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Recap And Review Of The Mandalorian, S2E8: Chapter Sixteen, “The Rescue”

We’ve reached the finale of The Mandalorian‘s second season. With it comes the rescue of Grogu, but also a host of questions about where the series goes from here. Let’s dive in!

Recap of The Mandalorian, S2E8: “The Rescue”

We open on Slave I firing on an Imperial Lambda shuttle carrying Doctor Pershing. It is incapacitated by an ion cannon, and boarded by Mando and Cara Dune. One of the pilots quickly takes Pershing as a hostage at gun point and focuses his attention on Dune – threatening to kill a high value target of the New Republic and boasting of the destruction of Alderaan. He gets as far as saying the Empire was ridding the galaxy of terrorists before Cara drops him.

Mando and Boba then set about recruiting a few more able warriors to their cause before hunting down Gideon. To that end, they end up at a bar courting Bo-Katan and Koska (but for some reason…not the rest of their crew). Mando explains that Gideon has The Child. Bo-Katan seems uninterested until she finds out that they have the coordinates to his cruiser; the fruits of last week’s episode.

Fett ends up clashing with both Koska and Katan – eventually coming to blows with the former after he makes a not-so-veiled threat on Katan. Katan intervenes when the flame-throwers come out and says they’ll help Mando and the crew in exchange for the cruiser and the dark saber – which she pointedly remarks can cut through just about anything but pure beskar (foreshadowing).

Mando doesn’t care – he just wants Grogu back.

Their plan is to have Dune, Koska, Katan, and Fennec serve as misdirection aboard the cruiser as they rush the bridge while Mando sneaks his way to the brig where they’re holding Grogu. Mando is to seal the Dark Troopers in their holding bay en route in order to eliminate the Dark Troopers before they power up.

So Boba and Slave I simulate an attack on the Lambda shuttle carrying the boarding party. The hope is to have the cruiser permit them an emergency landing, but that doesn’t go to plan, so Katan just rams the shuttle down the cruiser’s TIE fighter launching bay.

They disembark with what Bo-Katan previously referred to as “maximum initiative,” and start laying waste to the Stormtroopers in their way. Gideon orders the Dark Troopers activate. CUE THE DUBSTEP.

Meanwhile, Mando sneaks off the shuttle armed with the beskar spear (foreshadowing). He doesn’t quite make it to the Dark Trooper bay in time to close them off – not that it would have mattered much given what they do later in the episode. One manages to force its way through the closing bay doors and begins to punch Mando’s helmeted face into the steel of the hallway’s walls.

He’s definitely got his hands full, but he managed to partially decapitate the thing with the spear, and then opens the airlock behind the rest of the Dark Troopers – ejecting them into space.

The female assault group makes it to the bridge, but, of course, Gideon isn’t there – much to the chagrin of Bo-Katan especially. Instead, he’s in the brig when Mando arrives holding the dark saber ominously over Grogu’s head.

They eventually strike a deal: Mando can have Grogu back as Moff already has what he needed, more of his blood. He explains it has properties that have the potential to bring order back to the galaxy. But, of course, he’s lying about letting Mando walk away with Grogu.

mandalorian the rescue

A brief but awesome fight breaks out between the two. Between Mando’s beskar armor and the beskar spear, he’s able to fend off Gideon’s dark saber blows and eventually disarms and restrains him.

When they arrive on the bridge, Katan is visibly upset. While Mando is happy to just give the dark saber over to Katan, Gideon explains that’s not how it works. It must be won in combat. Alarms then begin to chime as a host of bogeys approach the cruiser. The Dark Troopers have returned – along with their dubstep.

Right about the time Gideon explains that everyone on the bridge is going to die except for him and The Child, a lone X-Wing boards, and a green-lightsaber-wielding figure begins to slay his way through the Dark Troopers with obvious ease.

Gideon chooses this moment to strike at his captors with a blaster he’d manage to hide from them. Mando dives in front of Grogu, saving him from the Moff’s assault. Gideon then tries to take his own life, but Dune denies his request with the butt of her gun.

The doors to the bridge open to reveal Luke Skywalker, who has come seeking Grogu as a result of the signal he’d sent up at the Jedi Temple. Grogu is initially hesitant to go with Luke, but Mando gives him the permission. Mando even takes his helmet off to say his goodbyes.

