Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 8 Review – The Return
The Mandalorian Chapter 24 delivers an action-packed ending to Din, Grogu, and Bo-Katan's latest Star Wars adventure!
This Star Wars: The Mandalorian review contains spoilers.
The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 8: Chapter 24
“The Return” is a satisfying ending to what has been a rock-solid season of The Mandalorian, with all of the show’s carefully laid-out storylines converging in spectacular fashion. The season was light on the core Din Djarin/Grogu dynamic, but the redirected focus on Bo-Katan and the reunion of the estranged tribes under the mantle of The Creed paid off, underlined emphatically by the (apparent) demise of Moff Gideon.
One of the most dramatic aspects of these past two episodes has been the emphasis on Gideon’s evil plans for Mandalore. He razed the planet, scattered its people, and then had the gall to use their sacred act of forging Beskar armor to bolster his own army of Imperial Mando-lites. Gideon violates. He exploits. He violently misappropriates. Everything he does feels deeply personal, which makes him one of the greatest villains in Star Wars history.
Early in the episode, Din Djarin asks Grogu to be brave and help him take out Gideon once and for all. Framing the conflict in this way is smart, as the duo are the undisputed beating heart of the show. Bo-Katan is proving to be a worthy co-protagonist, but she’s not quite there yet. Din Djarin and Grogu are the marquee players here, and it’s heartening to see them treated as such in the finale.
It was devastating to lose Paz Vizsla at the close of last week’s episode, but Axe Woves has assumed the lovable grunt role nicely here with his almost impossible feat of heroism that ultimately takes Gideon down. Him sitting alone in the bridge of the cruiser as it’s bombarded by TIE Bombers and Interceptors is a character-defining moment, and while the jet-pack escape kinda-sorta dampens the impact of his sacrifice (going out in a ball of flames would’ve been a truly kickass exit from the show), it’s nice to know that he’ll be sticking around to usher in the new age of Mandalore.
From the symbolically verdant cave farms proving Mandalore’s surface is still fertile, to the iconic image of a Darksaber-brandishing Bo-Katan leading an army of flying Mandalorians into battle (sheesh, did that look cool), the story of the rebirth of Mandalore was given the perfect treatment. The season has been carefully building to this crescendo, and the payoff is oh so sweet. Seeing the Great Forge re-lit, the youngling sworn into The Creed at the Living Waters, and the Mythosaur opening its massive eye in approval is a well-earned, full-circle moment. Having Bo-Katan act as the face of this resurrection will surely lead to some big things in the Mandoverse down the road.
But again, the true main event here is Din Djarin and Grogu finally getting their hands on Gideon. They had to earn it, though, fighting through a grueling gauntlet of Imperial commandos and Praetorian Guards to get to him. The finale nails all of these sequences, from R5 having a little hero moment as he’s pestered by mouse droids (a welcome moment of levity amid a cacophony of brutality) to Din and Grogu tag-teaming to kick the shit out of the Praetorian Guards. The shot of the blast doors shutting as the Praetorians back a cowering Grogu into a corner is so heart-wrenching it makes you want to reach through the screen and save the little guy yourself. This little non-verbal, animatronic puppet is one of the best characters on TV, and that’s something the show’s crew and creatives should really be proud of.
Din Djarin telling Grogu, “You did good, kid,” is absolutely everything. This IS the show. This duo is what makes this Star Wars series unique and special, and they really get to shine here as they overcome serious peril as father and son, with the aid of Bo-Katan and the rest of the Mandos, of course.
The theme of the season, that “Mandalorians are stronger together,” is a powerful one and is encapsulated perfectly in this finale. The people of Mandalore work selflessly to defeat a villain who is so self-obsessed and egomaniacal that he literally tried to make a clone army of HIMSELF (but with added Force powers) to take over the galaxy. The solidarity of many triumphs over the tyranny of one. A poetic ending indeed.
Grogu saving Din Djarin and Bo-Katan with the Force bubble is terrific (Thanks, Master Luke!), and Din Djarin adopting him as his son and apprentice and settling down on Nevarro to start a new life as a little bounty-hunting family is just unbelievably cathartic and cute, made all the better by the true return of Taika Waititi’s IG-11. The final shot of our central duo is precious—Din Grogu deserves to use the Force for fun because he’s just a kid, damnit, and Din Djarin deserves to kick his feet up and enjoy the simple life. They finally feel like they’re both where they belong, and this could be a fitting ending to their story. Thankfully, this won’t be the last we see of the Din Fam, as showrunner Jon Favreau has already confirmed he’s written a fourth season. We can’t wait to see what’s next!