Listen carefully and you'll hear the sound of Star Wars fans cheering their hearts out all over the world. The Mandalorian season two finale, Chapter Sixteen - "The Rescue", is so stupefyingly awesome, it obliterates the highest expectations. Showrunners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, director Peyton Reed, and everyone at Lucasfilm have taken fandom into the stratosphere of giddiness. Mando (Pedro Pascal) and his stalwart allies attack Moff Gideon's (Giancarlo Esposito) light cruiser to rescue Grogu. They face a nearly unstoppable enemy, but are rescued by a truly surprising savior. Strap yourself in for greatness.
"The Rescue" opens with an Imperial shuttle being chased through space by the Slave I. Dr. Pershing (Omid Obtahi) sits nervously as his two pilots try to avoid Boba Fett's (Temuera Morrison) laser barrage. "Who are they?" Pershing whines. "I suggest you shut your mouth. This isn't your laboratory," pilot two snarls. Boba incapacitates the ship with an ion cannon blast. "Lower your shields, disable your transponder, and prepare for boarding," he orders.
The Slave 1 towers in front of their cockpit before latching on. The pilots and Pershing raise their hands. Mando walks in, "Is the kid alive?" Pershing responds "yes", then is grabbed and a blaster put to his head by the second pilot. Cara Dune (Gina Carano) joins in. The first pilot tries to negotiate, but is shot in the back by the other. The killer pilot snarls at Cara. He barks that Pershing is a high value target for the New Republic, a clone engineer. "I see your tear. You're going to wish you never left Alderaan." He taunts Cara further, "I saw your planet destroyed. I was on the Death Star." As he drones on acidly, Cara shoots him in the face.
The Slave 1 lands at a bar near on an industrial world. Mando and Boba see Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado) drinking at a table. "I need your help. They took the child," Mando states. Boba comments, "We don't need these two." Koska starts to square off against Boba. Mando informs them he has Moff Gideon's coordinates. She can take his light cruiser to help liberate Mandalore. Boba sneers, "Mandalore? Are you kidding me? the Empire turned that place to glass."
Bo-Katan calls Boba a disgrace to the armor. She recognizes him as a clone, "I've heard your voice a thousand times." Koska Reeves attacks Boba. She fires her jetpack and flips him over. They both unleash their flamethrowers. "Enough! Both of you!" Bo-Katan orders a stalemate. They will help. She wants the ship and "one more thing." Moff Gideon has a weapon that belonged to her, "With the Darksaber returned to me. Mandalore will finally be in reach." All Mando wants is the child. She can have anything else.
On the Slave, Bo-Katan pulls up a holo of the light cruiser in front of everyone, including Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Pershing is restrained in handcuffs. Bo-Katan thinks the cruiser will have a scant number of stormtroopers. Pershing corrects her, "There's a garrison of Dark Troopers. They are no longer suits. They are droids." He tells them they are kept in cold storage in the cargo bay. The child is being held in the brig. Bo-Katan dictates a two attack strategy. Mando will go alone for the child. Her team will be misdirection. Bo-Katan gives Mando Pershing's code cylinder to lock the Dark Troopers in their hold.
The Slave 1 follows the Imperial shuttle through hyperspace. Bo-Katan wants Moff Gideon, but Cara Dune wants to interrogate him. "I don't care what happens to him, as long as he surrenders to me," Bo-Katan replies. The ships drop out of hyperspace. "I promise to put up a good show," says Boba.
The Slave chases the shuttle toward the cruiser while firing. Bo-Katan calls to open the dock for emergency landing as part of the deception. On the bridge, Moff Gideon orders the TIE fighters to be launched. Two TIEs are hurled from the launch tube. The third stalls as the shuttle crash lands in the launch bay. Boba spins the Slave, shoots down the TIEs, and then jumps to lightspeed.
In the bay, smoke pours out of the shuttle. Fennec, Cara, Bo-Katan, and Koska come out blasting. They clear the deck. "Activate the Dark Troopers," Moff Gideon orders from the bridge. A computer panel lights up. In their hold, the Dark Troopers start to cycle on. Bo-Katan gives Mando the green light to proceed.
The ladies methodically wipe out the stormtroopers. Meanwhile, Mando quietly makes his way toward the brig. Fennec takes the lead. She uses her crack aim to clear the path, deftly ducking blaster fire. In their cargo hold, the Dark Troopers step off their power platforms. In a hallway above, Cara's double-barrelled automatic blaster jams. Fennec and the Mandalorians protect her. She uses the rifle to smash stormtroopers instead. They get in an elevator to the bridge.
