Welcome to my latest episode review for The Mandalorian. The reviews will follow my usual format: an overview of the plot (so be aware, there will be spoilers!), my review of the show, then a few “Moments in canon” – references that link to other media and the galaxy as a whole. Today, we’ll be looking at the season 3 finale, Chapter 24: The Return.
As Axe Woves continues to make his way back to the Mandalorian fleet, he receives a message from Bo-Katan—who is leading the survivors of her party through the hallways to safety—warning him about Moff Gideon having his base on the planet and sending TIEs to destroy the fleet. She tells him to evacuate the capital ship and use it as a distraction, but Axe’s response is stopped by the atmospheric interference.
As Din is dragged to his destination by a pair of Moff Gideon’s commandos, he returns to consciousness and, breaking free, fights back. The commandos look set to overpower him, but Grogu arrives in IG-12 and helps Din overcome them. The pair begin to make their way through the hallways in search of Moff Gideon. Getting word from Din that he and Grogu are safe but searching for Moff Gideon, Bo-Katan and her party retreat through the caves and to the surface.
As the TIEs launch and make their way towards the Mandalorian fleet, Moff Gideon watches Din and Grogu’s advance from his command centre. One of his commandos prepares to engage, but he chooses to deal with the pair himself.
Din uses his comlink to contact R5, who is hiding on the surface. At Din’s instruction, R5 jets into the base and connects to a terminal, downloading the base’s schematics and sending them to Din, who uses it to head towards the command centre.
Axe emerges from atmosphere and immediately issues a warning to the fleet that Bo-Katan and the scouting party has been ambushed by Imperial remnant forces orders the cruiser to be left while all available soldiers make their way down to the surface in the Gauntlet starfighters. The rest of the Mandalorians do as they’re told as Axe takes the helm of the cruiser. The Gauntlet starfighters full of soldiers make their way into atmosphere, with the TIEs emerging just moments later nearby. As Axe attempts to defend against the TIEs using the light cruiser’s turbolasers, the TIEs deliver heavy damage to the cruiser.
Din and Grogu reach the corridor to the command centre, which is sectioned off by a number of red barrier shields, with 2 commandos in each section of hallway. With no weapons, Din orders R5 to drop each barrier shield individually on his order, allowing him to fight just 2 commandos at a time. In doing so, he manages to work his way down the length of the corridor, while also arming himself with a couple of blasters. Din and Grogu find themselves in a room full of tanks containing clones of Moff Gideon. Din uses a nearby control to detonate the tanks and they continue towards the command centre.
The surface survivors lead Bo-Kata and her party to a cave nearby, where the party are shocked to find indigenous plants living. The survivors explain that they had planted farms where they could across the surface in similar caves, and that the plants simply needed room to grow in order to return. Any further discussion is cut off by a message from the Armorer, who is informs her that her reinforcements are here. Bo-Katan and her party join the warriors dropping from the starfighters and Bo-Katan leads them into Moff Gideon’s base via the chasm used to allow the TIEs access to the surface, where the commandos fly up to meet the Mandalorians in combat.
“Lady Kryze, your reinforcements have arrived.”
Arriving at the command centre, Din and Grogu are confronted by Moff Gideon, who is furious at the destruction of his clones, who he said had been perfected by giving them the Force. Gideon and Din begin to fight, but Gideon soon allows the Praetorian Guards to take over. However Grogu distracts the trio and draws them away, evading many of their attacks but slowly taking damage to IG-12 and eventually needing to leave the exoskeleton to continue evading them. Din continues to try to fight Moff Gideon, but Bo-Katan’s arrival allows him to go after Grogu. Together, Din and Grogu fight the trio, and the combination of Din’s fighting ability and Grogu’s use of the Force just allows them to deal with the Praetorians. Bo-Katan’s fight with Gideon is going badly, as his armour contains a mechanised exoskeleton that makes him physically stronger, and he uses this to destroy the Darksaber. However, Din and Grogu join Bo-Katan in the fight. As Ax crashes the heavily damaged cruiser into the base, he and the rest of the Mandalorians escape. Moff Gideon is caught in the flames of the base’s destruction, while Grogu uses the Force to protect him, Din and Bo-Katan from the flames.
Following the victory, The Armorer holds a ceremony at the Living Waters, during which Ragnar recites the Creed and is baptised in the waters. Din steps forward with Grogu to also take the Creed, stating that he is now an apprentice not a foundling. The Armorer notes that this is not possible as Grogu cannot speak yet to say the Creed, while his parents are not present to give permission. Din announces that he will adopt Grogu, and The Armorer accepts this, naming Din’s adopted son Din Grogu, an apprentice. The Armorer notes that Din Djarin and Din Grogu must now leave Mandalore to go o their journey so that Grogu can learn, as Din Djarin did before him. Deep beneath the waters, the Mythosaur stirs. In front of all the Mandalorians, Bo-Katan relights the Great Forge.
Din and Grogu travel to Adelphi Base, where they meet with Carson Teva. Teva thanks them for their help with Moff Gideon. Din offers to work for the New Republic on a freelance basis to help hunt down any remaining Imperials, something that will be off the record. As an advance payment, Din requests an assassin droid head hanging above the bar, as he needs it for parts.
In a public ceremony on Nevarro, Greef gives Din and Grogu the deed to a cabin on the edge of the town, while Din in turn has a gift for the town: a repaired IG-11 to take the vacant role of Marshal. At their new cabin, Dn relaxes while Grogu uses the Force to play with a frog.
