“The Mandalorian” Season 3 has finally come to an end with a bang. So, let’s talk about some of the things that the show set out to do and how it brought those particular plot threads to a close. One of the most prominent subplots of this season of the “Star Wars” show has been to retake Mandalore after the Empire destroyed it and caused the Mandalorians to seek refuge elsewhere. Moff Gideon had a big hand in it, as he had approached Bo-Katan Kryze to give up the Darksaber in exchange for the cessation of the violence on her homeplanet. Once he got hold of the coveted weapon, he continued his onslaught on the Mandalorians, thereby giving birth to the enmity between Gideon and Bo-Katan. Although Gideon moved on, Bo-Katan kept searching for ways to retrieve the Darksaber and retake Mandalore. Because, according to her, that was how she could redeem herself and restore the Mandalorians’ reputation. But after losing the Darksaber to Din Djarin, her hopes were dashed.
Major Spoilers Ahead
It wasn’t until Din Djarin and Grogu traveled all the way to Mandalore to bathe in its holy waters, and Din got attacked by a steampunk monster that Bo-Katan found the confidence to restart her mission. She saw the Mythosaur. She joined Din’s covert. She played a huge part in rescuing Paz Vizsla’s son. And the sequence of these events caused the Armorer, who is kind of the leader of the covert, to put Bo-Katan in charge of uniting all the factions of the Mandalorian tribe. In order to make that happen, they created a base in Nevarro because the planet they were previously living on was rendered inhabitable due to the constant attacks by the monsters. Secondly, Din, Grogu, and Bo-Katan had to travel all the way to Plazir-15 to win over Axe Woves, who took over Bo-Katan’s squadron when she became a recluse. There, she reclaimed the Darksaber since she had defeated the creature that had taken it from Din. Thirdly, and most importantly, she reunited with her former associates who were hiding in Mandalore and spoke the truth about her surrender.
Although it seemed like things were going to be smooth after that, especially since Din had sworn his allegiance to Bo-Katan, it wasn’t. Because that was where Moff Gideon came in. So, throughout this season of “The Mandalorian,” we were getting hints of the fascist lunatic’s rise to prominence. But it wasn’t really clear how that was going to happen because he was explicitly sent to prison by the New Republic. Post “Chapter 19: The Convert,” it became evident that the New Republic was as tyrannical and pompous as the Empire, and they spent most of their time following protocols and whatnot. That’s why an Imperial spy like Elia Kane could work among the New Republic and keep feeding Moff Gideon with all the information he needed to carry out his plans. Okay, here’s where things got a little muddy. I still don’t know how Gideon escaped or how and when he and his Imperial troops made a base in Mandalore. Because that base was huge and pretty functional. Did the rest of his Imperial buddies make it for him, and then he just escaped and got there? Was it made after the Imperial Siege, hence the rumors about the planet being inhabitable? It’s vague.
In the final two episodes of “The Mandalorian,” Moff Gideon thankfully stated his endgame in an explicit fashion, because I couldn’t have handled any more ambiguity. He said that he wanted to make an army of Dark Troopers whose armor was made of Beskar alloy. That’d put them on par with the Mandalorians or anything that the New Republic comes up with, thereby giving them the upper hand in any form of battle. Additionally, Moff Gideon announced that his Necromancer cloning program was supposed to make, well, clones of him. But they won’t be normal clones. They’d be infused with the powers of the best warriors from every tribe in the galaxy far, far away. Gideon and his scientists had perfected everything except the use of the Force. Neither the clones nor Moff Gideon lived to see that day because the Imperial base went up in flames due to Axe’s semi-kamikaze. I really thought he was going to do a version of the Holdo maneuver from “The Last Jedi.” However, his move did the job, so who are we to complain? Was it satisfying or memorable?
Season 3 of “The Mandalorian” didn’t start on a very strong note. From episode 2 to episode 5, things were relatively solid. Episode 6 completely ruined the vibe of the show. And with the last two episodes, it seems like Rick Famuyiwa, Jon Favreau, and Dave Filoni have tried to brush all those missteps under the rug by doubling down on the action. That’s why, when you step back and look at the larger picture that the creators have tried to paint, it feels messy. Yes, I understand that this season wasn’t about The Mandalorian (i.e., Din Djarin) but about the Mandalorians, with a lot of focus on Bo-Katan Kryze. But if that was the plan all along, don’t you think the season should’ve spent more time on her getting along with the two squads of Mandalorians that she had abandoned? There was a lot of baggage between Bo-Katan, Axe Woves, his squad, and the survivors in Mandalore. Yet the show hardly spent any time visualizing their fallout or Bo-Katan facing the consequences of her actions. Which is why her final act seemed unearned and diluted.
Since Din Djarin and Grogu had to share the spotlight with Bo-Katan (which is so obviously Filoni’s doing), the father-son duo’s arc didn’t feel as impactful. And that’s in large part due to everything that has happened between Season 2 and Season 3 of “The Mandalorian.” I mean, Din and Grogu parting ways were supposed to make us yearn for their reunion. But the powers in charge of charting the franchise’s journey didn’t give them that space. They simply brought them back together. Why? If the third season was centered around Din and Bo-Katan only, it would’ve been great. Grogu was just hanging around and making a bunch of babbling noises. At least Din and Bo-Katan could’ve had some meaningful conversations about the Creed, what the characters want to do next after they’ve retaken Mandalore, and so on and so forth. However, Disney and Lucasfilm clearly wanted to sell toys instead of telling a story that progressed the characters in a meaningful and memorable way. At the end of “The Mandalorian” Season 3, we get a shot of Grogu playing with a frog. If that doesn’t underscore the issues with this area of the “Star Wars” franchise, I don’t know what will.