Warning: This review contains spoilers for Season 2, Episode 8 of “The Mandalorian.”
Dear “Star Wars” fans, don’t read this review of “The Mandalorian” season finale if you haven’t watched the episode yet. Just don’t do it. Click out of here and read something else on our homepage.
I’m saying that because the Season 2 finale is unlike anything we’ve seen before in the series, and it includes an ending — nay, multiple endings — that will send you spiraling into a dark Sarlaac pit of excitement, surprise and adrenaline.
You should only be reading this review if you’ve watched the episode. OK? Good. Now that we’re settled, let’s get into this.
The eighth episode of Season 2 — titled “The Rescue” — is a simple story. The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) ends his search for Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) to finally rescue Grogu (Baby Yoda). Mando and his crew eventually find the ship to rescue the young force wielder.
The crew included The Mandalorian, Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Fennec (Ming-Na Wen), Boba Fett (Temura Morrison), Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Sasha Banks). Like Season 1 before it, the finale brought together all the loose plot threads into a satisfying final act.
Again, everything below contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of “The Mandalorian.” Don’t read this review if you don’t want to be spoiled about what happens.
The finale’s biggest problem is the show’s issue, too
“The Mandalorian” finale had one major issue, and it’s an issue that plagues the series as a whole — it’s too short.
I don’t want to sound greedy here. But the episode felt a little shorter than some of the epic moments deserved. The final battle between Moff Gideon and Mando lasted about two minutes, which felt severely short for two characters who have been on a path to find each other since last season. Each dramatic moment passed by swiftly — which was good in the sense that things didn’t drag on — without giving too much depth. We moved from one major moment to the next without enough time to build up tension and hype. The final 10 minutes or so had the best buildup — and it should, given the weight of those moments — but it would have been nice to see the rest of the episode feature that strong of buildup, too.
“The Mandalorian” has faced this issue since its beginning. Some of the episodes have felt way shorter than they needed to be. The show does well with short and sweet moments that pack a punch. But a little more length could provide some depth to the show, making each episode feel like its own film.
That said, it might even make sense to stockpile “The Mandalorian” episodes in the future to watch them in one long binge since then it will feel more like a movie than a weekly series.
‘The Mandalorian’ embraced fandom once again
OK. Now that we’re far enough down in this review, let’s get to the big point — Luke Skywalker returned in this episode, saving The Mandalorian and his crew from the dark troopers.
It’s not such a shock that “The Mandalorian” paid homage to “Star Wars” and its fans. Bringing Luke Skywalker into the fray, along with R2-D2, was a great moment for fans everywhere, who felt themselves let down by the recent sequel trilogy and its portrayal of Luke Skywalker. For the first time, fans got to see Luke Skywalker in full Jedi mode — something we’ve never seen before. We saw him work slightly as a young training Jedi in “Return of the Jedi.”
More than just Luke, we saw Bo-Katan return to the show and discuss the deep lore of the darksaber. We got to see how Bo-Katan and Boba Fett interacted, something we’ve been waiting for since “The Clone Wars” animated series, where both characters appear.
And the season finale had an end credit scene that also tied up some loose ends from the original trilogy, and paved a way forward for the entire show.
“The Mandalorian” succeeds best when it nods and winks to its fan base. Some moments are heavy-handed, others are mere little mentions that will get attention online. Either way, the show is proof that “Star Wars” does its best when fans are honored and appreciated without sacrificing the story.
We have no idea where we’re heading next
For the first time, we don’t really have a direction for the next season of “The Mandalorian.” At the end of Season 1, we were given a direction of Mando seeking out the Jedi. Now, we’re simply at a loss — with no path forward.
The state of play reminds relatively simply. Grogu is literally in the hands of Luke Skywalker. Will we see more of them together? It would be rather wild if Baby Yoda was no longer on the show. So we’ll likely see him involved in training, right? As for Mando, will he work with Bo-Katan to take back Mandalore? We know Boba Fett is heading back to Tatooine, so that’ll be its own run. As for Cara Dune, does she continue to work as a New Republic marshal and deal with the consequences of Moff Gideon?
At this point, the Season 2 finale leaves us with plenty of questions and an unknown path forward. This might be the first time in the show’s history where we have no clue where we’re going. And that in itself is a beautiful thing for this show. So many possibilities exist. We’ll have to wait and see where we end up.
But this is “Star Wars” at its best. An epic conclusion with an unknown path forward. It’s a limitless galaxy with limitless stories to tell. It’s safe to say “Star Wars” fans will have plenty to watch and expect in the near future.
Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have made this show something of a spectacle, and it has surely restored the faith in many “Star Wars” fans. The future of the series is unknown — we have no idea where we’re going — but it’s safe to say “Star Wars” is in good hands.
Odds and ends
- Ahsoka Tano didn’t appear in the episode, which was odd given that almost every other guest star showed up.
- The scene where Luke obliterates the dark troopers reminded me of when Darth Vader destroyed the Rebels in “Rogue One.” It definitely had that vibe.
- Yes, there’s an end credits scene, and it will get you excited for what’s to come next in the “Star Wars” universe.
- Shoutout to Mark Hamill for not aging one bit.