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The Mandalorian: Chapter 16: The Rescue

What is it ? : A Lambda Class Shuttle weaves through space, as it is attacked by Slave One, aboard it is Doctor Pershing with Two Imperial Pilots. The Shuttle is hit by an Ion Blast from Slave One, and they are boarded by The Mandalorian and Cara Dune. The Mandalorian tells the pilots that all they want is the Doctor, but one Pilot grabs him and uses him as a meat shield, threatening to kill him.
The other pilot offers to surrender, but the more aggressive pilot shoots him in the head, and recognising Cara as an Alderaanian, he boasts he was aboard the 1st Death Star and was glad when they destroyed a hive of Rebellion. Cara calmly offers to let him surrender, but as he continues with his antagonistic tirade, she shoots him in the head.
Under questioning, Pershing tells them that Grogu is still alive, and talks them through the defences on Moff Gideons ship, including a selection of third generation Dark Troopers, which are entirely mechanical, explaining that they draw too much power so are stored powered down.
We then see Slave One landing on a planet, next to a Mandalorian Ship, and Boba Fett and The Mandalorian walk into a Cantina where Bo-Katan Kryse and her companion are. The Mandalorian asks for their help in rescuing the Child, but she is hesitant, and antagonistic towards Fett, saying he is not a Mandalorian. Fett points out that his father owned the Armour, but she calls Jango his "donor", and her companion, Koska Reeves, skirmishes with Fett, until The Mandalorian tells Bo-Katan he knows the coordinates of Moff Gideons ship, and she offers her help in exchange for Gideon himself and his cruiser to use in liberating Mandalore.
Aboard Slave One they come up with a plan, where Bo-Katan, Koska Reeves, Fennec Shand and Cara Dune will storm towards the cruisers bridge, while The Mandalorian sneaks and deactivates the Dark Troopers and rescues Grogu. They'll get aboard by using the Lambda shuttle and Fett chasing them down aboard Slave One.
The landing goes perfectly to plan, with them coming out of Hyperspace at the Cruiser, and Fett pretending to attack them, as the Cruiser launches two Tie Fighters, then they crash their shuttle into the hangar to stop any other fighters from scrambling, Fett destroys the two Tie's and then jumps to Hyperspace.
The group fights it's way through the ship, while The Mandalorian sneaks towards the Dark Troopers, however they have already been activated, but he seals them inside their bay, only for one to wrench the doors open, and slip through before they close again, and it engages him in combat as the others try to smash the doors open.
His weapons are ineffective until he pulls the Beskar Spear and beheads the droid, rushing to the door and opening the bay to space ejecting all of the other Dark Troopers.
The rest of the group reaches the bridge and seizes control of it, but Gideon is nowhere to be found. The Mandalorian reaches the chamber where Grogu is held, discovering Moff Gideon holding the Dark Saber to The Childs head, he tells the Mandalorian to assume he knows everything, revealing he knows who has come along with him, and even knows that the Mandalorians whistling birds is empty after using it on the Dark Trooper. The Mandalorian says he's not interested in GIdeon at all, that he can keep the sword and can leave, as long as he can take the child. Gideon says he has harvested enough blood for his purpose, and seemingly agrees, although he attacks once the Mandalorians back is turned.
They fight, Dark Saber against Beskar Spear, the Dark Saber heating the spear when it hits to a rosy glow, but the Mandalorian disarms Gideon, and takes him and the child to the bridge, offering the Dark Saber to Bo-Katan, but she refuses to take it, and Gideon reveals that she must win it in combat or having it means nothing. The Mandalorian offers to yield to her, but she still refuses and Gideon says the two will have to fight over it. However before anything more can happen, alarms go off, and they see the cruiser is being boarded.
The Dark Troopers have used their rockets to return to the ship, and quickly move towards the bridge, so the heroes seal the blast doors, which begin to buckle as the Dark Troopers hammer at them.
A single X-Wing fighter flies past the bridge, and lands aboard the cruiser, and the Dark Troopers move to defend their ship, but the occupant of the fighter engages them with a Green Lightsaber, easily defeating the droids and making his way towards the bridge. We see only glimpses of this black clad figure, with a single black glove, until he arrives at the bridge door, and the Mandalorian opens the blast doors to allow Luke Skywalker access to the bridge.
Luke confirms that he is a Jedi when the Mandalorian asks, and the Mandalorian offers Grogu to him, but Grogu doesn't want to go, and Luke tells him that he wants the Mandalorians permission.
The Mandalorian tells Grogu that it's for the best, and at Grogu's urging, removes his helmet to allow the child to touch his face for the first time. Grogu then hesitantly walks towards Luke, becoming more interested when R2-D2 enters the room. Luke picks Grogu up and leaves, telling the Mandalorian "May the Force be with you", and he watches them leave with a tear in his eye.

After the credits, we see Jabba's palace on Tatooine, with a fatter & older Bib Fortuna on the throne, with a slave Twi'lek at his feet, gun shots ring out, and Fennec Shand and Boba Fett take out everyone in the room, releasing the slave and gunning down Fortuna, as Fett takes the throne, and a title card rolls, "The Book of Boba Fett", coming December 2021.

High Points : Wow, just wow.
Now, I've created a new score for this episode, not because it's the best Star Wars thing ever, although I'd certainly hear arguments about that, but because it's better than the last episodes of The Mandalorian and I've kind of left myself nowhere to go apart from perfect. And it's not perfect, but it is incredibly good.

