The Mandalorian serves up Star Wars fan service, still doesn’t push the plot forward


After two seasons filled mostly with mission-of-the-week episodes concentrating on the bond between Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu, The Mandalorian has evolved into a show extensively engaged with the wider Star Wars universe. And there’s no better example of that than the latest episode, “The Foundling.”

Grogu’s past, present, and possible future

The best part of the Carl Weathers-helmed “The Foundling” is a flashback scene. As the Armorer (Emily Swallow) crafts the first piece of Grogu’s Mandalorian armor, the little green guy remembers the night of Order 66. We see the brave Jedi who sacrificed their lives to get him to safety outside the Jedi Temple.

It’s there where Grogu meets Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, played by none other than Ahmed Best, best known for playing Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequel movies. It’s a jump-out-of-your-seat-and-cheer moment for prequel fans and for Best himself, who has been hosting the Star Wars Kids YouTube series Jedi Temple Challenge as Master Beq since 2020.

Beq takes Grogu on a speeder chase through the midair highways of Coruscant; even though we know Grogu makes it out alive, the scene is intense. Finally, Master Beq and Grogu make it to a platform where a Naboo starship is waiting for them. Though not confirmed, I like to think that while Naboo Senator Padme Amidala could not save her husband, Anakin Skywalker, she had a hand in saving other Jedi like Grogu.

(The actor who played) Jar Jar Binks appears in The Mandalorian

Back in the present, the Armoror affixes a circular cuirass to Grogu’s armor. She explains how the forge hones not only Beskar steel, but also the spirit of the Mandalorian who wears it.

In its third season, The Mandalorian has focused less on Din Djarin and more on other characters like Grogu and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff). We haven’t gotten a lot of plot movement in the past couple episodes, but all signs are pointing to the Mandalorians retaking of the planet of Mandalore, which was all but destroyed by the Empire. Bo-Katan is clearly thinking about it after seeing a Mythosaur in the Living Waters. But time will tell what role exactly Grogu and Din play in that larger mission.

Forging the The Mandalorian foundlings

While most fans will hyper-fixate on the short Order 66 flashback scene, the majority of the episode revolves around a high-stakes rescue involving a space dragon and a kidnapped foundling named Ragnar (Wesley Kimmel), the son of Paz Vizsla’s (Tait Fletcher). The episode opens with all the Mandalorians training on the beach. You can almost hear the Rocky theme song playing as Mandos have target practice, zoom around on their jet packs, and wrestle one another.

A key part of this practice montage involves the foundlings, including Grogu, who seems most interested in playing with rocks and chasing crabs. Din scoops him up and pushes him to challenge Ragnar to a round of darts, essentially. Ragnar hits Grogu with a couple of shots of green goo, but after Din encourages his son to use his abilities, Grogu Force-jumps around and over Ragnar, hitting him three times and winning the match.

Frustrated, Ragnar goes off to pout near the water’s edge. And that’s where he’s snatched by a massive winged raptor. Now it’s up to Bo-Katan and her hunting party to find and save Ragnar from the raptor’s nest, which is really, really high up.

The latest episode of The Mandalorian is full of fun fan service

It’s a straightforward rescue mission with an unsurprising happy ending, but it has greater implications for Bo-Katan. After saving Ragnar, Bo-Katan is rewarded with a new Beskar pauldron on her shoulder. When discussing what form the pauldron should take, Bo-Katan brings up her encounter with the Mythosaur. The Armorer says that it’s a gift to have such visions, even as Bo-Katan insists she saw a living breathing beast.

Bo-Katan seems pleased at having proven herself to the covert. She also got a somewhat reluctant thanks from Paz Vizsla, with whose family Bo-Katan has a complicated history.

The episode ends with a shot of Bo-Katan staring at the Mythosaur symbol on the wall of the armory, which signals a brewing conflict to come. But again, the episode doesn’t move the core plot forward, even though it was fun to watch. Even with the excellent prequel flashback and inclusion of Ahmed Best, the episode feels too short.

The Mandalorian season 3, episode 4 “The Foundling” is available now on Disney Plus.

Episode grade: B+

Next. The Mandalorian may set up the Star Wars sequel trilogy in “The Convert”. dark

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