Taking Back Mandalore | “Star Wars: The Mandalorian” Season 3: Episode 8 “The Return” Review

Well, it looks like “The Mandalorian” has reached its pinnacle. After this season, I think it’s time to call it quits. What else is there left to do, after the reclamation of *spoiler*? 

That’s right, there will be spoilers. Go watch the episode now if you haven’t. 

After last week’s shocking twist that Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) has been hiding out on Mandalore this whole time with a legion of stormtroopers outfitted with beskar armor, it looked like our heroes were (almost) on the ropes. But, as noted in my review of last week’s episode, not anyone can just put on beskar and know how to fight effectively in it. 

In fact, most of the stormtroopers put up very little fight before they’re dispatched. The praetorian guards who killed Paz Vizsla and a beskar-clad Gideon put up more of a challenge, and their fights with Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) are visually stunning, but we never doubt that Mando will come out on top, which he does. If anything, the beskar stormtroopers, praetorian guards and Gideon will make for some cool action figures that will fly off the shelves. 

After all that is settled, we get a proper happy ending. Mandalore is liberated and resettled by Mandalorians. Mando is given a home on Nevarro by Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and IG-11 is fully restored and installed as the marshal of the planet. Din also officially makes Grogu his son.

This is a great ending for the series, though I did think that it came a little too soon. We could have easily spent another season having the Mandalorians fight for their home world, but I’m also relieved that Disney didn’t go that direction, milking the show for all that it’s worth. However, this episode could have had more meat to it; 38 minutes was not enough to tell all that it was trying to and it feels rushed. 

This was an expected, safe ending that won’t rock the boat like last season’s finale did (namely the return of Luke Skywalker). As a whole, this season had more highs than Season 2, but it does feel like it runs out of steam and has to wrap things up too soon. 

I’m not sure how well Seasons 1-3 will be upon rewatch. There will be an inherent disconnect for fans watching in the future between Seasons 2 and 3, as Season 3: Episode 1 does not include a much-needed scene explaining why Grogu is back with Din after the events of Season 2; the show seemingly negates his heart-wrenching departure depicted there without mentioning how it was resolved, if you don’t watch “The Book of Boba Fett.” 

Apparently “The Mandalorian” will get another season, but I would close the book right here. This show worked well its first season, which I think is all that it ever needed. But the overwhelming positive reaction to it prompted Disney to order as many seasons as they could get away with, so the show necessarily expanded past its original scope, blossoming into this grand tale about taking back Mandalore and restoring the former glory of the Mandalorian people. 

That’s a big task for sure, but on Din’s way to accomplishing that, the show has very little for him to do. Somehow, eight episodes felt like too much for his journey this season; I think a feature film would’ve encapsulated his story better. It contrasts greatly with “The Bad Batch,” which is a show without epic galaxy-defining plots, but really shines in its small filler episodes that flesh out the “Star Wars” world. 

Still, despite its flaws, “The Mandalorian” proves that it has not lost its way.

“Star Wars: The Mandalorian” Season 3: Episode 8 “The Return” gets an 8.5/10

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

“Star Wars: The Mandalorian” Season 3 gets an 8/10

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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