The Mandalorian Season 3 Finale Review & Recap
The Mandalorian™ is back with an action-packed and satisfying season finale. While it’s not quite as shocking and jaw-dropping as its predecessor, “Chapter 24: The Return” delivers a happy ending for our heroes. There’s something beautiful in its simplicity and directness, too. It could serve as a series finale if we didn’t already know Jon Favreau and his team want to make more seasons.
“Chapter 24: The Return” ties up loose ends more than it creates new threads, but there’s story potential for future seasons. Perhaps we’ll see Din and Grogu™ embark on new adventures when the former trains the latter as his apprentice. Maybe we’ll get domestic hijinks on Nevarro™. Bo-Katan Kryze™ and the Mandalorians™ rebuilding Mandalore™. Who knows? I would love to see more of Din Djarin™ and Din Grogu™. That’s all I know.
Bringing in More Forces
We open with Bo-Katan contacting Axe Woves™, who’s still flying to the Mandalorian fleet orbiting Mandalore. She asks him to evacuate everyone and use the capital ship as a decoy. Their best chance of success is to defeat Moff Gideon’s™ forces on the ground. After Bo-Katan loses her connection with Axe, she and the Mandalorians encounter more of Moff Gideon’s augmented Dark Troopers. Naturally, the Mandalorians prevail. Did we expect anything different, even from this little skirmish?
Meanwhile, Din battles his captors after Gideon ordered them to take him to the interrogation room. Grogu appears with IG-12™ and helps his dad recover after defeating said captors. Din asks Grogu to be brave for him because the only way they’ll survive is if they kill Gideon here and now. No more running. Grogu is forever his papa’s brave boy.
Mando reaches out to Bo-Katan and informs her of his status. She urges him to stay safe. Gideon’s troops take to the skies to destroy the Mandalorian fleet while Moff Gideon learns about Din’s escape. Putting on his beskar™ helmet, he vows to take care of our Mando himself. Ominous! Next, Din asks R5-D4™ to give him the coordinates to Moff Gideon’s command center. R5, our scared little guy, encounters a pesky mouse droid but still honors Din’s request.
Axe makes it to the capital ship, where he orders the Mandalorians to evacuate and help Bo-Katan on the planet itself. Then, Axe remains on board the vessel to ensure it acts as a proper decoy for the fast-approaching Imperial troops. Suddenly, the enemy starts blasting at the capital ship. Here’s hoping Axe doesn’t die amid their incessant attacks.
Once Din and Grogu reach the outside of the command center, Din asks R5 for another favor: to deactivate the various barrier shields between them and the command center. While R5 does this, Din engages in another fight with Gideon’s troopers, while Grogu remains behind until the coast is clear. R5’s mouse droid buddy returns with a mini fleet to harass their newfound enemy. Thankfully, R5 completes the tasks and flies away.
Next, Din and Grogu discover Gideon’s clones. After giving Grogu a nice jumpscare when one of them opens his eyes, Din destroys the clones. We don’t need more Gideons running around the galaxy.
It’s How We Survive
Meanwhile, the survivor captain and his partner take Bo-Katan and the Mandalorians to an underground cave full of flourishing flora. The captain reveals they planted farms with species indigenous to Mandalore. Life persisted even after the planet was abandoned. It’s a beautiful sentiment. The Armorer™ contacts Bo-Katan and reveals she’s en route with the Mandalorian fleet to battle Gideon’s troopers. So, Bo-Katan and the others fly out of the underground gardens for one last fight.
Then, The Armorer and Bo-Katan reunite in the air for an epic aerial battle between the Mandalorians and Imperial troopers. Bo-Katan unleashes the Darksaber™ while The Armorer whips out her hammer. There’s something inherently badass about watching these two fight against troopers in the sky, not with guns but with a sword and a hammer. This scene is a feast for the eyes.
An Unstoppable Army
Later, Din reunites with Moff Gideon, who’s none too pleased that our Mando killed his clones. Gideon hoped to harness the one thing he doesn’t have power over — the Force. He wanted to create a Force-wielding clone army. Well, too bad, so sad. Gideon’s Praetorian Guard™ barges in to meet Din on the metallic battlefield. Admittedly, they look better here than in The Last Jedi™. Grogu doesn’t like watching his papa struggle. Eventually, the Praetorian Guard abandons Din to chase Grogu. Din attempts to immobilize the Guard, but Gideon steps in and lays the smackdown on Mando.
Meanwhile, the Praetorian Guard takes IG-12 out of the equation, so Grogu faces his enemies alone. He tries to evade their attacks by flipping through the air. You know, standard green baby stuff. Din struggles in his fight against Gideon. Thankfully, reinforcements are on the way…
Guess Who’s Back?
Bo-Katan arrives on the scene, armed with her Darksaber. She encourages Din to rescue Grogu. While Din defeats the Praetorian Guard with the assistance of Grogu’s Force-wielding abilities, Bo-Katan squares off against Gideon. He wants the Darksaber back and will do anything to obtain it. The fight choreography is solid here. Meanwhile, Axe informs Bo-Katan that he’s crashing the now-blazing capital ship into Gideon’s base on Mandalore. Will he go down with the literal ship?
