I’m sorry I wasn’t around to help sum up and review each episode of the Mandalorian. Rest assured I was right there with everyone rooted to my seat waiting to find out what happened next. From Krayt Dragons to Boba Fett and everything inbetween, this season was a stark contrast from the season before it, but also expanded upon the ideas and set pieces introduced in Season 1. In a lot of ways, it’s the birth of a new chapter for Disney’s Star Wars.
When Season 2 rumors were flying around, we heard everything from Temuera Morrison playing Rex and Boba Fett, to Sasha Banks playing Sabine Wren, and crazy stuff like Rosario Dawson playing Ahsoka, Katie Sackhoff as Bo Katan, Cobb Vanth (a character only seen in the books up until this point) would be showing up in Fett’s armor, and even a possible Luke Skywalker. Somehow, the first two were the only ones that weren’t accurate (although Temuera did get to come back to the series in a big way through Boba Fett), and after seeing how it was all executed, I couldn’t be happier.
I was so apprehensive, concerned that Din Djarin would become a sidekick in his own show. When The Gunslinger aired, and Fennec Shand’s corpse was greeted by a stranger with spurs on his boots, I was worried Boba Fett would steal the spotlight. Now that The Book of Boba Fett has been revealed to be it’s own thing, I can breathe more easily. The rumors that were swirling around above ultimately left me cringing. How could they stuff this much stuff into the story and not have it feel bloated and misguided in its focus? I didn’t believe it possible for all this to work so cohesively.
Then Chapter 9, The Marshall, dropped and instantly rocked our world and I instantly took back all those fears. Not only had we been granted the opportunity to witness a fully grown Krayt Dragon, we got to see one hunted and taken down. Boba Fett’s armor really had resurfaced, and there it was in all its paint-chipped glory. Seeing multiple T Visors gave me the same hype factor that Chapter 3, The Sin, had. Seeing them jetpacking around, blasting this thing to pieces was just an absolutely epic piece of television. They even gave us some little touches, like the Krayt Pearl, that really helped enrich this side of Tatooine. It humanized the Tusken Raiders effortlessly, and gave us a reason to question all we’d been told about them, and their culture.
The Mandalorian Season 2 aimed to constantly take what we expect and know about this universe, and use that to enrich that understanding further. It expanded on Mandalorian culture in a way that answered some questions while raising more, curious ones. It has given us a way to see the Mandalorian as more real than most Star Wars content we’ve seen since the Original Trilogy. Still, the show rewards our enjoyment of the Prequel and Sequel Trilogies as well, and gives us nods in their directions that helps satisfy our belief that this is a vast, connected universe.
Seriously, just to recount the EU things we got to see this season on prominent display (and I’m sure this isn’t all of it): Great Krayt Dragon, Krayt Pearl, Cobb Vanth, Bo Katan, Boba Fett (okay this is a stretch but his “back from the dead” schtick was strictly Legends up until now), Ahsoka Tano, the planet Tython, freaking Thrawn got a mention (As did Jaster Mereel!!), and DARK TROOPERS were made into a big bad for this season. The last one, as a fan of the Dark Forces, had me keeling over dead with excitement at the possibilities. Does this mean Kyle Katarn could finally come back??
What Season 2 Set Out to Accomplish for Din Djarin
Din Djarin started out Season 2 looking for a Jedi to take care of Grogu, but first he wanted to meet up with more Mandalorians. We got to see him accept that the rules he’s followed since childhood aren’t required to be followed to the letter. The pact that he swore to the Children of the Watch, that forbids he takes his helmet off in front of others, is shattered when he meets Bo Katan. His knowledge of what it means to be Mandalorian is called into question by the appearance of Boba Fett. He has to decide what is more important to him, his code, or his people.
Ahsoka becomes the first contact that Din and Grogu have with a Jedi, and she’s not exactly what you’d call a model Padawan at this stage. As far as we know, this show takes place before she finally sets out to help save Ezra with Sabine at the end of Rebels, or at least so has been hinted at by Dave Filoni in interviews.
Bo Katan gives Din the knowledge of where to find her, even if he has to go on a side quest first. She does give Din the opportunity to learn more about Grogu’s past, and how Din might help shape the little kid’s future. There’s an epic Samurai duel, and Din gets a fancy new spear! We see him even try to let go of Grogu, but it’s thankfully not time yet for them to say goodbye.
The Tragedy on Tython was brutal to watch, as Grogu attempted to reach out to the Force in search of a teacher, he is stolen away by the cruel Dark Troopers. Din is distracted during this time by the sudden appearance of Fett, along with a newly revived Fennec Shand. This standoff allows the Empire to show up, causing one of the best Stormtrooper battles ever. Seeing Fett take all his toys out for a test drive truly was a treat, and I loved every second of it. That exchange where he hit the wrong ship but still caused a badass explosion, somehow that feels like classic Fett.
