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The Mandalorian

Chapter 16: The Rescue (The Mandalorian - S02E08) - Live Action Series

Series: The Mandalorian

Title: Chapter 16 - The Rescue

Season: Two

Episode: 8

Original Air Date: December 18th, 2020

Runtime: 43 minutes

Credits: Review & Text: Thomas; Page layout & Design: Chuck Paskovics

Discuss the latest Chapter! (Discussion)

"I will give my life to protect the Child..." SPOILERS.

A Lambda shuttle is pursued by Slave-1

There is so much to talk about after the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian. Where to begin? It all begins with a simple pursuit in space, our heroes have tracked down Dr. Pershing who is en route to Moff Gideon's cruiser in a Lambda shuttle.

Yet another fanatic Imperial about to meet his end

Cara and Din eventually board the shuttle. But it turns out one of the pilots is a true believer in the Empire, he shoots his fellow pilot in cold blood as he tries to negotiate and then holds Pershing at gunpoint. It turns out the pilot was on the Death Star and even though it's just a brief exchange between him and Cara Dune we get to learn his view of things. He mentions the millions of lost lives when the Death Star(s) blew up and how destroying Alderan was a small price to pay to rid the galaxy of terrorism. It's always intriguing to learn more about the mindset of people from the other side. Because we, the audience, have to understand why anyone would ever support the Empire or its Remnant. And there's a common theme: order and stability that was under threat by terrorists. And from a certain point of view it may seen correct. It at least explains why people work for or support the Empire. But the pilot does not survice the encounter of course and Pershing can confirm that Grogu is still alive and on the cruiser.

Terraforming in Star Wars

It's obvious Din and Cara can't raid the cruiser with just Boba and Fennec as support. So Slave 1 makes its way to another planet. And here we meet some old friends.

Boba Fett is not just a sidekick and he is allowed to talk

Boba Fett and Din Djarin enter yet another bar and find Bo-Katan with her ally Koska Reeves. The encounter is off to a tense start when both Koska and Bo make it clear that they don't like Boba at all and consider him a disgrace to the armor he is wearing. We get yet some more nice insight into how the characters think and tick. Previously Bo-Katan was shown to be less ideological than Din, she even made fun of him because of his "never remove your helmet" rule. But here we see Bo's other side, she's as much chained to her ideology as Din once was. She refuses to acknowledge Boba as Mandalorian, because he's a clone. This seems to be a mainstream opinion among Mandalorians, which certainly explains Boba's attitude towards them. Bo's ideology is set up here, something that will be important later. After a short fight between Koska and Boba things settle down, Din explains what's up, that he has found Moff Gideon and Din has found two more allies.

This brings back memories

The crew then track down Gideon's ship and they stage a mock fight between the Lambda shuttle and Slave 1. But instead of allowing the shuttle to land immediately the cruiser launches TIE Fighters (in a scene that may or may not be a direct hommage to Battlestar Galactica) to fight Slave 1. So the heroes decide to land the shuttle in the docking bay regardless. The Stormtroopers in the bay are, as usual, no real threat and now the plan is for Bo-Katan, Cara, Fennec and Koska to head to the bridge, while Din sneaks to the brig where Baby Yoda is being held. But Moff Gideon has still one more ace up his sleeve, he has activated the Dark Troopers.

Ready for action

At first the plan is working, the four women make their way to the bridge, Din is advancing deeper into the ship, but then the Dark Troopers are ready for deployment and about to open the door when Din happens upon them.

Turns out Beskar spears come in very handy

Din manages to close the cargo bay door before it fully opens, but not before one Dark Trooper slips out. Din has to give his best, including several of his gadgets, but the Dark Trooper still beats the living daylights out of him. Eventually Din's Beskar spear does the trick and destroys the droid. Din then opens the outer hatch of the cargo bay that leads directly to space, and all the Dark Troopers are ejected into the vacuum. It seems the Empire doesn't believe in air locks or any safety measures whatsoever. Good for Din!

Moff Gideon does not shy away from anything

Din finally finds Grogu's cell, but inside Moff Gideon is holding the darksaber over Grogu's head. However, Gideon appears to be reasonable. And Din is also ready to abandon Bo's goal of getting the darksaber from Gideon, it's apparent Din cares little about her ambitions, his primary goal is to rescue Grogu. And if Moff Gideon is willing to hand the child over without a fight, all the better. So when Moff Gideon reveals to Din why Bo-Katan wants the darksaber, Din says that Gideon can keep the weapon, as long as he gets Grogu in return. Gideon agrees, seemingly, because he already got from Grogu what he wanted, his blood. But of course Gideon is still Gideon and when Din is about to take the child he attacks him with the darksaber.

