Season 3 of The Mandalorian continues to fly and give one of the most essential storytelling experiences – pure escapism at its best – in a world of peak TV and unlimited series offers.
Mando is back to show us the way. But before we dive into what the first two episodes of the long-awaited third season have in store for us, let us take a moment to look back at what came before. Not just because it’s been over two years since the last season and embarking on the new season demands a heavy Mandalorian recap, but also because of the truly ridiculous way we got here
A recap of previous season
As you may remember, season 2 ended with Mando (Pedro Pascal who continues to become the definitive face of event TV) rescuing Grogu (urf Baby Yoda) from bad guy leader Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito). The finale ended with who else but a digitally de-aged Luke Skywalker turning up to whisk Grogu away to resume his Jedi training. (If you, like me, need yet another reminder of where The Mandalorian fits in the larger Star Wars timeline, it takes place after the events of The Return Of The Jedi and before The Force Awakens).
Review of third season
It was a thrilling finale, but this new season 3 doesn’t pick up from there. Mando’s tale was continued in the impressively pointless spin-off series The Book Of Boba Fett, which centred on The Mandalorian fan-favourite character Boba Fett. But it’s almost as if the makers knew they were onto a major dud, and thus decided that the penultimate episode of that show should ignore Boba Fett’s dull story entirely and randomly switch focus to Mando. We saw him traveling to find Luke and meet Grogu once again because, well, he missed him. (Who wouldn’t). That random episode of an altogether different show served as a pivotal continuation of the Mando-Grogu story in which Luke made Grogu choose whether he wanted to pursue the Jedi way or return to foster daddy (played by the internet’s daddy) Mando. Grogu chose our favourite helmeted hero of course, which brings us to this third season that promises more missions, more monsters and more Mandalorians.
The busy, set-up-heavy first episode opens with members of Mando’s tribe – the Children Of The Watch – performing a ritual on a beach before being inexplicably attacked by a giant sea monster for no apparent reason (I guess giant monsters don’t really need context in a galaxy far far away). It provides the perfect conditions for Mando to do what he does best – swoop in and save the day. It’s then that he’s informed by the Armorer that, in order to redeem himself and be pardoned from exile after he willingly took his helmet off last season (these folks are mighty weird about their helmets), he must return to Mandalore to bath beneath some mines. Thus giving him a new mission and an excuse to travel to new places that are no doubt in need of saving.
There was a moment in the final stretch of this first episode where I tried to remember what the appeal of the show was and whether it was always this…passable. As if it was anticipating my doubts, the episode then hits us with two things in quick succession to address my concerns. The first is we’re introduced to an unsettlingly adorable new little critter to fawn over, a species called the Anzellans. And just when you can’t get enough of the little squeaky Anzellan mechanic on screen, your face melts entirely when you see Grogu give it a hug, inducing what can only be described as a cutegasm. The second is the scene that immediately follows in which Mando finds himself caught in a thrilling space battle with a bunch of pirates. It was here that my faith was restored and I have instantly reminded of what the show excels at – good, old-fashioned Star Wars space fights and awww-inducing fuzzy creatures.
But it’s the season’s far more focused second episode, in which he actually journeys to Mandalore to take his spiritual redemption bath, which proves to be the explosive, rip-roaring reminder of everything this show can be. Mando and Grogu embark on a treacherous adventure to the core of an abandoned Mandalore, where many new dangers await. It’s tense, scary and an absolute blast to see our favourite pair go up against new foes and creatures. We even get to see Grogu do some growing up and kick some ass himself alongside an episode-stealing Bo Katan (Katee Sackhoff).
The final verdict
This second chapter also took me back in time, to when I first discovered the wonders of this show. It was mid-2020, peak pandemic, at the height of uncertainty and dread. A time when we were all seeking comfort and distraction. And among the many, many things I watched in those months, nothing quite proved to transport me to a faraway world, far removed from the crappiness around me, quite like The Mandalorian. In a world of peak TV and limitless series offerings, The Mandalorian continues to soar and provide one of the most necessary storytelling experiences – true blue escapism at its finest.
Disclaimer: Except the headline and synopsis, this story has been taken from the HT News Service.