Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 8 Recap/Review (Spoilers Ahead)

Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 8 Recap/Review (Spoilers Ahead)

Brady Goodman, Staff Writer

Chapter 24: The Return

The final episode of Season 3 picks up right where we left off in episode 7. Bo Katan is leading the remaining Mandalorians out of Moff Gideon’s secret base as she speaks with Axe Woves over comms. Woves is still flying up to the fleet to warn them of the impending attack. As he flies out of the storms into space, comms go down and it is up to Bo to bring the recon group to safety. We cut to Din Djarin being escorted to the ‘debriefing room’ by just two stormtroopers (seriously? Gideon didn’t think to have a beefier group of troopers to escort Mando? Even when he is unarmed, he is a very skilled fighter) when he takes them out with his hands. Grogu (inside IG-12) shows up to help Mando, and instead of telling Grogu to find safety like he would’ve in the past, Mando tells Grogu that it is up to them to find and capture Gideon. It was cool to see how Mando recognizes the maturity Grogu shows now and how he can handle himself. Gideon is informed of Mando’s escape, and when asked if he would like assistance, Gideon says that he’ll deal with it himself. He then walks out one of the doors in his headquarters (remember this: important for later). Mando comms to R5, who is posted up on the planet’s surface, to fly into the base and connect to the security system (R5’s role in this episode reminded me a lot of R2-D2). We cut back to Axe Woves who finally reaches the Mandalorian fleet. He frantically comms the Mandalorians in Gideon’s light cruiser and has them all evacuate while he takes over the ship. All of the Mandalorians fly down to the planet’s surface while T.I.E. bombers zip through the clouds and start unleashing havoc on the ship. Axe commands all of the cruiser’s cannons to auto-fire on the bombers. 

In a scene where John Wick meets the Phantom Menace, Mando has R5 open each red shield door one at a time so he can 1 v 2 the stormtroopers as the other guards can’t do anything but watch behind the shield doors. Din manhandles the beskar troopers two at a time, starting with just his hands. With each duo wipe, Mando collects better and better weapons from his fallen foes until he reaches the end of the shield doors and takes out the remaining troopers. At the end of the hallway, Mando and IG-12/Grogu enter the room full of cloning vats, each containing a cloned version of Moff Gideon, who we later find out had force sensitivity (how exactly was Gideon able to achieve this? It has been widely accepted as near impossible to clone force sensitivity, but maybe Dr. Pershing was just THAT good). Grogu goes up to one of the vats and a cloned Gideon opens his eyes, frightening him. Din smashes a few buttons and the two escape while the cloning vats burst with bacta water, killing the clones (I thought that it was a little too convenient that Mando just messing with the control table wiped out all the clones. You’d think Gideon has a special code or something to unlock control panel access). So all this time, through all three seasons, Gideon has been trying to clone himself for his army. We cut to the remaining Mandalorians of the recon group finding cover in a cave full of plants, to which Bo and the other Night Owls are very surprised. The Mandalorian pirate scavengers tell that they planted native plant species and let them grow, showing that under the war torn surface, indigenous plants can grow when they are left alone (since all of the civil wars prevented such growth since before the Clone Wars). The Armorer comms Bo and the recon group to alert them that the reinforcements are on the way, so the recon group heads back to Gideon’s base and an all-out air battle ensues. This was one of the best battles we have ever seen in Star Wars with all the jetpacks. It was so cool to see Bo leading everyone into battle with the darksaber and the Armorer smashing helmets with her hammers. The animations for this scene were amazing.

Mando and IG-12/Grogu go into Gideon’s headquarters where he was looking at the map earlier when the door closes behind them. The door on the other side of the room opens to reveal Moff Gideon (how and why is he at this side of the office now?), who is furious that Mando killed his clones before ‘they could take their first breath.’ He tells us what his master plan was: to clone the best parts of himself, add the force, and then deck them out in beskar-alloy armor to create an unstoppable army. Gideon pulls out his double-sided electric staff (while wearing his red and black armor with a horned helmet, very reminiscent of Darth Maul) and fights Mando. In an intense fight between the two with an epic backdrop of the jetpack battle, Gideon beats Mando pretty handily with his cybernetic, beskar alloy suit. The praetorians guards pull up to finish off Din and beat him pretty badly until Grogu angrily walks over pressing the ‘no’ button inside of IG-12. The guards leave Din, struggling to move, on the floor and head towards Grogu and chase him back into the headquarters room. With Grogu dodging the electro staffs of the praetorian guards, the blast doors close shut. Just when things are looking at its worst for Din and Grogu, Bo Katan sees Gideon about to finish off Din from the sky battle and flies down to his rescue. She tells Din to save the kid and pulls out the darksaber. Finally, we get to see Moff Gideon vs. Bo Katan after the seasons of built up tension between the two. The scene cuts to Grogu inside the headquarters room as IG-12 gets sliced up by the praetorian guards. He jumps up onto the ceiling rail decorations and runs along the pipes until they get sliced down. Grogu falls to the floor with a pipe on top of him right when Mando bursts through the door to save him. The two ensue in a fight with the three praetorian guards and Grogu showcases his various force powers, including force freeze. Mando and Grogu are able to take out the guards one by one in an epic fight sequence.

