Din captured. Paz dead. Moff Gideon is raising a new era of Dark Troopers. Unfortunately, things are not looking great for the Mandalorians. The entire season of The Mandalorian hinges on Bo-Katan’s actions now. Can she and Grogu pull this out when hope seems lost? Directed by Rick Famuyiwa, The Mandalorian – “Chapter 24: The Return” provides a thrilling conclusion to Season 3.

The Recap – The Mandalorian – “Chapter 24: The Return”

Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) rushes through the halls of the Forge with the Mandalorian survivors. Her comms still connect to Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides), who flies through the sky via jetpack. Bo warns him of Gideon’s return and to save the fleet. They lose connection as he enters the stormy atmosphere.

Troopers drag Din (Pedro Pascal) through the halls. He gets the jump on them and begins fighting. After he takes out a few, one wraps him with a rope from behind. However, the IG-12 driving Grogu arrives and takes out the last trooper. Din thanks Grogu and tells him to be brave. They have to go after Moff Gideon.

Din establishes contact with Bo. She’s happy to hear he survived but must get the other Mandalorians to safety. Din understands and lets her know he’s going after Moff Gideon. She wishes him luck as they fly out of the Forge.

Imperial fighters also take flight. Moff Gideon waits in a command center when a trooper informs him of the launch. Moff acknowledges but also tells the trooper he’s aware Din escaped. He suits up and begins hunting Din and Grogu.

Din reaches out to R5 on the surface. He asks the Astro-Droid to get him the schematics on the base. R5 flies down into the base and hacks a computer. He sends the data to Din. They make their way through the base.

Axe Woves makes it to the ships in orbit. He evacuated the ship quickly, telling the other Mandalorians to get to the drop ships. Axe stays behind to serve as a decoy. The Mandalorians make it to their ships and escape to the surface. As they do, Gideon’s fighters reach the primary ship and begin firing. Axe begins fighting back but takes heavy damage.

Din encounters a series of progressive shields. With R5s help, he battles through the troopers stationed within them. Din makes his way through the soldiers, and R5 electrocutes a mouse droid. Grogu follows Din down the hall, where they find dozens of tanks with clones of Moff Gideon. Din sabotages the tanks, and they escape down the hall.

Bo-Katan and the survivors find a safe cave system. They discuss farming on Mandalore and the future. The Armorer (Emily Swallow) arrives with the reinforcements, and the teams unite. They travel as a group to fight the troopers. Airborne, the battle commences over Gideon’s base.

Din and Grogu reach the command center. Moff Gideon awaits, furious they killed his clones. He had enhanced them with the ability to wield The Force. Din and Gideon do battle with Gideon in his new Beskar suit. The three red guards also emerge from the shadows and begin an attack. They pin down Din, but Grogu draws their attention. They attack Grogu in the IG-12 body. He flees the safety of the exoskeleton.

Bo-Katan fights in the skirmish above. She sees Gideon and Din fighting and intervenes. She tells Din to save Grogu and draws her Darksaber. Grogu and Din work together to take out the red guard.

Bo-Katan and Moff Gideon continue battling. She hears Axe over the comms, as he flies the exploding ship toward the base. She continues to distract Gideon, but he breaks the Darksaber in her hand. He calls Mandalorians weak, but she says they’re stronger together. Din steps out of the shadows and shoots Gideon. The Mandalorians begin evacuating the base and ship as it comes crashing into the Imperial base. Din, Bo, and Grogu continue to fight Moff Gideon. The flames of the exploding ship consume him. Grogu creates a force shield to save Din & Bo, and the three are unharmed by the explosion.

We hear drums as the Mandalorians converge on the Living Waters. The Armorer conducts a ceremony for Ragnar, who takes the creed. Din and Grogu enter, and Din asks if Grogu can take the creed. He is too young to speak, so he cannot do it. However, Din formally adopts Grogu and gives permission for him to become a Mandalorian apprentice. He is now Din Grogu. They must leave Mandalore to continue on Galaxy-wide journeys. Below the surface of the water, we spot the Mythosaur.

The Armorer carries a torch and hands it to Bo. With the torch, they restart the Forge. The crowd chants, “For Mandalore.” They have returned home.

Din and Grogu fly to the New Republic base, where they meet Captain Teva (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee). Grogu admires the helmets of imperial soldiers the bar has collected. Din tells Teva that he wants to be more selective about the bounties he chases now that Grogu is his apprentice. He pitches working for The New Republic on a case-by-case basis. Teva seems to agree, and Din requests a broken IG-unit head to be his payment. He needs it for parts.

On Nevarro, Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) hands Din a deed for the land he was promised. After being fixed by the droid smiths, IG-11 works again. He assumes the title of Marshall on Nevarro to a cheering crowd. At their new house, Din and Grogu rest in peace.

Episode Breakdown – The Mandalorian – “Chapter 24: The Return”

Long live, Mandalore! The famed warriors have taken back control of their planet, but the Shadow Council is still out there. We know Thrawn is coming in Ashoka, so the next big bad is on the horizon. The First Order will rise, taking out The New Republic. We reached a moment of peace to end this season, but the adventure of Din and Grogu will not stay that way. Threats are looming in the Star Wars galaxy, but we should give props to Filoni and Favreau for giving our heroes a well-deserved breather.

The Moff Gideon story appears over, which helps the show in its next stage. We need bigger, badder villains. As cool as Giancarlo Esposito has been, he single-handedly made this role matter. Unfortunately, the way Gideon was written never matched the performance. There’s always a chance he returns on the back of a clone storyline, but The Mandalorian would be better if they do not revisit him in the future.

The Mandalorian "The Pirate" Pedro Pascal
(L-R): Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN, season three, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The story of Bo-Katan rising to retake Mandalore undeniably defined the season. In all fairness, this is a moment that has been percolating for years. Once she arrived in Season 2, this journey seemed possible. While some have turned against The Mandalorian this season, this undeniably feels like a critical moment for the galaxy. Having Din assist her return, rather than be the shepherd himself, fit in with the show’s first two seasons. Din and Grogu are observers who pass through a changing galaxy. While they are intimately involved in the death of Moff Gideon, their immediate exile to the stars puts us back on the path to the future. Din’s efforts to help rebuild Mandalore are completed. Assuming that Mandalore does not become another weekly check-in, the series should return to its “case of the week” structure that made it so intriguing.

Famuyiwa delivers some of the most unique action setpieces in franchise history. An aerial fight between Mandalorians and troopers only further makes the “They fly now” line from Rise of Skywalker even more ridiculous. It was truly awe-inspiring and shows how unique fighting styles and gear can add to the excitement of Star Wars. We need more unique approaches and visuals in this galaxy, and this helped tremendously.

To the series’ benefit, we did not get a deeply cynical look ahead or a reintroduction of the character. No Luke, No IG-11 until after the battle, and no Ashoka reveal. This season started with Mandalore and concluded with Mandalore. For all the issues some have with Din taking a backseat, the complete vision is clear. The last battle concludes with Grogu using his force powers to save Bo and Din. The three of them standing together defeat Moff Gideon. At the end of the season, Din and Grogu find their home. It told us this was way from the very first moments of Season 3. It’s very hard to argue against Season 3 as the second-best season to date, in part because it is self-contained to these three characters.

Alan’s Rating: 9/10

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