The Mandalorian has at all times wished to have its cake and eat it, too. Throughout its first two seasons, the collection tried to mix sidequest-heavy, episodic storytelling with one longform, serialized story. Whereas the present by no means discovered the right steadiness between these two modes, its first two seasons each got here collectively effectively in the long run. Sadly, The Mandalorian season 3 hasn’t been fairly as efficient.

Over the course of its first six episodes, The Mandalorian’s newest season has struggled to keep up any form of singular, serialized story. As an alternative, it has delivered a handful of sidequests and one-note villains that thus far haven’t amounted to a lot. Alongside the best way, the collection has loosely threaded collectively its newest batch of adventures with a narrative about Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) getting down to retake Mandalore, which has progressed at a frustratingly uneven tempo.

All of those issues, together with the present’s incapacity to steadiness Bo-Katan and Din Djarin’s views, have resulted in a season of tv that feels disappointingly directionless. The truth is, it’s beginning to really feel like The Mandalorian doesn’t actually understand how or what story it needs to inform anymore.

The Mandalorian’s identification disaster

The Mandalorian was about Din Djarin and his force-sensitive ward, Grogu. The previous character began out as a indifferent, chilly bounty hunter who had little curiosity in private connection. That every one modified when he met Grogu. Throughout its first two seasons, The Mandalorian consequently adopted Din as he grew so near Grogu that he not solely turned a extra delicate pal and formidable warrior, but in addition a father determine who was prepared to reevaluate his personal beliefs with the intention to shield his family members.

Din’s journey set him as much as be — like so most of the iconic heroes who’ve come earlier than him — an unlikely, however succesful chief. In its third season, nonetheless, The Mandalorian has roughly thrown that risk out the window. Not solely has Din reverted again to following the legal guidelines of The Method with a dogmatic fierceness, however his and Grogu’s relationship hasn’t developed or progressed in any respect for the reason that final time Star Wars followers noticed them collectively on the finish of The E-book of Boba Fett season 1.

As an alternative of continuous to search out new methods to problem Din and Grogu’s relationship, The Mandalorian has turned its consideration to Bo-Katan and Din’s shared want to rebuild Mandalore. On paper, that is sensible as the subsequent chapter of The Mandalorian’s story. Nevertheless, in observe, the collection’ Bo-Katan-centric plot has left so much to be desired.

The issue with Bo-Katan

Din Djarin stands in front of Bo-Katan in The Mandalorian season 3 episode 6.

Over the course of The Mandalorian season 3, Bo-Katan has gone from an exiled princess residing in isolation to the newly decreed future chief of Mandalore. The one drawback with that arc is that Bo-Katan herself hasn’t truly modified in ways in which justify such a metamorphosis. She has roughly remained the identical particular person she was when she first confirmed up on The Mandalorian. Even when it seemed just like the Disney+ collection was going to see her change into a full-time, card-carrying follower of The Method, The Mandalorian ended up abandoning that risk.

Now, Bo-Katan has not solely been given permission by The Armorer (Emily Swallow) and the opposite members of Din’s covert to take her helmet off within the presence of others, however she’s additionally been named the brand new wielder of the Darksaber by Din himself. Regardless of Din’s fierce perception in her, although, The Mandalorian hasn’t sufficiently proven or defined why Bo-Katan deserves to take his place as the long run chief of Mandalore. The truth is, whereas viewers have already witnessed Din’s capability for change, Bo-Katan hasn’t grown a lot since she appeared for the primary time in The Mandalorian season 2.

Consequently, many moments in The Mandalorian season 3 have felt just like the collection simply going by way of the motions. The present’s beforehand established emotional throughlines have both been sidelined or deserted altogether — leaving The Mandalorian with solely a collection of plot developments that carry little precise weight.

An excessive amount of of factor?

Bo-Katan holds the Darksaber while standing next to Din Djarin in The Mandalorian season 3 episode 6.

One of many greatest issues with franchise storytelling, basically, is that it might probably result in sure collection overstaying their welcome. That normally occurs each time a present retains going after its central dramatic argument has already been resolved, which is simply one other approach of claiming that it not has any cause to exist outdoors of its personal company value.

It’s beginning to really feel increasingly like that’s what has occurred to The Mandalorian. In earlier years, the Disney+ collection was saved afloat by Din and Grogu’s relationship, which allowed it to discover the ways in which connection and love can encourage an individual to develop and change into a greater model of themselves. For comparability’s sake, Season 1 of Andor equally used one man’s political radicalization to inform a narrative about how hope and freedom can thrive in even essentially the most oppressive of occasions. Sadly, The Mandalorian appears to consider that it ran out of the way to discover its core themes when it reunited Din and Grogu in The E-book of Boba Fett.

All that is still within the present is Bo-Katan and Din Djarin’s shared mission to rebuild Mandalore. To be truthful, that’s an objectively intriguing premise, however The Mandalorian season 3 has failed to ascertain an precise story beneath that plot. The collection, in different phrases, has change into a zero-calorie area odyssey that’s in determined want of one thing deeper and larger to latch onto.

New episodes of The Mandalorian premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.

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