Beskar spears are extremely useful

Gideon viciously hacks at Din, but after a lengthy duel Din's Beskar spear triumphs over the darksaber. Gideon is finally captured and Grogu is free!

When arbitrary rules are very important

Din heads with his prisoner to the bridge. But a new problem arises. It turns out Din was never supposed to win the darksaber from Gideon in combat, since winning the darksaber in combat is the only way to make you eligible for the Mandalorian throne, something Bo-Katan wanted for herself. And now we get to see a nice reversal of roles between Bo and Din. A few episodes ago Din was shown to be the dogmatic follower of a sect and Bo looked down upon him a bit. Now it turns out Bo-Katan is very much a slave to her rules as well. Din, whom the darksaber means nothing to, is willing to hand the weapon over to Bo-Katan, just like that. So she can become ruler. But Bo can't accept. Her rules hold her back. Gideon is gloating in the background and Bo-Katan is very unhappy... A quick word about continuity here... Sabine handed over the darksaber to Bo in Rebels, just like that. I wonder why she did accept it then, but not now. Filoni works on both shows, so is it a plot-hole, a retcon? Is Rebels only 2nd tier canon as well? Or is there a deeper meaning? I cannot imagine that Filoni forgot about the scene in Rebels. I wonder of this will be addressed in the future. One possible explanation may be that there is a different rule in place for when you lose the darksaber, that you have to win it back in combat then, but if you never had the saber in the first place you can accept it as a gift.

The Dark Troopers are back

But there's not much time to debate things, because the Dark Troopers have boarded the cruiser again. Spacing them only postponed things. And an entire platoon of them will be extremely difficult to defeat, if not entirely impossible.

An X-Wing? Ok.... who could it be?

Several Dark Troopers make it to the bridge, the blast doors are closed but the Dark Troopers ram the doors with their fists and it's only a matter of time before they crack them open. But then one lonely X-Wing appears. A New Republic pilot perhaps?

A cloaked figure emerges

On the bridge monitors the heroes see one lonely cloaked figure entering the hallways of the cruiser. Who could that person be? Ahsoka?

The cloaked figure with a single lightsaber

We quickly learn it's not Ahsoka. But still a Jedi. A Jedi with a single lightsaber.

An Emmy for Giancarlo Esposito for best fearful expression

Bo-Katan realizes a Jedi has boarded the ship. Only Moff Gideon however seems to know and understand who that person is... and for the first time ever in the series he is shown to be afraid, very afraid.

I believe I have something in my eyes...

Finally we see the figure, no longer on the monitor. And the figure has a green lightsaber. The Jedi makes short work of the Dark Troopers, using both the Force and the lightsaber. It's an impressive display of skill and talent.

Din takes a bullet for Grogu

Back on the bridge Gideon tries to exploit the distraction, grabs a blaster and tries to kill Bo-Katan and Grogu. Bo is protected by her armor and Din jumps into the path of the blaster bolts and saves Grogu. Gideon is petty and vengeful to the end. As he realizes there is no way out anymore he tries to shoot himself, but Cara prevents it and Gideon is knocked out.

A hand in a black glove, crushing a Dark Trooper like a ripe melon

Meanwhile the figure advances on the bridge, swatting Dark Troopers like flies, slicing them with the green lightsaber, Force pushing them away, choking them like Vader loved to choke annoying Imperials. Like father, like son. Luke Skywalker has sensed Grogu back on Tython and now he's here to save the day. I need my heart pills! Now! Grogu watches the carnage on a monitor and reaches out with his hand, trying to establish a connection through the Force perhaps?

Ehm.... hello there?

And then it's all over. The last Dark Trooper has been finished off, Din opens the blast doors and in walks the cloaked figure...

I am not crying, you are crying!

And yes, it's really Luke. Luke in his prime, a few years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Luke, the wise Jedi master, Luke who just obliterated an entire platoon of extremely dangerous Dark Troopers single-handedly. I suppose many fans expected Luke to show up eventually, but now? In season 2 already?

