Ricky Church reviews the fourth episode of The Mandalorian season 3…
After a couple of lackluster episodes, The Mandalorian bounced back nicely with a strong focus on the Watch’s teachings as both Bo-Katan and Grogu settled into their culture. ‘The Foundling’, directed by the series’ own Carl Weathers, had a great combination of story, character, action, answers to some longstanding questions and even a surprise cameo, but not from who Star Wars fans would have expected. It all amounted to the best episode of the season so far and a nice marker for its halfway point.
Fans have been treated to aspects of Mandalorian culture for years now, whether through Star Wars comics, novels or the storylines in The Clone Wars and Rebels, many of those featuring Bo-Katan herself. When it comes to the Children of the Watch though, described by Bo-Katan as a radical offshoot cult to Mandalore, little was known aside from what Din Djarin or the Armorer would reveal. ‘The Foundling’ gave us our biggest look yet at the Watch, showing it is much, much bigger than previously seen in even the premiere. Several children and little toddlers are also part of the group, each outfitted in their own Mandalorian suits – which will probably be a hot commodity for families at Halloween.
Witnessing all the Mandalorians training against each other called to mind gladiators sparring, especially with how hardcore the latest initiate, the training teacher and even Din were with Grogu. It led to some great sequences which included Grogu utilizing his Force powers with the Mandalorian dart gun, Bo-Katan questioning Din and briefly recalling her own training with her father or the Armorer herself teaching Grogu. The insight we got into how she and the other Watch members live and operate was intriguing with Emily Swallow delivering a great performance as she explained their culture and history to Grogu and Bo-Katan.
However, even with the Mandalorians going monster hunting and great jetpack action, the most memorable part of the episode was the extended flashback to the night of Order 66. One of the big questions of The Mandalorian going as far back as the beginning of the series was how Grogu survived the Purge, especially after Book of Boba Fett‘s reveal he was at the Jedi Temple that night and we all know what happened to the younglings at the hands of Anakin Skywalker, a fact we were reminded of last year in Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was a stellar action piece with the Jedi against the Clone Troopers again made even better by former Jar Jar Binks actor Ahmed Best’s cameo as Jedi Knight Kelleran Beq, making his official canon appearance after hosting a Star Wars-themed kid’s game show.
In his brief screentime Best delivered a presence as a skilled, powerful and compassionate Jedi as he rescued Grogu and flew through the Coruscant skies. With the questions of who saved Grogu and how they escaped the Temple answered, it will be interesting to see if Best makes any further appearances as Beq’s fate remains a mystery, as does what happened to Grogu in the nearly thirty years it’s been since Order 66.
As for the Mandalorians, their plot was a fun little sidequest as Din, Bo-Katan and a group of others had to rescue the new initiate from the literal clutches of a flying beast. The choreography of the aerial chases were nicely done with some inventive methods to catch the beast, but more important were the character moments it allowed for Bo-Katan getting used to the Watch, like her question of how they eat as a group, and displaying more of her leadership skills.
It is interesting to see her be something of a fish out of water with the Watch’s ways, but also be well-versed in Mandalorian traditions and tactics. There’s a sense of isolation and familiarity that’s paralleled and it’s deeply ironic that upon being told Bo-Katan saw the Mythosaur the Armorer, the staunchest believer of Mandalorian culture, believes it to be a metaphor or vision rather than something physically real. Katee Sackhoff continues to shine as Bo and her chemistry with Pedro Pascal makes for a unique partnership in the season.
Carl Weathers directed quite an exciting and fun episode with a terrific balance of action, character moments and answers as he and the cast delved deeper into ‘the way’ the Children of the Watch love to speak of so much. Pascal, Sackhoff and Swallow were excellent together, but it was Ahmed Best who stole the show. While the overall plot of the season may not have moved forward too much in the halfway episode, the focus on the characters was well done and appreciated. With Din formally training Grogu in Mandalorian teachings and Bo-Katan becoming a significant member of the Watch, the rest of season three could go multiple ways and that’s sometimes better than following tried and formulaic ways.
SEE ALSO: Star Wars: Who is The Mandalorian’s Kelleran Beq?
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.