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Live-action Luke Skywalker sabers his way onto The Mandalorian

After last year’s surprise success of The Mandalorian everybody was obviously looking forward to season 2. It is Corona year and watching the best series is obviously something people will want to do. After the disappointing Sequel Trilogy fans of Star Wars are eager for the franchise to jump into the direction that appears to be working. Meaning that we will be getting a lot more Star Wars series as I explained earlier in the week. But even so live-action series appear to be constrained compared to their cinematic equivalents. Just look at Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, with this episode entitled Chapter 16: The Rescue Jon Favreau sets the bar to a new level by re-introducing Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and aggressively concluding the story regarding the rescue of Baby-Yoda. That comes at a cost, but the twist at the end (Luke Skywalker) makes up for the rushed story.

Pretty good but not the best

The story of Chapter 16: The Rescue is a bit jumbled. A lot of effort is being made to force the story along. To board the light-cruiser on which Moff Gideon is holding Grogu captive our heroes first steal a lambda class shuttle. A brief standoff between its crew and the boarding crew consisting of Din and Cara dune is noteworthy. One of the pilots tries to get under Cara’s skin by mentioning he witnessed the destruction of Alderaan. He goes all the way and even mentions the millions of Imperial troops that died on both Death Star’s. It’s an odd side-scene that I think will have consequences when we explore Cara’s personality in future seasons and show. After the capture of the shuttle a plan is quickly devised. The shuttle will contain the boarding party. By pretending to be under attack from Slave-1 they hope to fool security.

That part of the plan works. The boarding party split up with the women: Bo-Katan, Fennec, Cara and Koska (Mercedes Vernado) shooting their way to the bridge. Bo-Katan of course is after Moff Gideon and the Darksaber. The idea is that Din will sneak his way to Grogu’s cell, but also locks the robotic Death-troopers into their bay. Of course, this whole plan goes awry, why wouldn’t it. The four women blast their way onto the bridge but even they admit things are going way to easy. Instead, the death-troopers surprise Din and one nearly manages to punch his head off. With great difficulty does he manage his sole adversary. The viewer is under no illusion that it more luck and skill and so when Din manages to eject the remainder into space, I felt relieved. That stopped with the realization that Moff Gideon must be in Grogu’s cell.

Bo-Katan, Gideon and the Darksaber

And of course, he is. While the larger beats of this episode work well, they are predictable. Something Gideon himself alludes to. A standoff ensues with Gideon holding the Darksaber over Grogu’s head. After a discussion a deal is reached. Din gets to carry Grogu away but Gideon keeps the saber and the ship. Credit is due to the fantastic acting of Giancarlo Esposito that even I believed it. Just as Din takes hold of Grogu does Gideon make his move. A duel ensues, it is only by the grace of the Beskar steel that Din survives and eventually captures Gideon alive. Which immediately brings enormous problems for Din. Now that he owns the Darksaber he is the rightful claimant to Mandalore. Bo-Katan makes with a deadly stare that there is no way out of her challenging him. But before she can do so the Death-troopers re-board the ship.

This time there is no evading them. They immediately head to the bridge and start banging on the blast doors. Our heroes get ready for the fight they know they will lose. Suddenly an X-wing starfighter appears. Seeing it was a weird experience. It did not feel like the rescue I was expecting. It was not a squad of Cara Dune’s tasked with obliterating Death-troopers. Instead, a single X-wing glides into the docking bay of Gideon’s light-cruiser. Only when it refuses any of the hails does it adorn to me what and who this could be. Who could cut their way through a squad of Death-troopers? When a dark robed figure emerges and starts demolishing Death-troopers does the viewer know they will get a live-action moment they have wanted to see for decades. Though it should be noted it is only confirmed its Luke Skywalker when the green lightsaber lit.

Luke Skywalker returns!

Live-action Luke Skywalker! Who would have thought that? Actually I did a few episode back. I correctly guessed the show would ditch Baby-Yoda (Grogu) in order to focus the story on the ongoing Mandalorian arc. Despite the cuteness overload Din Djarin (Mando) could hardly be expected to look after the child forever. And so Luke takes away the Grogu story arc by cutting down Moff Gideon’s rather boring death-troopers. It is not the best fight we have seen on Star Wars, or The Mandalorian, but it will suffice. Sadly, the music was below average throughout the episode. And so the episode ends with a sad goodbye. Din takes off his helmet for Grogu and says a rather heartfelt farewell. For Din it has been quite a journey. In two seasons he has learned what it means to be Mandalorian and human. And with that, Luke carries Grogu away.

So, overall, this episode and season 2 was quite successful. Considering its limited budget compared to a feature film. However, this season was not as good as that of last year. For that it lacked the humor, the action and the right music. Yet this episode did what it needed to do. The Grogu storyline is finished and the fight for Mandalore has just begun. The live-action introduction of Luke Skywalker also opens a lot of possibilities. Considering Moff Gideon is also still alive there are plentiful of stories for season 3 of The Mandalorian. Then of course I would be amiss to mention the post-credit scene in which Fennec and Boba Fett shoot-up the palace of the late Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine. This concludes with Boba taking over the former’s organization and announcement title card for The Book of Boba Fett coming late 2021!