In the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm “You did it. You crazy son of a bitch, you did it.”
Peyton Reed and Jon Favreau deliver an amazing season finale but people are only going to be talking about the last five minutes when they deliver the scene that Star Wars fans have been crying out for for the last five years. They also cause an explosion of possibilities for future Star Wars story telling that go even beyond the announcements from recent weeks.
The episode is non stop action from start to finish. We get space battles, fist fights, sword fight, and every type of shootout you can imagine. Peyton Reed shows that he has range as a director as this is completely different to his previous episode this season. Where his ‘Chapter 10’ was a relatively quite three hander this is epic Star Wars with a broad range of characters.
We start with Slave 1 chasing down an lambda shuttle to gain access to Moff Gideon’s light cruiser. Once captured we get the first in a series of tense confrontations as Din (Pedro Pascal)and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) face of against the shuttle crew. Here the dialogue goes full Kevin Smith as the Imperial’s point out how many people they lost on the Death Stars. They may have killed millions but so did the Rebels. Favreau is not humanising the Empire but I think he may be setting us up for a sympathetic Imperial character.
Jump to Din and Boba (Temuera Morrison) recruiting Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska (Mercedes Varnado) from ‘Chapter 11’ to join the rescue. After confirming a couple of episodes ago that Fett is a Mandalorian this is thrown question again when Koska says that he’s not and then proceeds to put the smackdown on him. Fett has always been a mysterious character and it great that this remains.
With the team formed we set off to storm the light cruiser and get Grogu back. The all female team of Cara, Fennec (Ming-NaWen), Bo-Katan, and Koska lead the charge taking out every trooper in their way. It’s Din task to stealth through the ship, deactivate the Dark Trooper menace that has been set up this season, and get his son back. One trooper gets free and Din takes a hell of a beat. Here we see the full strength of the beskar as Din gets his head punched through a wall. Fortunately Din has the beskar spear that he was gifted by Ahsoka and he drives it through the Dark Trooper and then ejects the rest into space.
Then we final get the Din versus Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) show down we have been waiting for. Beskar spear against Darksaber for the fate of the child. This is a brief but beautifully choreography battle showing both as highly skill fighters. It has the feeling of what the Obi-Wan/Vader fight from ‘Episode IV’ might look like if made today. Mando wins, keeping Gideon alive, but more importantly he picks up the Darksaber. The holder of this is traditionally the ruler of Mandalore.
This is set up to drive the future of the series. Bo-Katan wants the saber but can’t be gifted it, she must win it to rule. Gideon relishes pointing this out to her as Din is trying to hand it over. The tension builds and you don’t know how it’s going to end when the Dark Troopers return and it looks like all hope is lost. Our heroes are locked in a room with no way out.
But then a solitary X-Wing appears and docks with the cruiser. We see hooded figure in black emerge. Grogu watches on a screen as a lightsaber ignites. The figure starts slicing through the Dark Troopers. Cut to a gloved hand holding a green saber. Vader got a hallway scene in ‘Rogue One’, Maul got one in ‘The Clone Wars’ finale, and here LUKE BLOODY SKYWALKER (yes, the Skywalker saga is over, you are never going to see Mark Hamill again as Luke Skywalker, Luke Skywalker) tears through a squad with all his force powers on display.
People may complain that this makes the universe smaller and is fan service but this logical storytelling. When Grogu put the call out there was only one obvious choice to reply and Favreau follows through on what he has been setting up. This isn’t a tease, this is 80s Luke up on the screen again with a near perfect deaged Hamill. This is a tear in the eye moment that will be talked about for years.
That is not all for the episode. We now have to go through the pain of Din giving up Grogu to the Jedi. For the first time in the series the helmet properly comes off, revealing Djarin’s face to all the main characters. He has broken his creed. Grogu’s little, clawed hand reaches out and touches Din face and then he is gone with Luke.
This sixteen part father and son story has now wrapped up but so much is also set up. What will happen with Grogu, what was Gideon’s masterplan with his blood, will Din keep the Darksaber saber or will Bo-Katan fight him for it, what has actually happened to Mandalore?. There is so much more to come.
But even when the episode is over that’s not all. After the credits we cut to Jabba’s Palace. Fennec enters the throne room and kill all in sight. Boba walks up to the Twi’lek on the throne (maybe Bib Fortuna, maybe not), shoots him, and takes a seat. COMING DECEMBER 2021 – THE BOOK OF BOBA FETT.
With this episode the future of Star Wars has changed. With Favreau being allowed to do this is a TV series it now means anything is possible.