‘The Mandalorian’ Recap: Season 3, Episode 8 “The Return”

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The fight to take back Mandalore has arrived in the season 3 finale of The Mandalorian, “The Return.” But can Bo-Katan, Din, and the others win against Moff Gideon and his army?

Moff Gideon lives

Picking right back off where we left off, Bo-Katan and the rest of the Mandalorians are trying to escape from Gideon’s base. She speaks to Axe Woves over the comms, letting him know that Moff Gideon is alive and sending his troops up to destroy the fleet. He needs to evacuate everyone, leaving the capital ship as a decoy, because the only way they can win is on the ground.

When Axe gets back to the rest of the Mandalorians via jetpack, he instructs them to send all available ships down to the planet as reinforcements. As expected, Gideon’s forces ignore the smaller ships as they head down into the atmosphere and go directly for the cruiser.

With the help of a droid

Lucasfilm

Meanwhile, Din wakes up to find Moff Gideon’s troopers are dragging him away, and even with his hands bound he manages to hold his own to an extent fighting them off. However, real help comes when Grogu arrives with IG-12, swiftly incapacitating them (and smashing the “No” button repeatedly in the process). Din tells Grogu that they need to take out Moff Gideon once and for all this time.

Unfortunately, the element of surprise isn’t on their side, because Moff Gideon can see exactly where they are in the underground structure. As Din and Grogu sneak around, the former does something that season 1 Din would have balked at: he asks R5-D4 for help. Although the droid is nervous to do so, he flies down into the base, obtains the schematics, and transfers them to Din so that he can locate the command center.

R5 begins deactivating the barrier shields one at a time so that Din can fight off the troopers in waves instead of taking them all on at once. A mouse droid catches R5, but he scares it off, and Din manages to get through the final shield, leaving a trail of victims in his wake. The mouse droid returns with a small crew, all of them blaring tiny little alarms, and R5 makes an escape back to the surface.

The clones

Din and Grogu find a room full of chambers containing Gideon’s clones, so Din destroys all of them without hesitation. Moff Gideon is furious when Din finds him, and he explains that his plan with the clones was to give them something he never had: the Force. He was isolating the potential to wield it in order to create an unstoppable army. Din and Gideon begin to fight, but the latter is now a seemingly impossible opponent with his new armor. When Gideon’s guards surround Din, Grogu approaches to help, and they corner him in a separate room. IG-12’s body isn’t much help in fighting the guards, so Grogu leaves it behind and uses the Force to escape.

Taking back Mandalore

Lucasfilm

The army of Mandalorians descend back onto the surface of the plane, ready to fight and take back Mandalore. Gideon’s troopers fly up to meet them, and a battle on jetpacks begin. Bo-Katan separates from the group and takes over in the fight against Gideon, urging Din to rescue Grogu. Together, Din and Grogu fight side-by-side using a combination of muscle, weapons, and the Force.

While it initially appears that Bo-Katan may have a fighting chance against Gideon with the Darksaber, he grabs it and crushes it, effectively destroying the weapon that everyone’s been up in arms about since season 2. Meanwhile, with Axe still inside of it, the nearly-destroyed cruiser comes careening down to the surface, and he instructs Bo-Katan to clear out the base — he’s going to crash into it in order to take it out.

Din and Grogu return, and they help keep Gideon at bay just long enough to wait until the explosion from the ship engulfs him in flames. For a moment, it seems they may have succumbed to the same fate, but miraculously, Grogu uses the Force to put up a wall of protection.

Din Grogu

When the dust from the battle has settled, Din tells the Armorer that he’s no longer a foundling — he’s now his apprentice. She says that he’s too young to take the Creed, because he cannot speak. Din asks if he can become a Mandalorian apprentice if a parent were to give permission and proceeds to tell the Armorer that he wants to adopt Grogu as his own, then. He is now his son … Din Grogu. Later, the Mandalorians cheer as Bo-Katan relights the Great Forge.

Din Djarin: dad and independent contractor

Din pays a visit to Carson Teva and explains that he needs to be more selective about his bounty hunting work now that Grogu is his apprentice. He makes a proposition: he wants to work for the New Republic on a case-by-case basis as an independent contractor. Yeah, you heard that right.

Lucasfilm

Afterward, Greef Karga gives Din the deed to a cabin on Nevarro so he has a place to lay low in between his adventures. In return, Din presents a (functional) IG-11 to Greef as the planet’s new marshal. We close on a shot of Din reclining on his new front porch as Grogu does what he does best — plays with frogs.

Interestingly enough, the episode ends on a peaceful note with no ominous post-credits scene anywhere to be found.

The entire third season of The Mandalorian is now streaming on Disney+. Stay tuned for our review, and catch up on all of our episodic recaps here.

Lindsey
Lindsey
Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. If she's not writing or out and about with her camera, she's probably watching anime, nerding out over Star Wars, reading manga, and definitely forgetting to water her plants. And waiting for the Genshin loading screen to pop up. Contact: lindsey@nerdsandbeyond.com

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