By all accounts, that was not the series finale of The Mandalorian. Oh sure, it wrapped up (almost) every ongoing storyline, the big villain was (apparently) vanquished, and the last shot was almost as definitively “This Is The End” as Indiana Jones literally riding into the sunset at the end of The Last Crusade (though that was also not The End, so maybe that’s an even more apt comparison than I thought), but no. Jon Favreau has already confirmed that a fourth season of The Mandalorian will happen, and we have Dave Filoni’s crossover movie coming at some point as well. So no, this is not the last we’ll see of Din Djarin and the newly christened Din Grogu, but…I wouldn’t be too upset if it were.
You can see the trajectory that all of the characters are on after this point. You know who’s going to do what next. The only lingering mysteries left are way in the past and won’t really impact the present day anyway. I’d be happy to see more, but I don’t really need to, so hopefully Filoni and Favreau know what they’re doing with Ahsoka and their other upcoming projects.
But as for this episode, it kicks off immediately after the events of last week, with Din Djarin getting captured by Moff Gideon’s new Mandalorian-style soldiers and Bo-Katan retreating with the other Mandalorians. Din easily escapes his captors with a pretty brutal fight scene that involves him stabbing one in the stomach and snapping the other’s neck (reminder that these are definitely people and not droids, unlike last season’s Dark Troopers), and then Grogu shows up in his IG-12 mech suit for backup. Meanwhile, Bo sends Axe Woves ahead to warn the fleet that Gideon’s TIE Fighters are coming, telling him to abandon their flagship as a decoy and just bring everyone to the planet’s surface, and he uses his jetpack to fly into space (wild!).
Back on Mandalore, Din and Grogu try to track down Gideon, reasoning that if they let him live he’ll just keep doing evil stuff. They call up R5-D4 and ask him to hack into the base’s computer and find Gideon’s lair, setting up a bunch of cute astromech shenanigans, like R5 peering over the edge of a bottomless chasm and getting scared, or R5 getting harassed by a herd of Imperial Mouse Droids. Give this guy a spin-off, Filoni! Call it Bad Motivator!
Din eventually gets to the laser-walled hallway that we saw last week, and while the nods to The Phantom Menace are obvious, it was a pretty neat gimmick for a fight scene. Each section of the hallway was blocked by the walls, so Din would fight two guards at each one, loot their weapons, and then move on to the next section and its slightly better-equipped guards. It was very video game, in a good way. Din constantly losing his weapons was also a nice thread in the early part of this episode, and I loved the quick little shot of him stabbing a trooper in the throat and then desperately trying to pull the knife out before the guy fell down a pit.
Next is Gideon’s room of clone pods, all of which obviously contain clones of him (one dramatically opens its eyes when Grogu gets close!), and Din hits the “destroy all clones” button on a nearby computer console to blow up the pods. Gideon is pissed that he labeled that button so clearly, and when Din and Grogu find him in the next room, he—once again—lays out his evil plan: He wanted to clone himself, but make it so the clones could use the Force! Yeah guy, we know. We’ve been watching the show.
Din and Gideon fight, Gideon calls in the Praetorian Guards and gets the upper hand, Grogo runs in hammering his “No” button, and the guards decide to go kill him instead in another room, leaving him and Din separated. The Guards shred the IG-12 mech suit (R.I.P.), and Grogu uses his Force jumps to dart around the room like the little scamp he is.
Meanwhile, the other Mandalorians have escaped to the surface, with Axe Woves staying behind to control their ship as it gets blown apart by TIEs. The Mandalorian survivors who had been living on Mandalore show Bo and her people an underground cave full of plant life, revealing that they’ve been able to grow farms on the planet—something Bo had never seen, even before the Imperial Purge destroyed their civilization.
The Mandalorians rally and go back to Gideon’s base, with everyone zipping around on jetpacks. Ideally, this could’ve been like the perfect blend of a spaceship battle and a boots-on-the-ground shootout, but there are so many jetpack people on both sides that it was hard to really track a ton of the action. Back on the ground, though, Bo sees that Din is in trouble and drops in to help him, sending him to go rescue Grogu, who is about to be killed by the Guards. Din comes in at the last second, and together they’re able to kill the bad guys thanks to Grogu’s use of the Force.
At the same time, Gideon is about to beat Bo-Katan and uses the superior strength of his Dark Trooper suit to crush her hand and destroy the Darksaber. He quips that Mandalorians aren’t so tough when you take away their toys, but Bo reminds him of one of the themes of his season: “Mandalorians are stronger together.” Din rushes in and shoots him just as Axe arrives in the crashing Star Destroyer. He tells everybody he’s going to ram it into the base and blow it up, but Bo and Din and Grogu don’t have time to escape. Gideon screams and angrily throws his hands in the air as he’s consumed by the explosion, and our three heroes all die.
