Well, friends here were are, together at the end. The Mandalorian’s second season has been mostly good so far, and this last episode has some big promises to fulfil. Let’s see if it does so.
Seriously. Spoilers galore are coming. You’ve been warned.
The episode beings with Slave I in pursuit of an imperial shuttle carrying Dr Pershing. An ion blast later and our heroes are on board. Mando and Cara Dune have guns on the pilots, but one of the imperials is a true believer; he shoots his co-pilot and turns his gun on Pershing, and then makes the mistake of letting Cara know that he was there when Alderaan was destroyed and that destroying the planet was a small price to pay to root out terrorism. This is about the moment that he feels a blaster bolt pass through his head, but not before it clips Pershing’s ear.
Cue the title card, and a much more epic and orchestral version of the main theme. Honestly not sure if I like it, but you can tell they are really going for it with this one.
Next stop is a seedy backwater bar where Bo-Katan Kryse and Koska Reeves are. Mando and Boba Fett approach them and ask for help. Bo-Katan and Koska are hesitant at first, but once they find out that Mando can take Bo-Katan to Moff Gideon they’re on board. Once they find out that the other guy in armour standing there is Boba Fett, they also become hostile. They know he’s a clone. “You are not a Mandalorian,” says Bo-Katan. “Never said I was” replied Fett.
A small tussle later, and we’re on our way to Gideon’s Leith cruiser, which as part of the deal Bokatan gets to keep when they’re done. With some intel from Pershing, they form a plan of attack, which involves the four women –Bo-Katan, Koska, Cara Dune, and Fennec Shand– running and gunning up the middle of the ship while Mando makes a beeline for the kid. They get inside with the stolen Imperial shuttle, which they have Boba Fett in Slave I shooting at to make it seems like they need an emergency landing.
Once they’re inside Boba Fett jumps away (more on that later), and the women start kicking some righteous butt. I’m still upset that this show hasn’t given us a real Ming-Na Wen martial arts sequence, but seeing her high kicking and precision shooting a ton of stormtroopers is pretty awesome. Cara Dune and her heavy repeating rifle also get to have some fun.
Meanwhile, to get to the kid, Mando has to get past a room full of Dark Troopers. It’s explained that these are no longer men, but droids, and the most formidable foes they will face. Mando manages to get to the room just in time not to stop one of the troopers from deploying, he locks the door, so it’s one on one, but the dark trooper is just as formidable as it looks –and it looks like a Cylon crossed with a Terminator. The fight is pretty good, but I especially like the part where the Dark Trooper is punching Mando in the helmet so hard that it indents into the wall. Mando using his flame thrower on the Dark Trooper and the dark trooper looking like it is basically saying “thank you I am on fire now.”
Once Mando beats the Trooper, he vents the rest of hem into space and carries on. Moff Gideon is waiting for him in Grogu’s cell, holding the dark sabre to his head. Gideon pretends to let Mando take the child and then literally tries to stab him in the back. A fight ensues with Gideon wielding the dark sabre and Mando with his beskar spear. It’s a fun fight, and it ends with Mando in possession of the dark sabre and Gideon in restraints.
Bo-Katan, having reached the bridge but not found Gideon when she got there is visibly anxious. Sure, she just captured this ship to use in her efforts to retake Mandalore, but she has also been very vocal about her want for Gideon to surrender to her personally. When Mando walks in with the sabre in hand, she looks even more distressed, and when Mando tries to hand it to her, Gideon laughs and points out that the sabre now belongs to Mando, and it can’t be given away only won in battle. It’s not the blade that has power, it’s the story, after all. Bo-Katan can’t just take it, and Mando can’t just yield, they have to fight.
The moment of tension is cut short when the Dark Troopers, who you will remember have rocket feet, all make their way back onto the ship and in a very machine-like and efficient way start punching their way into the sealed room where everyone is. While they’re getting ready to face these murder bots, a single x-wing flies by and lands on the ship and the Dark Troopers stop trying to get into the room. It looks like there’s a new, greater threat on board: a Jedi.
Sure enough, a cloaked figure with a green lightsaber starts hacking and slashing and force-pushing, pulling, and crushing the droids like he’s on a Sunday stroll. It is a pretty awesome scene. Once he is done, the team open the bridge doors, and he enters the room through a veil of smoke. He pulls back the cloak to reveal his face, and it turns out to be Luke fucking Skywalker. No, seriously. Luke fucking Skywalker. And R2-D2, too.
