VERIFICATION: Mandalorian – Season 2 Episode 8 Rescue
Not all Mandalorians are bounty hunters. Some of us serve a higher purpose.
This week Mando is putting together a team on Mandalorian to save Groga from Moff Gideon. She and Kara take the pilots of the Imperial landing craft and capture Dr. Pershing for information. Mando and Boba then seek the help of Bo-Katan and his followers. When she mocks the idea that they can find and defeat Moff Gideon, Boba Fett notices that they don’t need her after all. This leads to another debate about who is truly Mandalorian, who should wear the Beskar, and whether the resumption of Mandalore is even a valid reason. But in the end they agree to help on condition that Bo-Katan gets the light sabre and they take the imperial ship to recapture Mandalore. The colourful crew boarded a duped landing craft to chase the Slav-1 and send a distress call for an emergency disembarkation. However, Moff Gideon knows something is wrong, probably because of the broadcast that Mando sent him at the end of the last episode. He ordered TIE hunters to push Fett’s ship away instead of letting it land.
Yet Bo-Katan leads the ship’s door to Gideon’s fighter plane. The group misses the Stormtroopers and the ship easily. However, the Darktroopers turn out to be a formidable obstacle, easily resisting Mando’s gimmicks and tricks. He opens the outside doors and throws what he thinks the rest of us are in the void of space. He finds Groga, but with Moff Gideon waiting with him, the black sword catches fire. Mando actually manages to defeat him and disarm him, which leads him to the others. However, this is a problem in the form of Darksaber; Mando took him into battle and made him his own. Bo-Katana had to defeat him in a ritual fight and take him to the ground to get the knife and his house back. But there are more pressing problems in the form of Darktroopers trying to break down the door. In the chaos, Gideon takes a few pictures of Bo-Katan and focuses on Groga. Mando dives for the boy and covers him with his armor. The X-Wing appears and rejects identification requests. The passenger works quickly with the Darktroopers, and Grogu seems fascinated by the hidden figure on the CCTV screens. It turned out to be none other than Luke Skywalker, with R2D2 in tow. After confirming that he is a Jedi and waving to Grog to accompany him, Mando shows his face and they exchange a bittersweet farewell.
The rescue is one of those rare episodes that left me speechless when it ended. I heard theories that Luke was a Jedi training Groga, but I assumed that wouldn’t happen. Mark Hamill is (of course) much older now and he would be the obvious choice. Moreover, it would mean that Grogu would be killed by Kylo Ren in a flashback of the Last Jedi. Still, I think it was the right choice, and the aging effect for Lucas is much better than the facet copying effect in Rogue One. He’s still not as handsome as in the Marvel movies. However, since this is a television series, I am willing to take some production value into account in a series that otherwise has impressive images and effects.
In fact (surprisingly enough) I’ve already seen some reaction to this opening in The Rescue. I don’t know why, there aren’t as many Jedi who can train him, and most of them won’t make as much sense as Luke. Ahsoka already said why she doesn’t train the Groga. That was a pretty compelling and understandable reason when you saw their story unfold in The Clone Wars. She’s also no longer a Jedi, a detail she hasn’t discussed live yet. Ezra Bridger would be a candidate, but since Ahsoka is looking for Thrawn, I think Ezra is still missing and she thinks Thrawn might lead her to him. If Padawan hadn’t finished his studies because of Kanan Jarru’s untimely death, Ezra wouldn’t have been a better teacher either. It would also be a repetition of the dynamics he had with Kanan if they went down that road. He can still teach Grog what it’s like to be seduced by the dark side. Basically, only Cal Castis from the recent Star Wars and Quinlan Vos games remain. He was a background figure in The Phantom Menace, which appeared next to Asajj Ventress in an episode of The Clone Wars and then in the novel Dark Apprentice. I’d be very, very surprised if it was one of those characters. Luke has the most emotional impact on the audience (and only Ahsoka can get close to him), he’s the leader of the New Jedi, and I think it makes sense that he hears Groga’s call. It’s also a good opportunity – reason not to do so badly with the New Jedi Order. I’m beginning to think that they’re redoing the sequels or using the world between worlds to open up alternative realities. The way Luke performs in these scenes, and the mysterious but soothing music, make this piece more than anything else. And I was glad they judged Mark Hamill for that performance, because I’m ashamed to say that I couldn’t tell if it was him or if they cheated a bit, as in Rogue One. Moreover, the scene in which Lucas pierces the black circles reminds me of one of the last scenes of Rogue One, where Father mows a room full of rebels in the same way. It’s one of the few moments in this film I’ve enjoyed, but it’s even better in Rescue because it shows the man who wears the lightsaber.
