The Mandalorian Says Farewell in Chapter Sixteen, “The Rescue”

Before I begin—there’s a tag scene on this puppy, and it’s kind of important. If you missed it, now’s your chance to run back and watch because I don’t want to spoil the post-credit reveal. Spoilers ahead.

Summary

Din, Cara, Fennec, and Boba board a ship carrying Doctor Pershing (Omid Abtahi), and Cara drops the imperial pilot holding a blaster on the doctor after he taunts her about Alderaan. Pershing assures the group that Grogu is safe and gives them more intel about Gideon’s ship. They need more hands, so they head back to the Trask moon to ask Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves for aid. There’s a scuffle with Boba Fett because they don’t consider him Mandalorian—seemingly due to the fact that he’s a clone. Din reveals that he can get them to Gideon and the Darksaber, which gets Bo-Katan to sign on provided that she gets the saber at the end. They make a plan to board Gideon’s cruiser, but Pershing points out the problem of the squad of Dark Troopers, who used to be human, but are now just droids. The hope is that they can neutralize the lot of them before they power up and cause too much of an issue. They emerge out of hyperspace near Gideon’s ship with Slave I “firing” on their stolen Imperial shuttle and insist on an emergency landing. Once they’ve arrived on the cruiser, Boba jumps to hyperspace.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Cara, Fennec, Bo-Katan, and Koska storm the boat, taking out stormtroopers and officers left and right, and quickly take the bridge. Din manages to flush all the Dark Troopers out to space, but not before having to fight one and seeing how tough they are. When he arrives at the brig, Moff Gideon is already there with Grogu, threatening the little one’s life with the Darksaber. Din insists that he just wants the kid, and Gideon says that he’s already got what he wanted anyhow (the child’s blood), so Din can take him. It’s a fake-out, and they have a fight. Din arrives at the bridge with Gideon alive, Grogu in one arm, and the Darksaber in the other. Gideon tells Din that he messed up; in defeating the moff in battle, he is now the wielder of the Darksaber and Bo-Katan cannot lay claim to it. That’s how the lineage of the Darksaber works—it must be won by combat.

The Dark Troopers arrive back on the ship, so the group seal themselves on the bridge. The droids are relentless, still coming through, and it’s only a matter of time before they breach the blast doors. A single X-wing fighter shows up and lands in the docking bay. That new arrival sports a green lightsaber, and takes out every single Dark Trooper, one by one. Once he arrives at the bridge, Din tells them to open the blast doors and let the newcomer in—it’s Luke Skywalker. (And he’s got R2-D2 with him, of course.) He’s here for Grogu, who seems reluctant to leave. Luke tells Din that the kid wants his permission to go because they’re so close, and that he needs training. Din takes Grogu in his arms and removes his helmet so he can see his face. Then he lets Grogu go with Luke.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

…a tag scene sees Fennec show up at Jabba’s palace on Tatooine, which is now under the management of Bib Fortuna. Fennec dispatches his entourage and frees a slave as Boba Fett emerges behind her. He kills Bib and promptly takes his place on the dais. They’re in charge now. The Book of Boba Fett is coming December 2021.

Commentary

What. What just happened.

Okay so, people have been wondering if Luke was going to show up from the moment Ahsoka suggested that they find another Jedi, and I put that thought out of my mind immediately because I knew that we were in for one of two things if it bore out—recasting or uncanny CGI. I’m firmly against recasting because this isn’t Luke before we ever met him and Mark Hamill is Luke so they just better not. But this CGI overlay to young someone up only works until they need to make a facial expression. It was terrible in X3, it was terrible in Tron: Legacy, it was terrible in Rogue One (I said what I said), it was terrible in The Irishman, and it’s terrible here. Hearing Hamill’s voice is like a balm to the heart, and then he just stands there like a literal robot, never smiles, never moves, never gives us any of the softness or warmth that we know Luke possesses—his greatest trait.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

The guy showed more warmth to Rey, and he didn’t even want to train her. They had to bring R2 in here, just so we all had someone to unload our feelings onto. He’s standing in for all the emotional work Luke is supposed to be doing because R2—a droid—is better equipped to emote in this scenario than a CGI’d human person.

