“The Mandalorian” Finale Episode Review


Louis Volker, Staff Reporter

So. Awesome.  

That’s pretty much my reaction for the second season’s finale of “The Mandalorian,” the “Star Wars” spinoff series from Disney Plus. 

For the eighth and final episode of this year’s season, Mando and his group consisting of Cara Dune, a marshall of the New Republic, Fennec Shand, a sharpshooter, Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves, the Mandalorian duo set on reclaiming the planet Mandalore, and Boba Fett, the iconic bounty hunter and “son” of Jango Fett band together to infiltrate the star cruiser of Imperial officer Moff Gideon and rescue our beloved Grogu (otherwise known as Baby Yoda, whose real name was revealed by Rosario Dawson’s character earlier this season). 

There were very high expectations for this episode, and it delivered. It gives longtime fans and “Star Wars” novices alike great action, complex character development and a good set-up for its much awaited third season, coming in December 2021 along with another new series from Disney Plus, “The Book of Boba Fett.” 

The best part of the episode was the arrival of Luke Skywalker himself, here to rescue the group from a platoon of Moff Gideon’s seemingly unstoppable Dark Troopers. 

His scenes were perfect, filled with the exciting suspense of the darker “The Mandalorian” series mixed with the classic wonder of the original trilogy. The first hint we got of Skywalker’s presence was when the group noticed an X-wing had boarded the star cruiser while they were stuck in the controls of the ship, preparing for the oncoming Dark Troopers. 

At first it didn’t seem like much—one ordinary person from the New Republic would not be very helpful against those menacing Trooper droids—but when Grogu perked up at his arrival, you knew this was not some ordinary person, but a Jedi. 

At first, I was hoping Ahsoka Tano would be back to save the day. Her one episode this season was one of the best and made me long for more content from her. The white flashes shown as the Mandalorian’s group stared at the black-and-white security footage even gave me hope it was her, reminiscent of her white lightsabers. 

However, it became obvious that the hero was actually Skywalker when the hooded figure’s gloved right hand and green lightsaber finally appeared. 

This wasn’t in any way a disappointment. It was exciting getting to see an encounter with the main protagonist from the original “Star Wars” trilogy. 

The revelation also came with a bit of apprehension, though, as it made me worry about the final face reveal of Skywalker that was sure to come. My concern was that they were going to fail at digitally de-aging Mark Hamil’s face. 

Hollywood has made several attempts at pulling off de-aging techniques in recent film history with some triumphs like Samuel L. Jackson in “Captain Marvel” and failures like Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”

When a young Hamil’s face was finally shown, digitally rendered onto body double Max Lloyd Jones, it was surprisingly natural looking. John Favreau, the creator of the series, made a smart decision to only show Hamil’s (fake) face when he was mostly stationary and keep him hooded while he fought the Droids, which paid off big time.

 This made the CGI face more realistic looking, as it’s more difficult to pull off with motion. The success of the digital effect really tied the episode together and made it perfect, using just enough fan service to excite audiences without being cringey. 

The second season in general has been amazing and definitely better than the first, for they were able to quicken the plot now that most of the setting had been introduced. The first season was still great, but it struggled to really get moving in its first couple of episodes, whereas season two of “The Mandalorian” hit the ground running. 

Another shining star of the series is Pedro Pascal’s portrayal of the titular character. His ability to convey Mando’s feelings without over-acting, despite having his face covered for most of the time, is a tightrope that he walks with skillful balance.

He perfectly portrays his character’s cold demeanor with a soft spot that really makes us feel for the things he fights so hard for, making it impossible not to root for him, even if the Mandalorian isn’t the most ethical protagonist around. 

A high-stakes, wildly popular gem amongst some lackluster recent “Star Wars” installments (I’m looking at you, “Force Awakens” saga), “The Mandalorian” is the best thing to happen to the franchise since the underrated masterpiece that is “Rogue One.” I expect great things from season three and beyond.