Luke explains that Grogu needs training and that he will give up his life to protect Grogu if it comes down to that. Mando picks up Grogu to assure him that this is for the best and they will see each other again, and Grogu reaches out to Mando’s helmet. Mando removes it and lets Grogu see his actual face for the first time (I think). They have a tearful moment, and then Luke carries Grogu away. We get a close up on Mando’s face, and then the show cut to black.
But wait, there’s more. In a post-credits sequence, we see Jabba the Hutt’s palace, now with Bib Fortuna looking very heavy and sitting on the throne. A blaster shot comes from outside, and Fennec Shand descends the stairs and shoots much of Fortuna’s entourage. Fett arrives shortly after and cuts Fortuna’s nervous rambling monologue short with a blaster shot to the chest. Boba then climbs up to the throne and sits down, with Shand in the background swigging from a bottle of some kind of blue drink. A title card then announces that The Book of Boba Fett is coming next year, I presume only on Disney+.
Ooooook where to start, exactly. I have very mixed feelings about this finale. I don’t exactly know what I expected, but it definitely tips fully into fan service territory with the appearance of digital faced Luke and R2-D2 showing up. The show has been leaning so heavily into the animated series lore that I was actually surprised to see Luke show up; I was expecting Ezra Bridger.
I think that The Mandalorian is at its best when it’s doing things as far removed from the existing canon of Star Wars and this was just… not that.
CGI face technology has come a long way in the last decade or so, but the uncanny valley is still very much real thing and the digitally created Mark Hamil face they added to the body of whatever performer that was just isn’t quite right, and it was hard to get around for me.
The end of the story of Mando and Grogu is a bittersweet one, but I am also glad to see it come to an end. I sincerely hope that next season has a clear focus and through-line for Mando, perhaps as a part of Bo-Katan’s bid to retake Mandalore. I did like that Bo-Katan was dismissive of Boba Fett enough that he just left to take over the Hutt Criminal Empire, too. I love that she immediately recognizes him as a clone from only his voice, something that someone who fought in the clone wars would instantly be able to recognize. Sure, she doesn’t know his whole history, but does she need to?
I was also happy to see Pedro pascals face again, for the second time in as many weeks! He is a great actor and not being able to see his face does still hurt the show. Hopefully, the writers will have him loosen up a little next season as he spends time alongside other Mandalorians and we get to see him act for the camera a little more moving forward.
Bo-Katan not taking the dark sabre because Mando is just offering it to her was a nice little moment of set up for conflict in following seasons, but also in Star Wars Rebels she does literally exactly that. Sabine offers her the sabre, and Bo-Katan takes it. I wonder what changed. It doesn’t really matter, but it struck me as a little weird given that Dave Filoni is so involved.
I have mixed feelings about how the show handled Boba Fett. On the one hand, not everything needs to be connected, and not every character needs to know every other. On the other hand, once he was back in his armour, they all but sidelined him. The post-credits scene was a surprise, too, but I suppose LucasFilm has learned a lot from Marvel.
So did I like the episode? Yeah, it was fine. Did I like the season? Yeah, it was uneven, but it was fine. Disney is clearly throwing a ton of resources at this series and it shows. I also think that rather than focussing on forging their own path they are coming back to the well of Star Wars lore a little too often.
- I wonder how they’re going to walk the fine line between “he’s a criminal kingpin” and “he’s the protagonist, so he has to be relatable” with this new Boba Ferr series.
- The scene with the true believer was intense, but I’m not sure that Gina Carano is quite there as an actress to really sell what she’s feeling in those moments.
- I’m sad to see Grogu gone, but I hope that we get more varied adventures from now on.
- I get the feeling that the series isn’t going to do that, that it’s going to tie into existing lore more, and that makes me feel frustrated.
- I did like the Cylon-esque design of the Dark Troopers and the way they move.
- Giancarlo Esposito is always a win.
- I hope Temura Morrison shows up again but as an aged clone trooper.
- I hope Disney stops trying to recreate the faces of actors and performers. Once they can animate everything a lot of people are going to be out of work.
- Seeing a fully realized Luke Skywalker hacking and slashing his way through the Dark Troopers was pretty cool, according to my inner 12-year-old.