The special effects, apart from a couple of notable exceptions I'll moan about below, are spectacular, from the Lambda Shuttle, Slave One fights, right through to the Dark Troopers, it looks amazing. This is Star Wars of the breadth and scope that it should be, absolutely stunning to behold and breathtaking.

The dialogue as always was fantastic, I especially loved Bo-Katan's comment about Boba's voice, saying she had heard it thousands of times before, a lovely way of reminding us that he's a clone of Jango, just like all of the Clone Troopers.

I adored the way they kept you guessing about who had just arrived on the Cruiser, first of all we see a single X-Wing, so was it one of the X-Wing Pilots we've seen before? Was it Ahsoka flying an X-Wing for some reason? Then we see the single Green Lightsaber blade cutting through the Dark Troopers, so maybe it's Luke? Then we see the single gloved hand, so it's probably Luke? But what if when the hood is pulled back it's not Luke, could it be someone masquerading as him, and getting him back from the fake would be the next season. But nope, the hood is pulled back and we get a CGI enyouthed Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, brilliant.
Although I've complained about The Mandalorian using too much nostalgia in the past, the constant references back to what has come before making the Star Wars universe seem smaller, This is one exception I'm absolutely fine with, we knew a Jedi was coming, and as far as we know, there's only around 4 still left in the galaxy at this point, Luke, Ahsoka, Ezra (from Rebels) and Cal Kestis (from Jedi Fallen Order), and I really don't expect Ezra or Cal to turn up in The Mandalorian, so it made complete sense for it to be Luke. Added to the fact that I'm a massive Luke fanboy, so seeing him in anything is just brilliant.

Finally, the final moments with Grogu and The Mandalorian, were real tear-jerkers, with the two just reunited being forced to say goodbye, perhaps forever. If they reverse this decision, I'll be seriously upset, but at this moment, if this is the end of Grogu's involvement in The Mandalorian series, then this is an absolutely perfect end.

Low Points : Okay, lets address the elephant in the room, Luke's face (although for the amount it looks like a human being, it could be an elephant). The CGI's de-aging process hasn't worked very well. We've seen it work great in Rise of Skywalker, with Michael Douglas in the Ant Man movies, but here it looks horrible and really fake.
But it's not the only bit which looks bad, as the two Gamorreans guarding Bib Fortuna look like humans wearing really fake Gamorrean masks, which given that they're mimicking masks made back in the 1980's, is just a bit sad.

What the hell are they talking about with Bo-Katan and the Dark Saber? Apparently she can't just take it off The Mandalorian, she must win it in combat! But that totally ignores the fact that she never won it in combat in the first place, she was given it by Sabine Wren in Rebels. You see originally, Sabine had found the Dark Saber where Darth Maul had left it after he took over Mandalore. Sabine is trained to use it by Kanan Jarrus, but comes to realise that she is not the leader that her world needs, and upon meeting Bo-Katan Kryse, she gives the Dark Saber to her, as she is the natural leader to replace her sister, Satine Kryse who died when Maul took over the planet.
So why is this different? Why can she take it off Sabine, a Mandalorian, but must win it in combat to take it from Din Djarin, a Mandalorian?
Now I suppose there could be something about winning her honour back, after she lost the sword to Moff Gideon, presumably in combat!, but that's a story we'll need to hear at some point, otherwise this remains a major mistake.

I'm torn on whether this is really a problem, but the entirety of the episode is a bit obvious, it's obvious that The Mandalorian will fight Gideon, with his Beskar Spear against the Dark Saber, so much more so when they make the point of commenting early in the episode that the Dark Saber can cut through anything, except Beskar. It's been obvious that a Jedi would turn up and save the day, especially against the Dark Troopers, although I wasn't sure whether they'd manage to get Mark Hamill, since he'd said he was done with Luke as a character, so while the storytelling made me think it'd be Luke, real life comments managed to make it a surprise.
But for all of the obvious story points, it delivers, and it delivers what you not only expected, but really wanted to see, but I feel it's worthy of comment.

So what do you really think ? : I loved this episode, there's great action, there's real progress in the story, there's real tear-jerkers when Grogu and The Mandalorian say goodbye, there's cool Dark Troopers, there's a menacing villain in Moff Gideon, and there's Luke Skywalker. Meaning there's not really anything else I could ask for.

Final Words : So that ends Season 2 of the Mandalorian, with a hint of "The Book of Boba Fett". Is that going to be the next chapter of The Mandalorian? Or is it going to be it's own spin off series? While I'm less interested in seeing the story of Boba Fett than I am of seeing more tales of Din Djarin, I do think it'd be an interesting way of giving the main character some time before we reunite Grogu and The Mandalorian later. Similar to the second season of Spartacus, when the main actor was sick with cancer, so they did a flashback season to allow him to get better (although sadly Andy Whitfield passed away).
I'd definitely be up for The Mandalorian following the story of various Mandalorians, with Din Djarin's story woven throughout, but I think I'd prefer for this series to remain about him, and the other characters to get their own limited spin off series.
But I suppose we'll find out more as 2021 passes and we find out release dates, with possibly the Mandalorian and Book of Boba Fett running alongside each other, which would be very cool to have two Star Wars series . . . .

Score : 9.75/10

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