By far and away the shortest episode of The Mandalorian, the fourth episode in the third season devotes some time to exploring how the Children of the Watch works, and shows Bo-Katan following back into bad habits. While not plot driving, it proves some much needed insight into the Children of the Watch.
Unlike last week, this episode remains firmly snapped to Din and Grogu and shows what they do when they have free time. And that’s train. The members of the tribe all fight each other, in a way that’s extremely reminiscent of Deathwatch in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
This similarity goes unremarked upon throughout the entire episode, as well as any connection the group might have. It’s starting to feel like the show is purposefully skirting around name-dropping the organisation, Bo-Katan’s involvement and the fact they were terrorists, possibly to keep Bo’s image clean. It’s something that further episodes could prove otherwise, but this episode would have been a perfect place to do it.
Din forces Grogu to fight another foundling in a training match, in an exchange that shows the control of the cult. It shows the regression that Din’s undergone, he’s now fallen back into the life of a devotee, instead of someone who learnt there was more to life. This could also point to Grogu’s future development. As the violent Mandalorian culture he’s brought up around imprints on him, he becomes more violent and will stray to the dark side.
Bo-Katan seems resistant at letting Grogu fight, a sign that she’s resistant to fully give into her old life. But when the kid Grogu is fighting is taken by a winged beast, she’s more than willing to help, showing deep down she does care. Grogu is left in the care of the Armorer, a concerning prospect.
Though despite the potential sinister possibilities of a cult leader being alone with a sweet child, they thankfully don’t come to fruition. She simply fashions a rondel for him, while explaining a lesson to him. While this is being done, Grogu has the same flashbacks to his childhood as Din did, taking audiences back to Order 66, showing the Jedi who saved him.
And who is it? It’s Kelleran Beq, a reveal which casual audiences might be confused about. He’s played by Ahmed Best, former Jar Jar Binks actor. The fact that Best gets to return here as a Jedi, the one that saves Grogu and looks stylish doing it (seeing Republic Gunships and Shock troopers in live-action again is amazing) is nothing more than heartwarming, he deserved none of the hate he got. But while Best is, well, the best, picking a niche character from Jedi Temple Challenge to be the answer to a hotly debated question is baffling.
Returning to the present day, audiences see the Mandalorians scale and attack the winged creature’s lair to save the kid. The moment that stands out here is a quiet one of Bo eating alone, for all the cult’s unity, during the most important time they’re alone. It’s one of the more impactful moments of the episode. The fight with the beast itself is surprisingly easy, but they do find some babies along the way. Paz Vizsla also gets to drop that this is his son, continuing on the important Vizsla name.
In a surprise twist, the hunting party brings the babies of this beast back with them. This is not only to reassure viewers that they’ve not been left to die, but they’re likely to be functional in future, and shows that actually this cult is surprisingly accepting. Imagine the Mandalorians riding these creatures in the final episode.
At the end of the episode, Bo has a moment with the Armorer, as she needs a new pauldron. As one is forged, this is where Deathwatch flashbacks would have worked best, but they instead discuss the Mythosaur. It’s forged onto this pauldron, the silver standing out against the blue. This is a visual sign of the cult chipping away at Bo, and making her their own. Bo tries to tell the Armorer about the Mythosaur, but is ignored. It’s still not clear what her endgame is with the beast, but audiences will hopefully find out soon.
Overall, the episode gave a much needed look into the Children of the Watch, but still leaves fundamental questions about them open. Its answer to who saved Grogu was surprising and wholesome, but is likely lost on the average viewer. The action was on par with other episodes, and the ending leaves the show open to go in many directions, and retains enough focus on the characters not to be seen as meandering.