On his own ever so briefly, Din starts to let go of the rules. He’s fine with donning Imp armor, even going as far as to take off his helmet in front of the enemy to be able to access the records that will reveal Moff Gideon’s location. Having Mayfield along felt like a cheap guest star move, but he really grounds the stakes. Is Din really no different for wanting to do whatever it takes to save his little green friend? In the end, they both need to sleep at night, and seeing Bill Burr help grow Mayfield into a rounded individual with actual principles was a treat to witness.
There are so many great moments in this season, for both old and new Star Wars fans alike, but nothing compares to the grand finale. The stage is set, as Din, Boba, Cara Dune, and Fennec capture a Lambda Shuttle and enlist the help of Bo Katan as she has the ability to help take down Gideon. Bo is pretty shy about the Dark Saber itself, perhaps out of the fear that Din might take that chance away from her. All she’ll say is that she needs to be the one to do it.
Of course, that doesn’t quite work out, and while most of the storming of Gideon’s cruiser goes successfully, Din is almost overpowered by one Dark Trooper before dispatching it and the rest. He foolishly believes he’ll be able to just take Grogu back, and ends up in a really brutal fight between the Dark Saber and Din’s Beskar Spear. I noticed that he was holding it backwards, but maybe it’s a technique I’m not familiar with. I love the sound of a blade hitting Beskar, the tone of the ringing is really satisfying.
This wasn’t to Gideon’s plan, but Giancarlo Esposito really played up the mustache twirling for this. He revels in sewing the discord between Bo and Din, as she wrestles with this hitch in the plan. Before they can address it, the Dark Troopers return and setup for an epic confrontation that will leave everyone dead. But then, the moment that everyone has been thinking about arrived. The windows reveal a lone X-Wing, a solitary figure emerges and a blade appears, cutting down the fearsome droids left and right. A flash of green, and that signature belt covered in that dark cloak, a single black glove pulling droids left and right tells you all you need to know.
In an attack that very well mirrors his father’s assault during Rogue One, Luke slices through all of the enemy droids, as if they were paper. When he unveils himself as a Jedi Master, unhooded and we bask in Luke’s presence once more, it all comes to a head. Grogu, as described by Ahsoka, is too powerful to be left untrained, but we can’t bare to let him go. He’s just too sweet and pure, but in our hearts we know that he doesn’t belong among all the danger in Din’s life. In the end, Luke is the best person to train him at this time.
Now comes the point where Din’s entire worldview is reset, and he takes his helmet off to look Grogu in the eyes for once. We see this foreshadowed when Din peeks the helmet to take a sip of broth, but this is so much more meaningful. Grogu reaches out to touch his father, seeing him truly for the first time. What must have been running through his tiny mind. You can see Grogu is full of fear, and hearing Din tell him not to be afraid broke my heart, as that same tragic fear broke Anakin all the same.
R2, in classic R2 fashion, utterly refuses to stay on the ship and his presence is what seems to excite and relax Grogu. They share what is in my opinion the most important dialogue in the entire show. You and I just can’t translate it, that’s all. Does anyone speak Bacchi?
Luke takes Grogu to his temple, and they leave with Grogu looking back to Din the entire time. Din looks so different without the helmet, so vulnerable as he looks on to his son. Taking that off is the ultimate act of vulnerability for Din to show to Grogu, and it’s written plain as day on his face. We’re all going to miss that little guy until we next get to see him, as much as Din will.
Season 2 set out to bring us closure to Din’s story as he understood it in Chapter 1. He no longer needs to believe that the code is his life, he now has a family of people he can rely on that are closer to him than many others he’s known growing up in the Covert. Mandalorians are stronger together but it is not the rules that make you Mandalorian. Din can finally breathe fresh air without fear of reprisal or shame. He learns that the rules he thought he was meant to follow, in order to belong, aren’t what matters.
What matters is the people you’re willing to care for, and what you’re willing to do for them as a result. Most importantly, sometimes you need to let go of someone in order to let them become the best they possibly can be. Attachment can sometimes hold them back, but that’s no reason to stay completely removed from their life either. It is difficult when you love someone to do something that you know benefits them more than yourself, but that’s what true compassion entails; a need to do what’s best for those you care about, so long as you’re ready to truly do so for their sake without expectation.
The Din we met in Chapter 1 would’ve never bothered, but I’m proud of how far he’s come in that time as a father, as a man, but most importantly, as a Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian returns to Disney Plus on December 25, 2021.