Grogu is reaching out to Din

Luke has come to rescue Grogu. Din at first doesn't want to let Grogu go, telling Luke that Grogu would rather stay with him. But Luke corrects him, Grogu is merely seeking Din's approval to go with Luke. So the time has come to say goodbye to the little frog menace. It's only season 2 but already things are being shaken up here. Grogu reaches out to Din, touching his helmet and it's obvious what Grogu longs for... he wants to see Din before he has to leave.

I am really not crying, I just have some dust in my eyes!

And the next scene shows how far Din, as a character, has come. Without any real hesitation he removes his helmet, so Grogu can look at his face. Rules that once were deemed important are rendered meaningless. Grogu touches Din's face in a heartfelt gesture and Din is teary-eyed, but it's time to let him go. Luke reassures Din that he would give his life to protect Grogu. But he also emphasizes that Grogu needs training, because raw talent means nothing without training. And the previous episodes have made it clear that Grogu is already quite powerful, he could become a danger to himself or others if not properly trained.

R2-D2. Of course. Luke's trusty companion. Man, it's dusty in here today...

But then another well known character enters the scene. Luke's astromech. And that means R2-D2. He beeps and boops something to Grogu. Does R2 know Grogu? They were both at the temple back in the day, so chances are R2 does remember Grogu. That little droid really has seen it all! Ok, it's blatant fan-service, but seeing R2 again is still always nice.

May the Force be with you! And please, someone do something against all this dust, I am all teared-up

Luke wishes Din well, and takes Grogu with him. But Din has made a promise to Grogu that they will meet again. This story is not over yet.

A young Luke with R2 and Grogu. In 2020. Who would have thought this possible a few years ago?

Luke enters the elevator and we get one final shot of him with R2 and Grogu.

Jabba's palace on Tatooine

The season 2 finale end credits are very different this time. No concept art is shown, instead, once the credits are over, we are treated to a bonus scene, MCU style. Tatooine, Jabba's palace is shown!

Bib Fortuna not only survived, but he's the leader of the crime cartel on Tatooine?

Inside the palace a somewhat older, somewhat more rotund Bib Fortuna is sitting on his throne. He apparently replaced Jabba after he met his end. But then blaster shots are fired and Gamorreans topple down the stairs, what is going on?

King Boba with Queen Fennec

It turns out Boba Fett holds a grudge. Fennec Shand disposes of Bib's underlings (but she lets the slave dancer go) and then Boba kills Bib in cold blood. He takes the throne and a very pleased Fennec sits by his side. We then get a title card that tells us "The Book of Boba Fett" is coming in December 2021.

What an episode. A game changer. The entire premise of The Mandalorian will probably be quite different in the future. And Luke Skywalker. Jedi master Luke. Paying hommage to his father who decimated Rebel Troopers in a hallway almost a decades ago when Leia escaped with the Death Star plans. Only that Luke's enemies are a lot more dangerous.

What is there to say about the episode?

A few short weeks ago I didn't think the show would introduce Luke and resolve the Grogu issue any time soon. To me, it always seemed like endgame material. But apparently Jon Favreau sees things differently. It is quite gutsy to possibly remove one of the most beloved new Star Wars characters from the Mandalorian by letting Grogu let go with Luke.

But I have given the matter some thought now. And I believe Favreau probably made the right call. While the relationship between Din and Grogu was the heart of the show, the story has also run its course. Din has changed and grown considerably and how many more times can the Remnant or bounty hunters chase, capture or threaten Grogu? What more was there to be told? The search for Grogu's home planet? This would have isolated Din and Grogu from events in the galaxy and it seems Lucasfilm is building a connected series universe with spin-offs and crossovers, and Din Djarin is possibly an important character here. Also, it was established how powerful Grogu already is. He loves to Force choke people, including Cara whom he mistook for an enemy in season 1, without training, without proper guidance, chances are he could become a real threat. Also, when you really think about it, Grogu should not be exposed to violence all the time. So sending him off to Jedi boarding school makes a lot of sense. Does it mean we will never see Grogu again? I don't think so. Din still has the metal knob, and Favreau has proven to have a keen eye for details and small things become significant again in the future.

But let's talk about Luke. To me, it was always obvious that one fine day we will see him. I just didn't think it would be so soon, however, over the course of the past few episodes everything built up to that moment. Luke is a larger than life character, childhood hero for many, many fans, one of the most iconic Star Wars characters of all time. And I believe The Mandalorian does him justice. He's shown to be extremely powerful, and I believe the similarities to the Darth Vader scene in Rogue One are intentional. Both father and son fight through a hallway, obliterating everyting in their path. But we also see a key difference. Whereas Vader is full of hate and anger Luke is the very image of serenity when he removes his cloak. He is calm, collected, there is no anger, no hate in his face, he just did what he had to do to get to Grogu. He is the embodiment of a true Jedi master.

