Home Reviews The Mandalorian Gets Back on The Way with The Foundling

The Mandalorian Gets Back on The Way with The Foundling

The Mandalorian gets back on track with a exciting and lore-filled episode.


One of the interesting things about the Children of the Watch, the sect of Mandalorians that Din Djarin belongs to, is their attitude towards abandoned or orphaned children, or foundlings. As has been established in past episodes, Mandalorian is not a race, but a creed. So they’ve adopted many strays that have fallen into their midst, like Din. And now, Bo Katan.

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After her conversion, she’s strolling the beach while the Mandalorians train in the surf. Another adopted stray, little Grogu, is playing with hermit crabs in the sand, using the force to move them around. That is until Mando plucks him up and tells him to go fight the other foundlings. Mando seems like the kind of Dad who’d teach you to swim by throwing you in the deep end of a pool. (Which is ironic, considering that Mando sunk like a stone when he went into the deep end of the Living Waters two episodes ago.)

Poor Grogu with his big eyes looks very confused and sad. He left Luke so he could hang out with Din! I don’t think he expected to be thrown into Baby Fight Club, but this is the way. (I wonder of Mando ever watched The Great Santini on the Razor Crest.) Ragnar, the young Mandalorian who got his helmet back in episode one, picks darts as the weapon. He quickly pegs Grogu twice before Grogu – with encouragement from Bo Katan and Din – unleashed his Jedi leaping skills and hits Ragnar three times to win. Glad to see his time with Luke was well spent.

Ragnar sulks off by the edge of the lake, right where the giant alligator monster tried to eat him. Thankfully, no gators this week. Just a giant pterodactyl thing that grabs him and flies away. (Ya know, if I were the Armorer, I’d really start to think about finding a planet to hide out on. Maybe one with fewer creatures that find children delicious.) Several of the clan blast off after the monster (called a shriek-hawk) but the beast flies too far for their fuel tanks. However, Bo Katan follows in her ship and is able to track it back to its nest.

The shriek-hawk has a nest atop a rocky mountain spire and Bo Katan has a plan to get the child back. If they approach too close via jetpack or ship, they’ll scare the bird and it may kill the youngster. So, they’ll land a short distance away and scale the peak with their grappling cables. The raiding party jets off, leaving Grogu in the care of the Armorer. You’re too young, she tells him. (But he’s old enough to train to fight? I don’t know if that’s the way.)

The Armorer starts to tell Grogu about the Mandalorian culture and how everyone contributes money and beskar steel to help the foundlings. As she rhythmically pounds on the steel, memories are triggered in Grogu. The pounding sounds make him flash back to the fall of the Republic.

As many had assumed, Grogu was being trained in the Jedi Temple when Palpatine issued Order 66, the command for the clone troopers to turn on the Jedi and kill them all. (And if you think Grogu is adorable, you aren’t prepared for li’l baby Grogu with EVEN BIGGER eyes.) Four Jedi are valiantly defending Grogu’s bassinet from the troopers, but they aren’t doing well. Overwhelmed, they push Grogu into the elevator and send him upwards and away from danger. The doors open on the rooftop to reveal Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, as played by Amhed Best.

A brief word about Ahmed Best. A talented comedic actor, he had to eat an enormous amount of shit for decades because he had the bad fortune to be cast in the role of the literal worst Star Wars character ever written – namely the dopey Gungan, Jar-Jar Binks. (“Meesa destroy da Republica!”) Thank goodness social media did not exist in 1999. Best previously portrayed Kelleran Beq as host of the criminally underseen and underrated Star Wars game show for kids, Jedi Temple Challenge, and now he finally gets a hero moment as the Jedi who saves Grogu during the chaos of Order 66. And good for him. It wasn’t his fault that Jar-Jar was terrible; he did what he was directed to do. Very happy he gets to have some cool lightsaber scenes this week, and maybe more in the future.

