The Mandalorian Episode 16 Review
Everyone, I’m going to start this review with a disclaimer. If you haven’t seen the season finale to The Mandalorian, then for the love of all that is holy, go watch it. RIGHT. NOW. Because it’s only after watching it that you’ll understand why the entire Star Wars fandom cried tears of joy in the early morning of December 18th, 2020.
You back? Good. Now you know our joy. But before we talk about that ending to The Mandalorian, let’s talk about what made the season finale one of the best things to ever happen to Star Wars.
Mando Assembles the Team
After learning the location of Gideon’s ship, the next move of Mando’s team is to capture the Moff’s lead scientist, Dr. Pershing, and force him to tell them about all the defenses Gideon’s ship has. After that, they go to get the last members they need to pull off this rescue: Bo-Katan and one of her Nite Owls.
I wasn’t surprised that Bo-Katan returned so soon to the show. She’d have to settle her score with Gideon and reclaim the Darksaber, after all. What did surprise me, though, was the open hostility she showed towards Boba Fett. It’s understandable given her turbulent history with Jango Fett’s clones, but to openly deny that Boba’s a true Mandalorian? In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if Boba Fett’s a clone or a foundling; he’s a Mandalorian to me.
The resulting altercation and fistfight did bring up one of the central themes to this season, though: what does it mean to be Mandalorian? Does that mean one must be born to someone of Mandalore, or do they merely have to be raised in their culture? It’s a poignant question that lightly touches on the real-world concept of what can unite a people, be it a shared cultural identity, religion, or goals. As Bo-Katan points out, though, the Mandalorians have been fractured for too long. They must unite to take back their home, and that starts with taking down Gideon, getting the Darksaber, and taking his ship.
Like Something out of a Video Game
With all the members aboard, Mando begins his raid to rescue Baby Yoda. What follows over the next fifteen minutes of the episode feels, quite frankly, like something out of a video game.
After Boba gets them inside with an elaborate ruse, Fennec, Cara, Bo-Katan, and Koska assault Gideon’s ship and slaughter his Stormtroopers. It’s a very entertaining action sequence that empashizes how badass these women are. Not only that, but they all manage to work very well together. Their team dynamic’s solid and they even get in a few quips and one-liners.
Mando, though, has the hard job. He has to make sure Gideon’s Dark Troopers don’t get loose in the ship, and he only barely manages to toss them out an airlock. Before that happens, though, he goes against a single Dark Trooper. The fight that follows is brutal, with the Dark Trooper being tough enough to give the Terminator a run for his money. Mando’s barely able to take it down with his Beskar spear.
Of course, that only leads him to his next problem: Moff Gideon holding Baby Yoda at sword-point. What follows is a brief, but impressive duel that shows just how good a fighter Din Djarin is. One that ends in his victory and taking possession of the Darksaber.
The True Power of the Darksaber
For those who didn’t watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Rebels, here’s the importance behind the Darksaber. It was forged a thousand years ago by the only Mandalorian to ever join the Jedi. When he died, his people stole it from the Jedi Temple, and the blade became a symbol of leadership for Mandalore, passing from owner to owner whenever the previous one was bested in combat. Thus, the Mandalorians will only recognize someone as the rightful owner of the Darksaber if they won it in combat. In other words, Mando inadvertently won the right to claim the title of Mandalore.
I’d speculated once that Gideon did not win the Darksaber from Bo-Katan, but stole it. However, that may not be the case, given how obsessed she was with fighting Gideon. And now, she’ll have to fight Mando for it.
I won’t lie to you, there’s been a thought in the very back of my head: what if Din Djarin’s going to be the next Mandalore? A foundling who unites his people to retake their home and become their next leader would make for a hell of a story.
But there are bigger problems: the Dark Troopers are back! Fortunately, help comes in the form of a legendary Jedi.
Luke Skywalker Gets the Return he Deserved
I cannot tell a lie: when I saw that familiar-looking X-Wing land in the hanger of Gideon’s ship, I knew what was about to happen. And I began to squeal in joy over it. Luke Skywalker, the legendary Jedi Master, had returned to us.
