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'The Mandalorian' season 2 chapter 16: 'The Rescue' recap/review
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‘The Mandalorian’ season 2 chapter 16: ‘The Rescue’ recap/review

‘The Mandalorian’ sticks the landing on its second season with an episode that features the best acting, action, and effects we’ve seen thus far (along with just the right dosage of fan service).

Last episode of Star Wars: The Mandalorian concluded with Din Djarin threatening Moff Gideon with a very direct confrontation to get Grogu back. This week, that confrontation brings us into the final chapter of what’s been an even better season for this series than the first.

That’s No Moon

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Listen to the latest episode of our Star Wars podcast, Talkin' Tauntauns!

The episode opens with Dr. Pershing aboard a Lambda-class shuttle that’s being pursued by Boba Fett’s Slave I. Fett hits and disables them with an ion canon before messaging the two pilots to prepare to be boarded.

The first through the door is Din Djarin, who immediately points his gun at Pershing. The shuttle’s primary pilot tries to warn the Mandalorian that his target is an Imperial VIP. As you might expect, that doesn’t have much of an effect, especially since the two already met back in Chapter 3.

Djarin then asks Pershing directly if Grogu is alive, which the scientist confirms. The pilot responds to this by wrapping his arm around Pershing neck and pointing a gun toward his head. This brings Cara Dune in with her gun raised, who the pilot warns to stay back. When his co-pilot attempts to diffuse the situation, he shoots him in the head.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Things escalate considerably at this point. The pilot reveals that he knows Cara Dune is from Alderaan thanks to her rebel tear tattoo. He then taunts her over the fact that he was on the Death Star and got to watch as it destroyed her world. As if that weren’t bad enough, he had the gall to chastise her over the millions of lives that were lost when the Rebel Alliance blew up both of the Empire’s space stations.

Dune struggles to contain her (extremely justified) rage while repeatedly ordering the pilot to drop his weapon. Instead, he declares that her home world being destroyed was small price to pay to fight “terrorism.” Finally having heard enough, Dune shoots the pilot in the face. Her aim spares Pershing, although he most likely lost some ear skin and a dry pair of pants in the process.

Side Note: Gina Carano was fantastic in this scene. I know her political and anti-mask beliefs frustrate a lot of us, but there’s no denying how much her acting has improved since last season.

Reckoning Reunion

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

After taking Pershing hostage, Djarin, Dune, Fennec Shand, and Boba Fett head to an unnamed planet to seek out some more assistance/firepower.

Side Note: If you’re a Clone Wars fan, then you knew exactly who they were hitting up based on the beautiful ship Slave I landed next to. 

Djarin and Fett head into a nearby cantina, where they find Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves enjoying a meal (I guess poor Axe Woves wasn’t invited). When Djarin asks for help, Bo-Katan points out that she and Reeves aren’t bounty hunters–and some Mandalorians actually serve a “higher purpose.”

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Her demeanor shifts considerably after he says that someone took the Child. When he reveals that it was Moff Gideon, however, Bo-Katan responds that they’ll never find them. Before Djarin can explain that they already have, Fett says that they “don’t need these two” and suggests they leave.

Bo-Katan recognizes Fett’s voice (due to him being the son of the original clone trooper template) and declares that he’s not a Mandalorian. When Fett replies that he never claimed to be one, Reeves responds with mock surprise that she didn’t know sidekicks were allowed to talk.

'The Mandalorian' season 2 chapter 16: 'The Rescue' recap/review

Just as Reeves and Fett are about to throw down, Bo-Katan manages to diffuse the situation. Djarin then tells her that he has the coordinates for Moff Gideon’s light cruiser, which could be a huge asset in her effort to retake Mandalore. Fett scoffs at this, saying that the Empire turned the planet into glass.

Side Note: That’s a story a really hope we get to see one day.