Beq fights off the troopers with two lightsabers and then spirits Grogu away in his speeder to a launch platform. Carl Weathers (aka High Magistrate Greef Karga) directed this episode and the action sequences here are honestly thrilling. Obviously, Grogu is going to escape, because we’re seeing a flashback, but the scenes feel like they have actual stakes. Beq plays chicken with a train in a tunnel and the tension is high. They narrowly escape and take off for distant worlds.

This origin of Grogu still leaves a number of questions unanswered. Why were so many Jedi escorting him out of the temple? Viewers of Revenge of the Sith will recall the dozens of younglings that were murdered by Anakin. Why was Grogu still under such heavy guard when Mando first found him all the way back in season one? Is it possible he really is a Baby Yoda, that is, Yoda’s actual child? Would any records of his parentage have survived the fall of the temple?

Grogu is deep in thought when he comes out of his reverie. The Armorer has made Grogu a new piece of armor, a little chest plate that he’ll grow into. Does this mean we will one day get to see Grogu in his own little helmet? I’m trying to stop buying Grogu merch, but damn, I’ll clear some space for a Grogu in a Mandalorian Helmet plush.

Back on the Shriek hunt, Bo Katan is still figuring out the whole “This is the way” thing. Things like, how the heck do you eat with a helmet on? Din helpfully tells her that once you get your food, you find a quiet spot for yourself so you can take it off and eat. However, the big Mandalorian (Paz Viszla) tells her that since she is leading the war party, she gets the place of honor by the fire.

So Bo Katan is quickly ingratiating herself into the Mandalorian society here. I assumed that she was going to take advantage of her accidental redemption and induction into the Children of the Watch and use them to help her reclaim Mandalore, but she seems to genuinely be enjoying the camaraderie. I wonder how long she was alone in her castle…

They climb to the nest, only to find it empty. Din detects a heat source though, and Paz starts sprinting across despite Bo Katan’s warnings. It turns out that the snatched youngling is his son, and he’s going to get him back. (This gives me uncomfortable thoughts about two Mandalorians having sex with their helmets on. This is the way.)

However, the heat source wasn’t his son, it was three hungry baby shriek-hawks. And mom has just flown back with dinner. Mom barfs up Ragnar (miraculously, still alive) which makes Paz attack and try to get him back. This causes momma bird to fly away, Ragnar in tow, and the Mandalorians take off after her.

This is another fine action scene directed by Weathers, as the Mandalorians zip around and try to dislodge Ragnar from the hawk without killing him. The aerial combat is fun to watch, and after rescuing the boy, the fight ends with an homage to Jurassic World as the team forces the hawk into the water where the giant alligator eats it. (Maybe it’ll be full for a while and stop bothering the foundlings.)

Our heroes return to the welcoming clanks of the clan on the beach. (Mandalorians applaud by banging their forearm gauntlets together.) Ragnar is safe, and Bo Katan brought back three more foundlings – the enormous baby chicks from the nest. I can guess we’ll see some Mandalorians ride them into battle when they retake their homeworld. The Armorer notices that Bo Katan lost a piece of her armor in the fight and offers to replace it. She asks that it bear the insignia of the Mythosaur, the symbol of all Mandalore, rather than her house crest of the night owl. One more step for Bo Katan in cementing herself as part of this clan and as a potential leader of her people.

This is the first episode of this new season that really felt like an episode of The Mandalorian to me. The elements that made me enjoy this show so much in its first two seasons are coming back into the picture. There are intriguing clues about Grogu’s past, exciting action, and some weird new bits of Mando-lore. It’s still not great that so many threads brought up in past episodes have just been discarded. (Remember the pirates? Those guys who swore revenge of Mando? Oh yeah, whatever happened to those guys? And IG-11? And Dr. Pershing? And Kane? Eh, maybe next week.) But, if the show is now focused on the Mandalorians returning home under the leadership of Bo Katan, it could be interesting. I’m still not entirely sold on her character, but she is starting to grow on me.

GROGU CUTENESS METER: Making up for lost time! We get him playing with hermit crabs on the beach, we get big sad eyed Baby Grogu, we get pensive Grogu, just cuteness overload this week.

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