"No!" Mando screams as the door to the cargo hold starts to open. He runs to the control panel to insert the code cylinder. The door closes, but one Dark Trooper gets out. He tosses Mando like a rag doll. Mando's laser blasts bounce off the terrifying machine. It pins Mando against the wall, then starts to pound his helmet like a jackhammer. The Dark Troopers locked in the cargo bay do the same to the door. It begins to buckle under the onslaught.
Mando uses his flamethrower. The merciless droid kicks him down the corridor. Mando tries his Whistling Birds. They have no effect. He takes the Beskar spear and rams it through the Dark Trooper's neck. He decapitates and destroys the droid. Mando runs to the control panel. He opens the outside doors. The Dark Troopers are sucked into space.
Cara gets her gun to work as the elevator opens. She shreds the stormtroopers waiting for them in a hail of blaster fire. The ladies storm the bridge. Killing the remaining stormtroopers and Moff Gideon's lieutenants. Koska deactivates the ship's weapon systems. Bo-Katan looks around, "Where's Gideon?"
In the brig, Manda stabs a stormtrooper with the Beskar spear, then uses it to crush the neck of the last guard. He opens the door to Grogu's cell. The child is in handcuffs. Moff Gideon has the Darksaber pointed towards Grogu. He orders Mando to drop his blaster. He states that Mando has been in league with Bo-Katan, "Assume I know everything."
Gideon understands she wants the Darksaber, but he's not on the bridge. He waves the weapon, "She wants this. It brings power. Whoever wields this sword has the right to lay claim to the Mandalorian throne." Mando doesn't care, "You keep it. I just want the kid." Gideon turns off the saber, "I got what I wanted. All I wanted was to study his blood. This child's blood has rare properties. It has the potential to bring ORDER back to the galaxy." Grogu looks up at Mando. "Take him," Gideon steps away.
As Mando reaches for Grogu, Gideon charges with the Darksaber. Mando deflects the first blows with his arm guards. Gideon attacks savagely and forces Mando outside of the cell. Mando grabs the spear. The men duel viciously. The Beskar glows red and sparks from repeated Darksaber blows. Mando launches his grappling rope. Gideon easily cuts it, then resumes swinging. Mando pushes the spear towards Gideon's throat. He kicks Gideon down, then knocks the Darksaber away. He has Gideon beaten. "You're sparing my life...this should be interesting," Gideon smirks.
Mando takes a handcuffed Moff Gideon onto the bridge. He has Grogu in one hand, the activated Darksaber in the other. He pushes Gideon down in front of a stunned Bo-Katan. Mando tries to give her the weapon. Gideon laughs, "She can't take it. It must be won in battle. In order for her to wield the Darksaber again. She must defeat you in combat." Mando yields, but "it doesn't work that way." Gideon continues his tirade, "Without that blade, she is a pretender to the throne."
"He's right," Bo-Katan says. "Just take it," Mando demands. Their awkward exchange is broken by an alarm. Fennec looks at a monitor. The Dark Troopers have flown back to the ship. "You're about to face all the Dark Troopers. You had your hands full with one. Let's see how you do against a platoon," he laughs.
They watch the security monitors as the deadly droids march double file towards the bridge. "Don't worry kid. I'm going to get you out of here," Mando says to Grogu as he puts him down. Grogu's ears wilt as he tires from the ordeal. They seal the blast doors to the bridge. Everyone armors up and sets a firing line. The Dark Troopers start pounding on the door. Gideon smiles, "I think we all know, after a valiant stand, everyone in this room will be dead, but me and the child."
The Dark Troopers brutally smash the doors. Everyone inside gets ready for their onslaught. Moff Gideon sneakily throws his cloak over a blaster on the ground. Suddenly, the alarm blares again. They look outside as an X-wing lands in the ship. Grogu's ears start to pick up. The Dark Troopers stop hammering the door. They look on the monitors as the droids turn around.
Everyone watches as a cloaked figure in a black hood walks down a corridor. A lightsaber is ignited as the mystery person deflects lasers, then easily cuts down four Dark Troopers. Bo-Katan whispers, "A Jedi!" The black clad figure uses the green lightsaber to calmly cross an elevated platform. The Dark Troopers are mulched as blasts are continually deflected. Grogu continues to perk up.
The Jedi goes through the hold with steadfast resolve. Every Dark Trooper is chopped to bits. As the group stares mesmerized by the monitors, Moff Gideon grabs the blaster. He shoots at Koska, then Bo-Katan, before turning to Grogu. Mando leaps in front of the child to deflect the fire. "Drop it!" Fennec screams. Surrounded, Gideon puts the gun under his throat. But before he can kill himself, he's knocked out by Cara Dune.
