“Chapter 16: The Rescue” embodies everything that makes “Star Wars” great. This episode not only delivers an extremely satisfying conclusion to the second season of “The Mandalorian” but also accomplishes so much of what the sequel trilogy struggled to pull off.
This chapter is an overt love letter to long-time fans. However, “The Rescue” backs up its fan service with purpose. Where many franchises, including “Star Wars” at times, fumbles fan service, this episode utilizes what has come before in the perfect way.
The episode is wonderfully paced and provides thoughtful resolutions to the primary conflicts of season two.
Watching this episode feels like being a kid again. It recaptures the magic that has enthralled fans of “Star Wars” since the original movie released in 1977 and is guaranteed to tug at the hearts of fans new and old.
In this chapter, The Mandalorian forms a team to rescue Grogu, the lovable, green scamp known to fans as “Baby Yoda.”
This rescue brings together many notable characters from previous episodes of this season, very similarly to the finale of the first season. Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan, Temuera Morrison’s Boba Fett and Gina Carano’s Cara Dune all return to aid The Mandalorian in his mission.
While this team does feature some of the galaxy’s most famous and deadly Mandalorians ever, the empire will not give up Grogu so easily.
Giancarlo Esposito supplies an excellent performance as the series’ premier antagonist, Moff Gideon. Moff Gideon lived up to the hype built by his ominous appearances in the previous episodes.
He finally unleashes his “Dark Saber” in an epic duel with The Mandalorian. However, Moff Gideon shines more for his less-action oriented scenes in this episode. Gideon’s smooth dialogue and sly smile crafted a villain you love to hate. This aspect of his performance reminds us why Esposito’s villains are the best.
Moff Gideon did not come alone! His mechanized dark troopers, who where featured in “Chapter 14: The Tragedy,” serve as menacing and believable threats to our heroes’ mission. The dark troopers also showcase some very impressive visual effects and musical cues.
While the heroes make short work of Moff Gideon and his ships’ crew, the dark troopers prove to be more than our team can handle.
An old ally returns to save the day. Not only does he actually save the day in the episode, his appearance rectifies one of the most controversial aspects of the sequel films.
Return of the Jedi
Just before the heroes are overtaken by the robotic dark troopers, a lone X-wing starfighter drops out of hyperspace.
In a chilling scene, the X-wing boards Moff Gideon’s light cruiser with musical hints towards the renowned John Williams’ scores of the original trilogy.
On the security cameras, the X-wing pilot clad in a dark robe ignites the green lightsaber of Luke Skywalker.
Luke Skywalker last appeared in 2019’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” While some fans enjoy the character’s arc in the sequel movies, the majority of fans have voiced that the character was mishandled in those films.
Regardless of fans’ opinions on Luke Skywalker in the sequel trilogy, this episode provides one of the coolest action scenes in “Star Wars” history featuring Luke Skywalker.
This sequence shows off the powerful Jedi abilities that fans have always speculated Luke to have mastered after 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”
In contrast to his characterization in the sequels, Luke faces the forces of evil with the confidence, hope and optimism of the Jedi of the original trilogy.
This scene will assuredly begin to make amends with fans who took offense to the treatment of arguably the most important character in “Star Wars.”
Simultaneously, fans of the sequels are treated to an extremely well choreographed and edited action sequence featuring one of the coolest Jedi to ever exist a long time ago, in a galaxy far-far away.
Technically, the de-aging technology used for actor Mark Hamill saw a marked improvement upon the same technology used in 2016’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Many fans expressed concerns about the somewhat uncanny digital representations of actors Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher in that film. While not perfect, this showing falls more in line with the recent de-aging of Hamill in “The Rise of Skywalker.”
After the action subsides, The Mandalorian was finally faced with the moment he has been secretly dreading. It is time for him to say goodbye to Grogu.
The relationship between these two characters has served as the backbone of the series.
In a very emotional moment, The Mandalorian finally removes his helmet revealing his face for the first time to his adopted son, Grogu.
This moment was so powerful. It truly personified the love that The Mandalorian has for Grogu. He was willing to let go of everything for Grogu, and this moment finally solidifies that sentiment.
Grogu is given to Luke Skywalker, who will presumably train Grogu in the ways of the force during season three.
There was also an interesting scene between Grogu and fan-favorite droid R2-D2. The pair somehow communicated between baby noises and robot beeps. This may possibly hint toward a previous history between the two. R2-D2 did belong to one of the most famous Jedi in the galaxy, who also trained at the same Jedi temple where Grogu was trained.
The book of Boba Fett
After all of that, this episode still had more in store for viewers. In a post-credit scene, “Chapter 16” brings back another “big” legacy character.
This character is none other than Bib Fortuna, the slimy servant of Jabba the Hutt in “Return of the Jedi.”
While the character did not play a large part in the film, he has become quite large since his last appearance.
The now “Hutt-sized” Fortuna is now ruling in Jabba’s stead, following his death at the hands of Princess Leia.
However, Fortuna’s rule is somewhat short-lived, as Boba Fett promptly eliminates him with the help of his friend Fennec Shand.
As Fett takes the throne, previously occupied by Fortuna, the episode cuts to black with the announcement of Fett’s very own series titled “The Book of Boba Fett.”
“The Book of Boba Fett” is set to release next December alongside the third season of “The Mandalorian.”
This announcement was unfortunately made all the more bittersweet following the recent death of original Boba Fett actor Jeremy Bulloch, who passed away yesterday at the age of 75.
While Bulloch will not get to witness “The Book of Boba Fett,” the character he first made famous in 1980 will live on indefinitely in the hearts of fans as he helms his very own exclusive series.
This season of “The Mandalorian” did the unexpected in the best way possible.
It adapted several characters from animation to live action, set up multiple spin-off series, provided an emotional climax to the relationship between the main characters and even course-corrected two legacy characters in satisfying and meaningful ways.
The season continually delivered for the hardcore fans of the franchise. This comes as an enormous breath of fresh air following several films that have, for better or for worse, openly ignored the fans.
Executive producers Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have proved that they understand what “Star Wars” is and how important its fanbase is.
They created something completely new and fresh while being very respectful of everything that has come before.
As a long-time “Star Wars” fan, I cannot begin to express how much this season, and especially this episode, made me feel like a little kid again.
I felt the same childlike magic and amazement that I felt when I watched my first “Star Wars” movie in the theater when I was five years old.
That is something so special and it means a lot to me. I could not recommend this episode more. If you are a “Star Wars” fan, you will love this.