Unfortunately, Gideon mangles the Darksaber, seemingly beyond repair. He whips off Bo-Katan’s helmet. With her weakened, Gideon looks to strike. However, Mandalorians are stronger together. Enter Din and Grogu, fresh off their victory against the Praetorian Guard. Now, Gideon is outnumbered. While our trio battles Gideon, the capital ship crashes into Gideon’s base, utterly demolishing it. Thankfully, Axe jumped out before the ship made impact.
A Fiery Exit
The flames from the ship’s explosion engulf Gideon. He’s toast(ed). Bo-Katan employs her shield, but it’s not nearly enough to encompass the trio. Miraculously, Grogu uses the Force to manipulate the fire, bending it around them. He’s a powerful little dude. After the flames from the explosion vanish, Grogu plops down on the ground. He’s all tuckered out. I don’t blame him.
Later, we see The Armorer complete Ragnar’s™ Mandalorian initiation ritual from the season premiere episode in front of the Living Waters™. Din brings Grogu in the hopes of having him complete it as well. However, Grogu is still too young to speak; therefore, he cannot recite the Creed™. He’ll remain a foundling. Din wonders if he can make Grogu his apprentice. The Armorer reveals he’ll need the permission of Grogu’s parents, and they don’t know if his parents are even alive. That’s when Din adopts Grogu. He wants it written in the Song.
The Armorer accepts this and makes it so. Now, Grogu is Din’s adopted son and his apprentice. I’m not crying; you are. This is only the first time Din has referred to Grogu as such instead of “my ward.” Grogu is hereby known as “Din Grogu.” Meanwhile, Grogu spots the Mythosaur™ chilling in the depths of the Living Waters. I’d like to think the Mythosaur approves.
Bo-Katan reignites the Great Forge in front of the Mandalorians. Axe shouts, “For Mandalore!” which gives rise to a chorus of chants from his Mandalorian comrades. Mandalore is back, baby! Meanwhile, The Armorer urges Din to take his apprentice Grogu on adventures. Their first stop? A visit with Captain Carson Teva™ on the Adelphi Base™. If you look closely at the cantina Din and Grogu enter, you’ll see none other than Dave Filoni as Trapper Wolf™. He’s even donning a hat.
Teva and Mando chat while Grogu notices a droid head resembling the fallen IG-12. Din asks Teva to employ him and Grogu as bounty hunters for the New Republic. Well, for select missions, that is. Din’s a father, after all. Oh, and it’s gotta be off the books. The New Republic doesn’t need to know about it. Din will only require a small stipend and perhaps an advance. The advance in question? That droid head. Teva agrees to Din’s terms.
Make Yourself at Home
Later, Din and Grogu arrive on Nevarro with a gift for Greef Karga™: a new marshal. Turns out Din had the Anzellans™ reassemble IG-11™, who greets the crowd as the new Marshal of Nevarro. Greef is overcome with joy and gifts Mando his new cabin on the outskirts of the city.
Now, at last, Din puts his feet up outside his new home. He watches his little green son make a frog levitate with his Force abilities. All is right in the galaxy (for now). This is an introvert’s dream.
The Mandalorian Season 3 — and Season 4?
“Chapter 24: The Return” is a nice cap on a somewhat uneven season. The Mandalorian takes big creative swings for its third season. Sometimes, the creative team’s efforts yielded fruit. Other times, they didn’t quite pan out. While I enjoyed the inclusion of familiar Star Wars™ faces in a live-action format and the introduction of new worlds/creatures in a bid to expand galactic lore, I missed the intimacy of the first two seasons. We didn’t get a lot of Din/Grogu relationship development in season 3.
Thankfully, the season finale makes up for that, especially with Din finally recognizing Grogu as his son and adopting him. I wonder if season 4 will return to a more intimate scope of storytelling since Din helped take back Mandalore. Now, he has a homeworld to revisit whenever he likes, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the focus. I think this season’s overall theme of community and unity catalyzed Din to adopt Grogu, so it served a purpose in that regard.
Villains in the Shadows
Maybe, with Moff Gideon out of the way, we’ll see Elia Kane™ and the Shadow Council™ resurface. There’s still Project Necromancer™ and the Empire’s endeavor to resurrect Palpatine™ to contend with. Plenty of narrative fodder for our Mando. Side note: I’ll miss seeing Giancarlo Esposito here. He’s such a formidable, imposing presence as Gideon. He’s captivating even with little screen time.
Here’s hoping we get a season 4 greenlight soon. For now, I’ll stick to rewatching the show to get my Space Dad/Space Son fill.
Did you enjoy The Mandalorian? Join the conversation alongside other Star Wars fans in our Let Your Spoiler Sideshow: Star Wars Facebook Group, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!