A Natural Conclusion to Season 2: This Heartfelt Finale captures Everything that makes Star Wars so special
Season 2 so far has been quite the journey with its ups and downs. The Mandalorian’s sophomore outing has certainly been more uneven than the first season with some filler episodes. However, this season’s best episodes have been nothing short of outstanding. In spite of the filler episodes, Season 2 has had a clear narrative focus. Mando’s mission throughout has been to return The Child (now named Grogu) to his kind. A credit to this season is how it has balanced storytelling responsibilities while also expanding the Star Wars Universe at large. Filoni, Favreau, and co have been for example able to integrate fan favourite characters including Ahsoka, Bo-Katan, and even Boba Fett while still telling Mando’s story. And this has resonated with general audiences, critics, and passionate fans as well succeeding where the new films failed.
The finale has now arrived and is aptly titled “The Rescue”. The season has been building up to this moment. It brings together the all star cast pitting the heroes against the villainous Moff Gideon. The episode is also packed full of fan service yet there is still a self contained story. What the finale required most was consequence and it more than delivered. It not only wraps up Mando’s journey but it completely changes the status quo going into Season 3. Crucially, the finale captures everything that makes Star Wars so special and it acts as a natural conclusion to Season 2.
An Action Packed Climax
With Grogu’s location now in hand, Mando needs to round up the whole cast. This means Cara Dune, Boba Fett, Fennec Shand, Bo-Katan, Koska Reeves, and even Dr. Pershing. The episode is simply packed full of characters. Everyone has a part to play. It is a juggling act to balance so many characters but the finale pulls it off easily. The characters slot in organically and there are even great interactions notably between them notably Boba Fett and Bo-Katan who are initially at odds over the former’s possession of Mandalorian armour. Everything slots perfectly into place even making the filler episodes feel warranted. The finale hence feels like a proper conclusion to the season.
“The Rescue” as one would expect is also very action packed. The final showdown between Moff Gideon and Mando is hugely impressive for a live action TV show as Darksaber clashes with Beskar spear: Such a simple moment but so impactful. Star Wars simply would not be the same without the duels. And then there are the Dark Troopers, Moff Gideon’s elite mechanised squadron, one of whom Mando has a close encounter with. Mando has to work hard to save Grogu making their eventual reunion even more special.
Bringing All Aspects of Star Wars to the Forefront
For a long time, there has been discourse within the Star Wars fandom. Many attribute that discourse to The Last Jedi. Some loved the film for its bold new take on the franchise pushing Star Wars beyond nostalgia. Others hated it for exactly the same reason viewing the entire film as a betrayal of George Lucas’s Star Wars (Some even called for the film to be decanonised). The Rise of Skywalker, on the other hand, the follow up film to TLJ, landed on the complete opposite side of the spectrum and was criticised for relying too much on nostalgia and not taking the franchise anywhere new. In truth, the Star Wars fandom has always been divided. That comes with territory as fans expect different things from the franchise. Before The Mandalorian, the Original Trilogy seemed to be the only common ground.
In spite of the odds, the Mandalorian found a winning formula with fan service on top of a truly original story. Season 2 has come out batting on both fronts and now it is refreshing to see so many aspects of the franchise brought together in this episode. From the prequels to the animated shows to the originals to even the sequels, the Season 2 finale aims to please. If you are fan of any aspect of Star Wars, you can appreciate the show. Who would have thought we would one day see in The Mandalorian: Bo-Katan and Ahsoka in live action, Boba Fett, and even Luke Skywalker? This season really has been for the fans and most likely made by fans themselves.
This season finale closes one door but opens many more. There is a lot of fan service in this episode but the show never forgets about its emotional core: Mando’s relationship with Grogu. The whole show has been about Mando’s journey to return Grogu to his kind. And now that journey seems to be over and it is time to say goodbye.
The Mandalorian does not squander this opportunity for a heartfelt moment. Peyton Reed’s directing is on the mark this episode and this is one of his finest works as director. As the Jedi slices through the Dark Troopers and nears the helm of the ship, the audience knows what’s coming. It’s inevitable. Throughout the season, one focus has been on what lengths Mando will go to to save Grogu. Last episode, that included breaking his one rule: Taking his helmet off. Now Mando does the same here. He lets Grogu see his face before he departs with Luke Skywalker. Mando’s journey is over and it could not be more bittersweet.
A Look to the Future
One door may be closed but there are going to be more seasons of The Mandalorian. One potential future storyline neatly set up this episode is the claim to rule Mandalore. Mando has just won the Darksaber from Bo-Katan in combat. Therefore, he technically he has the right to rule Mandalore. The Darksaber must be won in combat so he cannot simply hand it over to Bo-Katan. This will likely be explored next season although Moff Gideon will also be in the mix as Giancarlo Esposito has hinted previously in interviews at plans for future seasons.
Although the Grogu arc now seems to be wrapped up, there are still questions left such as why Grogu’s blood was so important to Moff Gideon. Based on the evidence so far e.g. high M-count (Midi-chlorian count) , this could tie into the Sequels and Palpatine’s plans so the show might explore that era. These questions perhaps should have been addressed instead of all the fan service yet this is merely a minor issue that can be hopefully addressed in the future.
Beyond The Mandalorian, the future is also bright. At their latest investor day, Disney announced their plans for several shows to air on Disney Plus in the coming years. Among those announced is “Ahsoka” featuring Rosario Dawson reprising her role from the Mandalorian. Lucasfilm here seems to be committing here to expanding the world of the Mandalorian by spinning off characters. In the Ahsoka series, Filoni might even get a chance to continue story he started in Rebels involving Ezra and Thrawn. Another show is one fans have been asking for for a long time. Boba Fett has not only been brought back for The Mandalorian but is now getting his own spin off show with Fennec Shand: “The Book of Boba Fett”. Disney and Lucasfilm are going all out. With so many projects on the horizon, fans will have no shortage of Star Wars content in the foreseeable future.
The Mandalorian’s season finale is simply the perfect way to wrap up Mando’s journey. The show has been increasingly bold with fan service this season but it paid off in a big way this time. Bringing back many characters for an action packed final showdown with Moff Gideon, The Mandalorian found a way to pay off every episode even the filler ones. Kudos goes to Filoni, Favreau and co for crafting the entire season.
Peyton Reed also deserves praise for juggling so much in one episode and still having a narrative focus. Luke Skywalker’s appearance may be on everyone’s minds but underneath all that awesomeness, the finale was a heartfelt goodbye to Grogu. The Child captured the hearts of the public and played such a huge part in Mando’s story so it is only fitting that the finale revolves around him. One door may have closed but many more are now open and fans could not be more excited with the franchise firmly back on track.