Star Wars TV

The Mandalorian Chapter 16 “The Rescue” Review

Let’s waste no time on introductions.

The Slave I hunts an Imperial shuttle, disabling it with an ion cannon. Aboard that shuttle is Dr. Pershing, who clearly isn’t used to battle. There’s a great shot of the Slave I creeping across their viewport before they’re boarded. Enter Din, blaster raised and wasting no time, followed shortly by Cara. Dr. Pershing assures him the Child is alive before one of the Imperial pilots shoots his comrade and holds the doctor at gunpoint, threatening to kill him. He makes a jab at Cara about watching Alderaan explode, which earns him a blaster bolt in the face.

WIth Dr. Pershing in their custody, the crew swings by a cantina on an unnamed planet (Lothal, maybe?) to find Bo-Katan and Koska Reeves. Bo-Katan recognizes Boba’s voice immediately, calling him a disgrace to his armor. After some scuffles between Boba and Reeves, Bo-Katan agrees to help Din on two conditions: she gets the Darksaber and Moff Gideon’s ship. She also sets up the third season’s plot by inviting Din to join them in their quest to reclaim Mandalore once he’s finished his own. 

Bo-Katan has schematics for Gideon’s light cruiser, but there are gaps in her intel, which Dr. Pershing is happy to fill. While the crew of the ship is light, there’s a platoon of Dark troopers to back them up. With this in mind, they form an infiltration plan: while Bo-Katan, Cara, Fennec, and Koska cause a ruckus on their way to the bridge, Din will use the distraction to slip in undetected, grab the Child from the brig, and lock up the Dark troopers. Simple, right?

Once inside the cruiser, the ladies methodically blast through waves of troopers. Din takes his sweet, sweet time sidling through hallways and searching for the Dark troopers’ cargo bay, reminiscent of Obi-Wan sneaking through the Death Star in A New Hope. Just as I’m screaming at Din to hustle, he reaches the bay, but not soon enough. One Dark trooper manages to ram his way through the closing doors, and proceeds to pummel Din thoroughly. Nothing seems to break through the droid’s armor – Din employs everything from flames to his whistling birds. Finally, a swift jab through the neck with his beskar spear does the trick. He then jettisons the remaining Dark troopers into space.

Bo-Katan and crew reach the bridge, but Moff Gideon is already gone. He is, of course, in the brig with Grogu, threateningly brandishing the Darksaber over the Child. Din kicks over his blaster and, out of options, makes a deal – Din gets Grogu back if he leaves the ship and never returns. After all, Gideon already has what he wants – Grogu’s blood. They will use it to bring order to the galaxy, he claims. 

Naturally, Gideon fakes him out and assaults him with the Darksaber. For all the buildup leading to this duel, it is disappointingly short. Din exhibits solid spear work and ultimately bests the moff, taking him to the bridge. 

Bo-Katan is not pleased to see Din holding the Darksaber, and Gideon fills Din in on his Mandalorian history. Whoever has the Darksaber has claim to the throne of Mandalore, but in order to get it back, Bo-Katan will have to defeat Din in combat. We’re saved from this awkward moment by the Dark troopers boarding the ship. Our heroes seal the blast doors and ready themselves for death as the Dark troopers pound their way in…

…until an X-Wing glides in, carrying an unknown Jedi with a familiar gloved hand. We watch him approach via the security cameras, leaving piles of the droids in his wake. Grogu, downtrodden throughout the rescue, visibly perks up and coos at the screen. He arrives at the lift and makes his way up to the bridge.

Gideon uses the distraction to blast Bo-Katain until she falls and he aims for Grogu, but Din acts as a human shield. Cara quickly knocks him out with the butt of her rifle. 

Our Jedi has arrived at the doors, and after sharing a meaningful look with his son, Din lets him in. 

Luke Skywalker lowers his hood, with a hint of “Binary Sunset” in the score. It’s Mark Hamill’s de-aged face on stunt double Max Lloyd-Jones. The CGI facial movements are a bit stiff, and the eyes aren’t quite right, but it’s him. Din asks if he is a Jedi, and Luke sure sounds like Mark Hamill when he replies, “I am.”

He beckons Grogu to join him, but the Child is hesitant, looking uncertainly at Din. Din, the poor guy, makes one last attempt at keeping his son – “He doesn’t want to go with you” – but Luke clarifies that Grogu is looking for Din’s permission. Luke will give his life to protect the Child, but he needs to master his abilities to be truly safe. 

We get a heart wrenching goodbye that leaves me in tears. Din echoes Shmi’s words to Anakin from The Phantom Menace – “Don’t be afraid.” He promises they’ll see each other again. Grogu is unsure, but makes fast friends with R2D2 and allows Luke to carry him away. The final credits of the season roll.

The discourse around this ending is abundant, so I’ll humbly offer my thoughts on some of it. Many people wanted a different Jedi, citing Ezra Bridger or Cal Kestis as their choices. However, if you think from a franchise standpoint, Ezra was never going to appear this season. If Lucasfilm is smart, they’ll save his big reveal for the Ahsoka show. Cal Kestis is an interesting choice, but not an accessible one to more casual fans of Star Wars. Luke is the most logical choice in this regard. 

Another major complaint is that, like other cameo appearances this season, Luke’s entrance took all the focus away from the most important relationship of the show – Din and Grogu. This, I understand a bit more – it’s hard to focus on anything else when Luke Skywalker is on screen. But to say that goodbye between father and son was outshone seems…well, wrong. Yes, I wish the two had more time to reconnect before Grogu left. But damn. The depth and breadth of Din’s love for Grogu, and Grogu’s in return, left the greatest impression on me. Din removed his helmet, in front of several witnesses, all for Grogu. He’s shedding the old ways and creating a new creed in this moment, and to say his character was sidelined is a disservice to the characters, to Pedro Pascal, and to the writers who made it happen. 

Phew. Now, with all that said, there’s one thing I forgot – if you stick around after the credits, we get a sweet introduction to The Book of Boba Fett, which starts next December. Looks like Boba and Fennec will be the new bosses of Tatooine. 

It’s been a tumultuous season, but we’ve got so much to explore next December. Will Din join her efforts to reclaim Mandalore? And just what is Moff Gideon planning to do with Grogu’s blood? 

Until next year, nerf herders.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: