the Imperial intranet and get the coordinates for Moff Gideon’s light cruiser. The mission was a success, though not without its problems, as Mando (Pedro Pascal) was forced to use the terminal instead of Mayfeld, necessitating the second-ever removal of his helmet since taking the Creed. They got the intel and headed out (sans a released Mayfeld) to face off against Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and get back that little green guy. 

So here we are. “Chapter 16: The Rescue”, directed by Peyton Reed and written by noted breaker of my heart Jon Favreau

We open mid-space chase, with the Slave I pursuing an Imperial shuttle containing one squirrelly Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) and two pilots. Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) stalls out their ship and tells them to prepare for boarding. Mando and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) enter, and the more hardcore of the two pilots holds Pershing at gunpoint after dispatching his more eager-to-surrender companion. Said Pilot and Dune have a little standoff, ending with her shooting him and our pair taking Pershing captive. 

The Mandalorian Season Finale
The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Mando and Fett disembark and enter the local cantina, where they find Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado). When Mando tells Bo-Katan that Gideon has Grogu, she turns away, saying they’ll never find him. This officially makes her the first person to refuse to help Mando find Grogu. (Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) is not with them, nor is he mentioned.) 

Mando tells Bo-Katan that they know where Gideon is and that’s the impetus she needs to chip in. Fett scoffs at her goal to restore Mandalore and Bo-Katan calls him out as not a Mandalorian (“Never said I was”). He says the armor belonged to his father and Bo-Katan, eager to be the worst today, says “Don’t you mean your donor?”. Okay, sit down, Party City. 

Bo-Katan agrees to help Mando in exchange for the light cruiser and for him to reconsider joining their team once they have Grogu back. She also wants the Darksaber. We know. She does throw in that the Darksaber can’t cut through pure beskar. Foreshadowing. (Notably, though Mando was wearing the spear on his back during the earlier scene, he isn’t now.)

Everyone has a meeting aboard the Slave I, where Bo-Katan is describing the schematics of the light cruiser (did anyone ask her to lead this meeting or did she decide that herself) and Pershing drops some facts about the Dark Troopers. We learn that the Troopers take up too much energy to keep them always at the ready, so they’re kept in cold storage. Fennec (Ming-Na Wen) asks how long it takes to start one up and Pershing says a “few minutes”. That’s the best you can do, Doc? He also shows them approximately where Grogu is being held. 

Season 2 was a great time, an emotional ridealong with a man in a helmet and his son, a green bean.

They finalize their plans (they’ll drop out of hyperspace with Fett shooting at the Imperial shuttle as a ruse, and the shuttle will subsequently land on the cruiser and everyone will proceed from there) and head in. Bo-Katan doesn’t care what happens to Gideon as long as he surrenders to and relinquishes the Darksaber only to her. 

They start the plan but are stymied when a suspicious Gideon launches TIE fighters to help them out rather than just letting them dock. Bo-Katan forcibly lands on the cruiser while Fett takes out the TIE fighters and gets the heck out of Dodge. This show wants us to fear for Fett’s life every week, doesn’t it? 

The gang disembarks and starts shooting up the place, and Gideon tells Comms Officer (Katy M. O’Brian)  to send out the Dark Troopers. The ladies head for the bridge, taking out various stormtroopers with a smile as they go. Look, Bo-Katan is on my last nerve right now, but more of kickass women being the absolute best at what they do, please. I’ve needed this from Star Wars since 1985.

As Mando proceeds to the brig, he passes the Dark Trooper storage and realizes to his horror that they’re already deploying. He tries to shut them in using Pershing’s code stick, but one Trooper slips out of the door and attacks. Mando is quickly outmanned by the Trooper and none of his usual tricks (flamethrower, whistling birds) are working, but you know what does work? The spear. With the Trooper taken out, Mando rushes to the controls for the storage room and effectively flushes the rest of the Troopers into space. 

The Mandalorian Season Finale
The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Gorgeous Ladies of Star Wars take the bridge, but notably, Gideon is nowhere to be found. That would be because he’s in the brig, holding the Darksaber over Grogu’s head. He exposits a little, telling Mando he knows that he’s traveling with Bo-Katan and that he’s (finally) used up all of his whistling birds. Mando is less than interested when Gideon tells him that whoever wields the Darksaber gets to rule Mandalore. 

Gideon says that he already has Grogu’s blood, and as long as Mando leaves immediately, he can just take his son and go. It’s the most obvious trick that’s ever been, but Mando goes for Grogu anyway and Gideon almost immediately attacks him with the Darksaber. Luckily, Mando is mostly external beskar at this point, and he and Gideon take their fight to the hallway, where it’s Spear Fighting Time. 

Mando disarms Gideon, and takes him to the bridge with Grogu. He’s wielding the Darksaber to hold at Gideon’s back, and Bo-Katan is visibly upset by this. See, it turns out (explains a gleeful Moff Gideon) that Mando can’t just give Bo-Katan the saber: she has to win it back in combat. Mando yields to Bo-Katan and tries again to hand it over, but Bo-Katan can’t just take it. Is it the most Din Djarin thing ever to accidentally become Mand’alor?

The return of the Dark Troopers interrupts this little show of Mandalorian stubbornness. Moff Gideon is having a great time, especially when Dune shoves him and he lands on the floor next to one of the dead stormtroopers’ blasters, which he covers with his cape. So that’s why they wear so many capes. Mando tucks a sleepy Grogu into a safe nook. 