Bo-Katan angrily tells Fett that he’s a disgrace to his armor. When he responds that the armor belonged to his father, she doubles down and denigrates him for being a clone. This causes him to threaten Bo-Katan, which causes Reeves to start throwing hands. The pair engage in a fantastic brawl for a bit before Bo-Katan puts a stop to it. She also points out that if the Mandalorian people had shown half the spine/gumption that these two have, they would’ve never lost their home world.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

She then informs Djarin that they’ll help him rescue the Child on three conditions:

  1. She gets the light cruiser once the mission is completed.
  2. Djarin strongly reconsiders joining her in trying to take back Mandalore.
  3. Moff Gideon is left to her so that she can reclaim the Darksaber from him.

In addition to being an awesome weapon that can cut through anything (except pure beskar), whoever wields it is seen as the true leader of Mandalore–and it used to belong to Bo-Katan before the Great Purge.

Djarin agrees to her terms, explaining that she can have anything she wants since Grogu is his only priority.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Back aboard the Slave I, Bo-Katan walks everyone through a potential plan to infiltrate Gideon’s ship. The group is understandably skeptical when Pershing offers some information, but they’re all ears once he begins warning them about about the Dark Troopers.

Side Note: This is one thing I really like about Pershing. The dude is still evil, but we’ve seen since Chapter 3 that he clearly has some qualms about the work he does for the Empire.

The scientist explains that Gideon’s ship carries an entire platoon of the third generation super enhanced droids. Due to the extraordinary amount of power they require to operate, the platoon is kept in a cold storage cargo bay, meaning it takes them a few minutes to power up before they can be deployed.

Pershing also reveals exactly where Grogu is being kept. It’s a solid gesture, but still doesn’t make up for him running experiments on the little guy.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Bo-Katan uses this newfound knowledge to concoct a different plan that will allow her, Reeves, Shand, and Dune to fight their way to the ship’s bridge and Moff Gideon. Meanwhile, Din Djarin will go to the Dark Trooper holding bay and seal it off with Pershing’s code cylinder before they can be deployed.

After that, he goes to rescue Grogu from his cell (and a few inept stormtrooper guards) while Bo-Katan cuts down Moff Gideon and takes back the Darksaber.

First, though, they’ll need to get onboard Gideon’s cruiser. Luckily, they happen to have a stolen Lambda-class shuttle at their disposal.

Arrivals and Departures

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

As the stolen Imperial shuttle and Slave 1 hurtle through hyperspace, Bo-Katan reminds the group that Gideon is hers. When Dune responds that he needs to be taken alive to pump for intel, Bo-Katan explains that she doesn’t care what happens to him as long as she’s the one he surrenders to.

The ships come out of hyperspace near Gideon’s cruiser and immediately begin putting on a show. Boba Fett rains down gunfire on them from the Slave I while Bo-Katan hails the cruiser to make an emergency docking so they can escape their attacker. Instead, Gideon commands his ship to begin launching its fleet of TIE fighters.

Gideon’s primary coms officer instructs Bo-Katan’s shuttle to stay clear of the launch tube, but she ignores the order and crashes right through it. As Boba Fett takes out the TIES and jumps back into hyperspace, Bo-Katan, Reeves, Shand, and Dune exit their smoking space craft and being laying waste to the Imperials.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Realizing that this was the attack Djarin had promised him was coming, Gideon instructs his coms officer to deploy their platoon of Dark Troopers. Meanwhile, the quartet of Djarin’s badass allies make their way through the ship’s stormtroopers like a spear through bantha fodder.

At one point, Dune’s heavy machine gun jams, which gives her the chance to use it as a melee weapon before getting on a lift to the ship’s top floor. She manages to get it working again just in time to mow down some more stormies when the door opens. After that, the group slices through one last hallway before easily taking the bridge and disabling the cruiser’s defense systems.

Unfortunately, Gideon is nowhere to be found.

Side Note: I know I’ve complained more about how ridiculously easy stormtroopers are to take down , but this entire sequence was still all types of fun to watch.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

While all that badassery was taking place, Djarin used the wake of his allies’ destruction to sneak toward the Dark Trooper bay. When he arrives, they are fully powered on and beginning to deploy. He makes it to the bay door and jams the code cylinder in, but not before one of the Dark Troopers manages to get out.

