“The Rescue” gives “Star Wars” fans everything they could have hoped for, but somehow that ends up being slightly disappointing to the show’s mythos. Spoilers abound in what’s coming – if you haven’t watched the episode, you really should do so now. And also, how are you not already spoiled. Now shoo! There’s a review waiting, and it isn’t going to write itself.
The Rescue of the Plot
Following in from last week’s “The Believer,” “The Rescue” brings Din to his goal in fast order. That speed serves to highlight even more how much of a waste of storytelling time “The Believer” was. Again, that isn’t to say last week was a bad episode. It’s fun in the grand scheme of things, but it left the latter half of this season feeling disjointed. The plan and the players for rescuing Grogu from the clutches of Moff Gideon are in place without a lot of reason for them to be. Everything does connect, but it would have been better to spend the prior episode re-establishing the connections instead of an awkward side trip.
The Prize is Waiting
Din and his team get on board Gideon’s ship, and from there, the mission is a bit divided. Din only cares about one thing, rescuing Grogu. Bo Katan is also clear in her task of retrieving the Dark Saber from Gideon but is in the wrong place at the wrong time. To her credit, she couldn’t have understood how vital Grogu was in all of this. Of course, her prize would be tied to Din’s, setting up an impossible conflict. Din does find Grogu, but Moff Gideon is there threatening him with the Dark Saber.
I’m Just Going to Stand Over Here
Gideon goes to great lengths to telegraph his every action in this episode. Din has a verbal back and forth and, for no acceptable reason, believes Gideon when he says Din can take Grogu and leave. The man who has spent all this time trying to retrieve the Child for the Empire is suddenly just done with him. Understanding that Din is probably a bit overwhelmed to see Grogu again, there is still no way a professional bounty hunter should have taken his quarry at his word. The fight that breaks out is problematic for what’s to come.
The Rescue of Mandalore?
Gideon attacks Din. The battle is relatively quick, but the outcome will impact a lot of planned Disney+ series. Bo Katan needed to have that battle with Gideon, not Din. Apparently, Din now holds all the power and respect of Mandalore, and Bo Katan can’t just take it from him but instead must win it in battle? I want to say this goes against show-runner Dave Filoni’s canon, but maybe there is a difference between Sabine Wren giving the Saber to Bo Katan. A bit of an iffy moment, but I’m sure it’ll play out well over the new shows coming.
Son of Skywalker
And lastly, we come to the most significant moment of the series thus far. Trapped on the bridge of Gideon’s ship, it seems our heroes are doomed. A battalion of Death Troopers is moments away from gaining access to them. And then an X-Wing fighter appears, and a man in black begins dismantling the troopers. The aha moment was pretty easy to guess, even if you’d avoided all the spoilers. Foreknowledge or not, though, it is a pretty big fist pump moment. Luke Skywalker is on hand to save the day. And then you stop and think about the moment. It’s fun, but what does it do for the universe that Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have worked to set up?
A Whole New Universe
Despite all the nods, easter eggs, cameos, and whatnot, “The Mandalorian” has always been separate from, but equal to, the “Skywalker Saga.” It happens in the same universe, but set post “ROTJ” and pre “TFA,” so it could be pretty fast and wild with its canon. The appearance of Luke feels confining, as though now everything is building toward what we already know, whereas before it felt more independent. I can’t help but think that including Ezra Bridger here instead would have been a more freeing choice, but perhaps Filoni didn’t want to hit his own lore that many times in one season? And we also wouldn’t have seen R2 in action again. That alone makes every transgression of canon worth it.
“The Rescue” of the Spin-offs
“The Rescue” is an excellent ending to an uneven season. I wish that Filoni and Favreau could get past the need to pad things out, though. No less than three episodes this season could have been reduced to a line or two of dialog in another episode. That is frustrating because not only do they get in the way of the main plot, but they rob time from it too. I’m not advocating for shorter seasons of “The Mandalorian,” but I’d rather have five episodes of a continuous thread instead of the additional three throw-aways. Still though, R2-D2. Please give him a series already!