Well that was a lot to take in! While I really liked this episode on the whole, I did have a few critiques, and I must admit that it didn’t quite reach the same level as the season 2 finale for me.
So let me get my main issue out of the way. There were some things that felt rushed… very rushed. We have had teases for years about why Moff Gideon spent 2 seasons chasing Grogu, and while many assumed that the cloning revealed in season 2 was for Palpatine, I always wondered if that was the case. Now we get the confirmation that it was actually for Gideon, only for the clones to all be destroyed moments later and us to get a moment of exposition from Gideon as our confirmation that they were made to have the Force. If this is the end of that story, it’s a disappointing waste, and I will continue to hope that there was at least one other clone that wasn’t present to continue causing trouble. Similarly in terms of rushed moments, it felt like what should feel a special moment seeing Mandalorian flora again should have been more special. Were I rewriting these last 2 episodes, I would have had the creature attack lead the party into this cave, so they could spend some time here and see this as a sign of hope before carrying on with their journey, with this episode instead having them return to that cave as a moment of safety before reinforcements arrived.
Moving on from those issues, and this was still a very satisfying episode. We had great action, with an incredible mid-air battle between the Mandos and the commandos, while Din’s fight down the hallway with barriers left us with something very different, and the varied combinations in the larger battle between Gideon and the Praetorian Guards vs Din, Grogu and Bo-Katan kept things fresh as differing combinations and fighters kept bringing new dimensions to each part of the fight.
And among the action, there was emotion too. I found myself welling up as Bo-Katan’s party joined with the reinforcements and she drew the darksaber to lead them into battle, and again when Grogu saved our heroes from the fire (though I think as in season 1, part of this is how I am reminded of a certain Rebels episode), while there was time for a few tears as Bo-Katan re-lit the Forge.
And so we come to the ending of the episode, and this was interesting, as this felt very much like a series finale rather than a season finale. Now I don’t think that this is the case, but I imagine that instead we are getting a break of a few years before we see this show again. We already have Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew, Andor season 2 and The Acolyte in various stages of production to release over the next 2 years, which feels enough for that time, and we may then find ourselves getting season 2s of many of these shows or The Book of Boba Fett (I’m not sure how many are a limited series and how many are set for multiple seasons) before we see The Mandalorian again, while I also wouldn’t be shocked to see at least 1 more currently unannounced series release before another season of this show, perhaps following Adelphi Squadron or conversely Elia Kane/the Warlords… or maybe even the rebuilding of Mandalore. Then expect us to catch up with Din and Grogu (who may appear during the hiatus in a couple of cameos) in a couple of years as we get closer to Filoni’s movie that will bring everything together. Whatever happens, I’m excited to see where we go from here…
“Mandalorians are weak once they lose their trinkets.”
“Mandalorians are stronger together.”
A few final thoughts on the episode:
- So that’s why last week’s episode wasn’t called “The Return”! Personally, I think that the title “The Return” still works better on last week’s episode, while this week could have been “Mandalore”, “For Mandalore”, or “The Battle for Mandalore”.
- Grogu left with Bo-Katan, so how did he end up so separate from them and rescuing Din?
- Grogu being named Din Grogu has left me a little confused. Other Mandalorians appeared to have a more Western naming convention of the surname being at the end (Satine, Korkie & Bo-Katan Kryze), so should it not be Grogu Djarin?
Moments in Canon
- Bo-Katan refers to the destruction of Mandalore’s flora during the Civil War, while we have also seen Boba talk about Jango fighting in the Civil War. It probably comes as no surprise considering that they are a warrior race, but there have been a number of Mandalorian Civil Wars over the years. One of the more recent ones—during which Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn were sent to protect the Duchess Satine—caused so much damage that the remaining population had to move into city bio-domes while the rest of Mandalore’s surface was turned into an inhospitable desert.
One of these saw the surface of Mandalore
What did you think of the episode?
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5 thoughts on “The Mandalorian: Chapter 24”
Great episode, and yes, it does feel like a series finale. I think you’re right, we may not see Din and Grogu for awhile. I’m still left wondering who the “spies” were of last week’s episode? I know Elia Kane was one, but everyone was convinced someone in the Mandalorian party was also a spy, whether it be the Armorer or the Mad Max Mandalorians (as I call them, lol). But that wasn’t addressed. I also thought maybe we’d get to see Pedro Pascal’s face again, but oh well. We know what he looks like. I was afraid this finale was going to break my heart somehow (as Star Wars does), but it had a happy ending, so I’m kind of relieved, lol. Great review!
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Yeah I think that last week’s title was a mistake as it set up an expectation that shouldn’t have been there. I imagine Pedro was filming The Last of Us for much of this season’s production so wouldn’t surprise me if we had more of Brendan and Lateef in the suit than ever, especially in this episode with so much fighting! Thanks for reading
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I didn’t think of that! He’s a busy guy.
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I was really hoping that the madalorians would face overwhelming odds and then the mythosaur would pop up and say hello. Alas they did not. I agree with you on the clones being killed, it’s like in captain america civil war when they revealed all the super soldiers in cryo sleep to then find out they had been killed (all that for nothing!). It did all feel very rushed though and I would have liked to see more but what can we do. Overall I liked it though.
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I do agree that I was expecting more involvement from the Mythosaur (also the chicks that were orphaned a few weeks ago), but I imagine that they will hopefully have a part to play down the line – Filoni has a history of doing that. Thanks for reading