This is it, folks. The Season 2 finale of The Mandalorian is finally here, bringing an end to one of the best seasons of TV for this year and many years prior. After last week’s stellar heist episode with Migs Mayfeld (Bill Burr) returning to the franchise, the pieces are all in place for Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) next big mission: storm an imperial Arquitens-class light cruiser and get Grogu back before the show takes a year-long hiatus. The Mandalorian Chapter 16 has a great many plot threads to tie up, and there’s a very good chance that many of them could be sidelined until Season 3. And that would be okay, as this series has fired on all cylinders for 15 chapters and getting even a hint of what’s to come could be enough to sustain fans for the next 12 months. And it’s a big friggin hint. More on that later.
The Mandalorian Chapter 16, entitled “The Rescue,” brings together a who’s who of characters from this season — and beyond — and never lets up. It’s action, and exposition, and shocking event after shocking event. And then there’s the post credits scene. Yes, stay through the credits, as the payoff is worth it.
The Mandalorian Chapter 16 opens with Slave-1 attacking a Lambda-class shuttle that contains Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) and two pilots. The shuttle can’t shake Boba Fett, and he quickly disables the ship and Mando, Fennec (Ming-Na Wen), and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) board. The co-pilot (Thomas E. Sullivan) shoots the pilot (Luke Baines) and takes Pershing hostage and refuses to let him go alive. Then he gets lippy with Cara Dune, bringing up Alderaan and other aspects of greater Star Wars history (Kevin Smith will be very proud), before Cara shoots the co-pilot square in the face. Pershing is now in the hands of the good guys.
The next phase sees Mando reconnecting with Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado, aka WWE’s Sasha Banks). Mando and Boba find the duo in a cantina. He asks the Nite Owls for help, and they refuse — even as he tells them that Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) has taken the Child. Koska confronts Boba, and Bo-Katan calls out his questionable lineage. Koska then attacks Fett until Bo-Katan breaks them up.
She agrees to help Mando, but she wants Gideon’s ship — and Mando’s help retaking Mandalore. He agrees. She also demands the Dark Saber and Gideon’s death at her hands. Mando agrees to it all. The Child is his only priority.
On Slave-1, the group goes over their assault plan. Dr. Pershing reveals that Gideon has a platoon of Dark Troopers on-board. He also explains that they are 100% droid, as their humanity was their last weakness. Bo-Katan creates a plan to separate the group using the Lambda-class shuttle and Slave-1 to infiltrate Gideon’s ship. Fennec takes Pershing’s code cylinder to lock the Dark Troopers in their recharge bunker, and then they begin their assault.
The two ships exit hyperspace with Slave-1 firing at the shuttle as it seeks refuge on Gideon’s ship. Ever one step ahead, Gideon launches a squadron of TIE fighters but Bo-Katan does not vacate the launch tube, flying right in as TIEs are trying to launch.
Once aboard, Fennec, Cara, Bo-Katan, and Koska begin shooting anything in white armor, clearing the flight deck. Gideon calls for the Dark Troopers to be activated.
Once the battle has moved off the deck, Mando exits the shuttle, and Obi-Wans his way to the Dark Trooper bunker to seal the door and then to the detention block to rescue Grogu.
The Nite Owls and friends systematically wipe out stormtrooper after stormtrooper. It’s not even fair.
Mando gets to the bunker too late, as the activated Dark Troopers stop the doors from locking and one gets free. Mando and the Trooper have a ridiculously brutal battle that sees Din’s Beskar armor put to test after test. He’s finally able to destroy the Trooper by using most of his weapons and finally the Beskar spear. At last, he opens the bunker bay doors, sucking the remaining Dark Troopers out into the cold of space.
The team of badass women warriors continue their assault, making it all the way to the bridge. They take the ship, but Gideon is not there.
Mando makes it to the detention block and opens the door, only to find Gideon standing over Grogu with the Dark Saber in hand. Mando tells him all he wants is the child, and Gideon offers some history on Bo-Katan and the Dark Saber, and he lets on that he knows everything that has happened. Mando doesn’t care. He just wants the kid. Gideon finally agrees, as he’s taken all the blood he needs to bring “order back to the galaxy.”
As Mando reaches down to Grogu, Gideon attacks and once again, the Beskar holds up. The Dark Saber vs Beskar fight is loud and intense. Finally, Mando disarms Gideon, who is shocked that his life was spared.
Mando, Grogu, and the secured Gideon enter the bridge and Bo-Katan looks like she’s seen a ghost. Gideon explains that she cannot take the Dark Saber now, as it must be won on battle, and Mando now holds it. Mando tries to yield, but Bo-Katan will not accept. She needs to win the sword in a fight.
