THE MANDALORIAN Season 2, Chapter 16 Review; "One Of The Greatest TV Shows Of All-Time" - SPOILERS Follow

There's no way we can review today's episode without at least some spoilers, but if you've already watched "Chapter 16," then continue reading for our take on this blockbuster season two finale...

We knew going in that the season two finale of The Mandalorian would be a big episode, but this feels a lot more like a series finale than anything else. While it's obvious that there's still more story to tell with characters like Din Djarin, Grogu, and even the likes of Bo-Katan Kryze and Cara Dune, if this was it...well, we'd walk away satisfied. 

There was some concern among Star Wars fans earlier this week when it was revealed that "Chapter 9"/"The Passenger" director Peyton Reed (Ant-Man) was stepping back behind the camera, but with a stronger script to work from, the filmmaker delivers in spades. This is a 46-minute Star Wars movie, and aside from a few unanswered questions (whether we like it or not, ambiguity is clearly a huge part of the Disney era of storytelling), this episode is perfect. It doesn't take quite as many visual risks as some earlier instalments, but it has a classic Star Wars feel which fits in nicely with the story of the titular bounty doing whatever it takes to rescue The Child. Is it the best episode of The Mandalorian to date? In terms of sheer fan-pleasing spectacle, yes, but there are perhaps others that stand out a little more; when you do see it gracing the #1 spot in lists counting down the best episodes, however, rest assured that it's a deserving spot.

Mercedes Varnado, a.k.a. WWE Superstar Sasha Banks, does a much better job playing Koska Reeves here than in her debut episode, while Temuera Morrison is as excellent as ever as Boba Fett. Ming-Na Wen, meanwhile, gets plenty of great action scenes as Fennec Shand, and Gina Carano...well, if you haven't been impressed by her up until now, that's unlikely to change this week. Her performance is what it is, and for the role she's asked to play in the series, that works fine most of the time. 

Finally, Giancarlo Esposito gets chance to shine as the villainous Moff Gideon, receiving a significant amount of screentime to show us a few more sides to this character. As promised, he gets to see a little action too, and never fails to impress. There's still a lot more we'd like to know about him, and we're hoping that's revealed in something a little more significant than a comic book or tie-in novel! Pedro Pascal is excellent again, and regardless of what the future holds in store for the world of The Mandalorian, we think it's safe to say that it's time he ditch the helmet so we can see more of his work on screen. Of course, the big "performance" everyone will be discussing after this episode is Mark Hamill's surprise return as Luke Skywalker. 

Keeping him under a hood for what proves to be the second best Star Wars action scene of all-time (behind only that Darth Vader corridor "battle" in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) was probably a smart decision, because while the CGI used to bring the character back to life again is fine, it's hard not to get that typical disconnect with humans who are de-aged and recreated through visual effects. We can't help but be greedy by wishing we'd heard more from him, of course, but this was just the right amount for what technology allowed, and is fan-service done right after last year's disappointing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. This is the Luke we've all be waiting to see since Return of the Jedi was released, and if you weren't shaking with excitement and tearing up all at the same time in those final few minutes, we don't know what to say.

An emotional ending and the right kind of fan-service leaves us desperate to return to the world of The Mandalorian, but this perfect finale cements the Disney+ series as one of the greatest TV shows of all-time.


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