Luke, Grogu, and R2D2 then disappear down the elevator after Skywalker utters, “May the force be with you.”

BONUS CONTENT! There’s a post credits scene in which Fennec and Fett raid Jabba’s old hideout – killing Bib Fortuna who had occupied the throne in the Hutt’s absence. “The Book of Boba Fett: Coming in December 2021.”

Review of The Mandalorian, S2E8: “The Rescue”

Whooboy, there’s a lot to talk about here. As much resolution as we receive in this episode, there are far more questions raised. Now that Mando has completed his mission, what will he set himself to next? Is this the last we’ll see of him and Grogu together? Will he just go about being a bounty hunter again? Or will he join Bo-Katan on her mission to reclaim Mandalore?

Speaking of Bo-Katan: Will we see her at odds with Mando now that he’s got the dark saber? He seems uninterested in participating in the fight that is apparently necessary for her to claim it.

He even tried yielding – which implies the combat but offers immediate resolution. No dice. Will he suddenly show an interest in being Mand’alor – the sole leader of all Mandalorians?

And of course there’s the matter of Grogu and Skywalker. All of this takes places before the events portrayed in the Skywalker Trilogy sequels in which Luke has a Jedi Academy and Ben Solo as an apprentice before Solo destroys it all.

Was Grogu killed in that effort, or did he and Skywalker part ways for some reason ahead of that? If so, where did Grogu go? Where was he during the rest of the course of events portrayed in the sequel trilogy? Will we see much of their story portrayed in the third season of The Mandalorian? If so, will the time be split between their exploits and those of Mando, or will there be a lot of overlap between them?

Same question for the announced The Book of Boba Fett. What’s he going to be up to?

Like a good finale, seeds for what lies ahead have been sown and there is much intrigue around it all. There’s been a lot of fan service in The Mandalorian…some might argue too much and I may or may not be in that crowd myself.

But it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t been entertaining and effective. It has managed to be its own thing well enough, but I do wonder if the events of this finale will negatively affect that.

We’re right back to Skywalkers. Again. At times it feels like they’re the only people in the galaxy to me. There was a meme shared in our Discord last week that proved somewhat prescient while also aggravating my issues with all this Skywalker business:

Part of what I loved most about The Mandalorian was that it was full of new characters and their stories for so long! My, my, how that has changed. But that’s not enough to say any of it is bad! And that’s not to say that there aren’t stories yet to tell with older characters (there are) or that they can’t be good (they can). The Mandalorian might still be the best Star Wars content ever in my opinion. But that’s not to say I don’t personally see a few smudges on its shiny beskar armor.

Your mileage and opinion of the events may vary from mine, but I was told to recap and review, so these are my thoughts. Perhaps this will mean I’m fired from these recaps, ha!

Some quick hits from “The Rescue”:

  • When Koska remarks that she didn’t realize sidekicks were allowed to talk, Fett responds with, “Well if that isn’t the Quacta calling the Stifling shiny.” I love those little touches of Star Wars Universe twists on our cliches. I don’t know what a Quacta or a Stifling are, but you catch the drift.
  • Katan stops the fight in the bar, but not before at least two tables are destroyed. I bet the bar’s owner wished she’d stepped in a little more quickly.
  • How does a gun that fires lasers jam? As soon as I asked this question, I realized that the more important one was why does a gun that fires lasers jam? The answer: So Cara Dune can used it like a bludgeoning weapon, and for no other apparent reason.  
  • At one point during the fight between Mando and the Dark Trooper, Mando uses his flamethrower to set it on fire. So he goes from fighting a Dark Trooper to fighting a flaming Dark Trooper (albeit briefly). That is categorically worse.
  • I loved the explanations offered by Gideon regarding the dark saber. That is some tasty Mandalorian lore, and I’m here for it. And it was more than some sort of inconsequential info dump. It’s going to have major bearings on the narrative going forward.
  • Hot take: This episode showed how to do an all-female squad without it feeling forced or kitschy. It was awesome and made sense (Mando works alone). Looking at you, Avengers: Endgame. (You can cancel me now, internet.)
  • Disney is doing some amazing work with the Star Wars franchise! There’s so much content on the way that it feels overwhelming. I don’t want any of it to be half as good as The Mandalorian, though…on par or better would be nice. Can they do it with as many stories as they’re promising?