Friday, December 18, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Mandalorian' - Mando Recruits Many Allies in Order to Rescue Grogu from Moff Gideon in 'Chapter 16: The Rescue'

Disney+'s The Mandalorian - Episode 2.08 "Chapter 16: The Rescue"

The Mandalorian and his allies attempt a daring rescue.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season finale of Disney+'s The Mandalorian.

"Chapter 16: The Rescue" was written by Jon Favreau and directed by Peyton Reed

The Mandalorian was tasked with a mission. He had to care for Grogu until he could be reunited with his own kind. Along the way, that stopped being a mission he felt obligated to do. His relationship with Grogu became one of love and true connection. For the longest time, Mando didn't know Grogu's name. Grogu had never seen Mando's face either. And yet, an understanding existed between them. It's one of compassion and protection. Mando has to give Grogu the approval before going off with someone new for protection and training. Mando can rally all of his allies with the brief statement of the child being taken. They too have fond feelings for Grogu. They want to protect the vulnerable in order to stop the nefarious of the world from actually achieve their grand, sinister goals. It helps that Bo-Katan has a vested interest in this conflict as well. She wants the dark saber currently in Moff Gideon's possession. She envisions a salvation of Mandalore. That's her dream and this weapon can help her achieve it. That is a daunting task because it fundamentally revolves around the story that gets to be told. This show loves its action. However, its impact truly depends on how grounded the emotions are amongst the characters. If the audience cares about what happens to them, it's easy to accept the journeys they embark on. This finale could be an end for some of them as well. Mando seemingly achieves the core directive of his mission. He delivers Grogu to a Jedi. He lures in help along the way. And now, his allies have fulfilled their duties to him. Boba Fett and Fennec Shand have helped rescue Grogu after previously retrieving his armor. Bo-Katan has another cruiser in her arsenal in her fight to liberate her home. And yet, all of this doesn't matter if the person can't tell an entertaining story about what happened. Bo-Katan believes the story of how she obtained the dark saber is just as powerful as the weapon itself. That provides her claim to the throne of Mandalore with more legitimacy. She simply can't take it from Mando even though that too is part of the deal they make early on. His interactions with her have forced him to confront his own identity and set of beliefs. Protecting Grogu set him on this mission. It's vastly important for the foundling to see his protector without his helmet on. It's the perfect conclusion after he has risked everything to rescue him. The power of that moment is undercut a little bit because Mando was seen without his helmet in the previous episode. This time it's not an action that has to be taken out of necessity. He does it to strengthen this connection while allowing Grogu to go off with a Jedi. It's a way to say goodbye for now. That is still emotional. But it's also just a lot of fun to see the crew make their way onto Gideon's ship, fight the various Stormtroopers and fear that the battle may still be lost in the end. Mando has to rely on the Beskar staff twice in order to prevail over enemies who would otherwise overpower him. He struggles when facing off with only one Dark Trooper. Having this weapon is the only way he can defeat Gideon. It still all builds to the necessity of a Jedi arriving to dispatch all the various threats that spell out certain doom. Grogu's message was sent out into the universe. A Jedi has responded. That Jedi is Luke Skywalker. That is an incredibly momentous action. Sure, the de-aging technology still isn't great considering this version of the character is only a few years older than when he was seen in Return of the Jedi. But it's mostly about the show colliding with the hero of the feature film franchise that created this world. It's not a moment designed around Luke's life. It's all about Mando and Grogu. Their paths crossed for a reason. Now, that journey may end. It's one of hope for a better future. Viewers aware of the grand mythology know it won't be as pleasant and peaceful as everyone believes. Moreover, it's unclear what Mando's purpose will be now that Grogu goes off with Luke. The post-credits tease may suggest that Boba Fett's next adventure will become the central focus of the series. He could take over as the title character. That would be fascinating. It's confirmation that more stories are to be told in this universe. The Mandalorian are a complex people with various stories to tell. Mando's journey has reached a conclusion. However, Gideon and Dr. Pershing are still alive and taken prisoner by the New Republic. Mando remains in possession of the dark saber which may turn Bo-Katan into an enemy. The future is uncertain. That is exciting in a way too. The Star Wars universe is one fundamentally driven by hope in times of great darkness. Some people are skilled with incredible abilities. And yet, anyone can rise up to be the hero in their lives as well. Those adventures are worth embracing. Their values should evolve and be challenged over time. It's better to hope for a better future than fear the worst. People know that this world is still struggling to find order. Mando has still done good at the end of the day.