The Mandalorian Season 3 [7/10]

Perhaps as one ages and as achievement becomes fraught and freighted with time anxiety, one heads back into childhood entertainment. For me, cowboy stories, those tales of uncomplicated struggle and bravery (ignoring what we now about their fuckery), still resonate, and so I’ve found myself turning to “The Mandalorian.” Despite rejecting the entire Star Wars oeuvre after the source movie, I loved the first two seasons that presented Din Djarin, an outcast from the shattered Mandalorians, armored, shooting, flying warriors with a warrior code to match. Cast as a future space Shane, he is stolid, fierce, undaunted, just as he should be for an old fan of the simplistic ethos of cowboy despair and victory. Add in his initially reluctant oversight of Grogu, clearly “Baby Yoda,” and “Mando” offers episodes of fun and blasting and whooshing. And what of Season 3? Well, half the episodes indicate an approaching “use-by” point, being complex Empire-versus-Rebel plotlines into which the Mandalorian is shoehorned, and several “en masse” battle scenes with many Mandalorians are somehow hokey, and don’t get me started about the passe orchestral music. Yet half the episodes, the ones of simple encounter and battle are as pleasing as those in Season 1, with battle scenes worthy of the Star Wars franchise. And I cannot resist Pedro Pascal’s deep, echoing defiance with “This is the way.” So I, for one, shall be back for Season 4.

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