The Mandalorian’s Order 66 Flashback Confirms The Show’s Biggest Flaw
Din and Grogu’s bond has begun to feel like an afterthought.
The Mandalorian Season 3 is turning out to be a far less conventional season of television than most Star Wars fans expected.
The season’s first four episodes have featured numerous narrative detours and twists that few could have seen coming. Unfortunately, while The Mandalorian’s latest season has done a good job of further fleshing out supporting characters like Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhoff) and even ancillary figures like Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), its efforts to do so have come at the expense of the series’ longtime leads, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and his Mandalorian ward, Grogu.
Din not only seems to have taken a backseat to Sackhoff’s Bo-Katan, but his bond with Grogu, which was once the heart of The Mandalorian, has begun to feel less and less important to the ongoing story. The show’s latest episode, titled “The Foundling,” doesn’t do anything to fix that issue, either.
Early on in “The Foundling,” Grogu is left alone with The Armorer (Emily Swallow) while Din Djarin and Bo-Katan, along with a handful of other Mandalorian warriors, set out to rescue a child who was kidnapped by a wild raptor. Once alone, The Armorer takes a few moments to speak to Grogu about the ways in which the forging process reflects the journey that each Mandalorian foundling takes. As she does, Grogu suddenly flashes back to the night that he was saved from the Order 66 massacre at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant.
The Mandalorian has previously offered glimpses of Grogu’s Order 66 experience, but “The Foundling” reveals the complete story of his escape from Coruscant. The episode, specifically, reveals that it was Jedi Master Kelleran Beq (Ahmed Best) who saved Grogu from suffering the same fate as many of the other younglings who were killed during the Empire’s Jedi Purge. The reveal is one that has been in the making ever since Grogu made his screen debut in The Mandalorian’s first episode.
Despite its importance, though, Grogu’s Order 66 flashback in “The Foundling” kind of just … happens. There’s no real emotional build-up to it. Instead, The Mandalorian inserts one of the biggest revelations of its entire story into one of its many blacksmithing montages. Even worse, it does so via a monologue from The Armorer that feels like it exists solely as a way for The Mandalorian to insert Grogu’s backstory into the plot of “The Foundling,” despite the fact that his Order 66 experience has little-to-nothing to do with the other events of the episode.
As exciting as it is to finally find out the identity of Grogu’s Jedi savior, too, the manner in which “The Foundling” delivers the reveal feels disappointingly off-handed. It is, consequently, hard not to see the inclusion of Grogu’s full Order 66 flashback in “The Foundling” as yet another example of The Mandalorian’s increasing disinterest in the relationship that used to be its central focus. Grogu’s backstory is delivered so nonchalantly in “The Foundling” that it genuinely feels like it was included just so The Mandalorian could resolve the only major remaining mystery of his story.
The Inverse Analysis — Whether it was meant to feel as tossed away as it does in “The Foundling” or not, it’s worth noting that The Mandalorian’s latest Order 66 flashback exists totally separate from Din and Grogu’s relationship. That’s disappointing because Grogu’s full remembrance of his Order 66 experience could have easily served as yet another turning point in his and Din’s bond. At the very least, it could have been a moment that the duo shared together in some way.
The fact that they don’t ultimately just feels like further proof that The Mandalorian doesn’t really know what to do with Din and Grogu’s relationship this year.