The scene cuts to Axe Woves in the now-flaming light cruiser that is rapidly crashing down into the secret base’s cave. Still in the cavern, Gideon gets more of a fight from Bo than he did from Din, but he wins anyways. The cybernetic, beskar alloy suit proved to be just too much for either of them to handle since it was so much stronger than regular armor. Using the increased strength of the mechanical suit, Gideon grabs Bo’s hand with the darksaber and crushes it, breaking Bo’s hand in the process (a lot of people had a problem with the destruction of the darksaber, but I think that it makes perfect sense. The weapon ended up serving its purpose of reuniting the Mandalorian people). At the last second, just as Gideon removes Bo Katan’s helmet to end her, Din and Grogu re-enter the fight. Bo says that “Mandalorians are stronger together” as Mando opens fire on Gideon, catching him by surprise. Mando perfectly places a few shots around Gideon’s shoulder/neck area, forcing him to drop his electro staff. Back in the sky, Axe shoots out the window of the cruiser and jetpacks out to safety, along with the other Mandalorians who are getting out of the way from the cave. Bo, Din, and Gideon get into a shootout with flames and sparks falling everywhere around them. Grogu uses the force to push Gideon onto his back and throw his electro staff off the edge of the platform. Mando pins Gideon down with some more blaster shots as Bo runs over to shield the child. The cruiser is now fully exploding in the cave and the flames engulf Gideon, who is most likely meeting his demise (I say most likely because there is a theory that he is not actually dead that I will explain in a minute). The explosion shoots up out of the cave as Grogu uses all of his energy in the force to create a shield around him, Bo, and Din (just like Kannan Jarras did in Rebels). Din and Bo look very surprised to still be alive as they look around at the burnt cavern. Grogu falls onto his butt and our heroes come out victorious.

Under the remains of the old capital city of Sundari, at the entrance to the living waters, Pas Vizsla’s son takes the creed and gets baptized by the Armorer (if you remember, the first time little Vizsla took the creed, it was interrupted by the space alligator in episode 1). Mando then brings Grogu to the waters to take the creed, but the Armorer says ‘no’ since he cannot speak and doesn’t have parental permission. Din realizes this, and asks if he can adopt Grogu as one of his own. The Armorer grants permission for this and Grogu enters the Children of the Watch as ‘Din Grogu’ (I wonder why he isn’t Grogu Djarin). The Armorer tells Din to take Grogu on his journeys as a new Child of the Watch and leave Mandalore. Before the two leave Mandalore, Grogu looks deep down into the living waters. The camera pans all the way down to the mythosaur, who opens its eye (I think that Grogu called out in the force to it to feel its presence and this could be major foreshadowing of Grogu being the one to tame it in a future season). The next scene is at the great forge, where the Armorer hands a torch to Bo Katan to light the forge’s fires once again in front of the Mandalorian people. The Mandalorians bang their armor together and Axe Woves leads a ‘FOR MANDALORE’ chant. It was great this season to see all walks of Mandalorians finally come together as one.

Din Djarin and Din Grogu travel to the same New Republic outpost that we saw Zeb at earlier in the season (this time we get a cameo from Dave Filoni, the show’s writer, director, and executive producer, dawning his classic cowboy hat and having a drink at the bar in the background). Din speaks with Captain Carson Teva and offers to work for the New Republic on a case-to-case basis for bounty hunting jobs that are too dangerous or the New Republic doesn’t have enough time to do. Teva hesitantly agrees to the deal as an independent contractor. Teva asks why Grogu has particular interest in an IG-11 droid head hanging above the bar, and Mando says that he needs it for parts and as a return for his new job. Back on Nevarro, Greef Karga gifts Din the key to a cabin outside of town in appreciation for all that he has done for the city and its people. Mando reveals that he also has a gift, which is a refurbished IG-11 to be the new marshall of Nevarro. In the final scene, Mando and Grogu visit their new home. Din Djarin sits and kicks his foot up on the front porch while Din Grogu, Mando’s new adopted son, lifts a frog with the force out of the pond. The screen does the Looney Tunes exit thing with the black screen and circle, and the season ends.

I originally had a lot to say about this finale. To be completely honest, I was left a little disappointed with the ending at first. I was really expecting there to be a second spy to beef up the plot, but low and behold, there wasn’t. It took me a couple of days to really appreciate the finale. I think it did a great job wrapping up the season, and it was very nice to see the Mandalorians reclaim Mandalore in unison, so it ended up working out. Sure, it left us with no major cliffhangers, but sometimes that can be nice. It was more of a happily-ever-after ending, and it was very satisfying – almost too satisfying. Maybe Jon Favreou and Dave Filoni did this on purpose, to make us think that all is well. This could be setting up an impending threat like Thrawn’s return in a future season, or, making us think that Gideon is really gone for good this time. A theory that I have seen circulating the internet is that the Gideon we saw get engulfed by flames was not the real Moff Gideon, but one of his clones. If you noticed, Moff Gideon has always had a mustache. In this season, he did not. His clones in the vats also did not have mustaches. Maybe all of the Gideons on this base were clones of him and the real one is somewhere else. Who knows. Another thing to notice is that when Gideon left his headquarters the first time, it appeared that he entered it through a different door just before his fight with Din. Maybe this was just not explained well and I’m looking too deep into things here, but I wouldn’t put it past Dave and Jon to bring him back again, just like George Lucas did with Darth Maul, who actually had a ton of references in this episode. I’m pretty sure that Gideon has some connection to Maul because there is no way that was a coincidence with all the references between the red and black suit with horns on top, the double-sided electro staff, and the red shield doors. Personally, I hope that Gideon doesn’t return and a new big bad enters the scene. At the end of the day, I did end up enjoying this season of the Mandalorian and the finale, and I am happy with how they reset the show. If you think about it, the show is back to where it was when it started, with Mando and Baby Yoda running around the galaxy going on missions and taking bounties. If this is the place for the show to return like it was in seasons 1 and 2, I think we would all take that in a heartbeat. If you have read my breakdowns, thank you for bearing with my intense nerd talk and I appreciate that you took the time to read what I had to say (because I have a lot to say).

I would give this episode a 8.8/10.