Before that issue can be settled, the alarm klaxons go off, as the Dark Troopers — all of them — are now back on the ship. Koska seals the blast doors, but the Troopers are relentless. They begin beating in the door.
Alarms start going off again, as a single X-Wing has joined the party.
The Dark Troopers stop the assault on the blast doors and the team on the bridge watch via view screens as a single hooded Jedi begins making his way to the bridge, cutting through the Dark Troopers like they were nothing.
Gideon produces a concealed blaster and shoots Bo-Katan and tries to shoot Grogu, but Mando jumps in front of him in time to deflect the shots. Beskar is the true hero of this episode.
Gideon tries to then shoot himself, but Cara Dune knocks the blaster out of his hand and knocks him out. The Jedi continues his trek to the bridge, and Grogu watches him in action on the screen with focused interest.
This assault is just as brutal as watching Darth Vader go through the rebels at the end of Rogue One.
Finally, the Jedi makes it to the bridge, but no one wants to let him in. Mando realizes that this is the answer to Grogu’s call and opens the door to reveal Luke Skywalker.
Luke calls to Grogu, but he won’t come. Mando tells him that he doesn’t want to leave with him, and Luke explains that Mando has to tell Grogu it’s okay to go. As a final show of love to the child, Din Djarin willfully removes his helmet and he and Grogu stare at each other, eye to eye. I’m not crying, you are.
He tells Grogu that it’s time to go and to not be afraid. R2-D2 rolls in and he and Grogu have a moment. As the droid and child meet, Luke and Din exchange a look. Luke bends down to pick up Grogu and tells the heroes, “May the Force be with you.”
The heroes watch as Luke, R2, and Grogu board the lift and the door shuts on The Mandalorian Season 2.
Is This Star Wars?
If you’ve read the above, you know that this is ALL STAR WARS. We have a Lambda-class shuttle, like the Tydirium from Return of the Jedi, a classic space shoot-out, a cantina scene (again), stormtroopers being, well, stormtroopers, a death star droid, and finally, LUKE SKYWALKER being a true badass that we have never seen and only got a glimpse of in The Last Jedi.
Oh, and R2-D2 was there as well.
And the post credits scene has a few more call backs to Return of the Jedi that were very satisfying and sets up The Mandalorian Season 3, which will be called “The Book of Boba Fett.” It is coming in December, 2021. Or it could be a new series. It’s not evidently clear where Disney is going with this. Time will tell.
UPDATE: Time has told; Disney announced on December 21 that The Book of Boba Fett will be a standalone series.
Writing & Directing
The Mandalorian Chapter 16 was written by Jon Favreau and was directed by Peyton Reed, who also directed Chapter 10 and the Ant-Man films. Reed’s direction was spot on here, and the centerpiece of the episode — and arguably the season — Luke’s green lightsaber assault on the Dark Troopers being shown primarily through the view screens was incredibly effective.
Unfortunately, the CGI that made up Luke’s younger face was a mess. There is no two ways to say it. It was not as good as Tarkin’s face in Rogue One, but not as bad as Jabba from the Special Editions, but it steers closer to the latter, sadly. And that falls on the director.
Yes, I cried a little. The bond between Din Djarin and Grogu has grown strong in these two seasons, and the audience feels it too. Pascal relayed so much with his face while looking upon Grogu. It was a masterclass is acting with your eyes, and he performed it at a level usually reserved for Tom Hardy in Christopher Nolan films.
Seeing Luke Skywalker again was nice, but was also a little unwarranted. The Skywalker saga has run its course, and part of what makes The Mandalorian so great is that is free of Luke, Leia and their deadbeat dad. Now, we are all back into that drama — and with some horrible CGI to boot — and it could be a long while before we see Grogu and Mando together again, if at all.
The good thing here is that by focusing next season of The Mandalorian on Boba Fett, the criminal, where this story goes and how it will tie into the coming war for Mandalore that Din promised to help with (not to mention the stewardship of the Dark Saber, which is another can of worms), Favreau and company will have plenty of stories to tell without the little green guy being the focus.
The Mandalorian Chapter 16 was a solid finale. Mando completed his mission. Grogu is with a Jedi — probably THE Jedi — and now, the whole universe is open to the Mandalorian for what comes next. It’s going to be a very long 12 months.
The Mandalorian Chapter 16 is now available to stream exclusively on Disney Plus. All images courtesy of Disney and Lucasfilm, and they retain full ownership.