To say that The Mandalorian season 3 has too many cooks in the kitchen is not an understatement by now. The series is not only trying to tell a self-contained story, that of The Mandalorian and Grogu, but also trying to make sense of everything that happened socially and politically in the aftermath of the Galactic Civil War, what led to the rise of the First Order and the events of the sequel trilogy, and so much more.
It’s been surprising, though, that despite the show being consistent with what the previous seasons delivered (and definitely upping the game from the majority of The Book of Boba Fett), there is more online backlash than usual. The writing for The Mandalorian has never been stellar, let’s be honest about that; it’s been mostly competent writing that asks the audience for patience and in the meantime, feeds them what they want.
Chapter 20 of The Mandalorian is titled “The Foundling”, and much like in previous entries of the season, the title applies to several characters at once. The main two are Grogu and Bo-Katan, who get equally-important storylines in the mostly uneven episode. As many speculated after director Carl Weathers confirmed the name of the episode over the weekend, and saw that Dave Filoni was co-writing it, we find out who saved Grogu from the Jedi Temple. And as most of us theorized following the ending of Chapter 19, we get to see Bo-Katan being integrated into the Children of the Watch, Din Djarin’s Mandalorian cult.
Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian Chapter 20, “The Foundling”
The episode has been out for a bit, so I’ll go through my spoiler-free thoughts quickly and expand upon them later, as most of our readers will have probably seen it by now. The episode was a good-but-not-great entry in the series, yet another side adventure that we’ve seen a million times that will push the characters forward, but will not exactly move the overall narrative.
Think of it as Rick Famuyiwa’s Chapter 2 of this season, an enjoyable ride that needed two more passes on the script and upon which we’ll reflect later on to realize how much work was done. Carl Weathers upped the game on the director’s chair from what he was able to do in his season 2 episode. And most importantly, the floodgates are now open for the second half of the season to deliver plenty of good and exciting twists and turns.
Before going any further, please be advised of major spoilers being discussed for the remainder of this article. If you do not wish to have anything spoiled for you, I advise that you leave now and continue reading after watching this episode.
How Grogu was saved by Jar Jar Binks… sort of
The co-protagonist of this episode was Grogu, who received his first training lesson from Din during the cold open. The puppet may not be ready to do flips, but that was definitely hilarious. I understand that many will be put off by how odd it looked, and I’ve already had conversations with people wishing they would CGI him when he’s doing these movements, but I am just delighted every time they get extra weird with Grogu.
Another interesting detail is how he changed clothes off-screen, as the robes he was wearing had paint all over them from the duel. How many robes does that carrier have? Can he change his clothes by himself, or does Din help him? I’ve so many questions, yet I fear the answer will be something boring like “the paint just disappears after a few minutes”.
But after the other storyline is set in motion (which we’ll get to later), Grogu gets the next piece of her armor. And while the Armorer forges it, we as an audience get a flashback to season 1 (when Din used to see relive his most traumatic memory while the Armorer was upgrading his gear), and Grogu gets a flashback to his Order 66 days. One of the big questions since the beginning of the series has been what happened to The Child during the Jedi Purge?
More details were added to that later when we learned in The Book of Boba Fett that Grogu was in the Jedi Temple when Anakin and his Clones stormed in to kill all the Jedi. The question was then reformulated — who rescued Grogu from the Jedi Temple?
Well, many bets were placed, but I don’t think Jar Jar Binks was up on many people’s lists… Of course, that wasn’t exactly Jar Jar Binks, but rather the actor who played the character, Ahmed Best. Best, who has a rocky history with the Star Wars fandom after the backlash against the prequels turned to him in the early 00s, making him even suicidal, came back in the biggest way possible, to save the galaxy’s most beloved character as of late. He played a Jedi named Kelleran Beq, whom he’d already played in a Star Wars Kids game show titled “Jedi Temple Challenge”.
The story may not be complete yet, as Grogu was taken out of the Jedi Temple, but there is still a lot to be said about him. Much like Din’s flashback kept evolving in season 1, we may revisit Grogu’s early days later this season, and possibly find out who took him from Kelleran’s hands. For now, speculation points to someone Naboo-related, as both the ship and the soldiers we saw in the sequence were from Queen Amidala’s planet.
My money has always been on Barriss Offee, a character from The Clone Wars with deep ties to Ahsoka, as that might directly tie both The Mandalorian and her spin-off series together. But I was wrong the first time, so everything is possible now (even Jar Jar Binks himself!).
A rocky plotline in The Mandalorian Chapter 20
Getting into the more negative side of the episode, the main Mandalorian storyline was very thin, and yet it was The Mandalorian at its very core — a side adventure that doesn’t exactly add a lot to the main plot but that moves the characters’ arcs forward; in this case, it was Bo-Katan. Din took a step back this time, to the point that we got a closer connection to Paz Vizsla than we did to the title character. Bo seems to be embracing her found family as much as Katee Sackhoff is embracing the co-lead of the season (despite the fact that we don’t really get to see a lot of helmet-off Katee).
There are a lot of small plot holes and overall question marks around this quest (how many fights against a giant monster do we have to go through before the series gets just boring?), but we’ll leave that part of the argument for more negativity-filled sides of the Internet. I will add, though, that this was the perfect episode for Carl Weathers to direct — it was similar to Chapter 12, which he also helmed, but asked him to push his skills a bit further, which is exactly what you want out of a second-time director on the series. Both Bryce Dallas Howard and Dave Filoni went through the same process in previous seasons. Weathers did a great job.
The episode confirmed that Bo-Katan is lost in the galaxy at the moment, and found a place to gather her thoughts in the Children of the Watch. I doubt she will stay with them forever (in fact, I suspect that within the next couple of episodes, she and Din will initiate a quest to look for more Mandalorians and retake the planet). But she’s haunted by the Mythosaur vision at the end of Chapter 18, and that will definitely play a huge role in the season moving forward.
Looking ahead at next week’s episode, though, some interesting questions are raised. I suspect we’ll be getting Moff Gideon’s escape from the New Republic prison cell he’s locked in, and we’ll be meeting with Katy O’Brian and Dr. Pershing once more. But I think it’s going to be intercut with more Din/Bo-Katan stuff, so we’ll be getting the best of both worlds. The first half of the season, which we’ve now concluded, was an interesting setup for what could be a banger second half; but if it doesn’t deliver, it could fall apart even more. Everything rests now on what will be coming next.
Stay tuned for more Mandalorian reviews when new episodes drop, and make sure to let us know your thoughts on our social media. Did you enjoy the episode? Were you also a bit disappointed by the Bo-Katan storyline, or did you enjoy it a bit more than I did? How excited were you to see Ahmed Best in the Jedi robes saving Grogu? Do you think the second half of the season will be better? Send us your thoughts! For more content like this, follow our social media, we’re always watching.