I appreciate the incoherence of this season of The Mandalorian. Previous seasons were focused on a singular mission: To find Grogu’s people (the Jedi). Now that Mando and Grogu found a Jedi (THE Jedi) and Grogu said “thanks, but no thanks” in The Book of Boba Fett, the show seems a tad rudderless in direction. But it does allow The Mandalorian to deliver big surprises, and we get one in “The Foundling.”
Judge Thee Not
One of the most refreshing things about having a mini Yoda starting the path to a Mandalorian is the lack of conflict within the Children of the Watch. And it is fair to wonder if a group of human warriors will take this little creature seriously as a Foundling. Ragnar, a kid who just took the creed, seems to think Grogu is too young to fight because he can’t take the creed (those who can’t speak cannot commit to wearing a helmet for the rest of their lives).
Otherwise, everyone takes Grogu seriously, especially the Armorer. While the other Mandalorians are off rescuing Ragnar, the Armorer takes Grogu under her wing and teaches him about Mandalorian culture as she makes another armor piece.
It would have been easy to have naysayers within the group as the conflict for Grogu, but respect to Favreau, Filoni, and Famuyiwa for choosing a different path. Instead, Grogu’s conflict will be internal as he confronts his traumatic past of Order 66 and all that happened before Mando found him on Arvala-7.
The other new member of the Watch, Bo Katan-Kryze, is fitting in nicely. She is the only one who thought to use her ship to go after the giant Space Pterodactyl to find its nest. Bo devises a plan to retrieve Ragnar with a small party of Mandalorians, including our Mando (who mostly takes a back seat in this episode to Bo and Grogu). We finally learn how the Children of the Watch eat around each other (though this was hinted at in “Sanctuary”). They go off into a corner and eat by themselves. It highlights the absurdity of this helmet rule, but Bo is the leader of the hunting party, and thus the party gives her the honor of eating by the fire.
Bo has judged the Watch from the very beginning of her live-action debut on The Mandalorian and seems to be reevaluating her opinions of the group. Her relationship with the Armorer is also developing as Bo tells the leader that she saw a Mythosaur. The Armorer either does not believe her or recognizes Bo might be the key to uniting the Mandalorians. The jury is still out on that.
I will take this section title’s advice and not judge the Watch too harshly. Are they a cult? Kind of. But they have not done anything to hurt anyone purposely. They are just by themselves on a prehistoric death-planet training and building their numbers— which sounds sketchy. However, since they are not a threat in the Sequel Trilogy, I will assume they are not intent on galactic domination.
The mission is successful. Miraculously, Ragnar is unharmed despite being regurgitated by the flying monster and almost fed to her chicks. The mother, unfortunately, meets a horrible fate for trying to feed her kids by becoming a meal to another giant crocodile. Seriously, why are they on this planet? Is it to sharpen their survival skills? This creature took other Foundlings before, so the price has been hefty.
The three chicks are new Foundlings, and the numbers of the Watch are growing. They now have a Mandalorian Princess, a Jedi-trained Foundling, and three Space Pterodactyls. I do not envy this season’s big bad, who has yet to reveal themselves.
Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, Kid
And just like that, Ahmed Best is back, full force in Star Wars. He was in (sort of) with the Jedi Temple Challenge as Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, aka The Sabered Hand. Master Beq holds off many Clones (voiced by Temuera Morrison) to get Grogu out of Coruscant safely.
Best’s lightsaber skills are top-tier, and I would love to see Beq in more close-range combat. And while the mystery of who helped Grogu escape the Jedi Temple during Order 66 is solved, another one has materialized: who sent a Naboo starfighter to help Beq? The first thought goes to Senator Padme Amidala, who watched the Temple siege from her apartment. But it could also be one of her handmaidens or even Senator Bail Organa calling in a favor. This mystery probably won’t be answered, but speculation is always fun.
Carl Weathers already gave us a theme park-type ride in season two’s “The Siege” with a transport canyon escape, dodging TIE Fighters. Now we can have a high-speed chase through the skies of Coruscant dodging trains. Disney Parks should be taking notes and consider incorporating some of Weather’s action centerpieces into Star Tours (or even an official The Mandalorian ride). Galaxy’s Edge certainly could use another attraction.
Let’s throw that word in the trash when discussing Ahmed Best’s cameo. Redemption implies someone did something wrong, and Ahmed Best did NOTHING wrong in his portrayal of Jar Jar Binks. He took direction from George Lucas, and the character did not connect with most audiences. Adding to the negative media attention and it was a recipe for a downward spiral. Many people have forgotten that Best called out the MEDIA and attributed his suicide attempt solely to toxic fans. I point this out because the media is now throwing up foolish headlines with the word “redemption.” It is not a compliment and is dismissive of what the actor went through. Be better.
Having Best bring Beq to a live-action series must be rewarding on many levels. For one, Lucasfilm let Best craft the character of Beq, including history, mannerisms, and lightsaber color. Unlike Jar Jar, Beq is his own creation (I imagine Beq will get a Black Series or Vintage Collection figure as well). Best also confirmed (although Lucasfilm has not) that Kelleran is related to ANOTHER character that Best portrayed in Attack of the Clones named Achk Med-Beq. Although Med-Beq was not presented as a Jedi or even Force-sensitive, there is another story avenue if Lucasfilm chooses to explore more of the Jedi brothers.
What does this mean for the future of Kelleran Beq? He is on the board as another Jedi that we could see again after Order 66. That he is no longer with Grogu is a bad sign, but there is still a story between his escape and The Mandalorian. I also expect to see both protocol droid AD-3 and astromech LX-R5 by Beq’s side soon.
We are halfway through the season, and this story has no clear direction. That needs to change soon, and an antagonist will help. We have only had creatures trying to eat Mandalorians and an ex-Imperial Officer working for someone else. If it is Moff Gideon, the caped villain needs to grace us with his presence in Chapter 21.
Maybe Ragnar Vizsla should have a permanent babysitter because the kid cannot stop attracting predators. Or he should just stay away from the edge of the water.