Come one, come all, fans of The Mandalorian. Each Wednesday morning, we’re breaking down the newest episode, from the best Grogu closed-captioning moment, to what’s going on with the latest friends and foes in Mando’s redemption arc, to what it all means for the rest of the galaxy far, far away. Pop on The Mandalorian theme and dive in. This is the way.
“Chapter 24: The Return”
Disney+’s Cryptic Plot Summary: The Mandalorian and his allies confront their enemies.
Main Players: Mando, Grogu, Bo-Katan Kryze, and Moff Gideon—plus his clones!
Director: Rick Famuyiwa, who gets behind the Mandalorian camera for the sixth time. This group of Star Wars directors needs green jackets, a la the Saturday Night Live! five-timers club.
Can’t-Miss Star Wars Easter Egg: Dave Filoni casually hanging out at the bar, watching Captain Teva and Mando wheel and deal.
Best Grogu Closed-Caption Moment: [Chewing.]
You Did Good, Kid
At long last, The Mandalorian let Chef Grogu cook. It’s been a while. After forcing the kiddo to sit on the sidelines for most of the season, The Mandalorian finale puts Grogu in a multitude of dastardly situations: The Red Guard trying to buzz-buzz him out of existence! Meanie Moff making moves to kill dad! It’s fun as heck watching Grogu waddle out of trouble, use the Force to remind you about his summer at Luke Skywalker’s camp, and protect his friends from flames. (Again!) The Mandalorian, as always, is at its best when it remembers that Mando and Grogu are the beating heart of this story—and not the dude who spontaneously decides to torpedo all his friends with a giant spaceship.
The Clone Wars, Part Two
So… after three seasons of building up Moff Gideon as this cool, rebellious Imperial baddie, this is how his story ends? Apparently, Moff was trying to clone himself the whole time. Mando stumbles into the room where Moff is growing all of the clone Moffs, and drowns them all. Dark! This evidently pisses Moff off to the point of wanting to fight Mando to the death—which they do. Of course, Mando wins, and a ball of flames engulf poor space Giancarlo. (But you have to imagine that he was protected, if need be, by all that Beskar armor—should Disney need Giancarlo Esposito’s talents again. This is what announcing a massive, big-screen team-up movie will do to your story.)
Home Sweet Home
Well, it’s not exactly the journey we expected in Season Three, but the destination is all the same: The Mandalorians return to Mandalore. Bo-Katan Kryze lost the Darksaber in the process—there goes that storyline!—but she restored her family’s glory, nonetheless. It feels like Disney is setting up the crew on Mandalore to function similarly to how the Wakandans were relegated to backup army duty in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, i.e. a powerful, gadget-wielding group of people to take out any and every disposable goon. Bo-Katan Kryze ignites the Mandalorian Forge, and we say goodbye to them. For now.
House Hunters: Galaxy Edition
Din Djarin and his young son of mysterious origin, Grogu, need a one-bedroom cabin—preferably, with a frog pool—to serve as a home base for their adventures. Is The Mandalorian-HGTV crossover audience that small? Fine. After the big battle, The Armorer agrees to promote wee Grogu from foundling to apprentice and officially let Mando adopt the kid as his son, Grogu Djarin. It’s a sweet moment. The two jet over to the bar that Captain Teva apparently never leaves, where Mando asks the man if he can start wiping out Imperial remnants for the New Republic as an “independent contractor.” Teva doesn’t agree, necessarily, but Mando takes it as a yes. This season ends with Mando and Grogu settling into the Nevarro cabin that Greef Karga promised them. Peace at last.
Official Grogu Metric Rating™
Six Grogus out of ten. Let me say this: I respect Jon Favreau and co. resisting shared-universe-cameo-post-credits-scene disease with this finale. I wasn’t looking for Luke to crash another party! Just remember how Season Two ended. The shot of an unmasked Pedro Pascal and Grogu—which meant something. We didn’t need some expository he’s my son now! to know that Mando had love for the kid. The Moff Gideon fight in that episode felt like more than a tussle between the good and the bad guys. The Darksaber changed hands. We were left with the promise that Boba Fett’s story was going… somewhere. That was all satisfying enough—medicine during the first holiday-season wave of the pandemic—even without Luke Skywalker. It was a story of fathers and sons, and the creeping, terrifying responsibility of just being good. Star Wars at its best.
The Season Three finale? It looked a lot like WandaVision‘s dueling CGI blows. (Which looked a lot like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s action-toy finale. Which looked a lot like The Book of Boba Fett‘s ending, where everyone met in the town square and things went boom.) Mando and Grogu’s character development? It’s a dilution of their Season Two finale heart-to-heart. Instead of learning the end of Grogu’s Order 66 journey (the child’s parentage was hinted again!), or his first words, we’re just served formal adoption papers. It’s been hard watching The Mandalorian evolve from a true standalone Star Wars story to a shared-universe vehicle that plays its own hits.
Next Week on The Mandalorian…
On that note! I’m genuinely surprised that Favreau is telling French-language TV stations that he’s already written the Season Four script. Because “Chapter 24” reads very much like Mickey Mouse gave the directive for The Mandalorian to wrap things up and tie them with a little bow. Why, you ask? The Mandalorian movie, of course. Disney plans to wrap up The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, plus upcoming series Ahsoka and The Skeleton Crew in one “culminating” film. This finale feels very much like the end of Avengers: Infinity War, when Marvel left Thanos in an easy-to-reach plot of land, so the heroes could bust him up at the beginning of Endgame.
So what will happen in Season Four? After a season that introduced a solo journey for Dr. Pershing and dropped it immediately afterward (?!), I’m hesitant to speculate. Whatever does happen, bet your credits that it’ll serve the larger interests of this big ol’ New Republic movie. Can we expect the return of CGI Luke Skywalker? Probably not. How about a cameo from some other Star Wars friend, like Leia? Maybe. Will Grogu eat snacks? Definitely.
Until we meet again, I want to thank you for following along with The Mandalorian at Esquire this season. It’s been a pleasure (and sometimes a pain!) recapping for you. This is the way.