However, there was a lot going on in the rescue operation, with the exception of Luc. From what we learned from the clone and rebel wars, Mando unconsciously took possession of the black sword by defeating Moff Gideon. This puts him and Bo-Katan in a delicate situation. To restore it and win the favor of the Mandalorian people, she must now defeat him in battle. I’m very curious how they’re going to solve this dilemma. It may even have something to do with the last time Bo-Katana wielded a sword; Sabina Ren gave it to him instead of Bo-Katana winning it in a fight. Maybe she thinks, in part, that this error is the reason why Mandalore fell (again). Maybe. There’s really a lot going on with the Mandalorians of the Rescue. Bo-Katan and Boba Fett in particular discuss certain topics that will be discussed in the coming seasons. I hope so, because the different kinds of Mandalorians and their beliefs are fascinating. The scene in the landing craft also reflects this; not all the emperor’s remains agree or disagree, nor do the Mandalorians. On the other hand, I noticed something about the female characters in the show this season. In total there are several of them in a rather small line-up, they are all very different from each other, and I like that. The persecutors gave us a soulless sign that could do no harm. In general, they didn’t have many female characters, despite all the talk about strong female heroines. Mandaloreans don’t preach about gender or say women can be strong, but this more subtle approach has given us characters like Kara Dune, Fennek Shand (expressed by Ming-Na Wen in Bad Party), consistent and credible live-action versions of previously animated characters like Ahsoka and Bo-Katana, and much more. It’s cool that this series can have more nuanced, interesting and credible female characters than the sequels, especially because that’s probably the only reason they exist (besides money).
I found the way Moff offered grog to Gideon in exchange for peace and Darksaber, and it turned out to be a trap. I suspected that at some point they would try to humanize him by showing a comprehensive motive for his evil deeds. But letting Dean have the baby because they feel so connected? That would have been too much, and I’m glad it’s more of an illusion. Finally, I’d like to talk about the Baywatch scene. There’s not much going on: Boba Fett and Fennec Shand enter Jabba’s palace, and he kills Bib Fortuna, who apparently has become Jabba’s successor. Boba sits on the throne of Jabba with Fennec at his side. Title Card announces the Boba Fett book series, the first of which is scheduled for December. I’m very surprised there wasn’t another Star Wars show on Disney’s Investor Day. However, I can understand why they want to make it a big surprise at the end of the season. As far as the announcement itself is concerned, that’s fine by me. I’m glad people are having fun and enjoying Star Wars again. Although Fett is not my favorite character at all, this series has actually increased my appreciation of him, and I will continue to follow it. Although, because I love Temera Morrison and especially Ming-Na Wen.
All in all, Salvation is a great episode and a heartbreaking end to a phenomenal television season. I have mixed feelings about Groga leaving Dean to train, even though they gave him the only character I would accept in the role. This episode brought many tears, especially when Dean showed his face to Grog and promised they would meet again. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series, but at the same time I’m going to cry terribly with my Groga doll.
Plot – 10
Action – 10
Progress – 10
Production design – 10
Action – 10
All in all, Salvation is a great episode and a heartbreaking end to a phenomenal television season.