The Season 2 finale of “The Mandalorian” offers a major surprise, but it’s not enough to make up for the otherwise numbing action.
[Editor’s Note: The following review contains spoilers for “The Mandalorian” Season 2, Episode 8, “Chapter 16 – The Believer.”]
“Chapter 16 – The Rescue” is essentially the big-budget CGI equivalent of watching a small child smash his collection of action figures against each other. It’s messy, inconsistent, and utterly insane. But hey, at least the kid is having fun.
The Season 2 finale of “The Mandalorian” marks the long-awaited showdown between Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) following the latter’s kidnapping of Grogu earlier in the season. While the episode lives up to that front, features a squad between many of the show’s notable characters, and resolves the quest Mando started at the start of the season, it does so with so many boisterous action scenes and painful – and aggravating unanswered questions – that the end result is not particularly cathartic.
The episode kicks off with Mando, Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) intercepting Gideon’s whiny underling, Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), providing the protagonists an important presentation on Gideon’s spaceship. (There’s no context to how the heroes tracked down Pershing, but if that spared viewers from another side-quest episode, so be it.) Cut to a lackluster canteen where Mando and Boba form a difficult alliance with Mandalorians Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado), and the stage is set for a general assault on Gideon.
Between Mando’s quest to save Grogu and hand him over to a Jedi, Gideon’s poorly described plans for the little green guy, Bo-Katan’s mission to reclaim the Darksaber weapon and his position as Mandalorian leader, and enough dialogue and filling action to justify the presence of Boba, Fennec and Cara, “Chapter 16” had to juggle a lot of moving parts. Even with its extended runtime of 40 minutes, “Chapter 16 ″ tries to do too much, too quickly, especially when much of the episode revolves around watching Stormtroopers and Dark Trooper Droids getting erased in the types of action scenes that were best done in the first installments of the season.
The raid on Gideon’s ship lasts about 20 minutes and has about enough interesting blueprints to make it worth half that time. Stormtroopers die in run-and-gun encounters in the Imperial Corridors that have already served as the backdrop for several other episodes. Stormtroopers die when Bo-Katan and Koska shoot them as they fly on their jetpacks. Mando breaks the neck of a Stormtrooper. Cara mows down a handful of Stormtroopers with the “Star wars»Version of an LMG. Much like the previous episodes of the series, the action in the season finale is colorful, visceral, and tailored to titillate the senses of fans of the franchise who are strongly attached to these characters and their gadgets. When “The Mandalorian” is at its best, like the Dave Filoni and Robert Rodriguez-directed episodes earlier in the season, the action stands out because the antagonists are just outmatched enough that watching the protagonists win feels uplifting.
Disney + / screenshot
The problem with “Chapter 16” is that the pace is so frantic, the dialogue so revealing, and the bloodshed so incessant that a sensory overload sets in long before the dust settles. There is a scene halfway through the episode where a Dark Trooper repeatedly hits Mando in the face as other Dark Troopers come out of a room they are being kept in. The music indicates that it is menacing, but the scene comes after so much wanton destruction that it seems burlesque to the point of unintentional hilarity. Mando later engages Gideon in a climactic duel that commits the cardinal sin of making the Dark Saber appear weak: an exhibition is offered on how the weapon cannot pierce Beskar’s armor, but it is the Once The beloved black-bladed lightsaber has been used in actual combat in two seasons of “The Mandalorian” and Mando takes the hits like the weapon is a wet noodle. Lame.
Either way, Gideon is defeated and Mando finds Grogu. Unfortunately, a legion of Dark Troopers advances on the protagonists and all hope seems lost.
And then Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) seems to save the day.
As Ahsoka Tano and by Boba Introductory scenes earlier in the season, Luke’s grand entrance is handled with religious devotion. There’s a photo of the diving Jedi’s X-Wing, and then Grogu straightens up, realizing the Jedi he contacted earlier in the season has finally arrived. The music swells. A masked figure with a green lightsaber and a black-gloved right hand weaves its way through the Dark Troopers.
Lightsaber and Force’s thrilling powers aside, Luke’s effortless dismantling of the so-called almighty Dark Troopers isn’t much different from the cut-and-paste carnage that permeates the rest of the episode, but it doesn’t. does not matter because it is Luke skywalker. The high-profile cameos on “The Mandalorian” have been about as blatant as the fan service is, but even the most cynical “Star Wars” fans won’t be able to resist a smile. Luke’s scenes, whether it’s his fight, his brief conversation with Mando, or R2D2 seeming to make nostalgic beep-bloop noises, steal the show. (This is a younger Luke, and while the aging effects used on Hamill are much better than the gruesome CGI in Disney’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” it’s still off-putting. don’t spoil the moment.)
After a brief and pleasant conversation with Mando, Luke leaves with Grogu and then… that’s it. Roll the credits. See you at the end of 2021 when season 3 comes out, Disney +.
Ending the mic drop is certain to keep franchise loyalists on the edge of their seats while waiting for more “The Mandalorian” content, but the stellar cameo of the finale isn’t enough to shake off the feeling that the narrative central season 2 ended on an unsatisfactory note. Mando and Grogu shared a goodbye and Gideon was probably arrested, but there is still no clear indication of what Gideon was planning to do with Grogu’s blood or how Bo-Katan’s mission to rule. Mandalore will be resolved. Mando completed his mission to deliver Grogu just seconds before the credits started, negating any opportunity to celebrate his victory, remember or plan for his future. And what exactly happened to Luke and Grogu between the events of “The Mandalorian” and the Sequel Trilogy when Luke’s New Jedi Order was destroyed?
There is no doubt that all of these questions and details will be resolved in the next few seasons of “The Mandalorian” or one of the many other upcoming titles of Disney’s “Star Wars”. Like the company’s Marvel Cinematic Universe films, every plot point resolved in ‘The Mandalorian’ leads to two more issues that promise to be resolved if viewers continue to subscribe to Disney + for the next one. part of the story. It’s a shame that the Season 2 finale is more interested in a mindless slaughter than exploring any of these potentially interesting threads in more detail.
Rating: C +
Season 2 of “The Mandalorian” is Diffusion on Disney +.