Like a lot of fans, I was deeply dissappointed with how Rian Johnson turned Luke into a cynical hermit in The Last Jedi. Yeah, it was because of his failure to keep his nephew from becoming Kylo Ren, but my gripe was the fact that he gave up too easily. Instead of learning from it and keep trying to rebuild the Jedi, he thought the Galaxy would be better off without them. Spoiler alert: it isn’t, Luke! This wasn’t the Luke Skywalker the fans wanted to see. Fortunately, Dave Filoni and John Favreau knew this, and brought Luke back the right way.
When I saw the hooded figure of Luke fighting his way through Gideon’s ship, cutting through droids like his father before him, I was overcome by joy. This was the Luke Skywalker the fans wanted to see. The legendary Jedi that struck fear in the Empire and always fought for what was right. And by the Force, it was glorious. By the end, I was cheering like it was a sports game.
A Tearful Goodbye. For Now, At Least
With the arrival of Luke and Gideon in chains, the rescue’s been a success. What’s more, Mando’s fulfilled the mission his tribe gave him: to find a Jedi to look after Baby Yoda. However, given how much he’s come to care for Grogu/Baby Yoda, it only makes it harder to see what happens next.
One big theme to the show thus far has been about parenthood. In season one, Mando learned to accept his role as a father figure for Grogu. Season two’s seen him learn how to be an actual father, and a good one at that. Of course, this leads us to the hardest part of any parent’s life: learning to let go of their child.
It’s obvious to everyone that Mando doesn’t want to part with Baby Yoda, no matter how necessary it is. And then, we saw Mando do something that left me in tears. Completely forsaking his Tribe’s rule of never showing his face, Mando willingly removed his helmet so he could give his son a proper goodbye.
This has to be one of the most emotional moments I’ve ever seen in Star Wars. Heck, the only other moment I think rivals this is when Luke took off his father’s helmet as he was dying. It also shows off just how much Mando has changed since the first episode. His experiences throughout this season only reinforced those lessons, whilst simultaneously making him question everything he knew.
Bottom line, everything led us to this moment. The old Mando we first met is long gone. In his place is a new Mando, one who’s not defined by the rigid rules he was raised under. You go, Mando!
The Adventure Continues
Thus, another season of The Mandalorian comes to an end. Of course, there’s one question on everyone’s mind: what now? I’ve got a few ideas.
While I have a feeling we’ll see Baby Yoda again, I think that Mando will choose to stick with Bo-Katan. She’ll want the Darksaber back, so I doubt he’ll have much of a choice anyway. This could eventually lead to a grand finale where the Mandalorian people unite to take back their homeworld at long last. It would be an amazing way to cap off the story of Din Djarin, if you ask me.
Alternativately, the series could shift focus onto another Mandalorian: Boba Fett. In a post-credits scene, Fett returns to Tatooine after repaying his debt to Mando. He then proceeds to return to Jabba’s palace, kill what’s left of his court, and take the palace for himself. I don’t know what the old bounty hunter has planned, but it will no doubt be big. Big enough to warrant his own story.
No matter how you slice it, though, I think the future of Star Wars is a bright one. I can’t wait to see what happens in Season Three of The Mandalorian.
At the same time, though, we shouldn’t forget about the past.
RIP, Jeremy Bulloch
I’m not sure if you’ve heard by now, but yesterday, it was announced that Jeremy Bulloch, the original actor who played Boba Fett, passed away at the age of 75.
Jeremy Bulloch was the original Mandalorian, and Star Wars owes him a great debt. While he only had a handful of lines onscreen, Boba Fett grew to become one of the franchise’s most popular characters. Decades later, that popularity would lead to the prequels giving us Jango Fett, and with him, the Clone Troopers. So much of Star Wars success beyond the movies can be trace back to Boba Fett, and Jeremy was the man behind the mask. He may be gone, but I find it fitting that he lived to see his iconic role capture the hearts of a new generation. RIP, Jeremy Bulloch. This is the Way.
I Give “The Rescue” a 5/5.
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