Warning: This article contains spoilers for Chapter 16 of The Mandalorian
After eight weeks of fantastic Star Wars content, The Mandalorian concluded its second season with a finale that felt unexpected yet safe. The finale delivered on many promises set up over the last sixteen episodes, and concluded the first arc of Din Djarin’s journey. Let’s dive into the review.
The episode begins with our team of heroes hunting down and capturing Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) and recruiting Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado) to their efforts to save Grogu. After having quarrel with Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), the two agree to join the fight, as long as Bo-Katan gets to have Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). The team then devises a plan to board Gideon’s cruiser, which they do sucessfully. A strike team consisting of the aforementioned Mandalorian women as well as Cara Dune (Gina Carano) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), and Din himself, storm the ship while Boba provides air support. The team splits, with Din going after Grogu while the others take the bridge. Both teams have great action sequences, with the former taking on Moff Gideon in a duel long teased this season. Gideon is bested by Din, and Grogu is safely returned to him. Once the team is reunited aboard the bridge, the truth is revealed, Din is now the owner of the Darksaber, and the rightful leader of Mandalore. He attempts to give her the blade, but as Gideon narrates, we learn she must win it in combat.
All of this is interrupted when Gideon’s dark troopers return. Earlier in the episode we saw Din go head-to-head with one and barely make it out alive, now the team is faced with a battalion. The dark troopers begin to enter the bridge, but suddenly a lone X-Wing emerges and boards the cruiser. Suddenly, a Jedi begins to tear down the dark troopers one by one with ease, and it is revealed to be Luke Skywalker (Max Lloyd-Jones). Luke has come for Grogu, and Din and the Child must part ways after their long journey together. The episode ends with Din removing his helmet to gaze off at the Child as Luke takes him away.
There is also a post-credits scene for the episode and season as well. In this, we see Boba and Fennec invading Jabba’s Palace, where Bib Fortuna (Matthew Wood) has taken over. Boba and Fennec kill everyone in the palace before taking the throne. The title card “The Book of Boba Fett” with a December 2021 release date is teased at the end.
Starting with the actual content of the episode, I felt that the episode was good, not great. Peyton Reed does a very good job directing this episode, although I liked his work on “Chapter 10” a bit more. The episode is well written, with a lot of really great lines and exchanges that were truly rewarding to me as a long-time fan of Star Wars. But ultimately, this finale disappointed me.
As I said at the beginning of this review, this finale for The Mandalorian felt unexpected yet safe. One of my biggest faults as a fan is I expect too much, and let theories spiral into my reality. While I never expected Mace Windu to return or for Din Djarin to die, I also did not expect this finale to play it so safe. I had truly hoped for a bigger twist, a better cameo, a moment that truly surprised me. Perhaps this is me being too much of a fan, but perhaps it is also me wanting to see Star Wars take more risks and delve away from the Skywalker Saga. It always seemed to me that Din Djarin was destined to get the Darksaber, it was always the safe choice to bring in Luke Skywalker opposed to Ezra Bridger or Cal Kestis, and I knew that at some point our lone wolf and cub would have to part ways, so walking away from this episode and season, I feel somewhat empty.
Let’s talk about Luke Skywalker. His appearance in this episode makes sense, I understand it, but I still cannot agree with that decision. His entire action sequence felt like fan-service, not to mention unsettling CGI made the entire interaction awkward. The Mandalorian early-on prided itself on its ability to exist outside of the main Star Wars saga and to tell a story that felt very independent. In the last eight episodes, I feel that the series has turned around and gotten away from that. I’ve expressed in previous reviews that introducing characters like Ahsoka Tano, Boba Fett, and now Luke into this world just makes Star Wars feel smaller. Now Din Djarin is a part of Luke Skywalker’s story, as is Grogu, and vice versa. Something about that does not sit right with me.
Something I will give this episode credit for was its ability to move the plot along. After the conclusion to last season felt like a teaser for what was to come, this felt much more like a proper finale. Din’s arc this season, and really for the entire series up to this point, was to bring Grogu to a Jedi, which he did. On top of this, the plot lines surrounding the Empire and what they are up to feel mostly resolved with the knowledge we have of the sequel trilogy. I feel like many arcs were resolved this episode, which felt very satisfying after the season as a whole felt like a lot of side quests. These last few episodes really helped to bring home the story, although I am still curious to see what a season of the show looks like when it follows one central plot for five or six of the eight episodes.
Looking ahead to season three, there has already been some confusion on my timeline and in my own mind about the future of the series. The Mandalorian season three is coming in late 2021. We now also know that The Book of Boba Fett is coming in December of 2021. Is this season three? Will Boba’s show debut after The Mandalorian season three? To me, The Book of Boba Fett sounds like a season subheading than an entire show, but I also have heard rumors that a full-fledged series for Boba is filming currently, so it remains to be seen.
As for Din Djarin, it is pretty clear that next season we will find him learning to grasp with the reality that he is now destined to rule Mandalore. At least for now, his journey with Grogu is done. He will seek new purpose. With Grogu out of the picture, I hope next season we get to grow into his character more. I felt that Din was mostly sidelined this season, and having an entire season or half a season to just him, without Grogu, would do well for his character. I would expect Katee Sackhoff to return, possibly as a regular, next season and I would think that introducing the Mandalorian Clans will be the next development for this story.
As for Grogu, I truly do not know what to expect going forward. I know that he will return to Din at some point in the future, that is guaranteed, but I do not know if we will see him training with Luke next season or if he will just be out of the picture. Chapter 15 showed us what The Mandalorian looks like without him and truthfully it is just as good. I would not mind seeing Din on his own for a season and seeing the two of them reunite later down the line.
One storyline that feels concluded but might not be is that of the Empire’s. They served a very important role in the first two seasons, but with Gideon captured, the Darksaber in Din’s possession, and Grogu’s blood already harvested, I am not sure if that storyline will continue or not. I fully expect the Empire to keep a presence in the series, but I no longer believe they will be hunting Grogu. What this means for their cloning project, Palpatine, or Snoke remains to be seen, probably in different media if I had to guess.
Overall this finale was…fine? The more I reflect on it, the worst of a taste it leaves in my mouth. Some time over the next week we will be releasing another article taking a look at the season as whole, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you all on that! This is the way.
What did you think of this episode and my thoughts? Let us know in the comments below and on our social media pages!