(Spoilers for the season, but not for the finale)
With the Season two finale now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, The Mandalorian has officially gone out of 2020 guns blazing and sabre swinging! Showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni, along with a talented team of directors that include Peyton Reed, Carl Weathers and Bryce Dallas Howard, have created a season that has not only escalated the stakes and pushed the boundaries of small screen visuals – but also delivered the payoffs that the audience wanted, and needed.
The Mandalorian's season two finale emerges as the icing on an already delicious intergalactic cake. At the start of the season, we found The Child and Pedro Pascal's Din "Mando" Djarin team up with Timothy Oliphant's Cobb Vanth to take down a sand dragon and officially kick-off the duo's journey to find The Child's people. One may be forgiven for mildly complaining that the first few episodes follow the tried and tested space-western formula seen in season one – jumping between cowboy capers and Samurai-esque tales.
But at the core of it The Mandalorian was always a space western, and perhaps that's where the Star Wars franchise works best. Anyhow, given how the plot line escalates in the latter half of the season, I do not think fans are left with much to grumble about, except a tadpole eating Grogu (The Child).
All through the season, the tremendous amount of world building and connecting the dots to the grander Star Wars franchise continues. But the season continues to retain the show's Beskar armour – that of its narrative independence. Even if the larger Star Wars franchise isn't your cup of tea – The Mandalorian will always offer jump points for you to dive right in and enjoy. Perhaps the season two finale has changed that forever – but the episode's impact remains to be seen.
…And here is your jump-off point for mild pre-finale spoilers. I am not going to spoil the finale itself – I'm not a Droid or a heartless Dark Trooper. Those who have followed the show till season two, episode seven would know that at the beginning of the finale, Mando is on a mission with Boba Fett and Fennec Shand (Ming Na Wen) to retrieve Grogu from the clutches of Moff Gideon. The penultimate episode was pivotal for the finale's set-up, offering Bill Burr's Migs Mayfield redemption for his season one antics, allowing Gina Carano's Cara Dune to join the team full-time once again and of course, letting Pedro Pascal take off the helmet (again!) – showing us that Din Djarin, while bound by the Mandalorian creed, may not necessarily be a slave to it. So once the crew get the location of Moff Gideon's ship, the stage is set for the fantastic caper we are about to witness.
At the start of the finale, directed by Peyton Reed, we see our crew reach out to Bo-Katan (Katie Sackhoff) and her team for support. What are the stakes at play? Mando gets Grogu, and in exchange Bo-Katan gets the Dark Sabre from Moff to rightfully claim the Mandalorian throne. The crew board Moff's ship and take out most of the Storm Troopers to try to get to Grogu.
Till, of course, Moff throws a monkey wrench in the form of the Dark Troopers. And the results are spectacular! At this point I cannot for the heart of me dive more into the story – but I will tell you that when all hope is seemingly lost, and the heroes are at the end of the line – Reed and Favreau deliver an ending that is bound to break the geekdom and the internet over the next two days. Hell, it had me clapping and screaming in my room, the way I did in the theatres, when Cap wielded the Mjolnir!
The finale makes The Mandalorian's jarring, non-binge, week-on-week streaming experience on Disney+ Hotstar totally worth the wait. It delivers a Christmas Miracle and a Masterclass. The miracle being the official, certified redemption of the Star Wars franchise – after those atrocious (and frankly yawn-inspiring) sequels. And the masterclass is the episode itself. It is a straight up lesson in how just one episode – with a good story, capable hands and a singular vision – can deliver more, action, suspense, hope and nerdgasms in a span of 30 odd minutes, than billion-dollar movies could achieve over 9 odd hours.
Even if there is no season three for The Mandalorian, it would not matter. It was a win Star Wars deserved in 2020, and the show delivered us the 're-entry' we had all longed for, so many years ago.