Grogu touches the monitor as the Jedi approaches. He enters the elevator. The remaining Dark Troopers march toward its door. We finally see the Jedi from the front. He's a man, dressed in black, with a glove on his right hand. His face is still shrouded by the hood. The Jedi cuts a blazing green swath through the droids. He uses the force to crush the last one like tin foil. Grogu turns to Mando and gurgles. Mando picks him up.
"Open the doors," Mando orders. The Jedi enters through a plume of smoke. His green lightsaber humming with energy. The Jedi turns off and attaches his lightsaber to his belt. The Mandalorians, Fennec, and Cara watch in awe. He takes off his hood...drumroll please...to reveal Luke Skywalker (a de-aged Mark Hamill).
Grogu peers from behind a chair. "Are you a Jedi?" Mando asks. "I am," Luke calmly replies. He looks at Grogu, then extends his arm, "Come little one." Grogu turns to Mando. "He doesn't want to go with you," Mando states. "He wants your permission. He is strong with the force. But talent without training is nothing. I will give my life to protect the child. But he will not be safe until he masters his abilities," Luke responds.
Mando picks up Grogu, then carries him towards Luke. "He's who you belong with. He's one of your kind. I'll see you again...I promise," Mando says in a shaky voice. Grogu touches his helmet with his little green hands. Mando takes it off to reveal a clean shaven Din Djarin. They look into each other's eyes. Grogu rubs Din's face, "All right pal...it's time to go... don't be afraid." He puts Grogu on the ground.
R2-D2 is behind Luke. The droid chirps and beeps in wonder at the child. Luke smiles. He and Din Djarin share a knowing nod. Grogu looks at Luke, then raises his hands. Luke picks up the child. "May the force be with you," he says to Din Djarin. He walks away, holding Grogu, with R2 in tow. The camera cuts back as everyone on the bridge watches them leave. Grogu looks at Din and Cara fondly. They both have tears in their eyes. Luke, Grogu, and R2 get on the elevator. Din Djarin gives Grogu a quick nod as the door closes.
After the credits...
The camera pans to Jabba's palace on Tatooine. A hideously fat Bib Fortuna sits on Jabba's throne, surrounded by guards, and a Twi'lek girl chained by his feet. Blaster fire is heard at the door. Fennec walks down the steps. Killing everyone in her way. She shoots the chain and frees the slave girl. Boba Fett is right behind her. "Boba, I thought you were dead. I am so glad to see you. I heard many rumors," Bib Fortuna nervously blubbers. Boba shoots him in the chest. He tosses his body down, then sits on the throne. Fennec smiles, grabs a flask of wine, and sits beside him drinking.
A black card states, "The Book of Boba Fett". Coming December 2021.
Wow...just wow...I watched "The Rescue" three times in a row after picking my jaw up off the floor. Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill himself, along with some computer wizardry, arrives to save the day and take Grogu. Fandom had speculated this outcome, but I honestly expected the Jedi to be Ezra Bridger. This turn of events offers titillating possibilities for the period before The Force Awakens, some twenty-five years later.
Where did Luke take Grogu? Was the child a part of Luke's Jedi trainees? Or did he keep him away from the other younglings? Another monumental reveal was Moff Gideon's use of the word "order" in the context of Grogu's blood. Was this how the Emperor was cloned, and then the created the puppet Snoke? It makes sense and fills in a gigantic gap in Star Wars lore.
Mando's journey with the child came to a thrilling finale. I have no doubt they will cross paths again. His fate is now linked to the Darksaber. How can Bo-Katan ever regain power without fighting him? Could they become romantic partners to bury that hatchet? Din Djarin is now free to pursue any agenda. Maybe he is fated to rule Mandalore. Let's not forget that Ahsoka is still out there searching for Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn. I have to believe that these characters are all intertwined.
The post-credits scene was like getting another cherry on the ice cream sundae. Boba Fett returns to Tatooine, kills Bib Fortuna, and takes his place as the gangster overlord. That last shot with him and Fennec was fantastic. I can't wait to see where their storyline goes in "The Book of Boba Fett".
I honestly don't think "The Mandalorian" season two could have been any better. The build up to the finale is easily the best Star Wars we've seen since the first trilogy. Lucasfilm has showrunners that are true fans and understand what makes Star Wars so thrilling. The future could not be any brighter. I cannot wait to see what happens next, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.