The Mandalorian season 2 finale recap: a perfect piece of Star Wars

The Mandalorian season 2 episode 8 recap
(Image credit: Lucasfilm/screengrab)
About this episode

- Episode 8 (of 8), ‘Chapter 16: The Rescue’
- Written by Jon Favreau
- Directed by Peyton Reed

Spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2 follow.

Slave I pursues a Lambda Class Imperial shuttle – Dr Pershing is on board. Boba Fett disables the craft with an ion canon, and demands that they lower their shields, disable their transponders and prepare for boarding. Slave I attaches itself to the shuttle and The Mandalorian enters the cockpit.

One of the officers says, “Before you make a mistake, this is Dr Pershing.” The Mando says they’ve met and asks if Grogu is alive – Pershing confirms the kid is on the cruiser. The co-pilot points a gun at Pershing as Cara Dune enters the cockpit. The pilot tries to bargain, so the co-pilot shoots him in the back.

Cara tells the Imperial to drop his weapon, but he refuses, saying Pershing is a top-tier target of the New Republic, a clone engineer, and if they find out he’s dead because of you, “you’re gonna wish you never left Alderaan”. He says he saw Alderaan destroyed, that he was on the Death Star.

“Which one?” asks Cara.

“You think you’re funny? You know how many millions were killed on those bases? Destroying your planet was a small price to pay to rid the galaxy of terrorism.”

Cara shoots him before he can say anything more.

Slave I lands on an industrial world, where Mando and Boba Fett walk into a cantina. Mandalorians Bo-Katan Kryze and Koska Reeves are having a drink when Mando asks for their help. Bo-Katan says that not all Mandalorians are bounty hunters, so Mando tells them Moff Gideon has taken the Child. Bo-Katan says they’ll never find him.

Fett says they don’t need the two Mandalorians’ assistance. “You are not a Mandalorian,” says Bo-Katan. “Never said I was,” says Fett, squaring up to Koska. Mando says they have Gideon’s co-ordinates, and that his light cruiser could be helpful in the effort to regain Mandalore. Fett questions that move, saying the Empire turned the planet to “glass”.

“You are a disgrace to your armor,” says Bo-Katan. Fett counters that the armor belonged to his father.

“Don’t you mean your donor? You are a clone. I’ve heard your voice thousands of times.”

Koska and Fett fight in the bar until Bo-Katan stops them. She says she’ll help in the mission taking the light cruiser in exchange – and asks that Mando join their fight to reclaim Mandalore if he completes his mission to find Grogu. She also tells him of her intention to kill Gideon and reclaim the darksaber that’s a symbol of Mandalorian leadership.

Back on the ship, they plan the mission. Pershing tells them there’s a garrison of Dark Troopers on board. He confirms that these new model soldiers are droids – “the human inside was the final weakness to be solved”. They’re held in cold storage in a cargo bay because they drain so much power – that means they’ll take a few minutes to activate. Pershing also reveals that Grogu is being held in the bridge under armed guard.

Bo-Katan suggests they split into two parties – though Mando insists he’s going alone. In the first part of her plan, the Imperial shuttle will issue a distress call; then they’ll make an emergency landing in the mouth of the fighter launch tube, to stop any more ships taking off. Then, she, Koska, Fennec Shand and Cara will make their way through the decks as a diversion, providing time for Mando to find Grogu. On the way, Mando will use an Imperial code cylinder to seal off the Dark Troopers’ holding bay. When the mission is complete they’ll meet on the bridge.

In hyperspace, Bo-Katan reiterates that Moff Gideon is hers, but Cara counters that he’s ex-Imperial Security Bureau and has a lot of information – she needs him alive. “I don’t care what happens to him as long as he surrenders to me,” explains Bo-Katan.

They exit hyperspace with Slave I firing on the shuttle. Bo-Katan requests permission for emergency docking, so Gideon orders the launch of TIE Fighters to attack Slave I. The cruiser’s comms officer orders that the shuttle stays clear of the launch tube to allow the fighters to launch. They ignore the order and crash land In the launch tube, preventing the dispatch of further TIEs. Boba Fett destroys the remaining TIEs and jumps into hyperspace.

Gideon sees the group advancing through the ship, so orders the activation of the Dark Troopers. With the hangar bay clear, Mando leaves the shuttle. The others battle past numerous Stormtroopers on their way to the bridge.

