The Mandalorian season 2 finale review: A season ending that tops the sequels

Pedro Pascal is The Mandalorian in The Mandalorian season 2. Photo: Disney+.
Pedro Pascal is The Mandalorian in The Mandalorian season 2. Photo: Disney+. /

The Mandalorian season 2 finale was an exciting adventure from start to finish!

Warning! This story contains spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2.

This was a moment that I did not quite want to come: the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian. For the last eight weeks, Lucasfilm and Disney+ have drawn out the saga — strategically releasing the episodes weekly so that you hang onto every moment for the longest amount of time possible. And it’s weird to think that our journey that started in late October has finally come to a close.

In a nutshell, the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian was absolutely astounding. And by and far, it beat out last year’s season finale by a longshot. First, let’s quickly recap the events of The Mandalorian season 2 episode 8, “Chapter 16: The Rescue.”

The beginning of the episode started with Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves joining their efforts, followed by the strategic capture of Dr. Pershing, who (as many fans guessed) specialized in cloning procedures. As planned, they used the capturing to set up a fake chase with Pershing’s Imperial ship, eventually being able to dock onto Moff Gideon’s Star Destroyer. From there, Bo-Katan, Koska, Fennec Shand and Cara Dune fought their way to the ship’s bridge while Mando snuck his way around the ship to find The Child.

Eventually, the ladies captured the bridge and Mando fought off the Dark Troopers on the Star Destroyer in order to make it to The Child who was being held hostage by Moff Gideon in his cell. Gideon and Mando fought. Gideon lost and was taken to the bridge in handcuffs. But the Dark Troopers returned. And just when it looked like all hope was lost, a Jedi appeared, taking care of all the Dark Troopers and coming to pick up the Child. That Jedi was none other than Luke Skywalker. And after a bittersweet goodbye with Grogu and removing his mask so just for once, Mando could look at him with his own eyes, Grogu was off with the strange Jedi and Mando was visibly left heartbroken.

That was a lot of story to pack into an episode that was just over 45 minutes. And producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, along with director Peyton Reed, really pulled off one of the most emotional Star Wars finales in quite a long time — arguably delivering a better, more emotional story than any of the sequel films. What worked was the buildup of this relationship between Mando and The Child. The little green alien went from being a bounty to “The Child” (or “kid”) to an actual little being with a real name, “Grogu,” and we saw those moments had a deep impact on Din Djarin as he quit his business and dedicated all his time to giving Baby Yoda back to his people. So while the reveal of Luke Skywalker was absolutely huge, it left an emotional scar on everyone’s hearts to see The Child taken away, even if he was in good hands.

That Luke Skywalker reveal, though, was certainly mindblowing. And the crew did a fantastic job of really prolonging the anticipation of the reveal of the mystery Jedi to blood pressure-elevating results. Just the countdown on the elevator, for example, was enough to make me sweat in anticipation. But I had my suspicions once the green lightsaber was lit and the Jedi wielding it had one gloved hand. Overall, while some people may have been hoping for another Jedi to come to Grogu’s rescue (I think simply because we ruled out someone as big as Luke Skywalker ever showing up), I appreciate the choice to bring him in, even if it tears down the walls that separated The Mandalorian from the Skywalker saga.

And as we talk about anticipation and the structure of the story, this episode in particular did a fantastic job of subverting expectations all the way through. I almost believed Favreau would just let the Dark Troopers be taken care of through the evac or Moff Gideon would let Mando be on his way. I was feeling a sense of disappointment with each of those moments, but the story redeemed itself when those ended up being rug-pull moments. I have to give Favreau and co. more credit!

Accompanying the awesome story was yet another brilliant score from Ludwig Göransson. He’s taken on a completely new approach this season (and something a little more fit to his style), and that was apparent in the bass-ripping dubstep tracks that went along with the Dark Troopers. It’s something completely unique in this entire series, but I love the feel that he brought to this episode through the music.

Some other honorable mentions include the fierceness of the all-women team that captured the bridge, and I was also quite fond of seeing R2-D2 make an appearance as well. Of course, the only other thing that could understand Baby Yoda would be a droid that we can’t understand either.

Sure, somewhere there are probably some criticisms to be found in this episode. And not everyone will agree on the direction of the finale. We haven’t even mentioned the post-credits scene with Bib Fortuna, Boba Fett and Fennec back at Jabba’s palace. But overall, the episode was clearly a winner. And we’re excited to see what happens next in this Star Wars live-action television saga.

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What did you think of The Mandalorian season 2 finale? Let us know in the comments.