Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Mandalorian Season 3 Finale Review: A Disappointing Conclusion To A Lackluster Season

  • Nice moments between Mando and Grogu
  • Monotonous visuals
  • Lack of emotional stakes
  • Beginning to feel directionless

After "Andor," one of the most creatively exciting projects in the entire "Star Wars" canon, fans hoped that Season 3 of "The Mandalorian" would bring more high-quality entertainment to the franchise. The results, however, have been almost uniformly underwhelming. A messy season-long Mandalore arc fails to capitalize on the one thing that drew fans to the show in the first place: The relationship between Mando (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu. Season 3's finale remedies that, at least, keeping the characters close together in a series of impactful scenes. But while the episode is action-packed, it never becomes genuinely exciting to watch, and does little to avoid the feeling that "The Mandalorian" has run out of ideas.

We meet our heroes in the midst of the Battle for Mandalore. The Mandalorians are facing off against a troop of jet-pack-equipped stormtroopers, while Mando and Grogu (equipped with his new IG-88 exoskeleton) make their way through Moff Gideon's (Giancarlo Esposito) forces. Along the way, they discover — and subsequently destroy — an entire room full of Moff Gideon clones, marinating in goo. We learn that his master plan is to create an army of clones with enhanced Force sensitivity, which would make them nigh-unbeatable in combat. Amidst this fight, Bo-Katan Kryze's (Katee Sackhoff) arc gets some semblance of resolution as she joins the battle against Moff Gideon. This is a familiar conflict between the two, as they grapple for control of the legendary Darksaber, a weapon that is eventually destroyed — although whether it will stay gone is another story entirely.

A lack of exciting visuals

There's a lot happening in the Season 3 finale of "The Mandalorian" — so much so that it often becomes muddled. What should be a thrilling battle between Mandalorians and stormtroopers ends up as a bunch of white and gray blurs flying around like bees. There's little visual interest to be found because the entire show is infected with such a debilitating sense of same-y-ness. The stormtroopers and the Mandalorians look the same, and our key battles are between two fighters who just so happen to be wearing Beskar armor in slightly different shades. As an individual, Mando's face mask adds to his sense of mystery. But when almost every single person on the show is masked, spewing stilted dialogue, all it creates is monotony.

It's also disappointing that we've spent an entire season with the extremist Mandalorian cult and there has seemingly been little attempt to move the plot forward. At one point, it feels as though the show is building toward a rift between the group and Mando, with him becoming disillusioned and needing to forge a path for himself. But now, it seems like they've just reverted to the status quo, even deepening ties with the group by having Grogu officially become a Mandalorian apprentice. If the show's makers are planning on this break being where "The Mandalorian" ultimately goes — which they've arguably laid quite a bit of groundwork for — they may need to get started on that.

Is The Mandalorian stuck?

It's telling that "The Mandalorian" has only had three fairly short seasons and is already rehashing previous storylines. Bo-Katan's reclamation of power in the Mandalorian community is the same arc she's had multiple times over in the "Star Wars" canon; it just seems to be constantly restarted, ad nauseam. Bringing back Moff Gideon feels tired — he's not a memorable villain who audiences were necessarily clamoring for, and it's clear that the writers don't know what to do with him. If his only purpose is to wallpaper over a certain much-maligned cloning plotline from "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," well ... that's not great. Mando and Grogu — now more formally father and son — are poised to take on adventure-of-the-week storylines in the future. But this is also more or less where they started when the show began. These narrative choices are all hallmarks of a show that doesn't know where to go from here.

When "The Mandalorian" began, it won over audiences on the strength of the dynamic between Mando and his pint-sized companion. But three seasons later, it doesn't seem as though they've really put the work into figuring out what else the show should be about. "The Mandalorian" has been a show filled with storylines that play out like side quests in a video game, where characters say things like, "I'll help you kill the Kalwar monster, but first you have to get me this one tool I need." This has resulted in a somewhat uneven show – but it also means that when it's good, it's really good. With this season, however, "The Mandalorian" has embraced a more arc-driven narrative. The issue here is that it's not clear if the show has enough substance to support such an approach. The season finale makes this an especially pressing issue. It's an episode that should be filled with excitement and thrilling action, but because there's no underlying emotional resonance or heft to the narrative, it falls disappointingly flat.