The show still uses Luke very sparingly. Apparently budgets are limited and they already spent a lot of money on that one episode. So we don't get to see Luke's face all that much. A stand-in was used on set, someone who has a similar facial structure as young Mark Hamill. I am not entirely sure they used the some approach as for Tarkin in Rogue One or if they resorted to using deepfakes. While it may not be 100% perfect, it was still the best way to bring back a young Luke in his prime. Mark Hamill is credited, but I wonder if they really used his voice. It does sound like young Luke, but even though Mark is a gifted voice actor he simply doesn't sound like Mark from 40 years ago. So I wonder if they applied some effects to his voice or if they used dialogue from the movies or maybe it's a combination of both.

Seeing Luke was everyting many fans wanted to see. A Luke in his very prime, the Jedi master we hardly got to see in the movies. Is it fan service? Absolutely! Some people seem to think that fan service is a bad thing, because it only gives people what they know and what they like. However, I believe you cannot regard the series in isolation, I believe it is a reaction to the sequels. While we don't really know what Favreau or Filoni think about the sequels, certain lines of dialogue and the inclusion of Luke could be seen as a commentary on what happened in the sequels. Which are famous for not giving fans what they wanted. The Mandalorian also once more heavily emphasizes how very important long, hard and proper training is for a Jedi. Something that was more or less thrown out of the window in the sequels with Rey until it was kind of retconned in The Rise of Skywalker.

What I also like very much about the show are the short, but insightful character scenes. Be it that we see how Imperials think, the ironic reversal of roles between Din and Bo-Katan who is in many ways more dogmatic than Din ever was and maybe a little bit too ambitious for her own good.

But let's talk about Din, while Luke was the highlight, Din is still the central character and the key scenes were all his, Favreau tried very hard not to relegate Din to the sidelines and he succeeded. While some people may not like it, it was absolutely vital and an extremely important step in Din's journey that he willingly, without even giving it a second thought, removed his helmet in front of all of his allies and friends so he and Grogu can have one final moment. In some ways it mirrors Anakin's scene in Return of the Jedi who wanted to see Luke with his own eyes at least once. What did George Lucas once say? It all rhymes. It does indeed.

So where does it leave us? After a very surprising finale The Mandalorian can go anywhere now. There are several loose threads. Din now has the darksaber and that puts him in a peculiar position. He certainly has little interest to rule Mandalore or what's left of it, but Bo would not accept the darksaber as a gift from him. Then there's the Imperial angle, what exactly are they planning and what did they need Grogu's blood for? Cloning the Emperor? Making Snoke? And the final question is if and when we meet Grogu again.

And then we have to talk about the post credits scene in which Bib Fortuna is killed by Boba who then takes the throne from him in Jabba's palace, becoming the new crime lord of Tatooine, with Fennec by his side. A terrific team! There seems to be some confusion, but I strongly believe "The Book of Boba Fett" is a series (possibly a limited series) and NOT season 3 of The Mandalorian which would make no sense anyway, since The Mandalorian is about Din Djarin and not Boba Fett. Anyway, a series with Boba as crime lord and Fennec as his second in command will certainly be a lot of fun. I am also happy for Temuera Morrison to have landed such a substantial role in Star Wars. He is Boba Fett now. Ming-Na Wen is also always a joy to see and she has considerable genre experience. She seems to have a lot of fun as Fennec.

So, what's left to say? "The Rescue" was an extremely moving experience. Fan service at its best, as in "something that makes most fans very happy". And there's nothing wrong about it at all. And as I said before, I believe The Mandalorian is a reaction to the sequels. Now that we have seen young Luke the question is if Lucasfilm is willing to make a young Luke movie. Of course costs would be very high and the tech would need to improve a bit more. But I strongly believe it's not the last time we have seen Jedi master Luke. I wonder what the heart and soul of the show will be going forward. It used to be the bond between Din and Grogu. Maybe now it's time for Din to outgrow all of his limitations. Perhaps the show will explore the Mandalorian angle. Or maybe it will be something completely different. It will certainly be an interesting journey. A major chapter of The Mandalorian was closed. Time to begin a new one.

Added: December 18, 2020
Category: The Mandalorian
Reviewer: Thomas
Score:
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