And just like that, The Mandalorian season 3 is over. Coming off a seemingly game-changing episode last week, the series’ highly anticipated season 3 finale, titled The Return, premiered this Wednesday on Disney+. To say that the episode wraps up all of The Mandalorian season 3’s remaining loose ends would be quite the understatement, too.
Not only does the finale give fans the climactic confrontation between Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), and Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) that they’ve long waited to see, but it also sets the latter two characters on totally different paths. For Bo-Katan, her role in the reconstruction of Mandalore seems to be just beginning. For Din Djarin, a new road has been laid out in front of him that isn’t all that different from the one he used to walk.
Here’s how The Return sets the stage for a new era of The Mandalorian and explains some of the oddest aspects of its latest season.
Note: The article contains major spoilers for the season 3 finale of The Mandalorian.
So long, Moff Gideon
At the end of The Mandalorian’s season 3 finale, Bo-Katan, Grogu, and Din Djarin successfully retake Mandalore with the help of their fellow warriors. In the process of doing so, it seems like the trio manages to finally defeat Moff Gideon, who is consumed in the explosion caused by a devastating Imperial cruiser crash. By seemingly destroying all of Gideon’s clones, Din also potentially eliminates the chance of his greatest nemesis ever returning.
In the minutes that follow, viewers watch as Bo-Katan and The Armorer (Emily Swallow) reignite the Great Forge of Mandalore and finally start putting their plan of rebuilding the planet into action. Din Djarin, meanwhile, not only officially adopts Grogu as his son, but also pitches himself as a part-time bounty hunter/independent contractor for the New Republic to Captain Carson Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), who seems more than interested in taking Pascal’s Mandalorian up on his offer.
The Mandalorian‘s season 3 finale subsequently ends with Din Djarin lounging around his new Nevarro cabin with Grogu while he awaits his next bounty hunting assignment.
A return or a reset?
The Mandalorian’s latest season finale may be titled The Return, but it feels a whole lot more like a reset for the Disney+ series. After taking Din Djarin and Grogu increasingly farther away from their old-school bounty-hunting days over the course of its first two seasons, the live-action Star Wars show has set them on a path toward much more familiar territory. It’s done so by relieving Din of any real responsibilities he might have once had to his fellow Mandalorians, who have now banded together under Bo-Katan’s rule.
With that in mind, The Mandalorian season 3’s split focus on Din and Bo-Katan suddenly makes a lot more sense. For a while there, it looked like the series was teeing up Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan to take over as its lead character for Pascal’s Din, who seemed at different points throughout The Mandalorian season 3 like he was already halfway out the door. Now, it doesn’t look like that was ever going to be the case. Instead, it seems like The Mandalorian built Bo-Katan up this year simply so that someone else could shoulder the responsibilities that once seemed destined to fall on Din Djarin’s shoulders.
The Mandalorian season 3 has, in other words, found a way to once again have its cake and eat it, too. The series has essentially fulfilled its greater franchise responsibilities by leaving its Mandalorian reconstruction storyline in the capable hands of Bo-Katan, all while it has set the stage for its next season to be a much more straightforward, contained series of bounty-of-the-week adventures starring Din Djarin and Grogu.
Let the bounty hunting begin (again)
In the end, The Mandalorian season 3 has turned out to be a fairly mixed bag. On the one hand, the season has progressed the show’s New Republic-era story forward in several interesting ways. On the other hand, it’s done so in a truly uneven, often narratively unfocused fashion. Knowing that it was, for all intents and purposes, essentially meant to serve as a reset for The Mandalorian does make understanding the season’s many odd creative decisions a bit easier.
Whether or not that knowledge also makes The Mandalorian season 3 seem more or less satisfying is another conversation altogether, and opinions will likely vary from one Star Wars fan to another.
All eight episodes of The Mandalorian season 3 are available to stream now on Disney+.
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