While the rest of the droid platoon begins punching through the door, the one who escaped begins beating the absolute hell out of Djarin. The Mandalorian is eventually able to stun the Dark Trooper with his whistling birds to grab his Beskar staff he got back in Chapter 13 and jam it through thing droid’s neck. He then runs over to the bay door and pulls a lever that blows the rest of the Dark Trooper squadron out into space.

With that out of the way, Djarin makes his way to Grogu’s cell and brutally takes out the two inept stormtroopers standing guard. Upon opening the cell door, he finds Moff Gideon holding the darksaber directly over the Child’s little green head.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Gideon commands Djarin to drop his blaster and kick it over to him, which he does. After refusing the Mandalorian’s request to hand over the Child, Gideon haughtily explains that that his weapon used to belong to Bo-Katan, who he knows is on board. He then advises the Mandalorian to always assume that he always knows everything–like the fact that he already used his whispering birds on one of the Dark Troopers.

When Gideon explains why Bo-Katan wants the Darksaber so badly, Djarin tells him he can keep it–he just wants Grogu. Gideon deactivates the Darksaber and considers this, declaring that he already has what he wants anyway: Grogu’s blood. The Child’s DNA carries very special properties that he can study and exploit to help bring order (First Order?) back to the galaxy.

Gideon then tells Djarin he can have the Child as long as he leaves his ship and they go their separate ways. Just as the Mandalorian is reaching for Grogu, however, he reignites the Darksaber and attacks.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Djarin is able to withstand the assault thanks to his Beskar armor. After stealing a moment to recover, he draws his staff and engages Gideon in a fantastic duel that he eventually wins. When the Mandalorian doesn’t kill him, Gideon appears more amused than anything, declaring that his decision to show mercy will prove to be “interesting.”

We quickly learn what he meant when Djarin arrives on the ship’s bridge with Grogu, the Darksaber, and Moff Gideon in shackles. Instead of relief and/or joy over her adversary’s defeat, Bo-Katan appears furious. Gideon suggests that she kill Djarin now and take the Darksaber for herself. When Djarin tries to hand it over to her, the moff smugly declares that she can’t accept the weapon unless it was won in combat. That means she cannot wield it unless she wins it by killing him. Accepting the weapon in any other way would make her a pretender to the Mandalorian throne.

Side Note: Yeah…we’re gonna discuss that a bit after the recap.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Djarin continues to try and hand the weapon to Bo-Katan, but she steadfastly refuses. Before things can get anymore awkward, the ship’s alarms begin to sound. Shand checks the monitors and sees that the Dark Troopers have flown back to the ship and are on their way to the bridge. As the group prepares to make an impossible last stand, Cara Dune throws Moff Gideon to the ground near a gun, which he discreetly hides under his cape.

Meanwhile, Reeves seals the bridge’s blast doors, which the two Dark Troopers at the front of the platoon immediately begin beating down. Just as they’re about to breach it, a seemingly random X-Wing fighter flies into the ship’s hanger and docks. Reeves asks the pilot to identify himself, but doesn’t receive a response. Grogu, on the other hand, appears very interested and invested in whoever just showed up.

The group watches in disbelief on the ship’s monitors as a hooded figure exits his craft, ignites a green lightsaber, and begins cutting down the Dark Troopers like Darth Vader going through the Tantive IV in Rogue One. With a Jedi on the way, Gideon realizes he’s toast and attempts to shoot the Mandalorians wearing Beskar armor (dumb). When that doesn’t work (duh), he attempts to shoot Grogu, who is saved when Djarin dives in front of him. Having failed at that, Gideon turns the gun on himself, but is stopped from pulling the trigger thanks to a well-time pair of hits from Dune.

Meanwhile, the Jedi heads down the final hallway of full Dark Troopers toward our heroes. It’s a truly a glorious scene that’s made even better when Djarin lets the figure into the bridge and he reveals himself to be none other than Luke Skywalker (!!!).

