Well, that’s all folks. The latest season of The Mandalorian has come to an end. And, once again, the Mandalorian-turned-dad and adorable Grogu will have to face the evil leader of what’s left of the Empire. Though the storytelling of this season has had uneven patches, The Mandalorian 3×08 is a compelling episode to finish this part of Din and Grogu’s journey.
The entire time Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) has known Grogu, the child of the same species as Yoda, he has been protecting him from Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). Gideon wanted the little green guy for sinister scientific experiments because of his Force sensitivity. Though it was a difficult process, Gideon was captured by the New Republic in the second season finale. Fans got an unpleasant surprise earlier this season when we found out that Gideon escaped from his prison transport. We know that Gideon will cause problems for Din and Grogu again. He has been too relentless in his goal to use Grogu, so another confrontation was inevitable. That happened in the last episode, and Gideon got enough of an upper hand to capture Din in his base on Mandalore.
What follows makes The Mandalorian 3×08 a good episode in a lot of ways, and it is certainly one of the highlights of a season that has had its share of flawed story details.
“All they need is room to grow.”
First things first. Din needs to get free of a couple of Dark Troopers marching him toward interrogation. With a bit of Grogu’s help, he does so. Then he decides it’s time to face Gideon and end things once and for all. Din’s ability at hand-to-hand combat is adeptly displayed in these scenes. He also discovers a stomach-turning development: Gideon was cloning himself. He wanted an unstoppable army with Beskar armor and the Force. That was supposed to be Grogu’s contribution. But Din destroys the clones. Which is good because they are fully grown, meaning they look like Gideon, and they are just creepy. They even frighten Grogu!
Meanwhile, Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and the other Mandalorians regroup for another attack on the underground Imperial base. The other Mandalorians who have been waiting in orbit arrive just in time. They meet the Imperial Troopers (who, remember, have jet packs now too) in the air…yep, IN the air. They battle in mid-air and it’s quite a visually dynamic sequence. Bo and the Armorer (Emily Swallow) really take the lead and do Mandalore proud. Without their efforts, Din’s circumstances would be even more dire.
“It’s a good deal and you know it.”
That’s not to say Din has it easy because he does not. His showdown with Gideon and his Praetorian Guards is as tough as you’d expect. Grogu helps as much as he can from within the IG droid and then with the Force. It’s frustrating to watch the bad guy winning a fight but here it’s especially galling. Din had a much easier time besting Gideon in the second season finale. Did the Beskar armor make THAT much of a difference? This continues when Bo arrives to help. While Din takes out the Praetorians who are after Grogu, she has just as hard a time against Gideon. His fighting is so much better, it makes me side-eye the writers a bit. He even breaks the Darksaber!
Din is impressive against the Praetorians, and Grogu’s Force assists are icing on the cake. However, Bo needs help now, with the Darksaber gone. Luckily, the tide turns against Gideon for good. Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides) has directed the biggest ship in the Mandalorian’s fleet, which is crashing, toward the Imperial base. He and the rest of the Mandalorians escape the impact but Gideon is not so lucky. The base is destroyed in a raging fireball, and so is he. And Grogu’s Force shield surrounding him and Din and Bo is a memorable visual.
“This is the Way.”
Now, the Mandalorians can truly reclaim their home, in every way. Factions that had previously been at odds have just been on the same side in a battle against a common enemy. Their planet is also more capable of sustaining life than anyone expected. It is really a new beginning for them.
The first thing they do is visit the Living Waters under Mandalore, where new Mandalorians can be baptized into the Creed. Din wants Grogu to become his apprentice, but the Armorer says he’s too young to speak the Creed. Since a parent could approve Grogu becoming an apprentice, Din formally adopts Grogu. Yes, FINALLY! He’s always been Space Dad, of course, but it’s nice to see it happen officially.
Apparently, it is Mandalorian tradition for apprentices to be taken away from Mandalore. And Din has a tract of land just waiting for him on Nevarro from Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). He also lets New Republic captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee) know that he’s willing to work for them on a case-by-case basis. Just try to stop me from watching those adventures! Though certain elements of the writing this season could have been much tighter, The Mandalorian 3×08 capitalizes on good action and strong emotion for a satisfying end to the season.
The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney Plus.
Excellent review. Can’t wait for the new season!!!