The Mandalorian Season 3 Episode 4 Review

This review contains full spoilers for episode four of The Mandalorian Season 3, now available to watch on Disney+.

Grogu and Bo-Katan both prove themselves to the Mandalorian covert in episode 4 of Season 3 of The Mandalorian, which delivers plenty of action while filling in a bit of the backstory of how the youngling survived Order 66. The show has taken its time laying groundwork by exploring character dynamics and doing a bit of worldbuilding in the first half of the season, and “The Foundling” is clearly meant to help Bo-Katan earn the loyalty of the Children of the Watch so she can enlist them in her quest to retake Mandalore and get vengeance on the Imperial forces that blew up her home. This episode feels very much like connecting tissue, so hopefully the second half of the season will provide payoff worthy of all the build-up.

In this episode the Armorer tells Bo-Katan that saving a foundling is the highest honor of the Creed, and just like Din pushing back the crocodilian monster in “The Apostate” earned him an audience with the Armorer, the attack in “The Foundling” provides a way for Bo-Katan to earn credibility as a warleader. Reusing the same plot element feels a bit lazy, but the fights continue to be brilliantly executed, as Carl Weathers directs this week’s episode and shows off both the power and limitations of the Mandalorians’ signature jetpacks. The need to ground the pterosaur before the Mandalorians run out of fuel adds a franticness to their fight and the creature’s final fate is a hilarious callback.

The Children of the Watch spend a lot of time training and at first it seems like Grogu is also taking practice seriously, just focusing on moving rocks with the Force rather than unloading with blasters. The rocks turning out to be adorable hermit crabs is an entertaining surprise and good environmental design, immediately proving that Din isn’t misunderstanding the situation when he tells the kid to stop playing and start actually doing the work.

That involves dueling Ragnar, the newly initiated Mandalorian shown in the Season 3 premiere. Pedro Pascal’s earnest, flat delivery is a great contrast to the kid’s swagger as he gets indignant about fighting an opponent too young to speak the Creed and don a Mandalorian helmet. Which begs the question – how do you get a helmet over Grogu’s enormous ears?

The growing bond between Bo-Katan and Grogu is a sweet surprise, as she sees a bit of herself in the reluctant foundling being pushed to fight by a proud if highly demanding father. Din’s confidence in the kid is so great that he doesn’t even bother training him in basic weaponry first, relying on Grogu’s use of the Force to win the fight, which of course he does. I still don’t love the way Grogu bounces around in combat, but it seems like that’s going to be a consistent part of the action moving forward. I much prefer the toddling he does on the beach.

This episode feels very much like connecting tissue, so hopefully the second half of the season will provide payoff worthy of all the build-up

Luke Skywalker mentioned that his training of Grogu felt more like helping him remember his former training, and “The Foundling” continues to show the memories he’s suppressed. Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best brings Jedi Master Kelleren Beq from the kids game show Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge to The Mandalorian as Grogu’s protector, rescuing him from the carnage on Coruscant while his colleagues are dispatched disappointingly quickly.

Combining the plot of Revenge of the Sith with the speeder chase scene from Attack of the Clones, Beq continues this season’s recurring motif of aerial sequences involving a vastly outnumbered hero as he skillfully uses platforms for cover and a train as a weapon. In a clever reference to the last episode of The Mandalorian, there’s even a glimpse of the same square where Pershing tried to touch the mountaintop. The carnage as the clone troopers strike at the peacekeepers at the heart of the Galactic Republic without much regard for collateral damage is a good reminder of just how quickly things can change for the people of Coruscant, even if they might laugh about not knowing who’s in charge.

The glowing surface of Coruscant as Grogu’s ship takes off provides a gorgeous shot, neatly complimented by the similar hue of the molten metal the Armorer works for Grogu’s new piece of armor. Emily Swallow’s scenes are always a pleasure because she’s so good at capturing the cadence of religious leader preaching, delivering exposition that might otherwise seem dry or heavy in a way that makes it clear why she’s inspired so much loyalty among her people.

The Mandalorian’s Western roots have somewhat faded as the story has progressed and become more of a space opera, but “The Foundling” brings in one of the genre’s biggest tropes — sharing a meal around a campfire — just to subvert it. Bo-Katan may have the honor of getting a warm place to eat rather than having to find somewhere private to take off her helmet, but the scene shows just how isolating the taboo is.

The creature work in The Mandalorian continues to be top notch. The mother monster feels appropriately terrifying as she uses her maw, talons and wings to fight off the Mandalorians. Her babies are utterly grotesque, blowing up the odd proportions of a baby bird into a flesh-eating threat. Presumably the Mandalorians will take a page from Boba Fett and learn how to ride the beasts.

Bo-Katan’s lost pauldron, and her choice of the mythosaur to replace it instead of her Nite Owl symbol, is a fairly blunt metaphor for how she feels herself divided between her past and her future. The Armorer might make a believer out of her yet as she patiently handles Bo-Katan’s questions and disclosure about the mythosaur, clearly assuming the encounter was a vision rather than reality but not fully dismissing the possibility either. The world of Star Wars is filled with strange and unexplainable things, and Mandalorians seem to encounter more than their fair share.

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