The Mandalorian S3, Ep 7 Review

Traditionally, the final two episodes of a season of The Mandalorian have been the show’s biggest. Season One introduced us to Moff Gideon. Season Two broke the Internet with the return of Luke Skywalker. Now, Season Three’s continuing that trend as the Mandalorians seek to reclaim their homeworld of Mandalore. However (and I saw leaked footage of this online), the episode’s cold opening shows that Mandalore’s more important than its people realize. While the threat of the First Order’s a ways off, there’s a more immediate danger, and it’s not just Moff Gideon. The show’s been hinting at it since Ashoka appeared, and news from Star Wars Celebration Europe confirms it: the Heir to the Empire returns.

Also, Grogu’s got a mech suit now!

We Were Right about Moff Gideon

Over the course of the season, The Mandalorian gradually revealed that, despite being handed over to the New Republic, Moff Gideon never made it to trial. Instead, he escaped en route and framed the Mandalorians for the act. Meanwhile, it was obvious that his subordinate, Elia Kane, was acting as his spy in the New Republic’s Amnesty Program. The show wasn’t subtle about showing Kane remained loyal to Gideon, which only highlights how useless the New Republic is. However, it’s not until this episode that we get confirmation that Moff Gideon’s part of a much bigger conspiracy.

After secretly contacting her master on Coruscant, Kane informs Gideon about the pirate attack on Nevarro failing, thanks to Mandalorian intervention. In other words, Gideon likely backed that self-proclaimed pirate king to destabilize the region, only to face the threat of the reunifying Mandalorian people. Gideon’s clearly freaked out by this, and once he tells his associates, they also start panicking. They all know that, if unified, the Mandalorians would be one of the greatest powers in the Galaxy.

The Threat of the Shadow Council and the Return of Thrawn

The Mandalorian S3, Ep 7-Captain Pellaeon
Source-Disney, Twitter

Yes, you heard that right; Gideon’s not working alone. There is a group called the Shadow Council, made up of high-ranking Imperials. The public sees them as scattered warlords; secretly, they’re operating as one, gathering strength to return the Empire to power. In addition, it’s implied they’re working for Emperor Palpatine, AKA Darth Sidious. They’re trying to keep the New Republic weak for his return to power, and as we see in the Sequel Era, they largely succeed. For now, though, this Shadow Council’s the more immediate danger, and it includes some familiar faces.

Firstly, this episode marks the first onscreen appearance of Captain Pellaeon. I’ll probably do a short bio of him in the old EU, but the one thing you need to know is that he’s most often affiliated with Grand Admiral Thrawn. Next to The Emperor and Vader, Thrawn’s probably the most dangerous asset the Empire has, and since Season Two of The MandalorianStar Wars has been building up for his return. The fact that Thrawn, Gideon, and Pellaeon are members of this Shadow Council shows how dangerous they are. And the last thing they want is for the Mandalorians to retake Mandalore.

Set a Course for Mandalore…for Home

The Mandalorian S3, Ep 7-Mandalorian Fleet
Source-Disney, YouTube

Meanwhile, while all this is going on, Bo, Din, and Grogu return to Nevarro with Bo’s reaccquired Mandalorian faction. As we see them fly over Nevarro, we see the fleet they’ve assembled, and it’s decently sized. It’s nothing compared to the fleets we’ve seen the Empire field, but it’s still impressive how much strength the Mandalorians have amassed. And at Bo-Katan’s urging, everyone agrees to set course for Mandalore. They’re ready to come out of hiding and retake their homeworld.

The Mandalorian S3, Ep 7-Grogu Becomes a Meme
Source-Tumblr, Disney

This is a big moment for the series, one that’s been built up over the last two seasons, and much of it wouldn’t be possible without Mando or Baby Yoda. Speaking of whom, Karga provides Mando with a gift in the form of IG-11. Or, IG-12 as he’s now called. The Anzellans couldn’t restore his memory, so they converted him into a mech-suit that Grogu could pilot. It continues the season’s trend of giving Baby Yoda more agency as he comes into his own and gives him another means of defending himself. In addition, it also allows him to communicate, albeit with only “Yes” or “No.” Hilariously enough, it also lets Grogu get into further mischief, much to his adoptive father’s dismay. Baby Yoda, you are a treasure and must be protected at all costs.

Mandalore isn’t as Uninhabited as We Thought

After the big introduction and cool shot with the Mandalorian fleet, the remainder of the episode occurs on Mandalore proper. While Din already confirmed that the planet’s safe enough to breathe on, we saw no evidence of anyone still living on it. This episode dispels that notion, though, as its revealed that a small group of Mandalorians survived on the surface. They escaped the Empire’s glassing of the Mandalore and clung to life all this time, only to slowly die off. By the time the fleet finds them, only a handful remain. However, they do manage to lead Bo-Katan’s group to their target, the Great Forge where they forge Beskar Armor. By retaking it, they can start resettling and rebuilding Mandalore. 

The Mandalorian S3, Ep 7-Grogu Breaks up the Fight
Source-Tumblr, Disney

As a side note, amidst all this, tension remains between the different factions of Mandalorians, something that Bo-Katan finds hard to handle. When a fight breaks out between Paz Vizsla and Axe Woves, it’s Grogu who ends up breaking it up. It’s a little subtle, but it hints that Bo-Katan might not be the one to lead the Mandalorians in this new age. In addition, this episode sees Bo-Katan admit that when the Empire invaded Mandalore, she surrendered to Moff Gideon when he promised to stop the fighting. He lied, and the Purge happened, something she blames herself for. 

Those concerns take a backseat, though, during the episode’s climax as Moff Gideon reveals his newest toys.

The Darkest Hour of Mandalore

During the episode’s climax, the Mandalorians are ambushed by Imperials. As it turns out, they never left Mandalore, revealing themselves to have a fully-functioning base on the planet. In addition, Moff Gideon’s begun using the planet’s beskar to manufacture armor for his new generation of Dark Troopers. While not as durable as the real deal, it proves enough to force Bo and Mando’s group into a corner. Then Gideon himself appears to gloat, clad in his own beskar armor. Not only does this make him stronger than before, it also serves as a silent taunt to the Mandalorians, proclaiming that their ways belong to him now. 

The episode ends on a rather bleak note. Din’s captured by Moff Gideon, and while Bo-Katan, Grogu, and the others escape, it’s small comfort. Their fleet’s about to be attacked, and worse, Paz Viszla sacrificed himself to buy the others time to escape. At least he went out fighting three members of the Praetorian Guard, AKA the same Guard that serves the First Order in the Sequel Trilogy. 

As of now, this is the darkest hour for The Mandalorian. They’re so close to returning their home, only to fail again. Whatever hail-mary Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have up their sleeves, it better be a good one. Perhaps the final episode will see the roles of Mando and Baby Yoda reversed, with Grogu rescuing his father from Gideon this time. Or Bo-Katan will sacrifice herself to give her people a chance to retake their home, leaving someone else to become the next Mandalore. Regardless of how things end, Jon and Dave are setting us up for an absolute banger of a finale, and that’s just the beginning. 

Thrawn is coming. If you’ve read or heard about the Thrawn trilogy, then you know how big a deal this is. The Mandalorian is only the beginning of something much bigger. And I’m hoping that next week’s finale takes us a step further into what might be the best thing to happen to Star Wars since Baby Yoda. Thrawn is coming.

I Give “The Spies” a 4/5