*Warning: the following article contains spoilers for episode seven of The Mandalorian – Season 3*
Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) is finally back. It took seven episodes, but he’s finally back. Funnily enough, it also took seven episodes for the first season of The Mandalorian to introduce its main antagonist, which seemed too little too late to make an actual impact for its mostly episodic, aimless storytelling. They made the same mistake in season 3. While the episode is mostly entertaining, its impact isn’t as emotionally powerful as if there would have been a proper build-up from the first to the penultimate episode.
Instead, Gideon just feels like an afterthought, even if he’s building an army of his own of soldiers with beskar armor and the return of the Praetorian Guards from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Man, when they showed up in the episode’s final moments, which unfortunately brings about the death of Paz Viszla (Jon Favreau), I’ll admit that I screamed. I absolutely adored the scene in which Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) fight Praetorian Guards in The Last Jedi, so to see them back felt like a thrill.
But that’s about the only exciting thing I felt while watching the episode. The rest of the episode is decent enough, but the emotional impact feels blunt instead of genuine. Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) finally reunites two Mandalorian clans together as they plan to retake Mandalore. However, they are quickly attacked by Moff Gideon’s army and are led into a trap. The final action sequence is well shot, but an attack on a ship by a Kaiju-like creature is the highlight of the episode. Top Gun: Maverick‘s Charles Parnell briefly appears as one of the Mandalorians still living on Mandalore but doesn’t add much to the overall episode.
The season’s core is Bo-Katan, who has a bigger emotional impact than Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu’s journey. In this episode, she is given the full spotlight to lead the Mandalorians to victory, and it’s great to see a previously underused character in Star Wars: The Clone Wars actively lead the third season. Sackhoff and Esposito seem to be the only ones who genuinely care about the material, whereas Pascal sleepwalks through his vocal performance as The Mandalorian. However, it seems like he will have to remove his helmet once again as Gideon now kidnaps him at the end of the episode. The finale will now be about Bo-Katan (the leader of the Mandalorians) rescuing Din and hopefully defeating Gideon once and for all.
It’s a simple premise that didn’t need seven episodes to get through. I’ll admit: I enjoy side-quests when they develop character relationships. The third episode absolutely did, but I now wonder what happened with Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), whom we haven’t seen after episode three’s incredibly dramatic final moment. There are a lot of interesting ideas that season three has introduced. However, showrunners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have not exploited them to their fullest potential.
After watching Andor, going back to the aimless and underdeveloped episodic storytelling of The Mandalorian proves challenging. However, it’s far better than whatever the hell Star Wars: The Bad Batch – Season 2 was. Here’s hoping the finale of The Mandalorian – Season 3 will end this year’s season on a high note before we move into Ahsoka and see the welcomed return of Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), who was teased at the beginning of this episode.
The seventh episode of The Mandalorian – Season 3 is now available to stream on Disney+.