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Side Note: Yes, the character was played by a different actor (Max Lloyd-Jones) with a CGI-imposed face. Yes, there was a little bit of uncanny valley weirdness. But it was still fantastic.

Luke reaches out to the youngling who reached out to him back on Tython in Chapter 14, but the little guy appears scared–or at least very hesitant. When Djarin say that the Grogu doesn’t want to go with him, Luke counters that the Child wants Djarin’s permission. He also promises to protect the Child with his life, reminding the Mandalorian that Grogu will not be safe until he’s with the Jedi Order again.

Djarin picks up his tiny companion gives him permission to leave while also promising to see him again one day. Grogu responds by reaching out for Djarin’s helmet. He takes it off, allowing the Child to touch his face as he struggles to hold back his emotions and while telling him not to be afraid.

Side Note: Whoever is cutting onions and/or causing my allergies to act up needs to cut it out.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Djarin then puts Grogu down. The Child initially grabs onto his leg and won’t leave, but begins to change his mind when R2-D2 rolls in(!!!). After the two converse for a bit, Grogu reaches toward Luke, who picks him up and departs. As the Jedi walks down the hallway and enters the lift to take him back to the docking bay, Djarin and the Child share a tearful departing gaze.

The New King

That would have been one heck of a way to end things, but there was also a post credit scene that added even more of a punch to this already exceptional episode.

We head back over to Tatooine and a very familiar looking palace, where Jabba the Hutt’s former majordomo/consigliere Bib Fortuna has taken over his deceased master’s throne (and gained a substantial amount of weight).

His languid rule is interrupted when Fennec Shand walks in and takes out most of his guards and court. She also shoots the chains of an imprisoned Twi’lek dancer, who promptly uses the opportunity to escape. Boba Fett then strolls in behind Shand, prompting Fortuna to express nervous joy at seeing that the bounty hunter is still alive after his fall into the sarlacc pit back in Return of the Jedi.

Without saying a word, Fett lifts his blaster and shoots Fortuna dead. He then shoves the dead body off the throne and takes it for himself while Shand partakes of a nearby drink and lounges to his right. The screen then cuts to a message informing us that The Book of Boba Fett will be coming December 2021.

The Verdict

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

Despite how much I love The Mandalorian, I’ve never given an episode a perfect 10/10…until now. Aside from a couple minor nitpicks (which we’ll get to in a bit), this was a near perfect conclusion to the story the series has been telling since Chapter 1.

Din Djarin completed his mission, but that success came packaged with a deep sadness that he never would have expected to feel even after saving Grogu’s life back on Navarro. We’re also left with a number of tantalizing questions:

  • What happens now between Bo-Katan and Djarin since he’s currently in possession of the Darksaber?
  • Will Djarin help Bo-Katan find other Mandalorians and unite them to take back their home world (even if some of the factions can’t stand each other)?
  • What the heck happened to Mandalore?
  • What happens with the Imperial Remnant now that Gideon is in the custody of the Galactic Alliance?
  • How will the experiments Gideon and Pershing were doing connect to Snoke and the First Order (if they do at all)?
  • What happened to Pershing?
  • What’s Migs Mayfeld up to now?
  • Will Grogu leave Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy before Ben Solo/Kylo Ren goes postal on everyone and destroys it?
  • Is Boba Fett now the head crime lord of Tatooine and is Fennec Shand his primary enforcer?
  • Did Ahsoka ever learn where Grand Admiral Thrawn was?

All of these questions (and more) provide us with a wealth of tantalizing future story opportunities without leaving the primary narrative in limbo. We got a big showdown between the hero and the villain that resulted in the Mandalorian completing his mission and evolving significantly as a character from the first time we met him.

