‘The Mandalorian’ Season 3 Episode 4 Review: Grogu’s Past Is Revealed

Mar 22, 2023

The fourth episode of The Mandalorian’s third season feels like a slight departure from the forward momentum delivered in the previous episodes, as it reverts to a tidy 30-minute misadventure that trades action for character work. Penned by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, “Chapter 20: The Foundling,” picks up where “The Convert” left off last week, with Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) making herself at home with Din’s (Pedro Pascal/Brendan Wayne/Lateef Crowder) covert. Even if you didn’t know that Carl Weathers had returned to direct the episode, audiences were likely able to guess that he was the man behind the direction as Bo-Katan watched the Mandalorians train like something out of Rocky.

What “The Foundling” may be lacking in substantial plot development, it makes up for in a second-act flashback to Order 66. While most have grown tired of revisiting the traumatic experience, which saw trusted Clone Troopers turn on the Jedi that they had vowed to protect, this particular journey back in time finally reveals who saved Grogu—and it’s a familiar face. As The Armorer (Emily Swallow) makes Grogu a new piece of armor, he sees his past in the forge. There are flashes of lightsabers blocking blaster fire and the same general sense of confusion that was witnessed during the last Order 66 flashback Grogu saw, but this time everything comes into focus as the turbolift doors open, revealing Jedi Master Kelleran Beq (Ahmed Best) who has come to recuse the youngling.

Back in 2020, Lucasfilm unveiled a lighthearted web-based children’s game show entitled Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge, which saw the Prequel Era’s Jar Jar Binks actor Best return to the franchise as Jedi Master Kelleran Beq. After the unfortunate experience that Best had as Jar Jar Binks, this short-lived series felt like it helped to mend the relationship he had with the franchise and its fans. Now, with Jedi Master Kelleran Beq revealed as the Jedi who saved Grogu, the character has become an integral piece of Grogu’s story. This choice alone helps to elevate “The Foundling,” as it helps to connect ancillary projects and deliver a much-deserved point of honor for an actor who was long overdue for a moment like this.

Image via Disney+

RELATED: ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 3: The Detail You Missed About Grogu’s Possible Storyline

For audiences who were put off by last week’s episode, which veered away from Din and the covert, “The Foundling” delivers plenty of time with the Mandalorians, though still only a few small scenes with Din and Grogu. Early on, Din decides that Grogu needs to start training with the rest of the Mandos if he ever hopes to become an apprentice. Since he’s so small, he gets paired up with the only other pint-sized Mando, Ragnar (Wesley Kimmel)—who got his helmet in the premiere. At first, Ragnar gains the upper hand in their game of darts, but with a little goading from Din, Grogu uses the Force to win. Defeated and sulking, Ragnar walks towards the water’s edge where he is snatched up by what can only be described as an oversized pterodactyl.

From there, the episode launches into a rescue mission to save Ragnar from certain death. The Mandalorians attempt to follow after him, but their jetpacks run out of fuel about halfway to the creature’s nest. Luckily, Bo-Katan seizes on the opportunity to prove herself, and she takes her ship out to where the nest is to map the location and form a plan. While the Mandalorians are certainly far from the smartest group in the galaxy; it is hilarious that Paz Vizsla (Tait Fletcher) notes that this has happened numerous times to other Foundlings, and yet they’ve done nothing to prevent it from happening again. The tin can clan might not be the tactical geniuses they paint themselves to be.

While Grogu has his war flashbacks with The Armorer, Bo-Katan, Din, and Paz mount the rescue operation alongside a handful of other Mandalorians. In order to avoid alerting the creature to their presence, they park their ship quite a ways away from the nest and make the trek across the planet’s rugged terrain. When nightfall arrives, the Mandalorians convene around a fire for dinner, which prompts Bo-Katan to ask Din for advice about eating with the helmet on (which is funny, since she has been a Mandalorian for much longer than he has). Hopefully, The Mandalorian hasn’t forgotten that Bo-Katan is the one that has taught Din about the Mandalorians, and she certainly doesn’t need guidance from a man who has been largely oblivious to everything for twenty-plus episodes.

Image via Disney+

At first light, they head up the side of the impressive cliff face, to where the creature’s nest is. After spotting a heat signature in the brambles, Paz makes a brash decision to attempt Ragnar’s rescue on his own, which leads to chaos. The heat signature was not actually Ragnar, but rather three of the creature’s own offspring. When the mama turns back up, she coughs up Ragnar and dangles him over the snapping beaks of babies, but the Mandalorians sweep into action. Alarmed by their presence, the pterodactyl creature takes off with Ragnar clasped in its talons, with Din, Paz, and Bo-Katan hot on its heels. After a bit of aerial combat and fancy flying, they manage to rescue Ragnar and drop the creature into the water where it is eaten by the dinosaur turtle. Paz and Ragnar are reunited, Bo-Katan is praised for her leadership, and for some unbelievably bizarre reason, they bring back the massive pterodactyl hatchlings as new foundlings.

Throughout Season 1 and Season 2 of The Mandalorian, in addition to his brief appearance in The Book of Boba Fett, Paz Vizsla has been rather difficult to get a true feel for. Before Din’s helmet removal, he seemed to have some respect for the other Mandalorian, but after that incident, he seemed rather eager to cast him aside. When Bo-Katan arrived and was welcomed into the covert, his body language seemed to indicate some animosity there—which makes sense, considering the history between Clans Kryze and Vizsla. However, the premiere of Season 3 did indicate his care towards Ragnar, which was shown more blatantly in “The Founding.” Ragnar is to Paz what Grogu is to Din. So what will be the payoff for this new development? The episode could’ve benefited from another ten minutes of exploring that dynamic, to help cement its presence.

As the episode draws to a close, Bo-Katan joins The Armorer at the forge to repair her armor. The Armorer asks her if she would like her new pauldron to bear the Nite Owl signet on it, and Bo-Katan asks instead for one of the pauldrons to bear the mark of the Mythosaur. The Armorer has no qualms with that since the Mythosaur is a symbol that belongs to all Mandalorians. Bo-Katan attempts to question the Armorer about what it would mean if she saw a Mythosaur, but the Armorer seems to believe that it was a dream or a vision. Even when Bo-Katan says point-blank that she saw the Mythosaur in the Living Waters beneath Mandalore, The Armorer seems to be humoring her.

Image via Disney+

“The Foundling” ends on a similar note as “The Convert,” with Bo-Katan looking upon the image of the Mythosaur, which continues to tease what’s to come without moving the plot any closer to whatever conflict this will create—especially as this episode marks the halfway point for Season 3. On the surface, this episode is quite fun, but the storytelling is also fairly surface-level. It relies solely on visual intrigue and high-flying aerial action sequences to make up for what it lacks in the narrative, which tends to occur with Filoni-penned episodes. No amount of smart, precise direction from Weathers can help to bring more to the too-short script.

Rating: B

The Mandalorian is streaming now on Disney+.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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