The Dark Troopers finish their activation sequence. Mando arrives at their hangar bay just in time to see the doors open. He uses the code cylinder to close it, but it’s too late to stop one of the Dark Troopers getting through. The Trooper pummels his armor as the others try to bash their way out of the hangar bay. It’s impervious to all of Mando’s weaponry – presumably it’s also made of beskar – and it’s only when he stabs the droid through the head with his beskar spear that he’s victorious. Mando opens an airlock to send the remaining Dark Troopers floating into space.

Bo-Katan, Fennec, Koska and Cara take the bridge and disable the ship’s weapons. Mando reaches Grogu’s cell, where Moff Gideon is waiting for him, the darksaber ignited and hovering over Grogu’s head. Gideon tells Mando to drop his blaster.

He says the weapon used to belong to Bo-Katan and that it’s safe to assume he knows everything – including the fact Mando’s wrist launcher has fired its one and only salvo. Gideon assumes that Bo-Katan and her boarding party have arrived at the bridge looking for him, and/or the darksaber, and that everyone on the bridge is dead. He says that Bo-Katan wants the blade because whoever wields it has the right to the Mandalorian throne.

Mando says that all he wants is the kid – Gideon can keep the ’saber for all he cares. Gideon switches off the blade. He says that he has what he needed – to study the kid’s blood – and that Grogu’s powers have the potential to bring order back to the galaxy. “I see your bond with him. Take him, but you will leave my ship immediately and we will go our separate ways.”

As Gideon turns to leave, he ignites the darksaber and attacks Mando. They duel, with Mando using the beskar spear. Mando eventually overpowers Gideon. “You’re sparing my life?” says Gideon. “Well, this should be interesting…”

Mando and Grogu arrive on the bridge with Gideon – Mando is carrying the darksaber. Bo-Katan asks what happened. “He brought him in alive, that’s what happened,” says Cara, “and now the New Republic’s gonna have to double the payment.”

The Mandalorian S2

Boba Fett at the helm of Slave I in The Mandalorian season 2 episode 8. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Gideon says that’s not what she’s talking about. He explains that the darksaber is now Mando’s. He tries to give it to Bo-Katan, but Gideon explains that she can’t take it from him because it has to be won – to wield the darksaber again, she would have to defeat Mando in combat. Mando says he yields, but Gideon says it doesn’t work that way – she can’t take the throne without it. Bo-Katan confirms his claim.

The ship is being boarded – no lifeforms appear on the scanners, because it’s a platoon of Dark Troopers landing on the deck. As they prepare for the assault, Gideon spots a blaster on the floor and takes it. Grogu sits on the floor, seemingly communing with the Force.

They close the blast doors to protect themselves, so the Dark Troopers start pummeling the doors. Gideon taunts them that very shortly, everyone in the room will be dead aside from him and Grogu.

Then, a lone X-wing finds its way to the cruiser’s landing bay…

The pounding on the door stops. A hooded figure appears on the security camera. It’s a Jedi. He’s carrying a green lightsaber and wears a black glove on one hand. It’s clearly Luke Skywalker. He eliminates all the Dark Troopers in his path.

Realizing the game is up, Moff Gideon attacks Bo-Katan with the blaster, but is stopped by Cara and Fennec. He tries to shoot himself in the head, but Cara knocks the blaster out of his hand before he can fire. Grogu watches Luke on the camera, yearning for his fellow Force wielder.

The remaining Dark Troopers move to intercept Luke before he emerges from an elevator, but he makes short work of them. Mando spots Grogu’s connection to Luke, and opens the blast doors – despite the skepticism of his companions.

Luke deactivates his lightsaber and removes his hood. He confirms that he’s a Jedi and beckons to Grogu. Mando says the kid doesn’t want to go with Luke, so Luke tells him he wants Mando’s permission. “He is strong with the Force but talent without training is nothing,” Skywalker explains. “I will give my life to protect the child but he will not be safe until he masters his abilities.”

Mando picks up Grogu and tells him Luke is one of his kind, and promises he’ll see him again. Grogu gestures towards his helmet, which he removes, allowing Grogu to see his face for the first time. “It’s time to go,” says Mando. “Don’t be afraid.”

Grogu hugs Mando’s leg and walks towards Luke as R2-D2 arrives. There’s a nod of acknowledgement between Luke and Mando, before Luke picks up Grogu. “May the Force be with you,” he says, before walking away. Mando looks on tearfully.

Some time later, at Jabba the Hutt’s Palace, Bib Fortuna – Jabba’s former master of ceremonies – sits on a throne. Gamorrean guards and other hangers on are killed by a mysterious figure – it’s Fennec Shand. She frees Fortuna’s dancer from her chains, as Boba Fett walks into the throne room. “Boba, I thought you were dead,” says Fortuna. “I am so glad to see you. I had heard many rumors.”