This wonderful conclusion was also packaged inside an episode that was about as viscerally thrilling as you could ask for. The fight sequences were the best we’ve seen on the series, especially the ones with Bo-Katan, Reeves, Shand, and Dune kicking ass all over the place.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

When I watched the scene with Luke Skywalker a second time (and a third), I made a concerted effort to set my nostalgia aside and see how I felt…and it was still incredible. His “hallway moment” carried nearly the same level of intensity as Darth Vader’s in Rogue One, but felt noticeably more fluid and restrained. This wasn’t an enraged Sith Lord mowing down helpless targets–it was a Jedi at the pinnacle of his abilities, which he used to slice through devices of unfeeling evil.

Luke’s return was also some obvious fan service (along with R2-D2), but the show has done a great job weaving those moments into this season without over saturating the narrative.

The duel between Moff Gideon and Din Djarin was great, but we expected that. What I did not expect was to find myself flinching in sympathetic pain as the Mandalorian got wailed on by a T-1000 on steroids. If those Dark Troopers and the visual effects inside the TIE fighter bay don’t push The Mandalorian into an Emmy award for FX works this season, then I’m not sure what could top it.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

And then you have the acting. Everyone is at the absolute top of their game, especially Giancarlo Esposito and Pedro Pascal.

Moff Gideon was at his most smug/hateable only to show us a believable flip into wonderfully satisfying fear.

The final moments when Djarin was saying goodbye to Grogu could have been terribly melodramatic. Instead we got a beautifully silent dialogue that made the moments when words were actually spoken feel like your heart might crack.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Ludwig Göransson, who has somehow managed to top himself every episode this season.

My only nitpicks are minor, although one of them leads us into our Star Wars history lesson today. Those of you who are familiar with the animated Clone Wars and Rebels series (or read my deep dive into the history of the Darksaber) know that Bo-Katan is being really weird about her culture’s traditions right now.

When Maul defeated Pre Vizsla in Clone Wars to take the Darksaber, she immediately rejected his claim to the throne, called those who accepted it “traitors,” and began shooting up the Mandalorian throne room.

Okay, fair enough. Maul’s an outsider/non-Mandalorian kind of a douche. But in Rebels, Bo-Katan didn’t win the Darksaber in combat. It was given to her by Sabine Wren. She was reluctant to take it at first, but eventually did and became the ruler of Mandalore.

But now she’s a stickler for the rules? I guess you could justify it as her not wanting to have the Darksaber handed over to her a second time–or maybe she just got her butt kicked in one-on-one combat by Moff Gideon and felt she needed to return the favor in order to be worthy of reclaiming it.

It’s also worth noting that for people who have only watched The Mandalorian series, Bo-Katan refusing to take the Darksaber from Din Djarin is simply a plot point. For us big lore nerds, however, it’s a bit of a plot hole.

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

The Mandalorian (Disney+)

One thing folks might think was a lore plot hole that actually wasn’t is Bib Fortuna’s very brief return. Even before Disney rebooted all the expanded universe stuff, Fortuna was revealed to have escaped Jabba’s sail barge before it exploded via a private skiff.

His fate in that version of things was also much worse. After arriving back at the palace and fighting for control of Jabba’s riches, a group of monks removed his brain and put it in one of those spider droids that were always creeping around the place.

So yeah…dude should be grateful he got to live in luxury a bit instead of that horrific fate. And we should be thankful that The Mandalorian not only avoided a sophomore slump, but evolved and expanded into an even better show. It will be a lot of fun seeing if the series can top itself next year for Season 3.

'The Mandalorian' season 2 chapter 16: 'The Rescue' recap/review
'The Mandalorian' S2 Chapter 16 'The Rescue' recap/revew
'The Mandalorian' sticks the landing on its second season with an episode that features the best acting, action, and effects we've seen thus far (along with just the right dosage of fan service).
Reader Rating2 Votes
9.7
By far the best acting, action, and visual effects we've seen from the series thus far.
An extremely satisfying conclusion to the main narrative that also leaves us with a wealth of interesting questions and story possibilities.
Just the right dose of fan service organically woven into the story.
Bo-Katan is being really weird about the Darksaber compared to what we've seen her do in 'Clone Wars' and 'Rebels.'
10
Fantastic

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