Season 3 of The Mandalorian concluded on Wednesday with the release of Chapter 24, titled “The Return”.
A lot of the conversation surrounding this current season has been focused on the lower overall quality when compared to the previous two; I would argue, however, that while it didn’t reach the heights of season 2, it’s been quite similar to the first season.
Let’s be honest, the writing on the show has never been great; season 1 was a big surprise for everyone and we rallied behind it because it had some cool surprises and an interesting plot thread that asked the audience to relax and enjoy the ride. Some episodes were quite good, but there were others whose scripts really needed two or three more passes.
The same has been true for the third season, and in many ways, the finale of season 3 mirrors that of season 1. It was a very enjoyable episode that wrapped up the storylines set up by the episodes prior, but it did so in a safe way, without taking big narrative risks.
Rick Famuyiwa, who directs his third episode this season, continued his strong work with Chapter 23 (quite frankly, his two best episodes of the series by a long shot), masterfully shooting several set pieces and being able to stitch together a narrative that could have very well felt all over the place.
The Mandalorian Chapter 24 Overall Thoughts (No spoilers)
Chapter 24 has many enjoyable moments, but perhaps the biggest takeaway is that the focus of the story finally goes back to Din and Grogu. While we do spend time with Bo-Katan, the Armorer, Axe Woves, and the rest of the Mandalorians, the confrontation between Din, Grogu, and Moff Gideon takes center stage.
At the same time, for a season that has lacked an overall cohesive arc for the title character of the series, it seems odd to end it this way, which is one of the few reasons why this feels like an odd season finale. (As we get into the third act, the argument could even be made that it feels like a series finale, but to a degree so did the final episode of season 2.)
The big flaw, though, continues to be the scripts. The season of The Mandalorian has been uneven, not because some episodes have been better than others, but because there has been so much shifting between perspectives. Some plot lines have received a lot of screen time and little payoff, while others needed a lot more time to breathe. The dialogue continues to be questionable, at best, with Gideon channeling once again his best impression of a James Bond villain by giving away his entire plan through shameless levels of exposition.
The Mandalorian Chapter 24 Spoiler Discussion
There was a lot of noise surrounding this episode, elevated for the most part by Star Wars Celebration, where the previous one debuted and where some of the people involved in the series started hyping it up. Even Brendan Wayne, who is one of the two people that wears the Mandalorian suit on set, said that the last episode “might just hurt too much”. Well, it’s unclear exactly what we should have expected from the episode, but it definitely missed a lot of surprises and hardly hurt at all.
Not that we should hold the cast and crew’s comments against what the episode had to offer, but it definitely highlighted that the series could benefit from a big twist here and there.
Despite the levels of secrecy Lucasfilm/Jon Favreau are obsessed with about the plots of their shows, it seems like they understand by surprise a big fan-favorite cameo that will be enough to keep the hype going for another week. But The Mandalorian season 3 has felt like a straightforward story for the most part. We want to retake Mandalore, as it turns out it’s not cursed as we thought. Let’s unite all Mandalorians (or, you know, two dozen of them) and do it.
The biggest twist that happened was that the villains were waiting for them, which was actually a cool twist that should have set up an even bigger one — how did they get there? Do we really believe the Mandalorians that were living two blocks away hadn’t heard of the huge Imperial factory that is occupying one of their most sacred places?
There are still some very cool moments, though. A fight between Mandalorians and Beskar-wearing stormtroopers in the middle of the air was a very cool idea, and Famuyiwa did the best he could to not make it feel completely chaotic. The entrance by the Praetorian guards into the fight was extremely cool as well, and they made me feel for a second like something could happen to Grogu and/or Din, which is what you want from a fight scene in which one of the main characters is in danger.
The third act of the episode was where the biggest surprises were. The Darksaber is no more, and it’s clear that the Mandalorians will now have to turn to whoever is riding the Mythosaur to find their leader. Grogu is now called Din Grogu, despite the fact that every father-child Mandalorian relationship so far has inherited the last name (Sabine Wren, Paz Vizsla, Boba Fett, etc.) instead of the first.
Din is also retired and waiting for Rangers of the New Republic to happen (hint: if so, he may retire on that chair). And the Mandalorians have found a new place to live. There are no bad guys anymore, and they are seemingly in peace, for however long that will last.
All in all, we’ve been wondering all season long what is going to happen with the giant Mythosaur that is bathing under the Living Waters, and it seems like Favreau is still playing the long game. This is fine, because The Mandalorian season 4 is surely going to deal with it, but a bit of a waste of potential given how uneven the season was and how it could have been slightly restructured to make room for bigger character arcs.
The third episode felt satisfying when it aired because it acknowledged and gave new relevance to so many loose ends from previous seasons, but the truth is that season 3 could have done without it and we wouldn’t have missed a bit. Instead of hinting at more cloning storylines, it only acted as setup for two or three throwaway lines by Moff Gideon.
And while I was not expecting the third season to set up any future spin-off series (that’s not what we are here for, I want to enjoy what I’m watching right now instead of worrying about the future), it seems like a waste of potential to introduce the Shadow Council in the previous episode and not bring it back to discuss how to move forward without Moff Gideon. We know that The Mandalorian season 4 is going into production later this year, but the truth is that the series could wrap up here and I would be very happy about it.
What did you think of The Mandalorian Chapter 24? Did you also enjoy it but wish the season would have been more focused overall? Are you looking forward to a fourth season or do you think they should wrap it up here? What do you think will happen next? Let us know on our social media, and stay tuned for more Star Wars content!