Season three of The Mandalorian certainly has been a journey. An odd start with uneven pacing, but all that matters is finishing strong. Luckily, Rick Famuyiwa lands the ship safely and in a satisfying place for the most part.
The episode starts right in the middle of the action (as if the last episode never ended), with Bo-Katan contacting Axe on his way to the fleet to warn him and continuously ramps up the action and stakes. There are also a few moments planted to allow breath-catching, but overall, everyone is on a mission, especially the director, heading to the finish line.
Mandalorians are Stronger Together
Sometimes, a title is just a title (or a biblical reference). Because of the plural “spies” in last week’s title, everyone was speculating who the second spy could be, assuming that there must be one. I even had my own theories and posted that it could be a New Republic spy, R5 (and I wasn’t entirely wrong). Ultimately, no one betrayed the Bo-Katan and crew. Not the Armorer (whom most predicted), not Axe Woves (who looked to be going down with the ship for a moment), and not the Mandalorian Pirates (who spent their time propagating Mandalore and making farms).
There was a death in the finale—a horrible, cruel death but, ultimately, a necessary demise. The Darksaber and its rules have hung over Bo-Katan this season and long before for those who have watched this character in animation. And it has gotten in the way of the Mandalorians uniting to reclaim their homeworld. So, while it was probably shocking for canon junkies to see a weapon thousands of years old get destroyed, it is good writing to symbolize the progression of the Mandalorians.
Gideon destroys the Darksaber because he thinks that is the only thing that matters to her. But Bo-Katan now has a team and a family and does not need the blade. It is a great moment and payoff since the Darksaber was first shown in Moff Gideon’s hand at the end of season one.
The one thing that felt off was Mando needing to take Grogu, his now-official son Din Grogu, off-world and on other missions as his apprentice while everyone else seemingly gets to stay on Mandalore. It felt more like plot convenience, which is not new to Star Wars or this series. So Mando returns to Carson Teva and proposes that the New Republic officer contract him to protect the Outer Rim and track down Imperials. It is what Teva has been concerned about the whole season, so it works out, and Mando might have a reunion with Elia Kane, who is now without Gideon’s instruction. Mando having his home base on Nevarro does keep the planet relevant and keeps Mandalore fairly safe, as other Imperials launching an attack on Mandalore might be too much publicity for them.
For the New Republic being backlogged with requests, their pilots sure have a lot of downtime since the same ones are always at that island bar.
Thanks, But No Thanks, Moff Gideon
I wouldn’t say I like the reveal of what Gideon was cloning, although it tracks, given his ego. And it connects to why he initially wanted Grogu and hid his cloning project from the other remnants. However, Gideon wanting to wield the Force was never made clear until his monologue, which felt like an exposition dump way too late in the season. It was a miss to wait until the penultimate episode for him to appear because his motivations were rushed and relied on memories of specific plot points from previous seasons.
Also, while it is unclear in the script, we can infer that Gideon wanted to wipe Pershing’s memories because he was using the scientist to clone himself and did not want word to get to the other Imperial remnants.
My capacity for clones only extends to the Clone troopers, Boba Fett and Omega. So the room full of Gideons was a big no for me, and I am glad they did not make it out of their pods. Perhaps, I can thank the budget ceiling spent on the action scenes.
Although Gideon’s true motives and end came quickly, it should be the last we see of the series’s main antagonist. At the beginning of the episode, Mando tells Grogu they need to take him out. His demise also closes a chapter for Bo-Katan and her demons of surrendering Mandalore to Gideon. Even though it was set up for Mando and Grogu to take on Gideon, I am glad Bo-Katan also got to confront him.
Moff Gideon tried to take over the remaining factions, but we now know he is the opening act for a more significant Imperial threat. Gideon’s arc is complete. On to Thrawn.
But Back To Rick Famuyiwa
Again, Famuyiwa deserves a Star Wars project. He was elevated to Executive Producer and got to close the season with the penultimate and finale.
He has some of the most unique shot choices. In addition to the best use of the go-pro shots, we have the best aerial jetpack battle in Star Wars (face-on and in the background of the Moff/Mando fight), the first time seeing TIE Interceptors drop like bats in the cave, Mando making his way through guards and shield levels, an overhead the Mandalorian Lightcruser being bombed, and other great fight sequences. There was a lot of greatness here, which is all a credit to Famuyiwa and his team.
Famuyiwa has also written a few episodes, including “The Believer,” last season’s Imperial remnants story that showed the other side of Bill Burr’s Migs Mayfeld.
But we won’t see his directing hand until Ahsoka comes out in August.
Where Do We Go From Here?
We have the rare Star Wars happy ending for this season but Favreau also wrote season four while season three was in post-production. Does this show need a fourth season before the Filoni movie? The ending seemed like a great stopping point for these characters until everyone deals with Thrawn. Bo-Katan and Ahsoka are old friends, and now so are Ahsoka and Mando. With Mando and Grogu working with Carson Teva to track down Imperial remnants, their paths will likely cross, at least with Ahsoka and the Rebel crew.
However, not seeing some of these characters until Filoni’s New Republic film will make it all the more special when they show up. I am sure that won’t happen (and it would make sense for Ahsoka to converse with Bo-Katan if the former Jedi will also be up against Imperial remnants).
And I am happy that we only got a glimpse of the mythosaur and an indication that it will be Grogu who connects with the creature. Perhaps the return of the mythosaur is also being saved for the big screen. I am sure it will be worth the wait.