The only way I can make this work in my head is if I decide that Luke is real worried about people thinking he’s a true Jedi at this point, so before he landed on the carrier, he was just psyching himself up to R2, being like “I have to be impenetrable and stern and wise, like Obi-Wan” and R2 was like “u sure dude?” and Luke was like “Yeah, that’s definitely the way to go.” And then they get back on the X-Wing and Luke is like “Hey Grogu, sorry that was kinda stiff and weird on my end, I just thought maybe your dad wouldn’t want to hand you off to someone who didn’t seem, you know, enigmatic.”

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

It’s baffling that the CGI is still so bad when deepfakes have come such a long way (and are well on their way to bringing down modern civilization as we know it), and aggravating that this is what we keep getting. This is meant to be such a huge deal for the show itself, and it drags you right out of the moment any time Luke is supposed to do anything other than stand there somberly. There’s a reason they carefully set up his action sequence so that you don’t need to see his face. Because it’s Luke, there’s still a part of my brain that’s super glad to see him—this is the guy I spent all my playground years pretending to be, he’s a precious presence—but it feels so wonky trying to make that leap when he’s being offered up through filters of bad computer-generated excess botox. If Star Wars is going to be keep doing this (and they clearly are, despite my protests) I’m gonna need them to put a lot more R&D into this type of effect.

And all of this is too bad because the cinematic quality of this reveal is, as we say, off the freaking chain. Tension-wise, the buildup to the reveal is flawless—the sole X-wing fighter, the fact that you don’t know the color of the lightsaber until we’re off the carrier camera-view and suddenly you see it’s green, then you see that the figure is question is wearing a single black glove, and you see those moves, and Bo-Katan whispers “a Jedi”, and Gideon finally looks terrified because he knows who it is. It’s a sequence that adequately builds up Luke’s legend, but it just can’t bear out.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

At least Mark Hamill got a paycheck out of it. Not a total loss, there.

So now that my aggravation with the CGI has been aired, I can get to the part that I’m really upset about, which is—Din gave Grogu to Luke Skywalker. Which means that unless something drastic happens, the kid is gonna die at the hand of Ben Solo in a decade or so. I mean, I know that Din said he was going to see the kid again, but that needs to be sooner rather than later. Give the man back his son, this is not what we all signed up for. (And I can’t even really get into the fact that this is the second time he’s taken off his helmet in front of a bunch of people, but we never find out what he’s thinking or how he feels about it; it may be a Western trope, but it’s a bad one for their purposes here. He’s not just a quiet lone gunslinger type—he is part of a radical cult sect. Tell us how he’s working through this.)

And now we need to talk about the overall arc of what this show is and what it might be doing in the future.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

We got a lot of Mandalorian intrigue throughout this story—Bo-Katan and Koska insisting that Boba isn’t one of them (chill out with your extreme clone prejudice, it’s a bad look, y’all), Bo-Katan asking for Din’s aid again in her quest, discussions of Mandalore being reduced to glass by the Empire, questions about who is permitted to wield the Darksaber, and finally, a tag scene that announces “The Book of Boba Fett”.

This show is set up in chapters… hence books. The Boba Fett arc is coming out when the third season of this show is set to premiere. There are a lot of Mandalorians about these days. Which makes it sound like The Mandalorian will become a show that follows any number of people who wear that armor—anyone with a set of beskar to call their own can be the Mandalorian for a while. Din and Grogu might be back next year, or show up in other stories throughout the show and the myriad Star Wars series incoming, we could have future seasons devoted to Bo-Katan or Sabine, but it looks like the next season will belong to Boba Fett.

