The Mandalorian’s second season has been a light in an otherwise dreary year since its premiere in October.
Critics and fans of the series and of Star Wars in general have more or less unanimously praised the show this year for taking what audiences loved about the first season, improving and expanding on it. Nearly every episode was championed as “the best one yet” upon release, and the Season 2 finale will likely be no different.
This review contains major spoilers for The Mandalorian, Chapters 1-16.
“The Mandalorian” Season 2, Episode 8 premiered Dec 18th on Disney Plus
For viewers like myself that stayed up late to watch the season finale, things started off with a bang!
Disney Plus Internet Issues, “The Mandalorian”
It seems so many people were up at 3 AM EST clicking on The Mandalorian that Disney Plus broke. However, a few minutes and several refreshes later, it was viewing time, baby!
There’s so much to praise about this episode. From awe-inspiring set design and special effects, to the truly standout musical score by Ludwig Göransson (was that dubstep in Star Wars when the darktroopers powered up?), every bit of Season 2, Episode 8 was oozing with carefully crafted detail.
“The Mandalorian” has never looked better
But we all know what we’re here to discuss: the shocking ending. Since the premiere of Chapter 14, fans have been speculating what Force-user would be coming to find Grogu, after “Baby Yoda” called out through the Force on a Jedi temple seeing stone.
With Grogu now captive to Moff Gideon and the Empire, would a famous Jedi come to his rescue, or would Din and the gang need to go in alone? Would it be someone we know from other Star Wars media, like Mace Windu, or a new character? Would the show reveal anyone at all, or wait until Season 3?
Well, this episode gave us our answer. Just as a small army of darktroopers are about to execute our heroes on the bridge of Moff Gideon’s ship, a lone X-wing starfighter arrives, refusing to identify itself. The unknown pilot makes their way through the ship taking down darktroopers left and right effortlessly, before reaching the bridge. Watching this unfold over security cameras fills Gideon with so much fear that he attempts suicide.
Then we get our grand reveal. The mysterious hero is none other than the Empire-crusher himself, R2D2.
R2D2 arrives to save Baby Yoda
In what will probably go down has the biggest twist in Star Wars history, R2D2 – the legend – rolls into the room accompanied by his Jedi assistant. The digital de-aging is remarkable. He looks no more than five years older than he did in Return of the Jedi.
Okay, I’m half-joking of course. The true reveal is Luke Skywalker, played once more by Mark Hamill.
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, “The Mandalorian” Season 2
Wow. This was a breathtaking moment through and through. The final nine minutes of the episode are basically the Luke Skywalker show. I won’t pretend that the de-aging on Mark Hamill is perfect in every frame or from every angle, but it’s pretty damn good and I’m here for it. Even his voice seems to be de-aged, to sound more like the Luke from the original trilogy, and less like grumpy island Luke from The Last Jedi.
Overall, seeing Luke in his prime in live action again was incredible. I was so giddy with excitement watching him slash his way through the corridors of Gideon’s ship. Wait – gidd-eon? – no, no time! I just felt so happy as the music swelled and his iconic green lightsaber slid through darktroopers. I felt emotional, not only for myself, but for Mark and for Star Wars fans everywhere. I know I’m not the only one: YouTuber Star Wars Theory was brought to tears during his live-stream viewing party of the episode.
Right there with ya, buddy.
This is Star Wars at its best. Call it fan service if you want, but as a fan, I feel fully serviced. So thank you, Lucasfilm, it’s honestly been a while.
Grogu departs with Luke Skywalker
The ending is bittersweet, as Din Djarin removes his helmet to show Grogu his face for the first time before handing him off to Luke Skywalker. He wants Grogu to remember his face and know he is loved. Cheers to this show for making a character showing his face to a puppet a heartbreaking and beautiful moment in television history.
Whether or not this is a series wrap on “Baby Yoda” will have yet to be seen. But for now we can assume that Grogu will not be with Din when Season 3 of The Mandalorian premieres Christmas Day, 2021. It’s a sad but exciting realization, because we honestly have no idea what’s coming next for the series or Star Wars media now that Grogu is with Luke.
“The Mandalorian” Finale Episode Rating
13/10 Episode, easily – maybe 14/10 but I reserve that judgement for after a rewatch.
The show leaves you pumped and wondering what the next season will bring, which is exactly the job of a season finale.
We were of course treated to a post-credit scene teasing The Book of Boba Fett – one of the many new Star Wars properties recently announced by Disney. So while it’s over a year until The Mandalorian will return, there’s a lot more coming to fans thanks to this show.
“The Book of Boba Fett,” coming to Disney Plus, December 2021
What did you think about the season finale? Let us know your thoughts on twitter, @Popdust!