For those who have not yet seen The Mandalorian Season 2 finale, BE WARNED there are major spoilers ahead.
The Mandalorian did the damn thing. The Season 2 finale, titled “Chapter 16: The Rescue,” executed a seamless, action-packed episode that offered closure, emotion, and the return of Bo-Katan Kryze. The confrontation between Din Djarin and Moff Gideon was exciting and intense, but it was the goodbye scene between sweet Grogu and Mando (Pedro Pascal got to show his face again!) that completely sold the episode for me.
That’s because The Mandalorian has been developing this relationship since the first season and man, oh man, did it deliver. It’s the core of the show no matter how many awesome and badass characters show up, so of course “The Rescue” was focused on Mando doing whatever he could to save his kid and then letting him go in a bid to do whatever he thought was best for his future. If that meant going with Luke Skywalker who, despite being a Jedi, was a total stranger to Mando, then so be it.
The evolution of Din Djarin in particular is memorable — he went from being a bounty hunter doing his own thing to a man suddenly responsible for a 50-year-old baby with no understanding of his backstory or where he came from and, finally, to becoming a caring parent. That’s pretty huge. The fact that Grogu wouldn’t even go with Luke until he had explicit permission from Mando was so touching. It really was like watching a kid letting go of their parent’s hand as they set off for kindergarten for the first time and it was incredibly emotional to watch.
Pascal really delivers, layering his portrayal with deep anguish and resolute sadness that shines as bright in the unshed tears in his eyes. His Adam’s apple shakes as he swallows, like he’s unsure if this is what he should do, but understanding that he has to let go no matter what. After all, he’s done all he can to help Grogu, keeping him safe all this time from monsters and greedy men. On some level, Mando always knew that he would have to give up the Child, but it’s when the time comes to actually leave him behind that finally makes it all too real and Pascal nails the emotional intensity of the moment so well that I’m still reeling from it. Seriously heart wrenching stuff.
Elsewhere in the episode, Mando recruits Bo-Katan for the rescue mission and she agrees, but only if Din Djarin joins her and the Nite Owls in their own mission to reclaim Mandalore. Of course, Bo-Katan also sees this as her chance to take back the Darksaber from Gideon and procure his spaceship while they’re there. Sounds easy enough, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, Mando defeats Gideon before she can get anywhere near him and there’s apparently a rule that the only person who can wield the lightsaber is the one who defeated its previous owner, which means that Bo-Katan can’t just take it despite Mando offering it to her anyway (he doesn’t want it and he doesn’t care about it either way). This was an odd moment for a couple of reasons, the first being that Bo-Katan completely neglected to mention any of this to Mando so as to make Gideon’s exposition more dramatic.
However, it doesn’t work and the long moment (meant to be intense, I’m sure) could have been avoided altogether by a quick, “Hey, Din, I need to be the one who defeats Gideon because Mandalorian lore says so. Cool? Cool.” Secondly, Mike pointed out to me that the moment sort of retcons Star Wars Rebels, which saw Bo-Katan willingly given the weapon by Sabine Wren (whom many thought would appear in The Mandalorian) without having to fight her for it at all.
If logic prevails and the rules don’t always apply, then what’s changed here? Is it because Din Djarin is a Mandalorian and that’s why she must duel him as tradition dictates? Was she planning on dueling Gideon who wasn’t a Mandalorian and did not have a rightful claim to the Darksaber at all? What is the truth? It seems like The Mandalorian is trying to extend the story for Bo-Katan. If she can’t have the Darksaber now then she can return in Season 3. She could duel Mando after he joins her to reclaim Mandalore so it’s definitely a storyline that can be tackled next season.
Mark Hamill’s (CGI) return was pretty awesome while it lasted. Luke’s entire entrance sequence was badass and exhilarating, taking out all of the robotic dark troopers on his own before showing up to collect Grogu. There are a lot less Jedi in the galaxy at this point, so it seemed likely that Luke would be the one to answer Grogu’s call from Tython. That said, it’s somewhat exhausting that the franchise can’t stay away from the Skywalker family at all.
While it’s possible that Mando will fulfill the promise he made to Grogu about seeing him again, Luke taking the Child also suggests that Kylo Ren (formerly Ben Solo) will be responsible for his demise. Will Season 3 of The Mandalorian leave Grogu behind for good? Is the series going to show his training with Luke? I gotta be honest, I don’t really want to see that because it’s not what the show is really about. All the uncertainty surrounding Luke’s appearance aside, however, “The Rescue” was a solid season finale that brought the action, the heart, and left enough loose ends that will be worth visiting next season.
Header Image Source: Lucasfilm/Disney