“The Mandalorian” season 3 leaves viewers hanging


Photo Courtesy of Disney+

As “The Mandalorian” season three returned after a two year hiatus, promotional material more prominently featured older characters. Some viewers might have forgotten more crucial characters in that timespan.

By Isar Uslu, Staff Writer

After a long two-year wait, Star Wars fans were finally able to tune into the latest season of the hit Disney+ show “The Mandalorian.” However, the show that met viewers in early March entered a vastly different market than in previous years. Fans today have had access to a plethora of enjoyable shows, making the bar to clear much higher. So, while the series does a good job of bringing back Din Djarin and Grogu and might be an interesting watch for diehard fans, it disappointingly cannot compare to the other newer Star Wars series.

Since the first trailers of “The Mandalorian” season three were leaked, fans have been speculating over what the new season could be about. Some fans expected the story to be about Din Djarin rejoining the Mandalorian creed, or even fighting other Mandalorians for control of the Darksaber. However, in just the first few episodes, these expected plot points were addressed, with Din Djarin rejoining the creed by bathing in the Mines of Mandalore, mending his alliance with Bo-Katan Kryze and going back to Nevarro to be offered a plot of land and safety.

Subverting expectations like this can certainly be a good thing, but it leaves the show without a sense of plot. Din Djarin does not have a place to go or a person to meet. Instead, season three follows him and Bo-Katan as they try to unite the Mandalorian guilds and retake the planet Mandalore. This resulting season focuses a lot more on consolidating and building relationships, with a lot more talking and a lot less action. For a show that has not gotten new episodes in over two years, it can be difficult to remember those relationships and why they are relevant.

It is understandable that the show’s creators opted for this route. The main plot of returning Grogu to the Jedi was resolved at the end of season two, so there was not a clear place to take the story. Instead, season three is meant to serve as a filler season to set the stage for season four, with many new subplots introduced and left unresolved. There is a scientist, who is struggling with the morality of his work, and Moff Gideon is back, with a council that aims to bring back order to the galaxy. The show never has a domino effect moment where these subplots get tied together. Instead, the connections are far slower, leaving season four with ample room to explore the new aspects of the show.

However, the plot is the only area of concern with the show. The cinematography and CGI is still beautiful. Episode four especially stands out, with breathtaking wide shots of valleys and cliffs, as well as a dragon-like beast that matches perfectly in the environment. The costuming is also superb, with the wide variety of Mandalorian armor helping put into perspective the scarcity and isolation they live in.

The acting in the show also has not taken a hit. Pedro Pascal’s monotone Din Djarin voice is impressive as ever, but Katee Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan particularly stood out this season. With more screen time and more character development, Sackhoff nailed the body language and posture needed to make her character convincing. From the way she pauses when discussing the purge of Mandalore to the way she hesitates to take off her helmet in episode five, these subtle movements convey how much Bo-Katan has changed with her added weight and responsibility.

The score is also superb, masterfully used throughout the season to build suspense and add atmosphere to scenes. In a season where action is sprinkled between an ocean of dialogue, the usage of music helps get the viewer back into the story. Fortunately, the music never feels forced or out of place, as it always blends into the scene and matches the mood.

“The Mandalorian” season three is definitely not as good as previous seasons, and it definitely does not match shows like “Andor.” It does not impress or forward Star Wars lore. This is not because of a decrease in quality, though. Rather, the season sets the stage for the future of the series, which might make it an interesting watch for viewers invested in the story. However, fans should not go into the season expecting much, but should certainly keep an open mind for the future of “The Mandalorian.”