The Mandalorian season 2 finale recap: Mando and Baby Yoda meet Star Wars icons
Season 2 of The Mandalorian came to an end on Disney Plus Friday, as episode 8 of the live-action Star Wars show arrived on the streaming service. After getting the location of Moff Gideon’s cruiser and warning the Imperial he’s coming with a dramatic holographic threat — a questionable strategy, but it was cool and that’s what matters — Mando (Pedro Pascal) is on his way to rescue little Grogu.
He’s backed up by an awesome crew of badasses — New Republic marshal Cara Dune (Gina Carano), bounty hunter Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) — so it’s easy to get excited about them striking back against the Imperial Remnant.
Episode 8, entitled The Rescue, is another Marvel Cinematic Universe double whammy — it was directed by Peyton Reed, who helmed Ant-Man and its sequel, and written by show creator Jon Favreau, who directed Iron Mans 1 and 2. This pair also wrote and directed this season’s froggy second episode.
Here comes the final SPOILER warning of season 2. This show is set around five years after Return of the Jedi.
Return of the Jedi
Just as the Imperial Dark Troopers are about to burst onto the bridge of Moff Gideon’s cruiser and slaughter Mando and pals, an X-Wing arrives in the hangar. The dark-robed Jedi, who’s wielding a familiar green lightsaber, works his way through the ship, destroying the Terminator-like Dark Troopers with ease.
With the Imperial threat neutralized, he steps onto the bridge and calming removes his hood — it’s Luke Skywalker, with an excellent digital re-creation of Mark Hamill’s 1983 face. He’s voiced by Hamill and played by English actor Max Lloyd Jones. It seems Luke heard Grogu’s Force phone call from Tython (guess he was delayed by getting his CGI face ready).
“Come, little one,” he says, reaching out to Grogu.
The wee green fella seems reluctant, but Luke tells Mando that Grogu is waiting for his permission. Grogu touches Mando’s helmet, prompting Mando to remove it — revealing his face to the little guy (and also everyone else in the room) for the first time.
“All right pal, it’s time to go,” he tells Grogu. “Don’t be afraid.”
In case we weren’t emotional enough and needed more Star Wars icons, R2-D2 rolls into the room and beeps happily at the sight of Grogu. Luke picks the little guy and leaves.
“May the Force be with you,” he says.
Sideshow’s life-size The Child is the Baby Yoda collectible you’ve been waiting for
The fact that Grogu has gone with Luke is a little concerning, since we know Kylo Ren will destroy Luke’s training temple in around 19 years (events seen in The Last Jedi flashbacks and The Rise of Kylo Ren comics, and six years before The Force Awakens). At that point in the timeline, Grogu would be 69 — hopefully Luke has trained him enough that he’s left the temple at that point.
Also worrying is the fact that they just gave Grogu to Luke without asking for the Jedi’s name or how to contact him. I’d be calling to check on the little guy every day!
The part where Luke wipes out the Dark Troopers directly outside the bridge is similar to the Rogue One hallway scene where Darth Vader slaughtered rebel troops — Luke is mirroring his father, but destroying mean droids instead of killing people.
King of the Mandalorians
Mando also defeats Imperial Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in combat as he rescues Grogu, inadvertently claiming the Darksaber and leadership of the Mandalorians. When Mando brings Gideon to Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), the weapon’s former owner and would-be leader of Mandalore, she confirms that the only way to claim ownership is by winning it in combat.
So Mando can’t just hand it over, and Bo-Katan probably likes him too much to just kill him. This also implies that Gideon beat Bo-Katan in combat at some point — hopefully that’s a confrontation we’ll see in flashback or a different show.
It’s likely that Mando’s new path, now that Grogu is with a Jedi, will be retaking Mandalore from the Imperial Remnant. He was an excellent candidate to sit on the throne anyway — who better to become Mand’alor than a guy most people call “Mando”?
Gideon again hints at his reason for wanting Grogu’s blood — the Imperials apparently harvested more while the green guy was in custody.
“This child is extremely gifted and has been blessed with rare properties that have the potential to bring order back to the galaxy,” he tells Mando.
At the Imperial base on Nevarro, we saw some yucky creatures in test tubes — beings that look like First Order Supreme Leader Snoke and the clones seen in Emperor Palpatine’s lab on Exegol in The Rise of Skywalker.
Gideon is presumably facilitating the experiments that’ll result in the creation of Supreme Leader Snoke, the twisted, Force-strong being who’ll lead the First Order. He probably doesn’t know that he’s unknowingly doing the hidden Emperor’s bidding, since Snoke is just Palpatine’s surrogate.
Back on Tatooine
Boba Fett only plays a brief role in the attack on the Imperial cruiser, but shows up again for a postcredits scene so epic it deserves its own article. Looks like Boba will play a major role in season 3, which comes out next December.
Baby Yoda cuteness
After his absence in the last episode, Grogu’s return is like a warm summer breeze. He touches Mando’s face after our hero removes his helmet, presumably becoming the first being to do so since Mando was a kid.
Easter eggs and observations
- The shot of Boba Fett’s Slave I looming over the Imperial shuttle is awesome.
- “Destroying your planet was a small price to pay to rid the galaxy of terrorism.” The callous Imperial pilot taunts Cara about the destruction of Alderaan, and reminds us how the Rebel Alliance was painted by the Empire. He also highlights the millions killed when the Death Stars were destroyed.
- Cara’s tear tattoo — I assume this is the Rebel Alliance symbol on her cheek — indicates that she’s a survivor of Alderaan.
- “The Empire turned that planet to glass.” Boba suggests Mandalore is a mess, so who even knows what it’ll look like if we see it next season?
- Boba doesn’t claim Mandalorian heritage, even though it was confirmed that Jango Fett — the man he was cloned from — was a foundling.
- Bo-Katan says she’s heard Boba’s voice “thousands of times,” referring to her encounters with clone troopers during The Clone Wars.
- Cara stops Gideon from killing himself, so he’s presumably going to end up in New Republic custody.
The Mandalorian will return to Disney Plus, with season 3 premiering in December 2021.