‘The Mandalorian’ season three disappoints, but doesn’t devastate

By Ellie Estrema

Like bees leaving the hive in the spring, Star Wars fans are dispersing now from their almost-yearly congregation around the latest season of “The Mandalorian.” But this time, reviews are not quite as glowing as they have been for the last two seasons. While this season of “The Mandalorian” did have some fantastic elements, overall, it did not live up to expectations. However, I found that, while this season was disappointing, I am still excited to hear more about our favorite characters. 

“The Mandalorian” season three focused on developing the father-son bond between Grogu and Din Djarin–Mando. While previous seasons had already established the father-son nature of the bond, it was made official in this season. I loved getting to watch both Mando and Grogu adjust to this new role as Din Djarin stepped into his new role teaching Grogu to be a Mandalorian and Grogu proved himself willing and able to learn. The bond that many Mandalorian fans have come to adore only continued to sweeten as it played out on screen. 

Getting to see Mandalore live-action was another big perk for Mandalorian fans. While Mandalorian culture has been a source of speculation for many hard-core Star Wars fans, “The Mandalorian” has given even casual fans a reason to be somewhat interested, if only for the sake of their new favorite character. The visual experience throughout the show was overall superb, giving us a great look at Mandalore and other important elements of its culture. And speaking of culture, we got to hear a lot about Mandalorian culture from rivalries to traditions and everything in between. While this could be a positive thing in moderation, this season had it in excess…but more on that later. 

I also enjoyed finally having the Moff Gideon story completely wrapped up. Though the second season did end well, fans never got to see justice done to the villain who has terrorized their main characters. Season three concluded that storyline with a bang, explaining more of Moff Gideon’s motivation, his connection to Bo-Kataan and his final fate as justice was completely accomplished. Since that has been fully wrapped up, I am excited to watch as “The Mandalorian” heads in a new direction moving forward. 

But though the show had many positive elements, the disappointing ones far outweighed them. First off, I felt that this show broke one of the cardinal rules of storytelling. Throughout the show, we didn’t see Din Djarin doing much of anything. Though the last episode somewhat remedies this, we see Bo-Kataan and Grogu in action far more throughout this season than we see our favorite former bounty hunter.  While we got to see a more human angle of Mando this season, I missed the cold bounty hunter that brought so much new dimension and perspective to the Star Wars universe. 

Considering how the Star Wars universe was affected, I also felt that the plot leading up to Mandalore was a bit overdone. There was no clear villain until the very end, the stakes were vague and the Mandalorians took back Mandalore relatively easily. I was never on the edge of my seat, never needing the next episode to tell me what had happened. I think this was partially due to a lack of personal connection. 

Mandalorian culture was explored throughout the season.

Because Mando himself did not play much of a role throughout the series, I had no real personal stake in what was going on. Though we were introduced to new and reintroduced old characters, we were not given enough time to get attached to them. Season 3 leaned on an extreme interest in Mandalorian culture and characters that frankly many everyday fans like me just don’t have, especially much involvement from the Mandalorian that we really care about. Neither the plot nor the other characters felt quite developed enough to hook my interest into what at times felt more like Mandalorian anthropology than Mando’s adventures. But, despite blowing past the casual fan’s interest, in the end, none of that mattered.

Season three wound its way through complex Mandalorian trivia to a simple conclusion–Mando and Grogu are once again on their own, ready to take on the unfriendly galaxy. This is the very thing that Mandalorian fans have been loving in past seasons, and it was enough to give this fan hope for future seasons.  Because I, as a Mandalorian fan, am not yet ready to simply give up on this series. 

A somewhat mediocre season after two award-winning ones was not enough to completely ruin my hopes for a season four of the series or for the upcoming “Ahsoka” show, especially since this season seems to have backtracked to “The Mandalorian” fans knew and loved. However, many other fans that were holding onto their Star Wars fandom because of an amazing Mandalorian show are now teetering on the fence. Time will tell which side they end up on. 

“The Mandalorian” is currently streaming on Disney+.

Ellie Estrema is a freshman double majoring in PWID and Spanish. As a TCK, former MK and current PK, she loves learning languages, traveling to see old friends and describing herself with weird acronyms. When she’s not buried in homework, you can usually find her curled up in a hammock: reading stories, writing poetry or laughing with her friends over steaming cups of tea.

Images courtesy of Lucasfilm.

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