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The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian season 2, episode 8 review: "Short yet oh-so sweet"

(Image: © Disney)

Warning: This is the Way to our The Mandalorian season 2, episode 6 review which contains major spoilers – turn around to avoid having the new episode ruined!

Things start off so well. Din Djarin and Baby Yoda – wait, that’s Grogu now – messing around in the cockpit of Razor Crest. The way Pedro Pascal delivers lines in these moments is entirely endearing; the central pair’s relationship really has become the heart of The Mandalorian and this simple scene exemplifies exactly why. And while we all expected Mando to stop off for fuel and save another wayward group of scavengers before arriving on Tython, that’s not to be – Din’s heading straight to the Jedi, and the wholesome vibes of that opening come crashing down as the episode’s title lights up the screen: “The Tragedy”.

Those words immediately add an edge to the episode. The moment Din places Grogu on that Jedi stone and the beam shoots into the air, shit immediately hits the fan. Enter: Boba Fett. He’s back! The most feared bounty hunter in all the galaxy has arrived – and he wants his armour. However, he’s not alone. It’s great to see Ming-Na Wen back as Fennec Shand, this time with Terminator-like upgrades, confirming that she was certainly not a one-episode character. If this season has proven anything, it’s that – despite each episode being pretty contained within their own events – anyone can come back. Expect Timothy Olyphant to return soon…

Boba and Din’s meeting is taught and tension-filled. Despite having the expectations of an entire fandom upon his shoulders, Temuera Morrison does a tremendous job as Boba, adding a new gnarl to the character that we’ve longed to see on screen since The Empire Strikes Back. Not only is his casting a nice continuation of the prequels, which were basically ignored by the sequel trilogy, but the callbacks to Jango Fett – his father who appeared in Attack of the Clones and the Clone Wars series – add new weight to Boba's character. With an Obi-Wan Kenobi series coming to Disney Plus, it certainly feels like LucasFilm are doing their best to reframe and reference the prequels, a trilogy so important to a generation of children and teenagers now in their late 20s and early 30s. 

While the removal of Din’s jetpack certainly feels a tad forced for plotting purposes, the action that ensues is excellently done. Din’s basically out for the count rescuing Grogu, leaving Boba and Fennec to deal with the Stormtroopers. Would I watch a spin-off about this duo? Absolutely. Seeing Boba use his smash-stick to crush troopers is catnip to my Star Wars-loving mind. When he flies onto the scene now in armour, it’s nostalgic dynamite. I thought Ahsoka Tano’s appearance was great, but this is another level. 

Director Robert Rodreguez does an excellent job with the pacing. The episode speeds along, lasting under half an hour – discounting the recap and credits – yet so much happens. Not too much, mind you, as the events are all clearly portrayed on screen. This feels like the third act of a Star Wars movie, and the dour tone of the final moments revisits that same feeling as Empire Strikes Back; things are looking bad, yet there’s hope.

So, to recount: Razor Crest is destroyed. Din’s without his child and Grogu – looking adorable even when smashing Stormtroopers into each other – has been captured by Moff Gideon, who feels more and more like Darth Vader every episode. The Dark Troopers have been shown to be fully operational adding even more threat.

However, Din’s got a new team, including bloody Boba Fett! And while I’m not interested in revisiting Cara Dune or Bill Burr’s character Mayfeld, the promise of seeing Din and Boba working together in the future has left me with goosebumps. This really is the finest Star Wars has been in a long time, and perhaps the best episode of The Mandalorian yet. 

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Jack Shepherd

I'm the Entertainment Editor over here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews, and features. I look after all the Total Film and SFX articles that end up on the website