UPDATE: It’s now officially been listed as its own show, which was a cute little misdirect on Lucasfilm’s part. So The Book of Boba Fett will take The Mandalorian‘s slot for a year while they work on production for the third season. Which means that, for all intents and purposes, Fett is still kinda acting as the unofficial third season of this show, since they’re using it its first season to fill out Mando‘s production gap.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

We’ve got to come back to Din regardless, due to what’s happened with the Darksaber and Bo-Katan—Gideon’s insistence that Bo-Katan has to win the Darksaber through combat is genuinely part of the weapon’s history, and also ties back into the Legends canon about how the Mand’alor was chosen (which was trial by combat, and how Boba Fett accidentally wound up as Mand’alor in the Expanded Universe). But it’s ironic because Bo-Katan was originally given the Darksaber by Sabine Wren. Perhaps the fact that she didn’t fight for it is why she believes she was deposed and Mandalore fell? It would stand to reason that she has some major guilt over it, if that’s what she thinks—it also means that Gideon ostensibly “won” it from her to get the saber in the first place, which would go even further in explaining her hatred of the man.

But now Din is the official wielder of the Darksaber and… well, that’s a problem. Because I love the guy, but he’s not ready to be running a planet of Mandalorians. He’s a sad dad, who just lost his kid to Luke Skywalker’s swishy cape and Chanel boots.

Having said all that, the idea that the next year will be centered on Boba Fett installing himself at Jabba’s palace and saying I’M THE CRIME BOSS NOW, with his brilliant hard-drinking sniper-cyborg buddy as his right hand is… I’m furious at them for doing this to me. This is everything I wanted as a kid, so even though I’ve got some words about how this season was handled and where the show might be going, I’m stuck. They’ve frozen me in carbonite and hung me on the wall like Han Solo.

Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Gimme Boba Fett and Fennec.

Things and Asides:

  • So that Imperial officer holding Pershing immediately knows that Cara is from Alderaan due to her tear tattoo, which suggests that many survivors of the planet have those. Which is heartbreaking, if evocative.
  • Looks like the thing about the Dark Troopers being sort of zombies was half right; they were human and then maybe part human at some point, but not anymore. Star Wars really loves making a big deal out of new super special nearly-indestructible robots, and it’s always silly because something has to take it down. And then there’s that really annoying plot thing where it took the Dark Troopers way too long to re-board the ship because we already know they have their own propulsion, so why exactly did they wait until that precise moment to get back on board? You know why. Come on, show, you can be smarter than this.
  • The suggestion that Bib Fortuna would wind up in charge of Jabba’s operation is fascinating and also not how his Legends story went—in that one, he got his brain stuffed into a jar by the spider-robot monks who lived in the palace. (Yeah, that one’s a long story.)
Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

  • Yet again, the word “order” comes up in relation to what Gideon is doing, so at this rate, it seems pretty impossible that he’s doing anything but trying to clone new Palpatine bodies. Gross.
  • Still really not over the fact that they’ve canonically altered beskar to be resistant to lightsabers. Gonna be bothered about that for my whole life. Sorry.
  • Luke crushing that one Dark Trooper with the Force was an extremely His Dad move, and I can’t deny that I love to see it.
  • This episode turned on another sequence where an entire crew of women did the majority of the work while Din ran to grab his lil one, and if Star Wars wanted to keep this up, I would be forever grateful. Watching these ladies plow through the cruiser with jammed blaster rifles and “I’ll cover you” and cursing and side-glances just WE COULD HAVE BEEN DOING THIS THE WHOLE TIME, STAR WARS.
Star Wars, The Mandalorian, Chapter 16, The Rescue

Screenshot: Lucasfilm

  • Din doing that full-body dive in front of Grogu to save him from blaster fire. *sniff*
  • So they… they really just decided to Marvel it up with that tag scene though, huh? Is this really what we want the future of all entertainment to become?

…guess I’ll see you all next December?

Emmet Asher-Perrin is just gonna stare at the final shot from the tag scene so that they don’t spend all of next year panicking for Grogu’s future. You can bug them on Twitter, and read more of their work here and elsewhere.

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