The Mandalorian Season 3: Is This Still the Way?

Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer

Last Wednesday flagship Star Wars series The Mandalorian completed its third season with a bombastic and pretty entertaining finale. And while the first two seasons were some of the best of the franchise, both on the small and big screen, the space western took a step down in overall quality with its most recent season.

I’ve come here to shoot not talk, so with a Destroyer-class SPOILER ALERT let’s breakdown The Mandalorian Season 3 in four blasts:

Blast #1 A Fistful of Mandos

EDITOR JULES: Mando ALL: Yes? ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

A major plot thread of Season 3 was the reunification of the disparate Mandalorian clans and the retaking of their homeworld of Mandalore. And this proved to be both a good and a not-so-good aspect of the season. On the positive side, the Mandalorians are some of the coolest looking characters in all of Star Wars and some of the fiercest warriors. And we got a sprinkling of scenes of multiple Mandos in battle over the two previous seasons and it was always awesome. This season, howeverm we have a deluge on Mando group battles, and whether they are fighting giant creatures, grimy pirates or armoured imperials it was always some mind-blowing fun. And as a huge fan of lore, I also lapped up the new details about Mandalorian history and society.

But there was a downside to this plot thread, and it has to do with the writing, which is overall one of the weaker aspects of Season 3. Despite the Mandalorian reunification being a massive plot thread, it felt way too rushed. In only a few episodes and a few scenes Mandalorian clans that had been estranged for years join together and are one people, some side eye looks and a tussle notwithstanding. There is so little build-up, especially with a few episodes going off on tangents (more on that in the next blast), and so little struggle that the payoff feels hollow and unearned. So, while I enjoyed seeing multiple Mandos in action the actual story of the clans coming together, it just felt half-baked and lacklustre.

Blast #2 Diversions

I’ll allow it

And now on to those tangents, or “diversions” if you will. One of the strongest qualities of the show has been its relatively simple and straightforward storytelling. “Have Blaster Will Travel, Will Protect Surrogate Son” if you will. But for some reason creator Jon Favreau (who I have the utmost respect for) and company decided to change up the formula, and the results were less than stellar. First up we have Chapter 19: The Convert, or as I like to call it, The Mandalorian Channels Andor. Now the episode itself is well acted and I did enjoy the storyline of former imperials being integrated into the New Republic. It was something I had never thought about and I found it intriguing. Less intriguing was the “twist” that Elia Kane was a traitor and was setting up Dr Pershing, which was only a surprise to Pershing himself. But the episode’s very grounded and somber tone does stand out like a sore thumb among the other Mandalorian episodes which tend to be more action-heavy and fantastical. Now immediately after watching The Convert I gave it a pass as I assumed there would be a payoff later in the season. But yeah, that was not to be. Sure, Kane shows up twice more and is revealed to be an agent of big bad Moff Gideon, but she has minimal impact on the overall story. Looking back, the episode feels like it added very little but took away precious screen time from the main story of Mando and his brothers and sisters in arms.

The other, less problematic diversion was Chapter 22: Guns for Hire. Now I thought both Jack Black and Lizzo were fine in their roles of Captain Bombadier and the Duchess respectively and I was not aggrieved about their inclusion as some other fans were. And veteran actor Christopher Lloyd was wonderful as hidden Separatist Commissioner Helgait. I even enjoyed the crime procedural setup with the varying interrogation styles of Din Djarin and Bo-Katan Kryze. Din gleefully kicking decommissioned battle droids will never not be funny. And I also loved the scenes with the Ugnaught group and the droid bar. So, what was the issue? Well, a couple of them. Din and Bo-Katan’s investigation does little to grow or expand their relationship, which feels like a missed opportunity for the season’s co-leads. And secondly, Bo-Katan wresting control of her former army from Axe Woves is over in a quick scene, almost like an afterthought. When your main plot takes a back seat to seeing Grogu treated like a pet by Lizzo and helping her cheat at space croquet, then there are issues with your storytelling.

Blast #3 The Book of Bo-Katan Kryze?

You look a bit tired Din. How about take a break?

And speaking of Grogu, what was up with the little guy this season? In Season 1 it was about Din saving him and in Season 2 it was about getting him to the Jedi. What was Season 3 about? Your guess is as good as mine. Outside of the finale, there was precious little for him to do, and he often felt like a glorified mascot. Yeah, the scene of him sparring against the young Mandalorian was cute but felt contrived. Him wearing the IG-12 mech suit felt gimmicky (I presume we will get the toy version eventually). Even his relationship with Din felt undercooked this season.

Things weren’t that much better with Din himself, as he barely had an arc this season and spent most of his time playing second fiddle to Bo-Katan Kryze. Maybe it was some type of payback for upstaging Boba Fett in his own show. Who knows? Now I am fan of Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff and she is solid in the role, but she just kind of feels, well, there. There are all these changes and things happening to her, but we never get a sense of how she is feeling or see some type of internal struggle. It is just go from Plot Point A to B to C. And this made it hard to root for her though her various challenges and share in her victories. Hopefully Season 4 will refocus back to Din, because he is a boss and who we are all here to see.

Blast #4 The Two Part Finale

I’ve got the juice now

At this point you may have declared me a serial Star Wars complainer and have begun gathering wood to roast me in the comments. Before you start up the fire, I will say there were things about Season 2 which I did enjoy. I liked the cameos of Rebels’ Zeb Orrelios and Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, the latter played by Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best. I thought the first couple of episodes of Mando exploring Mandalore were cool (shout out to my boy the Mythosaur). Magistrate Greef, sorry, HIGH Magistrate Greef Karga was a hoot. And Chapter 21: The Pirate was simply a blast, pirate king despite Gorian Shard continuing to look like the ridiculous unholy spawn of Swamp Thing and Pizza the Hutt.

And you know what else I had a blast with? The final two episodes, The Spies and The Return. These were back to basics, action-packed, classic Star Wars episodes and I was thoroughly entertained. There were just so many great scenes here, whether it is the revelation of the jetpack-wearing imperials (the Amorer flying and smacking them with her heavy tools was 12 Flavours of Awesome Sauce), Paz Vizsla’s heroic final stand, Din brutally and methodically taking down the imperials with the help of R5, or Din and Grogu slaying the Praetorian guards. Now this is pod racing! And it was great having Moff Gideon back (and with an intimidating part Mando, part Vader suit no less) and the final three-on-one battle was sufficiently climactic. I do have a couple of notes though. Firstly, why is the penultimate episode called “The Spies” when the only spy shown was Kane? They had poor fans speculating about who the other spy was, with even the Amorer being among suspects. I had my money on Axe Woves but no dice. Yeah, no second spy was revealed, and it does not appear that any will. Lame! And what was up with Gideon’s plan? Create an army of clones of himself with Force powers? What Saturday Morning cartoon villain did he steal that plot from? Why not use the clones to make himself appear immortal and powerful and a worthy successor to the Emperor. I’m just spitballing.

I even had issues with the denouement. No funeral for Vizsla or mourning of the slain Mandalorians? No mention of what the loss of the Darksaber means for Bo-Katan’s position or the future of Mandalorian society? Nothing with Kane and the remaining imperial forces? I did like the final scene of Papa Din relaxing with Grogu though. That touched ye olde heartstrings. While the two-part finale was easily the best of the season, it still had a few issues. And while overall Season 3 was good, it still falls short of the epic heights achieved by the two preceding ones. But I have faith the show will find back its way come next season.

Editor Jules’ Score: 6.5 out of 10

So, what did you think of The Mandalorian Season 3? How would you rate it? And you can check out more great articles about a galaxy far, far away below:


Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.

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