The Mandalorian Season Finale
The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Dark Troopers start pounding away at the blast doors to the bridge, when an X-Wing flies and lands on the Cruiser. They don’t identify themselves when asked, but Grogu is seemingly getting something off of whoever is flying the ship. The Troopers stop trying to break down the door, to Gideon’s visible confusion, and the team watches on the screens as the Troopers turn from the doors to stand at attention to attack a Jedi.

And not just any Jedi, but one with a green lightsaber, one gloved hand, and, dare I guess it, the Chanel boots. Gideon takes advantage of the Team’s distraction to grab up the blaster and attempt to shoot Grogu, but Mando dives in front of his boy. Gideon tries to use the blaster on himself, but Dune knocks him out. Meanwhile, Jedi Ex Machina slices and dices through the Dark Troopers and Grogu is seemingly entranced by the appearance of someone else like him, to Mando’s visible sadness. 

The Jedi takes out the remaining Dark Troopers (wait, how many were there?), as Grogu watches with his little hand on the screen. After the Troopers are wiped out, Mando picks up Grogu and tells the others to open the doors. And yes, we were all right, it’s Luke Skywalker. But sorry Sebastian Stan aficionados, it’s a digitally de-aged Mark Hamill instead. 

Luke tells Mando that Grogu wants to come with him and train, but wants Mando’s permission to go. Luke will give his life to protect him, but Grogu’s abilities without proper training will be dangerous. Look, Luke, I’ll still put on the table that you just kinda said you were a Jedi after a couple of weeks on Dagobah, but no one asked me, I suppose*. 

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Mando picks Grogu up and tells him that he needs to go with Luke, but that they’ll see each other again. Din removes his helmet so that Grogu can see his face, He even smiles, just a little! He’s new at this! Grogu touches his face! Your recapper cries! He sets Grogu down to go to Luke, but Grogu is still unsure until R2-D2 rolls in and like all children, Grogu is entranced by R2 and his beepin’. Luke picks up Grogu, tells Din “May the Force be with you”, and he, R2, and Grogu leave in the lift as Din tries to keep a brave face for his son. And that’s the end of Season 2. 

The end credits are appropriately subdued but then! A stinger scene. We’re back on Tatooine, in Jabba’s Palace, now ruled over by good old Bib Fortuna. The appearance of Fennec and Fett interrupts the stillness as Fennec kills most of the guards and frees a Twi’lek slave. Fett kills Fortuna and seats himself on the throne, joined by a spotchka-drinking Fennec, and the pair settle into their new order as the screen tells us that The Book of Boba Fett is coming in December 2021.

The internet has been ablaze with speculation about whether this means that Fett is getting his own show or if this means that Season 3 of The Mandalorian will be Fett’s story instead of Din’s. I’m leaning towards the former, not just because of my love of Clan Mudhorn, but because of a couple of points:

  1. Boba tells Bo-Katan in this episode that his father was a Mandalorian but that he is not. Having him say that and then devoting a show called The Mandalorian to his character is sloppier than I think Favreau and Dave Filoni would be. 
  2. I’d be more inclined to think this was the end of Din and Grogu’s adventures if not for the dangling plot points such as: Moff Gideon is still alive, the Empire has more of Grogu’s blood, and I’m willing to bet now that the blood wasn’t for the Dark Troopers at all, but maybe for something else, and Din is kinda the ruler of the Mandalorians now, ooops

And now to discuss the Jedi in the room. Logically, yes, as Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson) told Din, there aren’t too many Jedi left. And the ones who are left are either tied up at the moment, have full-on refused to train Grogu, or are Luke Skywalker. Logic or no, it’s tough not to sigh as soon as Luke appears, and the viewer has to choose between happiness at seeing a beloved character and Skywalker Family Fatigue.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The cameos have weighed The Mandalorian down this season, and having at least 1.5 episodes out of eight serve as backdoor pilots doesn’t help. The Mandalorian works best when it exists in its own sphere. We know that the events of the Original Trilogy and Rogue One have happened, we know that those characters (well, most of them) are somewhere out there but they aren’t here in the Outer Rim getting all involved in our business. It hurts to not have entirely loved this finale, but I’m fully willing to acknowledge the weight of my expectations. 

Overall, Season 2 was a great time, an emotional ridealong with a man in a helmet and his son, a green bean. For every bit of character growth and relationship-building that we got, I wish we’d gotten ten more, that there had been more time to breathe between visits to people who needed a favor. It’s not that any bit of development or plot shading was a waste of time, necessarily, it’s that I wish they’d added up to more

Now we know that Grogu is safe (and if he has to be with any Jedi, best off with the one who thinks emotional attachments are okay) but is safe enough? Din allowing Grogu to make the choice (rather than just handing him to people as he has in the past) is a huge leap forward for a man who has fought against his fatherhood for almost a season and a half. Din knows now that he and Grogu are a family, and parents have to make hard choices. This was a smart choice, a logical one. But will it stick?

Bantha Droppings:

  • And that is a wrap on Season 2 of The Mandalorian. What a wild, emotional, macaron-eating time it’s been! What are your thoughts? What are your hopes for Season 3? Is that post-credits scene a backdoor pilot or a change of gears? Let us know! 
  • Did Gideon get more of Grogu’s blood off of the ship? I have to believe that he did, and that it’s not just sitting on board.
  • The Dark Troopers power up to dubstep, which is boss. 
  • RIP Beleaguered Comms Officer.
  • *I have made this argument at every family Thanksgiving since roughly 1989.

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