The Mandalorian season 3 finale feature image | Agents of Fandom

The Mandalorian Season 3 Finale “The Return”: A Flawed, Emotional Conclusion

Strange story choices and a lack of resolution hold back what could be a truly great finale for ‘The Mandalorian’.

As quickly as it began, it’s over. The Mandalorian season 3 finale continues this season’s theme as a mostly enjoyable yet often frustrating episode. There are some incredible emotional highs, and some head-scratching lows that lack any credible defense.

Most fans were confident coming off of the emotional thrill ride of last week’s penultimate episode that we were heading for an all-time finale. While there’s still enjoyment to be found, especially for those with attachment to the characters, by and large the highs of this episode are unfortunately bogged down by a succinct runtime and confusing narrative decisions.

*Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Mandalorian season 3 finale*

What feels off in The Mandalorian season 3 finale?

If you can look past some indefensible choices in this episode, it has a lot to offer. Some people won’t have a problem doing this, and others will. As someone who enjoys this finale, I won’t push back against anyone who doesn’t, because it definitely has issues. While this may be a really fun 38 minutes of Star Wars, it doesn’t fit the mold of a good episode of television.

Din Djarin in The Mandalorian season 3 finale | Agents of Fandom
Din Djarin in The Mandalorian season 3 finale. Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney+.

At the end of the last episode, when Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) is captured by Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) and his Imperialorians, we’re led to believe it could spell disaster for either Din or his rescuer. Actor Brendan Wayne, who is the in-suit double for Pedro Pascal, even took to Instagram to say: “the finale could hurt too much.” This proves not to be the case, as less than five minutes in, Grogu shows up and rescues him with little to no resistance. Don’t get me wrong, I will never advocate for less Grogu, but this raises a number of questions and makes downright no sense.

Why is Din captured in the first place if the plan is to resolve it 4:18 into the next episode? But more importantly, how did Grogu even reach Din? He’s last seen escaping with his fellow Mandalorians after Din’s capture, and then he just…shows up? Did he fight his way through, sneak around, or did someone help him? What should be a densely emotional moment is moderately weighed down because it just doesn’t make sense.

Another bone to pick with this episode: who in the world are the spies? It’s been a week of theory juggling between The Armorer (Emily Swallow) and Axe Woves (Simon Mario Kassianides), which ultimately amounts to nothing—we never find out who is feeding intel to Elia Kane (Katy O’Brian). This isn’t a case of exceedingly high fan expectations, it’s just poor storytelling, given last week’s episode is quite literally titled “The Spies”.

The Mandalorian season 3 finale has showstopping highs and infuriating lows

Fortunately, The Mandalorian season 3 finale isn’t all woes and weird choices. This episode contains some of the series’—and dare I say franchise’s—best action scenes. Whether it’s Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) flying around and dicing up enemies with the Darksaber, or Din Djarin going hand-to-hand against the most deadly troopers (in a scene that feels heavily inspired by a John Wick movie), it’s all top-notch fight choreography.

Din Djarin in The Mandalorian season 3 finale | Agents of Fandom
Din Djarin in The Mandalorian season 3 finale. Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney+.

However, the glorious action scenes aren’t where this episode shines. We finally get back to what made everyone fall in love with this show in the first place: Din and Grogu, and the bond that they share. This is their show. They are not simply pieces to be moved around as a part of a bigger story. Din Djarin is the Mandalorian in the title card, and Grogu is his son. The only downside is it takes Favreau and Filoni eight episodes to realize where their bread is buttered.

The feeling of pure joy and emotion when Din rescues Grogu from the Praetorian Guards is a high that can only be achieved through the outlet of their connection. The pair fighting side by side, Din using his fists and blasters, and Grogu using the force to distract and create openings for his dad is one of the true highlights of Star Wars history. When Din Djarin makes the choice to officially adopt Grogu, now reborn as Mandalorian apprentice Din Grogu, (that’s going to take some getting used to) as his son at the end of the episode: let’s just say the tears were flowing.

I cannot overstate what these two characters and their bond mean to me. When they’re separated, I long to see them find their way back to each other; whether the time apart is episodes long or seasons long, the reunion hits just as hard every time. Din Djarin and Grogu are a beautiful reminder of how friendship can be forged in the most unlikely places, and a shining example of a touching father-son dynamic.

Stories hold incredible power, and if anyone ever tells you, “you shouldn’t care so much, it’s all just made up,” or tries to make fun of you—don’t listen to them and keep believing.

How does The Mandalorian season 3 finale fit into the season as a whole?

Bo-Katan Kryze in The Mandalorian season 3 finale | Agents of Fandom
Bo-Katan Kryze in The Mandalorian season 3 finale. Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney+.

The simple answer is: not very well. Yet another theme of this season is that the episodes are fine, even fun, if they exist in a vacuum; but they do not. Each episode within a season of The Mandalorian is tasked with telling a meaningful story for Din and Grogu, while advancing the overarching plot. Only about half of the episodes in this season are able to achieve that. We’re left with a story that feels cobbled together.

Because season three hasn’t featured Din and Grogu as the central characters nearly as much as its predecessors, it’s a bit jolting to see them return to the spotlight in such an obvious way. Bo-Katan is a major player throughout the entire season, but in The Mandalorian season 3 finale her only important task is to help Din and Grogu.

This wouldn’t be a problem if she were more of a side character throughout, but her commanding presence in previous episodes force her conclusion in The Mandalorian season 3 finale to feel lackluster and hollow. For many fans, this has been an irritating season of The Mandalorian due to its change in structure, larger scale story, and confusing creative choices.

You can’t please everyone, so it’s only natural that some people are going to love it, and others aren’t. It’s important to keep one thing in mind: it’s okay to have differing opinions on this. If you choose to engage in conversation with those who disagree with you, make sure to approach it with an open mind, and kindness in your heart. There are enough toxic fandoms out there, don’t be a contributor to them.

This is the Way

The Armorer leading the Mandalorians to battle | Agents of Fandom
The Armorer leading the Mandalorians to battle in The Mandalorian season 3 finale. Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney+.

The Mandalorian season 3 finale is far from perfect. If you go in expecting a well-written and well-paced story that connects with the previous installment, answers questions meaningfully, and resolves season-long storylines, you won’t find it.

What you will find is a lovely, heartwarming wrap-up with a delightfully happy ending to a largely confusing, but still very fun season of television. I’m on record having issues with this season, but I’ll go on record again here and say the highs outweigh the lows—for this episode, and the season at large.

No one knows when we’ll see Din Djarin and Grogu again, but given their history with Ahsoka Tano, it’s not unreasonable to think they could make an appearance in her upcoming Disney+ show. Additionally, Lucafilm announced at Star Wars Celebration London that the Mandoverse will conclude with a movie directed by Dave Filoni. If the pair miss out on an invitation to the Ahsoka party, our bet is on this project.

In the meantime, fans will be anxiously anticipating an announcement for The Mandalorian season four, a Bo-Katan spinoff, or any project we’re guaranteed to see our favorite father-son duo.

The Mandalorian season 3 finale is now streaming exclusively on Disney+. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for all the latest news and reviews.

'The Mandalorian' Season 3 Finale Review

'The Mandalorian' Season 3 Finale Review
4 5 0 1
4.0 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • Amazing action
  • Incredibly emotional moments between Din and Grogu
  • Very happy ending

The Bad

  • Baffling creative choices
  • Questions without answers
  • Shifting away from Bo and back to Din left this episode feeling empty for Bo
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