Welcome to my final round-up on the current season of The Mandalorian, following on from last time when we pushed the story on a great deal with Ahsoka Tano and learning more about the Child.
Chapter Fourteen takes us, predictably perhaps, to Tython and the Jedi temple there, where Grogu attempts to tap into the Force and call out to another Jedi, as Ahsoka suggested in the last episode. Unfortunately, they are first accosted by Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, Fett demanding the return of his beskar armour, and then the Imperials show up under Moff Gideon, and eventually capture the Child. Mando teams up with Fett and Shand, as well as Cara Dune and a former Imperial sharpshooter in order to rescue Grogu.
It was definitely an action-packed instalment, and there is a lot to enjoy as we see Fett in action once more. So many questions as regards what happened between Return of the Jedi and now, though at least we know for sure it was Fett we saw in the Jundland wastes back in season one. And Fennec Shand was too good a character to let go, so I’m glad we have more of her!
The next episode is another one of these infiltration stories, where Mando and the sharpshooter sneak into an Imperial mineral refinery in order to steal information on the location of Moff Gideon’s ship. Of course, while they’re there, the sharpshooter’s former commanding officer is there, and after a tense exchange their cover is blown. It all feels very episodic, and indeed, very evocative of the old adventure serials where they have an adventure of the week. I guess that’s the point? Maybe? It actually reminds me of an RPG adventure, where you have to go on a quest to get more information to further your main quest, if that makes sense? There’s a certain inevitability about it, for sure, but I somehow like the fact that Star Wars isn’t trying to innovate particularly, but instead to crystallise these kind of tropes into something really good. That’s explained quite badly, but anyway!
Season Two ends with The Rescue, which unsurprisingly sees Mando rescue Grogu from the clutches of Moff Gideon. Mando assembles a team that includes Bo Katan and Fett, who both clash over their Mandalorian heritage. They all arrive at the cruiser and Mando finds Gideon guarding the Child, they duel and Mando is able to overpower him and so claims the darksaber. They all reconvene at the bridge, where Gideon tries to goad Bo Katan over the darksaber’s owner, then tries to shoot Grogu and himself. When a lone X-Wing docks with the cruiser, however, a Jedi appears and defeats all of Gideon’s Dark Trooper guards, fighting his way to the bridge. Luke Skywalker has heard Grogu’s call, and has come to complete the young one’s training.
It was quite an emotional finale, I’m not gonna lie! I was not expecting Luke, even when the green saber erupts into action – I fully expected Ahsoka to reappear. Digitally de-aging Luke didn’t seem as uncanny valley as the experiments in Rogue One, but it still seemed a tiny bit jarring somehow. I find it weird, to some degree, how Star Wars seems like some kind of sacred cow and we can’t possibly re-cast any of the main players. Solo seems to have been the one major attempt in this sense, and it still seems to divide people too much. But I think it’s time we did see the major players re-cast and the big stories being told between episodes 6 and 7, as it still bugs me that all of the background to the movie is being told through novels and comics, and not live action stuff.
The show’s epilogue sees Boba Fett and Fennec Shand kill Bib Fortuna and, seemingly, taking over Jabba’s criminal empire, with the promise of The Book of Boba Fett being the next live-action Disney series. Whether that will become Mando season three, I’m not sure – indeed, what the series is supposed to be, I’m not sure about. I suppose it could be Fett working through a ledger of revenge? Who knows. I’m glad he seems to be setting up with Fennec Shand though, maybe we’ll get some of her back story as well, she’s definitely one of the more interesting characters to come from the show, and I think we need more!