To guage by the streaming charts, there’s nothing off in regards to the just-concluded Season 3 of The Mandalorian. Whereas the season premiere noticed a big dip in viewership, the most recent Nielsen report tells us the present is the third hottest collection you possibly can stream proper now. And that was earlier than the season wrapped a two-part finale filled with pew-pew, boom-boom, and the clanking of Beskar armor on Beskar armor. The visuals of Season 3, definitely, have been top-notch eye sweet all through.
So why did the story depart me, and plenty of TV critics, stone chilly? (Some current opinions you received’t see on a Season 3 poster: “burdened by backstory” … “has an id disaster” … “goes nowhere“.. “worst episode of the present.“) What led my love for Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu to wither?
As a result of this isn’t a overview from a hater. I’d been pulling for this present from the series-opening shock reveal of the Little one by means of the beautiful Season 2 finale, which ended with an extremely earned emotional one-two punch (Din will get the Darksaber, which means his ally Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) should battle him for it; he should additionally say goodbye to Grogu when none apart from Luke Skywalker involves retrieve the Jedi youngling). What occurred?
‘The Mandalorian’ introduces a brand new Jedi in an unbelievable cameo
Quick reply: story is all the pieces. Barely longer reply: Mandalorian‘s motley crew of producers and administrators, led by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, squandered the dramatic pressure they’d spent two seasons build up. No spoilers for the finale right here — I’ll maintain these until the underside of the story — but it surely’s truthful to say that numerous the fan theories about how the season may finish had been much more attention-grabbing than what we truly acquired. Favreau and Filoni selected to defuse each final little bit of the present’s potential, over the course of a season, whereas leaning laborious into its least plausible points.
Did you marvel why, if it was that simple for Din to land on Mandalore, tens of millions of its inhabitants hadn’t tried it already? Me too. Did you solely actually perceive the deep variations between the Mandalorian factions after they’d immediately united, implausibly quick? I really feel you. Did you are feeling deflated when Din and Bo-Katan acquired out of their Darksaber duel on a technicality? Did it seem to be the Mandalorians had been tactical idiots for strolling into an apparent Imperial lure? Did you battle to care about Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher), even whereas admiring his all-guns-blazing self-sacrifice? Identical, similar, and similar.
A part of the issue was the legacy imposed by 2022’s The Guide of Boba Fett — a Frankenstein’s monster of a present that couldn’t determine what sort of fan service it had needed to be, and settled midway by means of on turning into The Mandalorian Season 2.5. Amongst different curious storytelling choices, Guide reversed Grogu’s well-earned departure so unexpectedly, you’d be forgiven for pondering a thousand Disney executives had cried out about not having the ability to put Child Yoda on billboards.
Nonetheless, it was pure to presume that The Mandalorian Season 3 would get its story again on monitor — particularly after Andor Season 1 delivered a masterclass in easy methods to make audiences care about a complete swathe of characters whereas ratcheting up the strain. Certain, Grogu’s doubtlessly excellent exit was undermined, however Favreau and Filoni needed to have discovered some good storytelling purpose for him to return, proper? Maybe a primary phrase or two, or some contemporary thriller about his origins?
Credit score: Lucasfilm
The truth is, what we acquired from the Lucasfilm lottery this time round was much less The Mandalorian Season 3 than Guide of Boba Fett Season 2 — within the sense that the present misplaced curiosity in its title character and bounced between disconnected tales like a child on a pogo stick, with solely minimal grudging curiosity in tying all of it collectively. We acquired a tiny sliver of Grogu’s backstory, however principally the present solely appeared keen on retaining him round so it might give him the droid shell of the late IG-11 to play with.
One fixed of the primary two seasons, a significant purpose why the Little one was so compelling that we dubbed him “being of the last decade,” was the sensation that he was in potential hazard. Now, realizing there may be actually nothing that may occur on this story to take him out of it completely, I battle to recollect what that felt like. That is the primary delicate spoiler for the finale, so proceed with warning, however Grogu actually ran rings round among the most fearsome guards in all of Star Wars. In the event that they’re no risk to him, why ought to they appear prefer it to us?
Credit score: Lucasfilm
Oh, and by returning IG-11 to life when he was actually a statue, negating his sacrifice within the course of, the present doubled down on this message: Nobody you truly care about will die in The Mandalorian. (Earlier than you say “but it surely’s for youths,” distinction the unique Star Wars, additionally meant for youths, the place Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru had been burned to a crisp, and Obi-Wan was disappeared, together with tens of millions of Alderaan and Dying Star inhabitants.)
To be truthful to Filoni and Favreau, they appear to have discovered a “repair it” resolution already: a tough reset. Your complete story to date has been wrapped up with a bow so neat, you can nearly name it the top of the present. Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and his Beskar-armored supersoldiers died surprisingly simply, with no post-credits scene offering a sting within the story.
With a sound like chess items clunking, Mando and Grogu had been manoeuvred into place for a Season 4. They are going to be touring the galaxy, conveniently separated from the helmeted cultists on Mandalore, doing off-the-books work for the New Republic. Perhaps the cloning storyline will bear extra fruit, we’ll see extra of the hapless former imperial cloner Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), and the present will proceed hinting on the causes for the founding of the First Order within the sequel trilogy. However hopefully the present will merely return to its roots as an area western, and begin slowly ramping up the dramatic pressure another time.
The Mandalorian is now streaming on Disney+.