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‘The Mandalorian’: We Love Grogu But He Doesn’t Belong in Season 3

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Editor’s Note: The following contains minor spoilers from Season 3 Episode 7 of The Mandalorian.If you don’t religiously follow every new Star Wars release on Disney+, you might have been in for a surprise when you started watching Season 3 of The Mandalorian. Last season’s emotional finale separated the show’s main characters as Grogu left his surrogate father Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) to train as a Jedi. But as of the beginning of Season 3, they’re back together, looking for a way to redeem Din in the eyes of his Mandalorian covert. This is the result of the baffling decision to tell the story of their reunion in last year’s spinoff The Book of Boba Fett. Beyond the obvious problems with outsourcing the resolution of this major narrative beat to an entirely different show, the choice to bring Din and Grogu back together so quickly has had a serious negative impact on The Mandalorian’s third season.. Grogu Doesn’t Belong in This Story. Image via Disney+. So far, The Mandalorian has focused its third season on the potential rebuilding of Mandalore. When Din returns to his old covert, he finds it to have grown substantially. He and Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) convince them to aid the pirate-besieged world of Nevarro, and as thanks they’re granted land of their own by Magistrate Greef Karga (Carl Weathers). Now with a permanent base of operations, the covert sends Bo-Katan and Din to find other Mandalorians across the galaxy, so they can come together and rebuild their civilization.. As this story has been playing out, the fact that Din and Grogu are back together has had no impact on it. When he’s not just there to look cute, Grogu’s scenes this season focus on his slowly increasing independence. He was briefly on his own when Din sent him to bring Bo-Katan to the Mines of Mandalore, he had his sparring match with the other Mandalorian child, and now he’s gained increased mobility and even a little bit of a voice through IG-12. But this has had no meaningful impact on the main story, or at least none that required Grogu to be there. R5-D4 could’ve brought Bo-Katan to save Din, and other than breaking up a fight between Paz Vizsla (voiced by Jon Favreau and physically portrayed by Tait Fletcher) and Axe Woves (Simon Kassianides). For one of the show’s main characters, this is absurd. If Grogu isn’t contributing to the story being told, then why is he here?. RELATED: When Did ‘The Mandalorian’ Stop Being Mandatory Viewing?. Image via Disney+. The first two seasons of The Mandalorian were built around very simple ideas. The first season told the story of Din going on the run from Moff Gideon’s forces with Grogu. Season 2 sent them on a quest to find a Jedi to raise and train Grogu. Throughout both seasons we watch as the two of them grow to care for each other and become the family that they’d both previously lost. It’s why the biggest and most important moment of the Season 2 finale isn’t the defeat of Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) or the return of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), but the moment where Din abandons his Mandalorian Creed and removes his helmet, so his surrogate son can see his face before they part.. So why has Season 3 tossed that all to the side? Even if you count the two-and-a-half episodes of The Book of Boba Fettthat focus on Din, there’s no time for this moment to breathe. We don’t get to explore the fallout of Din’s choice to let Grogu go. They’re just back together like nothing ever happened. Not only does this cheapen the impact of the Season 2 finale, but it also ignores what should be one of the most impactful moments of the show so far. Choosing to ignore it has severely harmed their story in Season 3.. Season 3 Would’ve Been Stronger Without Grogu. Image via Disney+. Nothing in Season 3 has meaningfully challenged Din Djarin. He redeemed himself in the eyes of his covert in just two episodes. Since then, he’s been dragged along on the adventures of Bo-Katan, and compared to her, he’s been flat and uninteresting. Bo-Katan lost Mandalore years ago, and now she’s stumbled on a way to get it back. That strong motivation has made her the most interesting part of the season, completely overshadowing Din on his show. To be clear, giving Bo-Katan a bigger role this season is not the problem. She’s a natural addition to the core cast of the show. Her personal investment in restoring Mandalore is necessary to get Din Djarin involved in that plotline. But by bringing Grogu back so quickly, The Mandalorian robbed Din of a comparable character arc. Unlike previous seasons, he hasn’t had a motivation that drove him to act or change throughout this season because Grogu is here, and he doesn’t care about anything else.. What makes this so infuriating is that the show had the perfect motivation handed to it on a silver platter by the Season 2 finale. We saw a hint of what could have been with The Book of Boba Fett’s “Chapter 5: Return of the Mandalorian” as Din struggles to make his way in the world without Grogu at his side. That episode frames Din’s urge to redeem himself in the eyes of his covert as a way of filling the void Grogu left, a compelling reason for him to regress into his old ways of Bounty Hunting and zealotry. It’s strange that once he gets Grogu back he remains on this path, rather than moving on and accepting the comfortable life that Greef Karga offers them in the Season 3 premiere. Din seems uninvested in restoring Mandalore because he has no reason to be, but if Grogu was still off training with Luke then it would make so much more sense for him to get caught up in the quest to rebuild Mandalore.. A better version of The Mandalorian’s third season would take the time to sit in the bittersweet aftermath of Season 2. Let Grogu be gone, at least for now, and see what sort of person Din Djarin is when he’s left alone again. How does he find his purpose in the galaxy? Could he find it with Bo-Katan, trying to rebuild Mandalore? Bo-Katan’s story is built around a longing for the world she lost, the perfect complement to Din’s longing for the son he’s been told he cannot have. But instead, The Mandalorian couldn’t resist Grogu’s adorable little green face and chose to abandon one of the most exciting shakeups in Star Wars history in favor of the comfort of the status quo. And Season 3 is struggling because of it.. Read More About ‘The Last of Us’ 

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