No, just kidding! Grogu uses the force to shield them all in a bubble like Groot in the first Guardians Of The Galaxy, and the strain of it tuckers the little guy out so much that he has to take an adorable sit when he’s done. Little guy needs a nap! Let him nap, Dave Filoni! God damn!
And that’s it! Good guys win! The rest of the episode is all post-adventure wrap-up, with the Mandalorians relighting the Great Forge at the heart of their planet (Axe Woves is there, somehow surviving the crash) and The Armorer welcoming Paz’s son Ragnar into the Creed by bathing him in the Living Waters beneath the Civic Center. Din shows up and asks her to make Grogu his apprentice, rather than just a baby foundling, and she says no because Grogu can’t speak and therefore can’t take the necessary oath. Din says that doesn’t matter if Grogu’s parents speak for him and announces that he’s going to formally adopt Grogu as his son. Like with Gideon’s speech, was this not already established? People, including Bo-Katan, have been referring to Grogu as Din’s kid for a long time now, so it was odd that the show treated like this a huge moment.
Either way, The Armorer agrees and rechristens Grogu as Din Grogu and names him Din Djarin’s official apprentice. But, she notes, that means they now have to leave Mandalore and go on more galaxy-spanning adventures, maybe once-a-week for eight weeks, meeting fascinating and unusual characters along the way who are played by surprising guest stars. It’s basically the in-universe version of “here’s some money, go see a Star War,” and I love the directness of it. She literally just sends them off to have serialized adventures somewhere else. The perfect ending for this show.
But it keeps going, Return Of The King-style, to make sure there are as many endings as possible. Din and Grogu track down Teva at the beachy New Republic base and tell him about their new “go have adventures” mission, and Din offers up his skills as a bounty hunter to the New Republic so he can help them clear out any other Imperial remnants hanging around. Grogu spots the head of an IG assassin droid hung up on the wall, and Din says he wants to keep it as an advance on his fee.
The gang then flies back to Nevarro, and Greef Karga explain that they can hang out on the plot of land outside of town “between adventures” (he literally says that!), and Din presents him with a gift: the reconstructed IG-11, now fully operational since they were able to get the parts they needed from the other head. Remember that storyline? I thought they abandoned it!
Finally, Din and Grogu relax at their little house, complete with a nice tree and a patio where Din can kick up his feet and chill out, watching as Grogu plays with a frog at a nearby pond. Everyone’s happy (except the frog). Everyone has achieved their goals. Another perfect ending for the show. Or not, because The Mandalorian is getting a fourth season.
- This was largely an aimless season of The Mandalorian, but I enjoyed the ride. I don’t think any of it was necessarily bad, but it feels a little like they stretched out a somewhat slight and straightforward story to fill out the whole season. I would say, then, that things probably would’ve been more propulsive if the story of Din and Grogu reuniting had happened on this show rather than Book Of Boba Fett. It also would’ve made Grogu’s extensive Force-use in this episode feel more like a character beat—like he has grown and learned since we last saw him—than just a plot point.
- It was pointed out to me that last week’s episode title, “The Spies,” may have been a reference to the story of the The Twelve Spies, in which a group of Israelites explore the desert to find a new home after leaving Egypt—you know, like the Mandalorians were doing. Seeing as how there were no spies in the traditional sense, I’m going to admit that the title was a smart reference that totally went over my head.
- This episode never went back to Elia Kane on Coruscant, so we know Gideon still has an agent working for the New Republic. I don’t really care about that, but I am disappointed that it didn’t resolve the story of Kelleran Beq, so we don’t still don’t really know how Grogu survived Order 66.
- There was also no post-credits stinger like there was last season, when they revealed The Book Of Boba Fett for the first time.
- With a heavy sigh, given the playful one-sided feud the two of us have had ever since he started taking over Star Wars, I must acknowledge that one of the pilots in the background at the New Republic base was obviously Mandalorian co-creator Dave Filoni. He was wearing his cowboy hat and everything. Dave, I know we’ve had our differences and I’m the only person in the world who hates your reliance on ancient Jedi temples with access to outrageous fantasy magic (Star Wars: Rebels has TIME TRAVEL and nobody talks about that in any other Star Wars story), but all will be forgiven if you make that show about R5-D4.
- Like a lot of people, I’ve had a shaky relationship with Star Wars since... December of 2019 or so, but I had fun with this. I hope you did too! I’ll always love this dumb universe, with its 5o-year-old babies and ancient cult of warriors who often get their butts kicked by space-gorillas, and The Mandalorian is still some of the best Star Wars around. This is the Way.