The Mandalorian season 3, episode 4 review: "Where would this show be without Grogu?"

The Mandalorian
(Image: © Lucasfilm)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Grogu's Order 66 flashbacks redeems yet another Mando side mission that, while containing some brilliant action, doesn’t really say anything new about many of its key players

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

Given Star Wars’ western roots, it’s fitting that ‘The Foundling’ offers up the good, the bad, and the ugly of The Mandalorian season 3 so far.

The fourth episode opens with a fun diversion that quickly falls apart into something that hammers home how directionless the new season has felt to date.

Grogu, happily playing with crabs, is brought into the Children of the Watch’s combat training. There, he is challenged by Paz Vizsla's son Ragnar. After a pep talk by Daddy Mando – cruelly underused in this episode after also being MIA last week – Grogu comes out on top with some Force maneuvers and training dart trickery.

The win doesn’t last long. A creature takes Ragnar back to his nest and, after Bo-Katan’s brief recon, it’s decided that the Children of the Watch will stage a rescue mission.

"You are too young to join them," the Armorer tells Grogu. A good thing, too, because The Child’s forge-driven flashback marks the undeniable high point in an episode that was desperately grasping for one.

While we don’t get the much-anticipated Anakin cameo in our look at Grogu’s Order 66 rescue, we get the next best thing: Jedi Kelleran Beq (Ahmed Best) swooping in and escorting Baby Yoda off-planet.

The extended sequence highlights this era of Star Wars’ biggest strengths. Namely, the Volume (and director Carl Weathers’ keen eye) continues to make lightning-quick action set-pieces easier to follow and – most importantly – it gives the one-time Jar Jar Binks actor a much-needed do-over in a franchise that has sadly led to real-world issues for Best.

Simply the Best

The Mandalorian

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Mandalorian creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have always shown how Star Wars works best as a broad church that envelops every side of the galaxy – from the more mocked aspects of the prequels, to the franchise’s Seven Samurai homages, and even the missing post-Return of the Jedi years – and this feels like another welcome step in that direction.

While it (understandably) left us wanting more, it did leave us with one of the show’s most heart-wrenching images so far: Grogu doing his best puppy eyes impression to really hammer home the weight of his loss. Yes, in case you were wondering, a puppet can make you cry.

Back to the present-day rescue – and bizarre staging. “Our best bet is stealth,” Bo-Katan says. Why half of The Children of the Watch (including one with a chain gun) have been brought along is anyone’s guess, though it at least leads to another thrilling airborne sequence in a season filled with them. The plot may not have dazzled this year, but the action certainly has.

After heading back to base – with Ragnar and the creature’s chicks in tow – Bo-Katan tells the Armorer about the Mythosaur. While the forgemaster has every reason to doubt the Nite Owl, it’s clear that the series is going to mine more of the inner conflict between the former Mandalore princess’ past and present. Even so, it’s a potential clunker of a cliffhanger to leave us on – depending on how much stock you have in Bo-Katan’s journey over that of Mando’s looser wanderings.

The Mandalorian season 3, then, is in urgent need of direction. The good: It’s been entertaining – and worthwhile – diving into Grogu’s past and seeing Bo-Katan wrestle with her own legacy. The bad: Din is being sidelined and, in his place, was a pretty flimsy tale. The ugly? There’s no real overarching plot to set pulses racing. It’s a worry that, at halfway through the season, we’re left with an episode that features a side mission with very little consequence and around 10% of the runtime being filled by the Armorer making new gear for Grogu and Bo-Katan.

Moff Gideon will surely arrive soon to inject more peril into proceedings. Until then, The Mandalorian – much like the creature that snatched up Ragnar – has taken us to a place we really didn’t need to go. Thank goodness, once more, for Grogu. Where would this show be without him?

The Mandalorian is currently streaming Wednesdays on Disney Plus. For more on the show, check out where The Mandalorian sits on the Star Wars timeline and our full The Mandalorian season 3 release schedule. We've also rounded up all of the new Star Wars movies and TV shows on the way too.

More info

Available platformsTV
Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.