This Star Wars review contains spoilers for The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4: Chapter 20
With a brisk 32-minute runtime, “The Foundling” is an entertaining but somewhat shallow episode of The Mandalorian that feels inessential when compared to the three entries leading up to it. There’s nothing introduced here, thematically or narratively, that sends the story in new directions, though several scenes do strengthen the roots of the lore.
At the end of “The Convert,” we saw the Tribe welcome Din, Bo-Katan, and Grogu with open arms, and we see the continuation of that here, with Grogu beginning his foundling training. The show can’t lose when it focuses on Din and Grogu, and Bo-Katan is creeping her way into that equation, too. When she assures Grogu that Din is just pushing him into training because he’s “proud,” it establishes that she understands them and is slowly becoming a part of their little chosen family.
When the raptor (as it’s actually called) snatches poor little Ragnar up, an aerial chase ensues that is spectacular to look at as per usual, but is also quite clever in that it kicks off the episode’s main plot line with a practical predicament. The Mandos have encountered this raptor before, but their jetpacks’ limited fuel capacity doesn’t allow for them to follow the monster far enough to find its nest. With the constant barrage of CGI fireworks that dominate shows like this, something as simple as this low-fuel issue can make something that feels floaty and fantastical suddenly feel grounded and relatable.
Grogu spending time with the Armorer was a welcome dynamic change and a good opportunity to further enmesh Grogu with Din and his beliefs on a spiritual level. His rondel looks adorable on his tiny torso, but the significance of it carries serious weight. “Just as we shape the Mandalorian steel, we shape ourselves,” the Armorer preaches.
The flashback of Grogu escaping the Jedi Temple during Order 66 is full of fan service but surprisingly less dramatic than one would think considering the ineffable horrors that are happening elsewhere in the building. Alas, there is no Hayden Christensen cameo to speak of, but it is revealed that Grogu’s savior is Jedi Master Kelleran Beq (Ahmed Best), who makes a daring escape from the temple through the tunnels and airways of Coruscant. Beq originally appeared as the host of game show Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, but Best is, well, best known for playing Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels. Whatever you may think of his performances as the infamous Gungan back in the early 2000s, it is genuinely lovely to have him back in the Star Wars saga in a new way.
Kelleran and Grogu’s escape is laid out well but the visual effects leave a little to be desired here and distract from the action. A lot of the shots of Kelleran on the speeder look noticeably green screen-y, and in general, the sequence just doesn’t flow or carry much momentum. What’s strange is that the Coruscant chase takes place at night, which is typically more forgiving visual effects-wise than day due to the more direct light sources. But the diurnal aerial chase sequences with the Mandalorians and the raptor from the same episode look incredible.
The whole deal with Din, Bo-Katan, and Paz Vizsla scaling the mountain to rescue Ragnar is a mixed bag. It’s kind of cool and hilariously random to see a gang of Mandos grapple-hooking up a mountain face, and as previously mentioned, the mid-air tussle with the raptor is awesome. But prior to that, when the raptor pukes up Ragnar and starts dangling him above her chicks, it frankly comes off as silly, and not in a good way. The point of the raptor side quest is to further endear Bo-Katan to the Tribe, and for Din and Paz to make up. The episode accomplishes just that, just not in the most interesting way.
We don’t learn much about the main characters in “The Foundling,” besides the short Grogu flashback, which is disappointing. We see Bo-Katan come clean to the Armorer about her Mythosaur sighting in the Living Waters, but this doesn’t lead to any kind of breakthrough for either of them—the Armorer calls BS on Bo-Katan’s tall tale, and Bo-Katan is left just as conflicted and confused as she was at the end of the previous episode. Grogu connecting with the Mandalorians on a deeper level is meaningful, but aside from that, the episode is forgettable.