He says no more, however, because Fett shoots him dead and takes Jabba’s throne, Fennec Shand at his side.


‘The Rescue’ could be destined to become the most talked about episode of any television show ever. Normally the return of a character as iconic as R2-D2 would make headlines, but here the news of the astromech’s Mandalorian debut is relegated to a mere footnote. This is everything you could want from Star Wars, 45 minutes of TV as powerful as any movie from that galaxy far, far away. Indeed, the episode wouldn’t feel out of place on the big screen, such is the ambition on display in every frame.

Two seasons in, reassembling Mando’s allies for a big shoot out has already become a trope, but Bo-Katan, Koska Reeves, Fennec Shand, Cara Dune and Boba Fett all have a major part to play in rescuing Baby Yoda from the Empire’s clutches. (It's an important, and welcome, development for the Star Wars universe that all of Mando's allies fighting through the Imperial cruiser are female.)

Giancarlo Esposito, meanwhile, makes sure that Moff Gideon is worthy of a place among the franchise’s great villains, as the former ISB agent tries to manipulate his way out of a no-win scenario. Even in New Republic custody, he’s going to remain a dangerous proposition.

The action is magnificent throughout – Slave I’s assault on an Imperial shuttle makes for a phenomenal cold open – but ‘The Rescue’ saves its really big guns for the end. When a lone X-Wing lands the Imperial cruiser’s hangar bay, it’s not entirely clear who’s going to emerge, but the slow reveal of Luke Skywalker is utterly perfect, and the ultimate Star Wars Christmas present. This is the first time we’ve ever seen Luke at the height of his powers, and there are plenty of visual echoes of Darth Vader’s assault on the Rebel blockade runner in Rogue One.

In terms of the season’s arc, it makes sense that Luke should be the one who communed with Grogu back on Tython, and he’s clearly the ideal custodian for the kid. That doesn’t make Mando and Grogu’s farewell any easier to watch, however, and their farewell – complete with Mando finally revealing his face to his surrogate son – will give most viewers a little something in their eye. We’re pretty sure we even saw a tear from Mando.

It feels like The Mandalorian’s first major story arc is now over, and we’re intrigued to see how the show evolves without its central double act.

Even if the episode had ended there we’d have been satisfied, but ‘The Rescue’ saved its biggest reveal for the end. Boba Fett’s return to Jabba’s Palace could just have been a fun coda to a brilliant story. Then that title card appears announcing that The Book Of Boba Fett is coming in December 2021. Has there ever been a better way to announce a new TV show? Revealing all those new series at the Disney Investor Conference now feels a very long time ago.

The Mandalorian season 2

It's not going to end well for Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian season 2 episode 8. (Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Force the facts 

  • When the Imperial co-pilot transporting Dr Pershing mentions the millions of people who lost their lives on the Death Stars, it feels like a nod to Kevin Smith’s Clerks, where Randal pondered the fate of the construction workers.
  • Axe Woves, the third member of Bo-Katan’s Mandalorian crew, is strangely absent from this episode. Wonder what he’s been up to…
  • Inconsistency alert! This episode makes it very clear that Mando can’t simply give the darksaber to Bo-Katan – she has to win it in combat. In Star Wars Rebels season 4 episode ‘Heroes of Mandalore, Part 2’, however, Sabine Wren hands the ’saber on to Bo-Katan, who willingly accepts. “It came to me so I could pass it to you,” Sabine says.
  • Luke is using the green lightsaber he carried in Return of the Jedi, not his old blue lightsaber that came into Rey’s possession in The Force Awakens. That blue ‘saber was lost during the duel with Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • The episode abandons the usual concept art on the end credits in favor of plain black. It’s in keeping with the sad tone of those final scenes – with all that emotion, we’re not sure we could have appreciated the pretty pictures!
  • We’d assumed Bib Fortuna died when Jabba’s sail barge exploded in Return of the Jedi, but the Twi’lek MC clearly survived to take control of his late boss’s criminal empire. While he was portrayed by Michael Carter in the original trilogy, he’s played here by Matthew Wood, who voiced General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith.
  • If we’re not mistaken, one of Fortuna’s Huttese lines is “maclunky”, a word George Lucas controversially added to Greedo’s dialogue in the latest iteration of A New Hope.
  • The Book Of Boba Fett is the third Mandalorian spin-off – the others are Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic.
  • Jeremy Bulloch, the actor who played Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, passed away on December 17, so it feels like a fitting tribute that The Book of Boba Fett was announced the following day.

Every episode of The Mandalorian is available to view now on Disney Plus.

Richard Edwards

Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi and fantasy magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.